Been reading ‘The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders’ by Jane Smith. Here’s some thoughts, (from her and me):
– don’t panic. You’re not on your own: lots of families have been where you are and come through it
– don’t blame yourself: for not spotting the signs etc: what matters is where you go to from here
– at this stage, keep talking to your child so they don’t bottle up their feelings.
– try not to concentrate all your questions on food and eating, but more on how they’re feeling and coping with life
– don’t confront or accuse as this will make your child withdraw more: be gentle,but firm. (Your model is not a rhino who goes charging in, nor an ostrich that sticks its head in the sand, but a dolphin who gently nudges and works alongside)
– don’t accept excuses or other tactics. Don’t let fear blind you to the truth – go with your gut instinct.
– if you are concerned but your child refuses to see the GP, consider going to your GP alone or with your partner, to discuss your concerns and find out what approach they would take
– continue to provide normal meals and insist as firmly as you can that your child eat these
– sit alongside your child and encourage them as they eat
– get support for yourself and your family. If you fear for your child’s physical/mental health, phone the emergency services or go to A+E
– be sensitive to the needs of your other children and reassure them
– talk to your child about the benefits of getting treatment
– remember that recovery is possible – but will take time.