Common Causes of Eating Disorders
#1: Peer Pressure
A normal part of growing up is the desire to be accepted by your peers. For teenagers going through puberty, there are physical and emotional milestones that are expected for most. Unfortunately, growing up can be tough and the pressure can drive some to develop eating disorders and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Physical and emotional maturity develop dramatically during the teenage years. At 14 years-old, teens try to become more independent from their parents but seek approval from friends. Teens may begin dating or be curious about intimacy at 15. At ages 16 to 18, they may spend more time with friends and develop a better sense of self-awareness.
However, nobody develops the same way at the exact same time. A girl who was thin before puberty may get body shamed by her peers if she gained weight after getting her period. A boy who hasn’t hit his growth spurt may get bullied for being small. There is a pressure from friends, family, and the media to be more feminine or masculine.
Parents and guardians should be aware of their kids’ developmental milestones. Conflict may be unavoidable but families are encouraged to have open communication and provide positive reinforcements. Avoid being overly critical of your children, especially comparing them to other kids as they can be sensitive to these cues.
#2: Media Exposure
With the advent of the internet and social media, it is hard to avoid the constant reminders of what’s trending. While the media is an essential form of communication, it is not without its downsides, often contributing to the causes of eating disorders.