I have yet to meet a parent who doesn’t get overwhelmed when thinking about all of the things necessary to steer the family ship.
There is complex tactical coordination, like getting everyone out the door in the morning to figuring out sports, music and school activities. And, of course, it’s not just about the kids’ schedules – parents have their own schedules to manage, too.
Then there are the emotional needs of your family. Each family member has his or her own unique communication style, emotional needs and developmental stage. And, of course, every one of them has good days, bad days, bored days, angry days, etc.
The combination of tactical and emotional coordination means that parents juggle a lot of balls every single day. And there are days when we drop balls everywhere.
The stress of caring for an ill child can send parents over the edge.
If you have a child with an eating disorder like anorexia, orthorexia, binge eating disorder or bulimia, your family is encountering massive stress. To add to the stress, many parents find it difficult to talk about eating disorders. If your daughter had cancer or diabetes, you would be more likely to discuss how her illness is impacting your life as a family, but eating disorders are not at the same level of social discussion.
We are social creatures, driven to connect with each other. But the stigma of mental illnesses can make it harder to find the support and connection you need and deserve when your child has an eating disorder.
Your child’s eating disorder is probably causing you intense pain, and you aren’t going to be able to be there for her unless you find ways to process your pain in the healthiest way possible.
Talk to someone. Find someone who will give you unconditional love and listen to your concerns, fears and even anger sometimes about the situation. It may be a therapist, coach, friend or family member, but it should be someone who can listen without judgement.
You deserve love during this time. The more love you give yourself, the more you will have available for her.
Ginny Jones is on a mission to empower parents to raise kids who are free from eating disorders and body hate.
She’s the editor of More-Love.org and a Parent Coach who helps parents handle their kids’ food and body issues.