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My child is too young to have an eating disorder

Colleen called me in tears because her daughter Raleigh is eight years old and Colleen says “She’s too young to have an eating disorder! I can’t believe it.” I totally understand. It’s hard to believe that young kids can have an eating disorder, but in fact disordered eating can start…

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Depression and your child’s eating disorder

Your child’s eating disorder and depression are likely linked. Depression is both a risk factor and maintaining factor of an eating disorder. This is important, because both eating disorders and depression are common and increasing among all populations, particularly children and teens. As with anxiety, your child’s treatment for depression…

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Anxiety and your child’s eating disorder

Anxiety disorders, which very often show up with an eating disorder, are both the most common and the most treatable mental disorders. And parents who have been trained in how to respond to kids’ anxiety are the most powerful treatment providers. The biggest barrier to recovering from an anxiety disorder…

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Almond moms and eating disorders

The recent TikTok trend of calling out mothers for being “almond moms” brings up the obvious question: are almond moms related to eating disorders? The answer is nuanced. The almond mom trend blew up on TikTok in late 2022. It’s primarily driven by teens and young women posting videos that…

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Am I enabling my child’s eating disorder?

We are often afraid to talk about how parents may enable an eating disorder. One reason is because we unconsciously believe that if a parent is “enabling,” they are therefore at fault or responsible for the eating disorder. So I need to start by clearly stating that parents are not…

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How to motivate recovery from an eating disorder

Rachel is beside herself. “I know I need to wait for her to be motivated to recover, and I can’t do it for her, but this is excruciating!” Rachel had been watching her daughter Brooke struggle with an eating disorder for over 12 months, and despite expert treatment, there is…

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How to fight weight stigma for your “big kid”

If your child is considered a “big kid,” they will very likely be subject to harmful weight stigma. A big kid may spend their life feeling objectified and criticized for merely existing in their body. Your child may be called names like “fat” and told they need to “watch” their…

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TikTok is dangerous for body image and eating disorders

A new study found that TikTok videos focusing on “health” are dangerous for body image, promote weight loss, and may encourage eating disorders. TikTok’s most-viral “health” videos overwhelmingly say that weight loss and thinness are achievable and desirable for all. TikTok is a major force in our kids’ lives, and…

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What to do when your child feels body shame

Eric has noticed that his child Mackenzie feels a lot of body shame. “It started with a few comments here and there,” he says. “But now she is constantly talking about how terrible her body is. She compares her body to everyone else’s and spends hours looking at herself in…

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Family therapy when your child has an eating disorder

Family therapy when your child has an eating disorder may be the most important and the hardest thing you’ve ever done as a parent. Family therapy can help your family build belonging and resolve conflicts more easily. It can have a lifetime of benefits, including supporting eating disorder recovery. But…

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Questions to ask eating disorder treatment centers

It’s not easy making the decision to send your child to an eating disorder treatment center – you probably have a lot of questions. There are so many factors to consider and so many options out there. And right now there’s added stress because so many centers are at capacity…

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A parent’s guide to understanding OSFED

Arianna had an eating disorder for a few years before getting a diagnosis. “It’s all so obvious in hindsight,” says her mom, Renee. “She had all the classic symptoms of an eating disorder except she didn’t look like she had an eating disorder. I just didn’t know what to look…

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Coach your child to eating disorder recovery

Ian and Melissa were stunned to find out that Jake, their son, had an eating disorder. “We didn’t see it coming at all,” says Ian. “I thought he was really applying himself to his fitness and sport, but now I can see that his behavior became more and more disordered…

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What purpose does an eating disorder serve?

Bridget’s daughter Sadie has an eating disorder. “It’s so hard to watch her,” says Bridget. “It seems as if her entire purpose in life has become her body. I can’t understand why this happened. I’ve never taught her or modeled that her body is this important. So why is this…

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Loneliness and eating disorders: a guide for parents

Jill is beside herself with worry. Her daughter Melody has an eating disorder and is struggling with loneliness. Between treatment, COVID restrictions, and starting high school, she has become very isolated. “She has always been more on the introverted side,” says Jill. “But it’s gotten to the point where I’m…

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