When you are trying to feed your child more and she is resistant, one thing that will help is to remind yourself that she is separate from the eating disorder. Her fear and anger are coming from the anorexia, not from the little girl you know and love.
When you keep this truth in the forefront of your mind it will help in multiple ways.
- It will help diffuse your own anger and frustration because you remember you are mad at the eating disorder and not your child
- It will help you be firm and consistent in your encouragement for her to eat more because you know it is the only thing that will help her get better from the anorexia
I understand a parent’s fear that firm and consistent urging to do something she doesn’t want to do will harm their relationship with their daughter or son. This, however, is not like trying to get her to clean her room or do her homework. It is a life saving measure that only you can take.
You are the one who sits down at the table with her at meals. You are the one who knows her inside and out. You live with her day in and day out. No therapist, nutritionist or physician can do this; only you can. We can coach, encourage and support you; but you have to be the one to get her to eat.
There will come a day when your child will thank you for urging her to eat when she didn’t want to. She will fight you in the moment because she is terrified of eating and weight gain; but at a deeper level she knows you are helping her. You are taking control when she is out of control.
I had a parent just yesterday tell me they had started re-feeding their daughter a couple of weeks ago. The mom was so scared she was doing the wrong thing. Her next words were, “It’s so weird. My daughter almost seems relieved.” That says it all.
So here is the question for you. Can you tolerate both your discomfort and hers for a period of time while you take measures to save her life? For the sake of your child’s life, you can tolerate anything.
Do you want to learn more about eating disorders?
If so, download my free e-book “Eating Disorder Basics for Parents” here
Lynn Moore educates, coaches, and consults parents on how to help their adolescent with eating disorder behavior. She will guide you through the treacherous waters of deciding what kind of help you need and what you, the parents need to do and can do to help your child.