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How do I support my teen who has an eating disorder?

9 Answers
Last Updated: 02/23/2021 at 4:52am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Elena Morales, LMHC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I believe silence creates a cycle. With empathic and collaborative therapy, we break the cycle. I help clients feel validated and supported passed anger, shame, and anxiety.

Top Rated Answers
October 31st, 2014 4:08pm
Try to boost her or his confidance, tell them they look amazing and don't have to lose weight. Be supportive, talk to them and if possible try to figure out the reason behind the disorders. Also consulting with doctors is helpful.
November 8th, 2014 4:25pm
It is very important that your child feels loved and supported, as eating disorders usually occur due to low self esteem. Make sure that he/she feels comfortable in their body and knows how important their health is, also, let them know as often as possible that you love them regardless and unconditionally.
December 9th, 2014 4:01pm
First of all, it's always important to determine the cause of the behavior if possible. Strict parents, bullying, self-esteem issues or extreme perfectionism can be one of the many reasons why a teen would develop an eating disorder. As a parent, it's important to stay connected with the school and your teen. Maintaining the dialogue open and be supportive without judging. Then, it's important to inquire about the issue but also about the resources available (i.e. private psychologist with some insurance coverage, employee assistance programs, community health center, specialty clinics, support groups or in/out patient programs).
December 18th, 2014 2:31am
Support and listen. never judge or make her/him eat if they don't.Take advise of doctors and experts
November 17th, 2015 1:15pm
Eating disorder, usually they have insight of that wht they r doing is not really normal but they won't accept that, its not their fault... but thats how it is. So I think u beeter take your child to a professional.
June 20th, 2016 2:50am
Teenage's goes through all sorts of stages in life based on peer pressure and society. Just don't pressure then just as much. Take it easy and try to get them to tell you what is the root cause of why they are having that problem and work with the root cause.
July 3rd, 2017 5:45am
Be there for them. Love them unconditionally. Focus on what is good in their life. Remind them about how lovely they are so they strive to be that (again).
March 26th, 2019 12:10am
Don't push them. The hardest thing we have to go through is friends and family pushing us to eat. Let him/her get to it into their own time. Take them to see other teens who struggle with eating disorders. Support groups help a ton. Don't make comments like, "You're so skinny," or, "You're very bony." It just makes it worse. I'm not saying to ignore it, because it is a very dangerous illness. But pushing someone and criticizing is the worst thing for them. If you want more advice, I recommend watching the movie "To The Bone," on Netflix with your teen. It's a movie about a teenager who has anorexia. (This is not a #ad)
February 23rd, 2021 4:52am
That you care and are seeking to help them is amazing-- make sure they can see that as well. Let your teen know you love them and are there for them, but you both need to know that you don't have all the answers. If you can, get them professional help from a therapist, counselor at school, or a doctor. Listen to them without judgement, and although you can ask questions nicely, try not to get visibly upset if/ when they don't tell you everything. Especially if they're seeing a professional, don't push them to tell you what happens in their sessions. I know it can hurt to feel out of the loop, but most likely the secrets they keep aren't because you've done anything wrong, but because they feel ashamed. Let them confide in others without guilt, and if you need to, reach out to someone yourself-- you can't support others if you're not doing alright. Finally, don't "out" them or discuss their disorder with others without your teen's permission, even other family members or friends. Your teen trusts you, and they might feel betrayed if you do this, even if you do so with their best interests in mind or without meaning any harm.