Helping Your Adolescent find an Appropriate Job after ED Recovery

Father counseling daughter

Contributor: Courtney Howard, BA, writer for Eating Disorder Hope

Seeking independence and feeling productive can be extremely beneficial to an individual in recovery from an eating disorder. The set structure that comes with a job holds the potential to help teens stay on track with regard to meal plans and treatment team appointments. Finding a job that fits your child’s existing schedule and interests can help him or her develop communication skills, increase self-esteem, and foster healthy interpersonal relationships.

There are many jobs available to minors nationwide, from babysitting to food service. Parents should be aware that the latter might be triggering for an individual fresh out of treatment, depending on his or her individual eating disorder and recovery process.

Research Your State’s Labor Laws

Knowing the law in your state can enable you to help your child apply for age-appropriate jobs and protect his or her rights. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has federal requirements on child labor laws, in addition to each state’s own regulations.

Provide Information for Job Applications

Father And Teenage Son Having A HugParents can often provide a wealth of knowledge regarding job applications, what to wear to an interview, and how to polish a resume. They can encourage their teen to cast a wide net when doing initial job searches. Applying to a wide range of companies ensures that an adolescent has a better chance of gaining employment and will have more learning experiences to benefit from in the future. If your teen does not follow your advice and wears jean shorts to an interview, it is okay. Part of recovery, and adolescence in general, includes learning life skills firsthand.

Prepare Your Child for Rejection as well as Success!

Teenage Girls Drinking at BarEven if a job application and/or interview go flawlessly, there is no guarantee of a job offer. This can hurt an individual’s self-esteem at any age, but especially in teens getting their feet wet for the first time. Those in recovery from an eating disorder might be more sensitive to rejection. Preparing your teen for all possible outcomes, including being dissatisfied with a job if one is obtained, can reduce the risk of situations regarding employment triggering a relapse.

Connect with Your Child’s Treatment Team

Some teens are not ready to seek employment directly following treatment for an eating disorder. They might be better off focusing on schoolwork, extracurriculars, or developing outside friendships. Connecting with your teen’s treatment team before encouraging a job search can help you determine whether employment is best for his or her recovery.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has been your experience with helping your teen find employment? What advice do you have to share?

Courtney Howard photoAbout the Author: Courtney Howard is a Certified Life Coach specializing in eating disorders through Lionheart Eating Disorder Recovery Coaching. As a content writer at The Sovereign Health Group while writing freelance through Eating Disorder Hope, Courtney is a passionate advocate for recovery and works to fight the stigma surrounding all mental health disorders. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from San Diego State University, holds a paralegal certificate in Family Law, and is a Certified Domestic Violence Advocate.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 31, 2015
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