Saturday, May 26, 2012

parent conference

If I could talk to a parent who had a daughter or son struggling with an eating disorder, I would tell them to... love her/him.  They are most likely hurting and even though their behaviors might make it hard to love them at times... love them still.  They might not realize it, and you might not either, but they desperately need your love.  Unconditional and sincere.  Just love them, support them, and encourage them in every way that you can.  Let them know that you are there for them always, and no matter what.

Learn to separate your child from their illness.  Your daughter or son is NOT their eating disorder (though it made seem like it).  It is something that has taken hold of your child and they are lost inside of it... but your child is still there, they just need someone to find them.  Someone to help THEM find themselves again.  To find a way out of the illness and back to that person that they were, and the person that they are.

Never give up on them.  If they are anything like me - it is gonna be a fight for their life.  It is going to be a long road full of ups and downs.  And there will be many times where it seems like they are never going to let go of the eating disorder... but if they keep holding on, keep fighting, and keep believing... they will recover.  Recovery IS possible!  It's not easy but it is possible.  It will probably be the hardest thing they will ever go through.  But it is possible.  So never give up on them.  Support them as much as you can.  Encourage them.  Be there for them.  Listen to them.  BELIEVE in them.

Get them help as soon as possible!  Early intervention is so important when it comes to eating disorders.  One thing my parents wish they could have done differently was to get me help sooner.  But it's hard sometimes when people aren't educated or don't understand how severe eating disorders can be.   A lot of the time, parents think it's just a phase, they are just acting out and doing it for attention, that they "just need to eat", ect.  I know my parents felt this way.  Parents are in denial a lot of the time too and they don't want to see it or believe that it could happen to their child.  But you can't close your eyes and wish it away.  Your child needs help.  And they need it now.  So do whatever you can, with whatever resources you have to get your child to a therapist, doctor, dietitian, support group, inpatient, outpatient, treatment of ANY kind - whatever you can do.  There are things behind their eating disorder that need to be healed.  And they can't do that alone.  And depending on the severity of their illness - their life could be in danger.  They need intervention.  They need people to help them medically, emotionally, mentally, & spiritually.

Find a support group for YOU if you can or become educated about your child's illness (by reading books, talking to people, doing research) so you can better help them or understand them.  I know you are probably so confused and so scared.  And if you are able to find an outlet (like a support group for friends & family) then you can release your own feelings and find help for yourself.  Eating disorders affect you too.  Understanding eating disorders and getting the support you need for YOU is so important.  It is one of the best ways you can help your child.  And one of the best ways you can stay strong to continue fighting for them.  This is going to be a long journey and you need to make sure that you take care of yourself too.

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