This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Daily Devotional: Fear of the Lord | A man with his head bowed holding a black hat on his chest. Daily Devotional: Fear of the Lord | A man with his head bowed holding a black hat on his chest.

Questions and Answers | Our Children's Well-being

Our daughter returned home from college, and we noticed she has been skipping meals, overexercising, and has lost a considerable amount of weight. Besides praying about this, what else can we as Christian parents do?

Thank you for your question and concern about your daughter. As parents, we care about all aspects of our children’s wellbeing: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. While this may be harder to do from a distance, it is important to carefully observe any changes in mood, or health, when your child returns home. You can be assured that God hears your prayers. Psalm 91:15 says: “He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”

The symptoms you mention could be signs of an eating disorder. This disorder is identified by a preoccupation with food, body weight, and disturbance in thoughts and emotions. Eating disorders often occur in isolation, but there are warning signs: refusing or limiting food, binge eating, preoccupation with body weight and size, over-exercising, and changes in mood (irritability, sadness, or increased anxiety). Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa (restriction of food intake), bulimia nervosa (excessive binging and purging), and binge-eating disorder (recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food).

Parents are often the first to notice when their loved one is struggling. One of the most important things to watch for is changes in eating habits. At family meals, observe changes in food intake or restriction of food. Does your child leave the table early? Excuse themselves to eat in another room during meals? Establish a foundation for truth-telling and sharing concerns with your child. Speaking the truth in love is biblical (Eph. 4:25)! Set aside a time to talk with your child without judgment and show concern for their health (Matt. 7:1–5). Your child needs the love of parents who care about their well-being (1 Cor. 13:7). Do not focus on weight or appearance. Acknowledge signs of growth and maturity (Eph. 4:22). Finally, for additional support, consider professional counseling to help address specific needs.

One final encouragement for your family. Rest assured that God sees and responds to our needs and the needs of our children. He is concerned for everyone, and no one goes unnoticed in His love and care (Ps. 40:1; Prov. 15:3; Ps. 33:13; Ps. 34:15).

BY Dr. Valencia Wiggins, PhD, L.P.C.

Valencia Wiggins grew up in Ohio and graduated from Wheaton College. She earned a Masters in Clinical Psychology at Wheaton Graduate School, and PhD in Clinical Psychology at Walden University. She has taught at Moody Seminary for four years. In addition, Dr. Wiggins works in private practice as a clinical psychologist. Her clinical work includes sexual abuse, trauma, grief and loss, eating disorders, family issues, depression, adolescents, and women’s issues.

Find Questions and Answers by Month