The Parent´s Guide to Eating Disorders: Supporting Self-Esteem, Healthy Eating & Positive Body Image at Home is the first book to address the eating problems of children and adolescents from the practical point of view of a nutritionist. Because eating disorders are no longer strictly the province of teenagers and adults, but afflict ten-, eight-, even five-year-olds who come home from school one day and announce they need to go on a diet, this book is designed primarily for parents or caregivers who are concerned about the eating patterns of their child. It is you who are the first to become aware of an emerging problem, and it is you who spend the most time with your child, preparing meals, trying to get her to eat, worrying about your child´s health. As the people closest to your child, you can also have the strongest impact on her life. It is our belief, and one that is supported by the latest research in the field, that the family can play a critical role in turning around an emerging or full-blown eating disorder.
The Parent´s Guide to Eating Disorders focuses on what you as a family can do to help your child. Not every family can afford (and fewer and fewer insurance companies are willing to pay) thousands upon thousands of dollars in expensive inpatient treatment. It is also not always necessary to spend huge sums of money to turn around an eating disorder. This book is proof that effective solutions can begin in the home, at virtually no cost to you other than a healthy investment in time, effort, and love.
Because being well-informed is an important first step in successfully helping your child, our book begins with a thorough briefing on the different types of eating disorders and disordered eating. We offer concrete strategies for parents and siblings who want to help, discuss the ramifications of gender and culture, and include a comprehensive overview of the medical symptoms and findings associated with the various eating disorders. We then guide you through the difficult process of intervention, and describe in detail the food and exercise plans that form the therapeutic heart of our book. Our approach is predicated on normalizing both eating and exercise, and is designed to, over time, return control of these areas of your child´s life back to her or him.
This book will help you become an integral part of your child´s recovery process, whether you are taking it on single-handedly or need to involve a professional or a team of professionals. There are many books that delve into the psychology of eating disorders, the many and complex reasons why young people develop eating disorders. This book is the nutritional and practical counterpart to those books, offering advice and guidelines on how to respond to one of the most life-threatening hazards of adolescence.
Even with a strictly nutritional approach, as ours is, however, it benefits you as parents to understand the psychological foundations upon which our method is built. In chapter 14, "When You´ve Done All You Can," we will discuss the different types of psychotherapy that have been found to be the most useful in treating eating disorders, and explain how we have drawn upon those theories to create our practical nutritional guidelines. If you are seeking a psychotherapist as part of your child´s treatment, this chapter will help you select the best psychotherapist for your child. For the child who is currently in therapy, it will help you better understand the psychotherapist´s approach.
Eating disorder survivors and health care professionals often say that like alcoholism, an eating disorder is never cured. At best, they say, sufferers are perpetually "in recovery." This book, based on my years of study, fifteen years of clinical practice treating eating disorders, as well as my own personal experience as a recovered sufferer and seasoned parent, aims to turn that myth on its head and demonstrate that with sustained, effective effort from all involved, including you, your child, and the professionals you engage, you can be successful in banishing the eating disorder from your child´s life.
The Parent´s Guide to Eating Disorders is dedicated to helping you as parents prevent the immeasurable losses-of time, of opportunities to love and be loved, of health-that accrue to children with eating disorders.