|No one prepares a parent for watching a child break a dish and then cut themselves with it because they are terrified of eating what is on the plate. No one is there to help them cope in that moment with the terror they are all feeling. |
Often parents share harrowing experiences with me about the terrifying and dangerous situations their kids and adult children are experiencing. Stories that no parent should ever have to tell, much less see their child struggle through are happening everyday.
Parenting is hard enough and when you add in a life threatening eating disorder, there are not enough words for how hard it is. When a child or young adult’s clinicians can acknowledge this to the parents, it can go a long way toward helping the parent to begin to do their part in being as effective and helpful as possible.
Sadly, it is not yet the Standard Of Care in Eating Disorders Treatment for clinicians to give support to the parents of kids or young adults. Some clinicians are now giving some support to the parents because they see the need as well as the difference it makes. Far too often the system doesn’t allow for clinicians or clinics to be compensated for providing support to the family of the ‘identified patient.’
Far too often I still hear clinicians tell me that the parents of their clients are: controlling, obsessive, demanding, clingy, anxious and emotional. And that the clinicians get frustrated that the ‘parents identify the child with the eating disorder as the one who needs help and don’t realize that they also need to work on themselves.’
This tells me a lot about the state of mental health care and how overworked our clinicians are as well as what little progress we’ve made in letting go of the now disproven theories that “cold, controlling mothers cause eating disorders.” And that we need to all work together to change the Standard of Care to include providing the support and education that the parents need.
That all being said, after having the pain of this ironman parenting job acknowledged and validated with compassion and understanding before being told to work on themselves is going to be much more effective then assuming parents will know that that doing their parallel process is needed. Parents who are supported, guided, given skills and training are able to be more objective and less fear-filled. This helps everyone heal.
Until the Standard Of Care is changed, I created easy solutions that clinicians can provide for families that are ready to go and simple to provide with no extra work. Every parent who is facing these deadly illnesses could use a hug. Clinicians and parents alike can access my HUG Kits easily and affordably to create a plan to become; calm, compassionate, confident, trusting, resilient and attuned.
Parents deserve and need support to be able to do their parallel process to become equipped to handle these parenting hurdles. And no one should have to do this alone.
Please keep practicing safety protocols outlined by the CDC and stay safe.