11 thoughts on “Helping Your Child Recover from an Eating Disorder: Part 2 of Q&A with Jane Cawley

  • April 8, 2010 at 11:43 am

    how do you tell a parent that their weight negative talk or the “you need to lose weight so you will be healthy/liked/loved” speech is VERY harmful to a bulimic? In many ways my family causes and exasherbates my illness, to the point that i couldnt begin true recovery until i met my husband, who actually loved me for me, not some thin ideal. Peole dont realize that all bulimics arent stick thin…many of us are heavy, but the disease is just as dangerous, especially when bingeing and purgeing.

    Do you reccomend any books/resources i can pass their way so they will lay the hell off me?

  • April 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote. You’re absolutely correct that appearance and body weight don’t tell with whole story when it comes to eating disorders. Bulimia and eating disorder-not otherwise specified can be just as serious and debilitating as anorexia nervosa. Eating disorders can be present at any weight. In fact, most people with bulimia are in the normal weight range.

    Weight stigma does not promote healthy behavior, quite the opposite is true. The Rudd Center at Yale has some good info on weight bias and stigma. http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/what_we_do.aspx?id=10

    I’m so glad to hear that you’re pursuing recovery. You’re to be commended on moving forward in a difficult situation.

    Christopher Fairburn’s book “Overcoming Binge Eating” is a good resource (despite the title it deals with bulimia, too.) It’s meant as a self-help book for people with eating disorders, but I think it can be useful in explaining the thoughts and behaviors that underlie the disorder (the role food restriction plays in perpetuating binge eating, for example).

    For parents of younger kids I’d recommend Dianne Neumark-Sztainer’s “I’m Like SO Fat.”

    Stay strong and good luck in your recovery. We’ll be keeping a good thought for you at Maudsley Parents.


  • April 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    thanks for posting part 2.
    i’m a recovering compulsive overeater/binger for 30+ years, so i’m pretty vigilant with my two kids. we have a 10-yr old daughter who is EXTREMELY picky about what she eats. i was picky too at her age, so i can sympathize with her. she lost some weight (which she has since put back on) and have seen the pediatrician as well as a gastro dr because she often uses the excuse that her stomach hurts (no medical issues, which is great, however, that means it’s emotional which is sometimes even more difficult).
    it’s such a fine line to walk – we are trying to not make food an “issue” yet at the same time, we want her to keep growing/gaining at an appropriate rate. *sigh*

  • April 8, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    @ love2eatinpa, Thanks so much for sharing. I can’t imagine how tough it is raising kids in general. The important thing, I think, is that you’re aware of what’s going on and you’re keeping an eye out to make sure your kids are OK. You’re being proactive. Plus, you’re also very attuned to your own feelings and recovery. And it sounds like you’re doing everything you can.

    I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this website, but it might have some helpful information on kids and disordered eating: http://www.empoweredparents.com/

    @ Erylin, I’m so sorry that your family isn’t supportive. I totally agree with Jane: I hope you’re incredibly proud of yourself for pursuing recovery! Recovery is hard, but it’s so worth it!

    Also, bingeing and purging are both dangerous. Any eating disorder is dangerous and deserves attention and treatment. Thank you for reminding readers of that!

    @ Jane, again, I greatly appreciate your insight in the interview and the comment. Thank you!

  • November 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    It’s so true that eating disorders can occur during any weight or size. It’s also true that listening to family members, friends or co-workers who are constantly stuck in Diet Talk Land are annoying at best, and sometimes triggering at worst. Erylin, “When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies” is a terrific book. I’d also recommend “Eating in the Light of the Moon”. To get back to the original post, I wanted to share this link about families playing a part in the recoveries of their children:

  • January 19, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I wonder if you could please be of assistance. My best forend’s daughter, age 15, has just been diagnosed with anorexia. Quite frankly we are all traumatised about this. The Dietician has said that she must be taekn out of school? Would you advise this? In addition, she has said that she must have NO association with food, and not be allowed in the kitchen or in a grocery store? Is this an effective means of assisting?
    Kind regards

    • January 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      @ Sharon, I’m sorry to hear about your best friend’s daughter. I’m not an eating disorder specialist so I’m not sure whether it’s best for her to be taken out of school and avoid the kitchen or grocery store. I’d highly recommend that she see a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. There are many professionals out there who don’t understand EDs and how to treat them properly. If there isn’t a specialist in your area, try contacting a near-by university to see if they can recommend a referral.

  • August 26, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Hi there, I am a mum of 22yo daughter who has after 6 1/2 yrs told us she is BN. We had our suspicions & have confronted her in the past but to no avail. She has lived away from us for the past 4 years but now living with us & we have been going to Eating Disorder Clinic seeing Specialists but now she has said that she doesn’t want to go as feels that all talk and not actually helping & that too expensive. How can I get her to keep going as hard at her age – very independent. She is talking to me off and on but obviously only when she is ready. Very moody, distant etc. Any assistance would be appreciated. Thankyou Jane

    • August 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      @ Jane, this is an excellent question! I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through this. I’m going to check with a few eating disorder specialists and get back to you. Thank you for commenting and bringing this up!

  • November 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Our daughter has been in hospital 3 times with AN, was diagnosed at 16. Very high achiever, was running excessively, not eating much etc..
    After 3 hospital stays to stabilize weight gain, entered an in-residence treatment facility for almost 3 months. Was hopeful, but once at university, has fallen back to old ways…
    hates self, no self confidence, poor image, etc.
    Also has now starting binge eating, and has admitted purging. Often says she just wants to curl up in a hole and…

    As parents, never quite sure how hard to push – we are very supportive and provide positive feedback, but she won’t go to professional help because she says she just fools them all – does what she needs to do, then reverts back…

    Any suggestions for parents of 20+ children re how hard to push back( without judgement) and what other steps might be taken?

    We just want her to have the life she deserves at this age… and a fun and enjoyable future!


    • November 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

      @ Steve, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s struggles. I can’t imagine how difficult that is for you and your family. You’re absolutely right that it’s really important for her to get professional help.

      I actually wrote a post this summer that might be helpful:


      A mom had a similar question about her adult daughter who wanted to stop her treatment. I interviewed several eating disorder experts for their advice.

      I’d also suggest finding several clinicians who specialize in eating disorders and giving them a call. Let them know your situation, and they should be able to give you advice on how best to proceed.

      I hope this helps!


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