Emotional eating can also cause overeating problems for older children. A child who has a fight with a friend or receives a bad report card may turn to a bag of cookies or other comfort foods. He is using food to make him feel better, rather than talking out his feelings with his parents. Part of this may be learned behavior.
If parents push treats as a way to distract a young child from problems instead of dealing with them, the child may not develop appropriate coping skills as he matures. Emotional eating isn't just limited to kids, either. If children see the adults around them drowning their sorrows in chocolate, they will assume that eating is an acceptable way to deal with emotional pain.
If you think your child is turning to food instead of dealing with her problems, encourage her to talk to you about what's troubling her. Let her see you discussing problems and points of conflict with your spouse or others, expressing how these issues make you feel and resolving them instead of ignoring them. It may also be beneficial to seek the help of a child or adolescent therapist.