Independent medical expert answers
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Problem: Teenagers only Interested in Looks and Beauty; Eating Disorders in Teens

Written by: Fabio Piccini, doctor and Jungian psychotherapist, in charge of the "Centre for Eating Disorders Therapy" at "Malatesta Novello" nursing home in Cesena. Works privately in Rimini and Chiavari. E-mail:

First version: 22 Jul 2008. Latest version: 20 Aug 2008.


Society has ideals for teenagers which can be dangerous for them. Parents have a role in giving good advice and role models for teenagers.


My daughter is an teenager who only thinks about looks and beauty. Should I worry? Is this a problem? Is this a cause of eating disorders in teens?


Adolescence a very difficult stage of life in which many transformations happen in the mind and the body of a boy or girl. In the meantime, the child's social role is abandoned in order to acquire a new role in adult life.

These physical and mental changes can create doubts and incomprehension and can change ideals; each young person reacts to this stage of life in his/her own way, according to his/her personality and his/her past experiences.

Unfortunately, today we are stressed from messages suggesting that slim and beautiful models are normal. Those same messages tell us how we should dress, behave, and be fashionable. We are all deeply influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by the mass media, and this is especially true for teen-agers. It's normal and unavoidable that in that phase of life, values change and move on to what society proposes as ideals. You can't avoid it, but you need to understand these behaviours in order to prevent fights and incomprehension feelings with your daughter.

Every stage of human life has some characteristics for which that period is worth to be lived, and the only thing that is really important when someone is deep in a difficult life crisis, is to have someone who demonstrates his/her love to him/her; someone who helps and who understands.

It's important to never give up our educational role as parents, but is equally important to try and make teen-agers understand the motivation of the advice (or prohibitions) we give them in order to let them feel understood and cared for.

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