I have found that having patience and listening is one of the best ways to support my daughter who struggles daily with an eating disorder. I do not judge. I just listen.
When I started to just listen, she started to open up more. She felt that it was safe to talk and she could trust me. She also didn’t feel the need to hide things knowing that I wasn’t there to judge her. Although some of the things that she tells me are hard to hear and may make my heart ache, the communication is there and everyone is better for it. Now, with an open and safe line of communication, she knows she can tell me anything and I will do my absolute best to help guide her and be there for her.
We as parents want to fix things, but an eating disorder is not a boo-boo we can kiss and put a Band-Aid on. This is a very long recovery process and one that is not linear. It is normal to take a step forward and two steps back, but we have to keep going and never give up.
I often try to put myself in my daughter’s shoes and I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be to battle the voice of an eating disorder ALL day and EVERY day. So I’ve chosen to be there for her, listen, encourage and let her know that her
feelings matter whether I can fully understand them or not. We don’t always need to talk. Some days it’s just a matter of her needing a hug (or several), a shoulder to cry on, or a silent moment from the chaos to reassure her that she is safe. She has battled enough with not feeling worthy, having self-doubt, feeling shame, guilt and more, that what she needs from me more than anything is to just be there for her.
Listen to your child who is struggling and assure them you will always be there, especially during the hard times!