Your teen's weight is affecting his health -- physically or mentally -- so you're concerned. Maybe he’s been diagnosed with a weight-related health problem, like high blood pressure or sleep apnea. Or maybe he worries about his size or faces bullies at school.
You want to help, but it's not easy for a parent to know how. While your teen might feel upset or angry about his weight, he may also not want you to meddle. As much as he may try to tackle his problems on his own, though, it’s important for you to be involved.
You can help your kid make changes to his diet and exercise habits that will put him on a healthier track.
Set the Stage for Success
A few tactics will let you set him up to make healthy choices.
Talk with your teen’s doctor about his BMI.
The doctor can calculate his body mass index (BMI), a way to measure body fat percentage, based on weight and height. She can compare the result with other teens his age. If his BMI falls within the overweight or obese range, talk with the doc about what his weight goals should be.
He may not need to actually lose weight -- just maintain and "grow into it" as he gets taller. But if he does need to slim down, experts say teens shouldn’t drop more than 2 pounds a week.
Talk with your child to get his buy-in.
He has to be on board and involved with any plan to lose weight. Your approach is key.
Don't tell your teen he needs to drop extra pounds. Talk to him. Ask questions like, "How do you feel about your weight?"
Then, listento him. If he pushes back, lay off the topic for a little while. Hopefully you'll have planted a seed for thought, and he'll be more open the next time you bring it up.
Be a coach, not a sheriff.
You have more of an influence over your child than you might think. The trick is to not force a healthy lifestyle on him. Encourage him to find his own reasons to change his diet or get more exercise.