Thinking of all of you this Father’s Day. 

Parents often tell me that they feel so helpless when it comes to supporting their child during treatment. It can feel so limiting on 

This past Wednesday on our Weekly Online Group Support Call, our Summer Intern Anna joined the call and answered questions from the group. Parents got to hear Anna’s take on what things her parents did and did not do that have helped with her recovery. 

Remember, everyone is different and each person has different things that work for them and don’t work for them. Many young adults and adolescents don’t like it when parents speak of the “healthy self” vs the “ed self” so in that situation parents will need to modify those responses and/or do work in family therapy to sort that out. 

I took notes and am sharing the 19 Tips for Parents from Intern Anna!

Anna’s parents encouraged her to:

  1. Make a list of what she was missing out on due to the ed.
  2. Do recovery initially for someone she loved.
  3. Tally symptoms and behaviors that were used each day.
  4. Have faith.
  5. Recognize her recovery voice.
  6. Choose to listen to her healthy self – give it a name.
  7. Hear them notice and name it when they saw her being herself again.
  8. Incorporate fun things into meals with them. 
  9. Share with them what she liked to hear from them. 
  10. Tell them what phrases might help her to NOT use behaviors.
  11. Welcome their support from afar during college, such as; hearing them saying, “I am here to support you through anything. I can listen anytime. I’m willing to help. I trust you to make the right choice for you.” Sending cards. 
  12. Allow them to help her gain clarity on her values to guide her decisions.
  13. Hear them when they said, “That isn’t Anna speaking.” 
  14. Listen when they knew she/ed was lying by pausing when they said, “I’m going to give you a minute to think about that choice.”
  15. Avoid social media as it can fuel eds.
  16. Put tape over nutrition labels or allow them to do so. 
  17. “Urge surf” – consider other urges or ways to handle urges.
  18. Work with them on what to tell whom in their extended family about the ed. 
  19. Let go of over valuing looks by praising Anna for who she was being rather than praising her looks. 
  20. See them enjoying joyful movement for fun rather than for burning off what they ate.

Parents, feel free to discuss with your child/young adult in treatment what works for them and helps support their recovery. You can make your own list or add to this one.

And of course I would add to this list, Throw out the scale – there are so many factors that determine health and weight does not need to be one of them.