Get the resources and support you need when your child has an eating disorder
Being a parent through eating disorder treatment and recovery is definitely best done with support and guidance! Most parents feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the process, and they are often left in the dark about what’s going on and what they’re supposed to do.
This is frustrating, especially since when parents understand eating disorders, build new skills, and get support during eating disorder treatment, they make a huge difference in recovery. In fact, you can make the single biggest impact on your child’s recovery.
One of the reasons eating disorders are so hard to treat is that treatment often leaves out the most important people in a child’s life: parents! Here are some resources and support to help you navigate this.
Parent-Friendly ❤️ Neurobiology ❤️ Attachment ❤️ Non-Diet ❤️ Health At Every Size®
Parenting a child with an eating disorder is anything but easy. Support, training, and guidance on how to support eating disorder recovery will make you more successful. Learn new skills and get the support you need to stay strong as you face this tremendous challenge. Getting support means you’re less likely to suffer from burnout and will keep you hopeful and confident. Here are some support resources:
Therapy or Coaching (for you)
It makes sense if all your focus right now is on your child’s treatment. However, if you work on yourself, you will impact your child’s recovery. Your own patterns of behavior and psychology can either reinforce the eating disorder or supercharge recovery. After all, eating disorders are highly responsive to the environment, and you are an essential part of your child’s environment.
You have a tremendous impact on your child’s likelihood of recovery. What you do can motivate or de-motivate your child. Parenting a child with an eating disorder is advanced parenting, and you’re more likely to succeed if you have professional guidance from a therapist or parent coach.
You’re going to need advanced parenting skills in connection, feeding, and communication. You’ll want to learn how to motivate your child to make a very difficult behavior change. And you’ll probably have to interact with your kid’s big, scary feelings of anger, sadness and fear.
How you respond when they’re freaking out about food or their body image makes a difference. Eating disorders are tricky, and advanced parenting skills for handling eating disorder tantrums and stonewalling require specialized training. Find local or online courses to help you build your confidence.
Worksheets For Kids With Eating Disorders
Scripts for Parents
Parent Scripts For Eating Disorder Recovery
Scripts to help you figure out what to say to help your child with an eating disorder. Use these scripts:
- At the dinner table when behavior is getting out of control
- When you need to set boundaries – fast!
- After something happened so you can calmly review the triggers and events
Parent Support Bundle
Printable Worksheets for Kids-Teens-Young Adults With Eating Disorders PLUS BONUS Parent Scripts
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Find a parent support group, Facebook group, or join F.E.A.S.T. to learn from and get support from other parents who have kids with eating disorders. Sharing your struggles with other people who are going through the same thing can make you feel less alone and be a wonderful balm for your soul. It can give you the strength you need to face another day of eating disorder treatment with the best you have to give.
Friends & Family
You may feel uncomfortable about sharing what your family is going through with your friends and family. And your child may demand that you not share their mental health condition with others. But at the same time, you need emotional support more than ever.
Learn how to respectfully talk about the eating disorder while upholding good boundaries and without blaming or shaming your child. This will allow you to get the support you need without stepping in a hornet’s nest.
Keep in mind that eating disorders thrive in secrecy, so keeping it a secret is usually not the best approach. That said, you’re going to want to be thoughtful and strategic about how you talk about the eating disorder with others.
- Brain-Body Parenting: How to Stop Managing Behavior and Start Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids, by Mona Delahooke
- The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
- Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous and Independent Children by Lynn Lyons and Reid Wilson
- The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them by Elaine N. Aron
- Intuitive Eating, 4th Edition: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
- When Your Teen Has an Eating Disorder: Practical Strategies to Help Your Teen Recover from Anorexia, Bulimia, & Binge Eating, by Lauren Muhlheim, Ph.D.
- How to Nourish Your Child Through an Eating Disorder: A Simple, Plate-by-Plate Approach to Rebuilding a Healthy Relationship with Food, by Cassey Crosbie, RD & Wendy Sterling, RD