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Know the Pitfalls

Things to Avoid:

  •  Judging your loved one’s refusal to eat
  •  Anger at your loved one’s ED behavior; blame the eating disorder, not the loved one
  •  Repeated nagging about food eaten/purging  behavior: leads to resentment for everyone
  •  Power struggles over food/ ED behavior
  •  Bribing loved one to “give up” symptoms
  •  Splitting food into good/bad categories
  •  Discussion of physical appearance, workouts
  •  “Guilting” or chiding your loved one’s lack of  progress
  • Blaming yourself: self-blame causes anxiety and defensiveness in parents and loved ones

Things You Can Do:

  • Learn what eating disorders are and the language of the disorder
  • Ask your child what they’re feeling and what they need, and really listen to what they say
  • Stay calm when you’re talking with your loved one
  • Use “I” statements in your conversation – “I’m concerned; I’d like you to talk to a doctor with me”
  • Gently suggest the possibility of getting a doctor or professional involved to assess the condition
  • Be supportive
  • Take an interest in what your loved one is feeling, dealing with, and trying to cope with
  • If professionals are recommending weight gain, learn how to make high calorie foods for your loved one that won’t make them feel as though they’re overeating