Eating disorders are complex, and we never underestimate the fact that they require treatment on multiple levels, ideally involving different professionals with specific training in treating eating disorders.
But as a parent, you can still support your child through eating disorder recovery. Even as you rely on the professionals, you can also find small ways to connect with your child and provide ideas as she heals.
That’s exactly how we see these lovely cards created by Anastasia Amour, a body love coach who has recovered from anorexia and now supports women and girls in learning to love their bodies. Her self-love cards may be fun for you and your daughter as she moves through eating disorder recovery.
We heard a great story from a 9th-grade teacher in Nova Scotia who used these cards when working with teenage girls on concepts of self-love and body acceptance. Each girl picked one or two cards from the pack that resonated with them, and then they replicated the cards in their own style. Their stories were beautiful reminders of the sweetness our teenage daughters deserve.
Here are some ways you might use Anastasia’s cards with your teenager:
Go through the pack one by one with her, maybe while you’re driving to therapy appointments, and discuss how each one makes her feel. Does she agree or disagree? Why or why not?
Don’t argue with her, just listen and discuss your perspective. There is a good chance that you will struggle with some of the cards yourself. That’s OK! You don’t have to be perfect! Tell her if you aren’t so sure whether you are living the card’s words, and talk about what you think you could do to start doing so.
You could each pick one card from the pack that resonates with you, and then tell each other why you like that card so much.
You could each pick one card from the pack that you wish the other would believe and then talk to each other about how you can support moving towards believing what the card says. She would pick a card for you that she thinks you need to work on, and you would pick one for her that you think she should work on.
What else can you think of? Remember that the opportunity here is to connect with each other. The cards may feel kooky or uncomfortable. They make you both feel itchy. That’s OK. They can be statements or conversation starters!
Anastasia Amour is a Body Image and Self-Esteem coach. She is the author of Inside Out: Your 14-Day Guide to Transform Your Mind-Body Relationship. She teaches women and girls how to embrace their bodies, find self-acceptance, and make peace with food and exercise.