Millions of young people suffer from an eating disorder- whether it is anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. At one point, the family was seen as the cause of their loved one's eating disorder. Although there may be dysfunctional relationships within the family, many professionals now see that the family is not to blame. If there is dysfunction within the family, family therapy may be needed in order to help the entire family heal.

Many times family members feel that they are helping the family member with an eating disorder when in actuality, their well-intentioned acts are further promoting its existence. This is not the families fault. Below is a list of things you can do and thing you can avoid in order to help your loved one overcome their eating disorder.

Things to avoid

Do not continuously engage them in conversations about weight loss. Instead, help them engage in non-food related activities.
Do not blame your loved one for their eating disorder; show love and understanding for the difficult time they are experiencing.
Do not change your daily life for them, but let them know that they are important
Do not deal with this on your own; understand that their disorder affects you as well.
Do not make comments about their weight or appearance; everyone is beautiful just the way they are.


The number one thing that you can do to help your child overcome an eating disorder is to become educated. Read about eating disorders as much as possible. There are many great websites and books that can help you learn more. You should also become educated on the various types of treatments that are available. By becoming educated, you will be able to help your child receive the right types of services. Have a conversation with your loved one about their eating disorder while you inform them about the available options. Discuss openly what is the best solution. It is imperative to note that a child may need medical attention. You may receive backlash from your child on this. Being educated will help you determine their needs and act accordingly.


Having a child with an eating disorder affects your life as well. It is imperative that you provide yourself with positive supports in your life. This will help you be strong for your child as well as care for your emotional needs. There are parent support groups out there. You may want to also consider individual counseling for yourself as well as for your child. Find activities that you enjoy engaging in and do them. Take time for yourself daily.

Family therapy

Therapy for the entire family may be needed. If this is recommended to you, do not be concerned that you have been a bad parent. It may just mean that there are some issues that need to be resolved in order to achieve the most out of your child’s eating disorder treatment.

Author's Bio: 

The above article is based on the book, "Winning Overeating" by Ofira Shaul. Ofira is a Naturopathy doctor. This experiential, self-development leader has devoted her life to finding the best natural way to obtain permanent weight loss while improving the total quality of your life. Her all-natural program does not require you to use any pills, count calories, or starve yourself.

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