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How to Help

Tips for what you should and should not do, directly from the experts themselves: children who are experiencing an eating disorder.



1. Do not blame yourself and make your child feel guilty. “You’re hurting us because you’re not eating.” You will perpetuate the problem by adding guilt to the list of negative emotions she is already feeling.

2. Don’t fixate on food. It always has to do with something else, something deeper. Recognize that eating disorders are not an actual food issue.

3. Don’t keep asking, “Why?” Do not pressure your child for answers. He likely doesn’t know why himself, so will not be able to explain it to you.

4. Do not get angry. If your child has an eating disorder, she is most likely to need support, love and strength. Don’t make yourself another thing she grows to fear or resent.


1. Do keep an open environment—do express your emotions, but keep an open environment that’s free of pressure. That way your child is more likely to talk to you.

2. Gain their trust.

3. Listen. Actively listen to your child’s needs, even the unspoken ones.

4. Show your support, and let your child follow the treatment path she feels comfortable with. Don’t force your child to go to a psychologist whom she doesn’t have a connection with. Help her find her own solution.

5. Take part in your child’s treatment. Be involved, but not in an overbearing way. Help them solve the real issues at hand.

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One Response to How to Help

  1. Khusboo June 30, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    Great to see advice for parents to help cope once the eating disorder has been recognized.

    What would you recommend as the best way to first approach/confront a child who you suspect has an eating disorder?

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