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If your child develops an eating disorder, you may feel unsure how to help and how to act around them.
Your son or daughter’s behaviour may suddenly become very different from what you're used to: withdrawn, touchy and even rude. This can make it very difficult to talk to them at a time when communication is so important.
Get advice on how to talk to your teenager.
It can help to remember that they are likely to be defensive because their eating disorder is their way of coping, therefore they will be reluctant to let go of it.
If your child is having treatment for their condition, the treatment team will play an essential part in their recovery. But don't underestimate the importance of your love and support.
Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the charity beat, explains: “Everyone who recovers from an eating disorder tells us how important it was to have unconditional love and support from those who care about them, even when they knew their behaviour was quite difficult to understand.”
Speak to one of the health professionals in your child’s treatment team about your role as parent and carer. Get their advice on what you can do at home to help. The following tips may also help with communication and dealing with mealtimes.
Talking to your child about their condition can be very difficult, especially if they still can’t accept that they have a problem. However, communication is essential to help with recovery, so keep trying.
When you want to talk to them directly about the eating disorder, Susan Ringwood advises that you:
It can also help to:
If you need further support, there are a number or organisations that can help you. It's important that the whole family understands the situation and gets support. See your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor and your child’s treatment team will then be able to offer advice.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.