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My Daughter is Upset She Gained Weight. What Should I Do?

If your teenaged daughter is upset she has gained weight, you have an important role as her parent of what to do and what not to do. You should normalize the changes in her body, help her feel beautiful, and allow for healthy eating. What you should not do shame her or force any diet changes.

teenaged girl sitting outside.

Normalize the Changes in Your Teenaged Daughter's Body When She Gains Weight

Whether or not your child's weight is in the healthy range, you should still normalizes changes in her body size and her reaction to the changes. Discuss with her times you have gained weight or your own body changed. Talk to her about how girls tend to gain weight during puberty and after. Let her know that different people will gain weight at different rates and in different places. You can also talk about how genes and hormones play a role in the process of body weight regulation.

You should also talk to her about how it is normal to be surprised or upset about changes in her body. Changes are hard for kids, and a change in how a child views themselves can be especially hard.

Help Your Teenaged Daughter Continue to Feel Beautiful When She Gains Weight

I always hope that parents and caregivers are telling their children from a very young age how beautiful, handsome, adorable, and good-looking they are. These comments should be given freely and frequently so that children can feel good about their physical appearance from the start. These comments obviously should be irrespective of your child's body size and should not be accompanied by comments about their size.

If your child believes they are good-looking, and was not raised to associate beauty with thinness, this can buffer them from the mental outcomes kids have when they think they are ugly for being fat.

Make sure your teenaged daughter has clothing that fits her current size and looks good on her. Let too-small clothes disappear in the wash and be replaced with clothes she feels good in. Don't restrict her to styles you think are good for her size and shape. Let her choose what she likes.

Allow For Healthy Eating When Your Teenaged Daughter Gains Weight

When I say to allow for healthy eating, I do not mean to force any changes! Instead, you can set up the environment in a way that makes healthy eating easier. Over time, you can slowly make shifts in the types of foods you purchase and prepare. Make changes in your family's eating for the whole family, not for any specific person. Don't worry that you can't change all your daughter's surroundings. Just focus on what you can impact.

If your teenaged daughter wants to go on a diet because she has gained weight, make sure she is following healthy models rather than whatever diet is popular on social media at the time. Working with a dietitian who understands the psychological component of eating can be really helpful for building healthy habits. If your child does want to make changes in how she eats, be her partner by taking her grocery shopping, cooking with her, and discussing how to plan health meals. Remind her her that weight is not a behavior, and help her differentiate weight and size from health behaviors such as eating vegetables or being active.

What to Do if Your Teenaged Daughter is Upset She Gained Weight

If your teenaged daughter is upset she gained weight, know what your role is as her parent. You can't change her body, and you shouldn't force any diet changes. You can normalize the changes, continue to help her feel beautiful, and allow for healthy changes if she is interested. Know what is your role as a parent to do when your teenaged daughter gains weight.

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