Originally published in the Lakelands Leader in our advice column The Laudable Life.
Q: A few months ago, my daughter was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. She went through in-patient treatment and is now working with her therapist twice a week. She is also meeting with her pediatrician and nutritionist but I am still worried because she is still very thin and rigid in her eating. Her team of doctors tell me that I shouldn’t talk about her eating or how she looks so thin, but I feel so helpless, what can I do?
A: When you’re scared it’s difficult not to talk about what is concerning you but it is important to take the advice of her medical team. As her doctors have probably told you, it can be counterproductive to closely watch your daughter’s weight or what she eats. Though you shouldn’t stay out of her eating all together, remember that she is already focusing a lot on these issues in therapy. Don’t do at home weigh-ins or count her calories. Her doctors will do these things with her; allow them to do their jobs. You may be instructed by her therapist to ask that she finish her meals. If she refuses, don’t insist. People with these issues often feel they will be judged or forced to do something they don’t want to do if they’re too open, so they withhold information from their parents, doctors, or therapists. Instead focus on being supportive so she can feel comfortable with being honest with you about her eating. Finally, if family therapy is recommended make it a priority and be open to the feedback you get there. Everyone in the family is affected so everyone should be involved.