Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Successfully Help Your Child with an Eating Disorder

Parents are accustomed to trying to heal their children when facing things such as a cold, bee sting, a broken bone and more. When parents have a child that is diagnosed with an eating disorder, the cure can take time and require parents to understand what their child is facing. Many parents find dealing with this situation confusing and very upsetting.


The frustration most parents experience comes from realizing it is up to their child to choose recovery. They are limited to providing a supportive environment, necessary medical treatment as well as important information for their child. A parent needs to work toward their child accepting responsibility for their health. An important part of this is earning a child’s trust and their desire to share what they’re feeling.

Connect With Other Parents

When facing this situation, it is important for parents to speak with others who also have children with similar eating disorders. This is an excellent way to learn how other parents handle their child’s situation. Professionals, like those at Center for Change, know that this will also help a parent understand the emotion’s they’re facing when it comes to their child’s condition. It can be an excellent way to show a child success is possible by describing other children who have overcome the same disorder.

Long Journey

It is possible the journey toward recovery from an eating disorder could be long. A parent must always believe their child will succeed. Many children will make progress and then go back to their unhealthy eating behaviors. This is part of the journey. This is also an opportunity for a parent to be an example to their children of maintaining a belief that recovery will occur. Maintaining this belief has been the key to helping many children with eating disorders.


This is effective in helping a child recognize their negative feelings and thoughts that could be motivating their disorder. Counseling will work with them to replace these feelings with healthy attitudes. A common goal is to help a child learn how to deal with any difficult emotions or stress they’re experiencing in their life. This is an effective way to eliminate self-destructive behavior.

When dealing with a child that has an eating disorder, the treatment programs are designed on an individual basis. Parents who are able to successfully help their child overcome such a disorder must take the first step and admit there is a problem. They must then work to get their child to medical professionals who are trained to handle eating disorders. They will know how to help the child and parents in this situation.

Tim Esterdahl

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