Here’s a scenario: Your daughter, a junior in high school, is late for school and is insisting that she can’t enter the classroom because everyone will look at her and assume that she did something wrong. She’s having a crying fit, saying that you have to let her miss the whole day at school, or at least let her wait to go to school until it’s a passing period or a recess. Here’s another: Your son, a good student and something of a perfectionist, is insisting that he’s sick with a stomachache.
So, first let’s start with the premise of FBT, or Family Based Therapy. It’s a model designed to support parents in refeeding their starving anorexic teens. The basic idea: The parents decide what the teens should eat, put it in front of them, and the teens eat it.
Life is rough for teens today, and particularly for girls. Kids believe that they have to get all As, have a full plate of extracurriculars -- along with a bustling social-media feed -- and look fabulous while they do it all. What’s more, they have to appear that they’re doing it without breaking a sweat, cultivating a kind of effortless perfectionism that insures that no one knows how tough it is for them to hold it all together. No wonder teens have record-high levels of depression and anxiety. While it might be possible to juggle all this for a short period of time, it’s an impossible task to continually pull it off.