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5 Tips for Parents to Help Their Child Through an Eating Disorder

I remember always telling my parents that I wasn’t hungry because I had already eaten or had a rather large meal earlier. They always seemed skeptical. I don’t blame them, I would be too if I constantly said it and only seemed to be getting thinner by the day.

I don’t blame my parents for not being able to see any of the warning signs. I don’t balme them for not knowing what to do and how to react. If I was in their shoes, I’m not sure I would have reacted in the most effective way either. I love my parents for all they are and try to be. I don’t ever consider my eating disorder to be their fault or blame them for not being able to help me in the ways I needed.

This is to give parents tips that may assist them with their own children whom may be struggling with an eating disorder.

1. Learn the possible warning signs.

It isn’t always easy to catch a potential issue. But there are definite warning signs that one can learn. By being able to spot the warning signs first, you can help steer your child in the right direction.

2. Do your research and understand the issue.

Learn all you can about eating disorders and educate yourself about the available resources out there. Learn about treatment options, the types of eating disorders, triggers, etc. By becoming well versed in the issue, you can help prepare yourself for the journey.

3. Set a positive example.

By setting your own positive example on what a healthy positive life should be, your child could follow suit. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and think positively.

4. Participate as a form of support.

If your child is in recovery, there are ways you can support them by participating with them. Not only is it important to set a good example by practicing methods towards a healthy lifestyle, doing it with them is also beneficial. Exercise together, go grocery shopping together, etc. Those activities would help teach your child how to better prepare for a healthier life while also showing that you are taking an active role in their recovery and support.

5. Always remind your child of their worth.

Everyone is beautiful in his or her own special way. But sometimes people need a reminder. Tell them of all the positive traits they have that go beyond their appearance — their intelligence, humor, kindness, etc. You want to help them remember the person they are beyond the issue.

Remember, eating disorders are but a symptom of a problem. In other words, there may be multiple issues at hand that feed into their eating disorder. It won’t always be easy, but the best you can do is prepare yourself so that you can help them through their journey.

For more information regarding parenting tips for children with mental health issues, please visit

Getty image by Visage

Originally published: September 19, 2018
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