How to help your child in treatment for Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa –  How to help your child in treatment recover from Anorexia Nervosa at the Center for Growth 

<!–written by : Marion Goertz,

–>To address child’s anxiety:

  • Listen with compassion
  • Ask if you can give them a hug or hold their hand
  • Help them identify their sources of stress outside of the eating disorder
  • Help them articulate their anxiety
  • Help them identify alternate ways (besides using eating disorder symptoms) to manage their anxiety
  • Don’t ever blame them for the anorexia nervosa disorder

To address the child’s identity and avoidance issue:

  • Listen with compassion
  • Explore with them the question “Who am I?” and “Whom do I want to be?”
  • Help them identify the steps they need to take to become a person that has an identity beyond the person with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder.
  • Encourage them to identify and to express their feelings
  • Let them know it is ok to express anger and try not to become defensive when they express anger at you

To address the child’s issue of self worth:

  • Listen with compassion
  • Remind them of what you and other people like about them.
    • (E.g. Compassion, their smile)
      • Try to model healthy self esteem.  If you need to seek professional help for your own self-esteem issues.

Ways to help the child who struggles with Anorexia Nervosa combat ‘the eating disorder voice’:

  • Listen
  • Help them identify how this voice has been hurtful and what it has taken away from them.
  • Brainstorm with the person what they have done in the past and what they can do in the future to make the voice go away
  • Help them come up with a plan for what they could do to put this backstabbing friend in it’s place (e.g. visualizing the voice disappearing.)

Remember Anorexia Nervosa did not appear “overnight” and nor will it “go away overnight.” Healing is a process.  Your child needs your support now more than ever.  Our suggestion is to work closely with your child’s counselor so that everyone’s efforts are being maximized.