New Resources Available for Parents
Explaining What is Going on to Others and the Ways They Can Help
As the prevalence of eating disorders in the Australian population is between 4-16%, they are still relatively uncommon in the general population. There are also many myths about eating disorders that make it difficult for people to accurately understand their causes and seriousness. These include eating disorders being a choice, just a diet, a cry for attention, a phase, and caused by parents. As a result, some families with adolescents suffering from an eating disorder report difficulty effectively explaining to friends and extended family what their child is experiencing, the commitment required to give their child the best chance of recovery, and ways that they can best help.
One main concern reported by families with an unwell child is that friends and extended family often voice an opinion about what the family should be doing differently to enable their child to recover. In some instances this is linked to the myth that parents cause their child’s eating disorder. However, the research suggests the opposite: that in most cases parents are the experts on their children and that their involvement is essential to their child’s recovery. This view forms the basis of Maudsley Family Based Therapy (FBT) which is currently the gold standard treatment for adolescents suffering from Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa. A second main concern of families is that friends and extended family want to help, but do not know how. This can result in them distancing from the family with the intention of providing space. However, what the family often needs the most is a balance between continual support and privacy.
BodyMatters have created resources to assist families with these challenges and concerns. A detailed letter that can be sent to friends and extended family can be located here and a brief version of this letter can be located here. BodyMatters is also thrilled to announce that we will be launching a specific program in 2021 called “SupportWise”, which will provide support for parents, partners, friends and siblings. Subscribe to our blogs to be the first to hear more about this program.