One of the biggest fears parents have during a child’s eating disorder treatment is when their child is coming home from treatment for the first and hopefully last time.
Tips for Parents When You’re Terrified about Your Child Coming Home from Treatment
- Shining the Light on their Future
- STOP Spiraling 😉 (Easier said than done I know)
What do these 5 Tips look like in practical applications you ask? Well, here you go:
By Support, I mean for both you and your child. Get as much support as is possible in your situation. And then ask for more. What can it hurt? Really. Want more on Support – check out my HUG Kits – one of the 10 topics is SUPPORT. It’s that important.
Structure. This is very multi-faceted. The majority of people with eating disorders THRIVE on structure and decompensate without it. So, letting them sit in their room looking at the internet is a recipe for a massive downward spiral and giving ed free rein to hijack your child’s life. You likely pay for the internet – manage it like a boss (I don’t care that they are over 18 and an “adult” whatever…who is paying for this internet access?) Yeah, my point exactly.
Self-Care…well, I’m basically a broken record on this. Simply google, “Becky Henry self care” (yes, I still enable at times – gave you a hyperlink there to the google search…it is a process to stop) and you can read for the rest of the day on this. I’m not going to repeat myself here. (Yes, self care on my part LOL).
Structure and Self-care also include; having written and discussed agreements with clear, measurable boundaries that you are willing to follow through on is a starting place. The key is to be willing and able to follow through on these boundaries, the boundaries and logical consequences must, must, must be in alignment with YOUR values. This is it’s own article and I could go on for days on this part. A spine of steel is needed and an ability to see the big picture and long game.
Tricky part…most of us don’t have a clue what our values are unless we’ve become a coach, therapist or motivational speaker or hired one of the above… So, even though it may seem frivolous, do some values work. 😉 NOT KIDDING. 😉 Pro-tip, when our values are super clear to us, making these decisions is so much easier and clear. And it short circuits enabling which decreases everyone’s suffering in the short term and GREATLY increases suffering in the long term.
Self-Care also includes; learning to TRUST your loved one who has just done aTON of work in treatment (while you were hopefully home doing your PARALLEL PROCESS). Yes, that is a hyperlink to a piece I wrote about doing your PARALLEL PROCESS…note; the families with whom I get to celebrate a child’s recovery are those who have worked VERY hard on their own parallel process. Dang, I know. Dig deep.
(Wow, I’m kinda snarky today huh? Just sayin it straight for those who are serious about making it happen).
So this trusting takes a boatload of COURAGE and VULNERABILITY – yes I’m suggesting you watch Brene’ Brown’s videos and learn about courage and vulnerability. 😉 (Hint: part of your parallel process). Trust can look like NOT jumping onto the roller coaster with your child or down in the well with them. They need you standing safely and firmly on the ground to rally the troops when needed and/or be the shining lighthouse. They have done the work, they KNOW what to do. So like we let a toddler fall on their little bums, let them stumble a bit and be there to lend a hand.
Shining the Light on their Future: Learn to TALK ABOUT OTHER THINGS besides their ed and food. I know, tough as nails when our amygdala is firing away like NYE in Times Square. Give the reptile brain a big dose of O2 and tell it that you’ve got this. And then talk about the glorious things that are ahead for your child. Yes, it also includes massive amounts of self care to be able to calm that dear cave person brain that keeps us safe from harm.
STOP Spiraling. Well, if I had a magic wand to help us all with this it would be wonderful. Probably would stop wars. Learn how to self soothe (see Intern Anna’s wonderful wisdom on this parallel process) and do not jump on that darn roller coaster. Get some pro tips here on our Recovery Roadmaps Webinar Series.
Thanks to my fellow grammar geek previous client who asked this lovely and brilliant question. I liked your wording of it better than mine by the way. 😉
So shuffle off to Schenectady and start scheming on strategies. For more support, spy on my site, www.beckyhenry.com (Yes, I had caffeine this morning).