Question: This past Thanksgiving, I went home from college and I noticed in my little sisters room all these empty diet pill containers. How do I confront her about it and steer her in the right direction? She's only 14 years old. My mom has said before that her friends at school always call her fat and pick on her. I'm worried about her. What to do? (Malibu, CA)
Social Shrink: This is a topic you cannot avoid - you need to bring this up as soon as possible. Diet pills and supplements promise to work wonders on one's body, but there are serious health risks your sister may not even know about - anxiety, heart issues, dehydration, high blood pressure, and even death.
Before you talk to your sister, I would bring it up with your parents to see if they are aware of this. If your mom mentioned her friends tease her about being fat, your parents must know this could be a big issue with your sister. Diet pills should not be for teenagers - only adults. Your parents need to bring her to a doctor/nutrition
ist as soon as possible. Your sister needs to speak to someone about helping her get on a more healthy program that works for her. Diet pills are not something a young teenager should mess with.
Since you're not around that often, make sure to reach out to your sister while you're at home and share with her your concern over what you found. Share some personal experiences you had when you were her age when it came to health, diet and exercise. The more you share about yourself, the more she will be able to connect it to her own situation. Above all else, tell her that there are healthier ways to be fit - without the use of diet pills.
Since you are away at school usually, you will need to bring your parents in on the conversation. After your one-on-one, let your parents know that you spoke with your sister. Make sure they follow-up and check on her to see how she is doing not only physically, but mentally. The important thing here is to be there for her - her body is changing, she's growing up, and she's experiencing the usual teenage angst. Be a sounding board for her - and never stop reminding her that diet pills are not the way to go to lose weight.