1. Eating disorders are a serious disease. If your child has an eating disorder or is verging on one, you need to take immediate and aggressive action. You wouldn’t sit back and let your kid die of cancer. Well, anorexia has about the same mortality rate as acute lymphocytic lymphoma.
2. Denial and minimization are symptoms of eating disorders. Just because your kid says that there isn’t a problem with their eating or that they’ve only thrown up once or twice doesn’t mean that it’s no big deal. It is a big deal.
3. Dieting is a HUGE risk factor. Kids who diet are __ times more likely to develop an eating disorder. In fact, dieting itself is a form of disordered eating. If you are dieting you need to stop. Be a role model for healthful, enjoyable eating.
4. The entire family suffers. Families don’t cause eating disorders. When a child has an eating disorder it impacts the whole family. Therefore, everyone needs their own support and healing. Go to your child’s appointments, ask questions, be involved. Get your own support and do your own self care.
5. Food is the medicine. At the end of the day the what will make your child well is normalized eating. The body and brain must return to the proper balance of nutrition. Eating regular meals and snacks is top priority. This is non-negotiable. You will need support in figuring this piece out. That is what the dietitian is there for – to coach you not only on what your child needs to eat, but to help you figure out how to make that happen. Telling your kid to “just eat” is ineffective and oversimplified.