Support that parents and guardians can offer their child

Support that parents and guardians can offer their child

Lots of parents that we speak to tell us that they do not know what to say or do for the best to help their child.

Here are our top tips for supporting your child with their eating disorder:

  • As well as affecting mental health, eating disorders can also affect people’s physical health in lots of different ways, some of which can be quite serious.
  • SWEDA is not able to provide medical monitoring so we suggest a visit to the GP surgery.
  • Plan what you want to say before starting the conversation.
  • Try to pick a time when neither you nor your child are involved in anything else.
  • Have the conversation you are both calm and there are no other people around.
  • Some people find that car journeys can be a good time to talk.
  • Statements that are directed at someone can feel accusatory or confrontational.
  • Beginning with ‘I …’ means that you are owning what you say and is usually received in a better way.
  • Phrases such as ‘I have noticed that …..’ or ‘I am worried about ….’ or ‘what can I do to help?’ can be useful starting points.
  • This helps to build trust and show that you are trying to understand.
  • Summarise what you think you’ve heard, eg: ‘It sounds like this is how you see things…..’ and then check if you’ve got it right – ‘Have I understood that right?’
  • Pick a time when your child is calm and relaxed to do this rather than in a moment of stress or overwhelm.
  • Try to come up with a plan with your child of what you can do to help them.
  • This can help with low self-esteem, and it can also help to build a closer and more trusting relationship between you.
  • Try not to make judgements and approach the situation with an open mind.
  • Relapse is part of the process of change.
  • Change is difficult and it takes time.
  • You can only effectively help your loved one if you look after your own well-being.
  • Try not to let the eating disorder take over your whole family life.
  • Make time to do things that you find relaxing and that you enjoy.

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