“I think I have an eating disorder but don’t know how to tell my parents”. Have you ever had this thought? If so, you may be wondering how to talk about your eating disorder. And, how to go about helping yourself if they don’t respond properly.
If you’re a teenager or even younger and don’t know how to tell your parents about your eating disordered behavior, that’s ok! The main thing is that you’re thinking of getting help by telling the people who love you most. In this article, we aim to help young women struggling with eating disorders open up about their mental health issues with their parents. And, what to do if parents don’t respond the way that’s expected.
The First Thing to do Before Talking to Your Parents
I think I have an eating disorder, now what? First thing’s first, think about how you’re going to approach your parents and talk to them about your eating disordered behavior. Before determining a time and place, decide if you want to talk to your parents separately or together. Furthermore, you’ll need to decide how you want to approach the topic. Many choose to write a letter to tell their parents about feelings and emotions they have. This way, they don’t chance the risk of getting distracted or forgetting to say something that’s important. Plus, it provides a way to say what you want to say without being interrupted by your parents.
To go Alone or Not to Go Alone?
When talking to your parents about your eating disorder, should you go alone or not? Many might think having a person there can help with moral support. And, this isn’t a bad idea. Having someone tag along when you speak to your parents can help to give you support regardless of how your parents react. Plus, they can help to remind you of things you may have wanted to say but forgot during the moment of truth. When it comes to choosing a person to go with you, consider someone who always has your best interest in mind. Obviously, this choice is completely up to you. But, certainly, you can go alone if that’s what you want too.
When and Where Should We Have This Conversation?
Certainly, before talking with your parents, you’ll have to determine when and where you want to have this conversation. As far as when, choose a time that is best for all parties. This means a time when each party won’t be interrupted or have to leave for any reason. When it comes to choosing a good location, consider a place where every party member will feel safe to open up about their emotions. So, try not to choose a place that’s crowded with other people. Maybe, choose a garden, your backyard, or a quiet park.
Think About What You’re Going to Say
The last step of preparing for a conversation with your parents is preparing what you’ll say. Surely, you want to provide information about what you’ve been dealing with, how it’s affecting you, and what you’d like accomplished as a result of this conversation. Don’t be afraid to tell them exactly how you’re feeling, even if its nerves and sadness about having to have this conversation. Plus, don’t forget to tell them about how you’ll need extra support and help to address the issue. If you’re feeling extra anxious about telling your parents about these feelings and experiences, tell a beloved friend or sibling about your proposed conversation. This way, you have additional support once the conversation is over. And, you can feel better about walking into this unknown.
When Parents Don’t React the Way you Expect
Unfortunately, while most conversations about experiencing eating disorders will result in support from parents, some don’t. In this case, look to your supportive outlets for reassurance that you’re doing the right thing. And, attempt to seek helpful outlets for treatment for yourself. In many cases, parents may struggle to believe what you tell them at first. Or, may say the wrong thing without knowing the proper way to address the issue. But, most likely, after a while, your parent or parents will end up asking you what you need and how to help. After all, your parents are going to love you regardless of your struggles. And, will want to help you in any case.
What to do After the Conversation Ends
Congratulations! You’ve finally told your parents about your struggle with an eating disorder. But, now what? Once the conversation ends, healing can commence. Look for helpful, informative outlets to research the eating disorder you may be struggling with. And, share this information with your parents so they may understand better about your need for help.
And, when you’re ready, seek the help you need to tackle your eating disordered behavior. And, develop the healthy skill sets needed to remain free of eating disorders. Fortunately, there are places that can help to provide treatment and get you on the road to recovery. Here at Willow Place for Women, we help women of all ages with various eating disorders, trauma, and substance abuse. To learn more about our programs and how we can help, contact us today.