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Advice on How to Confront Your Daughter if She has Anorexia

written by: Nichole Bolton • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 11/16/2010

For parents who have noticed disordered behavior in their daughter's eating, figuring out how to confront a daughter with anorexia may be confusing and stressful. Learning the signs and symptoms of anorexia can help parents to decide what to do next. Care must be used to start the recovery process.

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    Signs That your Daughter has Anorexia

    It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder to decide if anorexia is the problem and then understand how to confront a daughter with anorexia. Signs of anorexia include:

    • counting calories obsessively
    • avoiding or skipping meals
    • claiming to be sick often to get out of eating
    • playing with or hiding food instead of eating it
    • weighing herself frequently
    • dramatic weight loss
    • wearing loose fitting clothing to cover up weight loss
    • low energy level
    • depression and withdrawal from social activities
    • poor condition of hair and skin
    • sleep disturbances
    • bruises and pain on skin
    • constant coldness

    If your daughter has any of these signs she may be struggling with anorexia. Parents should act fast with anorexic teenagers to get them help and start them in their eating disorder recovery process.

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    How to Confront a Daughter with Anorexia

    Knowing how to confront a daughter with anorexia plays a big part in how she will take the confrontation. Parents must always use sensitivity when confronting their child about an eating disorder. Someone struggling with an eating disorder will usually not take the confrontation well, and may deny it or get angry. Parents should make sure to confront their daughter in private to avoid embarrassment or shame on her part and provide her a safe place to discuss the issue if she chooses to. Parents also need to be prepared for their daughter to not want to talk about the eating disorder right away.

    Parents should first bring up the behavior that they have noticed in their daughter and how the behavior leads them to believe that she may be suffering from an eating disorder. It is important to mention how loved the daughter is and that the intention is to provide support and not judgement. Parents may try to sensitively discuss the effects that anorexia has on the body. Then they can provide their daughter with the options that she has available for help. When the daughter is ready, parents can schedule an appointment with the family doctor to discuss her eating disorder. Getting to this point may take time and parents need to be prepared for a struggle. If her health is in immediate danger, parents may need to take her to a hospital against her consent to get her into the proper care.

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    Where to go for Help

    The first step in getting help is to take the daughter to a doctor and ask for some referrals. It may be helpful to have her referred to a nutritionist, counselor, psychiatrist and an eating disorders clinic. If the disorder is severe, it may be necessary to refer her to an in-patient eating disorder recovery program. There are many options available for treatment of anorexia and other eating disorders in North America.

    Beginning the treatment process is the first step to recovery for girls suffering from anorexia. The sooner an anorexic person receives treatment, the easier recovery will be.

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    References

    http://www.edreferral.com/helping_loved_ones.htm

    http://www.eatingdisorderexpert.co.uk/ConfrontingASuspectedEatingDisorder.html

    http://www.parentingbookmark.com/pages/book_WYCHAED.htm