I’m coming completely from my own experience with this, so of course there’s no right answer to this question. But what would I want my parents to do if I told them for the first time that I had an eating disorder?
1. I wouldn’t want them to get on my back about it. Especially if I’m the one telling them, because that probably means that I want to recover. Wouldn’t you hate it if your family was always telling you to eat more or following you to the bathroom? Maybe some people need it, but I feel like it would just make me angry, which wouldn’t help anything.
2. Talk about it. This is one thing I wish my parents did. Because I’m very afraid to talk about my eating disorder with anyone. So if they had an open conversation with me, where they weren’t afraid to say terms like binging or purging or bulimia, and where they were just curious about the disorder rather than worried, it would make me feel better about them knowing.
3. Make an effort to change. If you are a parent and your child says she has an eating disorder and you ask what you can do to help, TAKE THE ADVICE. I told my mom it would help not to have desserts in the house, and nothing changed for a while. I was pretty mad, because it seemed like she didn’t care about my needs at that time. I mean, isn’t protecting your daughter from an eating disorder more important than satisfying your sweet tooth all the time?
4. Accept that I have an ED. My dad told me during the summer that he saw no evidence that I had an eating disorder. I still remember it because I was so hurt by that comment. Just because someone looks healthy and hides their behaviors doesn’t mean they’re not sick.
5. Do not speed recovery. There was a girl in the treatment center who had this problem. Her mother yelled at her because she’d been in treatment for a month and was still purging. That really doesn't help.
What are things you wish your parents had done, things they have done, or things you hope they'll do once you tell them? If any parents read this, what are your thoughts?