Take the time to recognize and accept that an eating disorder is serious and life-threatening. It is not just going to go away.
For the present, and for a long while to come, life must be structured around recovery, and not the other way around.
It's not your fault. It's not your child's fault. What counts is how you react, not how you got there.
Treat the disease as an alien parasite that can be overcome but is not to be bargained with.
Food is medicine. The prescription is full nutrition, consumed and digested, every meal of every day.
It's not negotiable. Similar to insulin levels for a diabetic and chemotherapy dosages for a cancer patient, the amount a healthy body needs to eat is not negotiable. Do not bargain, do not give in.
Don't wait. Every meal, every day, all your life, starting right now.
Declare an anger-free, guilt-free, shame-free zone in your lives. Live there.
Do not give shelter to starvation, malnutrition, purging, self-harm, depressed thinking, or meanness. Make your home a safe place to be halthy.
WEigh lightly. WEight is an imperfect and tricky measure of health but up or down trends have maning. Do it rarely, and randomly, and avoid making a fuss.
Set boundaries and maintain them. Do not allow the disease to rewrite history, rule the present, or set terms for the future.
Denial is normal, but no excuse. Patients with eating disorders are not, until later stages of treatment, rational about their illness. You need not have the sufferer's agreement to insist on treatment.
Choose your professional care wisely, as consultants but not as the ultimate authority over your child or your family.
No secrets. No subterfuge. No triangulation. Anything the parent has to say about the child to the therapist or doctors can and should be said in front of the child.
Your child doesn't "have to hit the bottom." The ability to understand and fight the disease is a later stage of recovery. While physically compromised, or recovering from symptoms, people with eating disorders need a safe place to recover and people to support them.
Listen, but you don't have to agree.
Love your child all you can, with every parental muscle you have. Feel free to hate the disease, however.
Take the frightened, angry, irrational things your child says during recovery as the voice of the disease. Forgive your child immediately and forget the words as soon as you are able.
It is our business. An illness in the family has na impact on all its members, and family has a unique influence through what it does, and does not, do.
Consider the family as a while in making care decisions.
Every family can find its own creative ways to support, protect, laugh, and survive a crisis.
Tkaing control is an act of responsible parenting, not anger or punishment.
It is not forcing them to eat, it is letting them eat - and live.
Now is the time to be a parent, not a friend. Write a letter and don't send it, call a friend and rant, hit your pillow, but your child needs your firm resolve and not another person to worry about.
Everything else is optional: nothing takes precedence over treatment. School, long-planned vacations, leaaving for college, watchingTV, talking on the phone, driving the car, money, privacy - antying a parent offers beyond the bare necessities is optional.
Be united. Eating disorders strain every relationship in the family. Fight the disease, not each other.
Believe in your family, flaws and all. Trust your bravest instincts if the advice you hear does not fit.
Surround yourself with people who suppport your family and your decisions. Listen to them.
If you cannot make your home a place to heal, find somewhere you can. A relative's home, a hospital bed, a treatment clinic - find a place where the only thing on the menu is recovery.
There is nothing to argue about. Period.
Educate yourself. Find out for yourself what is out there to know. Get second and third opinions. Make phone calls. Read everything you can find and make up your own mind.
Educate others. Share what you've learned. Dispel myths.
Get care for yourself. Caregivers deserve and must have personal support. Friends, family, personal therapists, masseuses, kind neighbors, social workds, spiritual counselors - now is the time to reach out and get help.
Be specific about your needs. "A casserole a week." "Babysitting while we go to the therapist." "Listen to me cry."
Eat together. Allow your meals to be a celebration, a priority, and not an extra chore. Enjoy shopping, cooking, eating, and cleaning up together. Lose the things that get in the way.
Eat with your anorexic.