I imagine you are looking at this page because your child has either been diagnosed with an eating disorder (ED) or other mental health issue, or you may be seeing behaviours that are concerning to you. I have worked with many parents in your situation over the past decade and I want to express how deeply sorry I am for the heartache, fear and overwhelm that you may be experiencing.
You are likely wondering, "what can I/should I do to help"? There are a few gifts you can give your child. First, I can help you begin to understand why your child needs a coping mechanism, which usually means leaning about their very sensitive nature (orchid child). The second gift is to learn the skills and tools to attend to them, to help sooth them in this very overwhelming environment in which they are growing up in.
Finally, I work with parents to help get you as grounded as possible by working through your own anxieties about what is going on. Often EDs in kids is linked to their anxiety and needing to find a way to numb it out. If they sense that you too are elevated and anxious about what is happening to them, it adds to their stress. They need to know that you have the map, that you are figuring it out, and that it is going to be ok.
I know this is a tall order, but it is important, so that you can be an active supporter in your child’s recovery. Our kids, especially the orchids, are like little sponges and they take in our emotional reactions to what is going on with them.
Can you imagine learning to be more responsive instead of reactive? To understand that it’s not what you say, but what you convey; your tone, the feel of what you are saying stays with your child, not the words! That to convey sincere expressions of empathy before enforcing the next meal, the next bite, will help soften their anxiety over time.
I have listed some resources here for you that I think are great. I also have links to meditations and mindfulness practices that I fully encourage you to engage with. This journey towards greater healing is not just about your child, but ideally you as well as you model what it is to lean in to both your own and your child’s emotions, even the super hard ones.
If you feel that it would be helpful, I offer parenting coaching and guidance to help get you through your child’s ED based on the principles of Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) where you are encouraged and taught how to be “The Bigger, Kinder, Stronger and Wiser” parent that your child needs you to be right now.