I worry about my 14 year old daughter...

My daughter is 14, she weighs 77 kg and she's around 164 cm..
I don't know whether i should be helping her accept her body or tell her to lose weight.. I think she binges a lot and she has been portraying all signs of depression lately and she hates her body and herself... She also has very low self-confidence and thinks that nobody wants her and that everybody hates her.. The list goes on and on, I don't know how to deal with her.. Also, she recently had an outburst in which she punched glass, shattered it into pieces and badly cut her hand.. She was just standing there in disbelief looking at the broken bloody glass and her hand..
I have read several letters written by teens on ur blog and quite frankly, they scare me, I am just worried about her..
Is that OK what is happening to her?

Ben's Answer:

If your daughter is 5 ft 4 inches (164 cm) and 170 lbs (77kg), she is certainly overweight. It would be important to know if she's always been overweight, what sort of diet she eats, etc. Binging is a possibility, but so is over-eating, as well as eating the wrong foods- high sugar, high carb foods. Sodas, and white flour/processed foods, fructose, breads and other grains are the worst offenders.

To answer your question, no - she doesn't seem ok. If she punched out a window, she's clearly in a lot of emotional pain and really needs some help. If this is ignored, it's likely she will cry louder for help, by doing even more extreme behaviors.

Kids are under extreme peer pressure when it comes to their body image. The media intensifies those issues greatly. The early puberty years are the most difficult for kids, with body changes, hormonal changes and identity issues.

Addressing the actual physical/weight issue could be a big help but it may not be the whole picture. Only a therapist or counselor seeing her face to face (and possibly seeing the whole family together) can really assess what is going on with her. Some ongoing therapy would probably be a very good idea. Kids tend to be very embarrassed about anyone finding out they're seeing a therapist, so this should be done in a strictly confidential way that does not cause her to feel more ashamed among her peers.

I wish you and your family the best,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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