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TALKING to Parents/Friends about Eating Disorders Video #29 | Kati Morton

August 23, 2019


Hi there, it’s Kati again. Today’s topic is something that comes to me from a lot of different people and questions that Ive received on twitter, youtube, as well as some on my website, and the question isn’t always a question but it’s something that people are concerned about and it has to do with “How do I talk to my parents about my eating disorder?” and “How do I talk to my friends about it?” And usually, in my experience, this doesn’t usually come out of: “Hey I just wanna talk to people about it! Who wants to listen?” It’s more from a place of: “They are making things more difficult and I don’t think they know.” or “I think they know and they are acting weird and I just like to get it out.” So today, what my plan kind of is for this video is Im gonna give you a little sneak peek into how I actually talk to parents when they come into my office. And usually when I see a client, even if you’re over 18, it’s not like your parents have to be involved in the therapy, but I always recommend that if you live with them, if you see them often, that they’re involved somewhat, so that they can help you out at home and when you’re there, (especially for holidays and stuff like that, when we go over to our parents’ house) so that they are prepared and better able to manage and help, give you more support when you need it. Does that make sense? So, Im kinda gonna switch gears and Im gonna talk just like I would talk to a parent and you can either take notes and use the information that I give on this as a way, in a means to share with a friend or your family or you can sit them down and have them watch this video. You know them best, you know how they’ll respond best, you know what will help get your point across. And you may not like the words I use to describe it and you may want to say your own things about it. But this can at least get people talking, because, like I always say, the more we keep things secret, the more power they have over us, right? A lot of times we go over to a friend’s house and all we think about is: “Oh my gosh, I think she knows, I think she knows, she doesn’t say anything. waaah” or “Oh my god, dad is watching my eat again, he’s making sure I finish everything, he’s making my life miserable, keeps telling me that I need to eat it all.” I mean, there could be a ton of situations where things are made a little bit harder by not having this conversation. So this how it goes when parents come into my office: “Now I know that you’re really concerned about your child. I know that you really care about her and you’re worried about her well being, but know that she’s in good hands. You spend the most time with her and so I would encourage you most of all just to be supportive. I know you’re trying to and I know that a lot of things you do, tend to irritade her and there are a couple of things that I would tell you to, even though you’re gonna think and gonna want to say it, to hold back! And those are things like: “Have you eaten today?”, “How much did you eat?”, “Let’s all eat together!”, “You need to eat exactly what I eat.” Anything revolving around food in a specific manner.. I don’t want you to hover and hone in on her and focus on her at meal times, I don’t want to hassle her about what she ate. I want you to adress it in a different way. And I know, you’re thinking: “But I need to say something, I have to do something, I know there’s a problem, I know that she’s not eating or maybe she’s binge eating, I know that something’s wrong. I can’t just sit back and let her do that to herself! But, what I would like you to do is to breath for a minute and think: she’s trying to get help, it’s a slow process, I know we wish it would change overnight, but problems don’t happen overnight and things don’t get resolved overnight. I know you know that for your life, there’s things that you maybe have tried to stop doing, like: I tried to stop chewing my nails or I tried to stop drinking soda. It’s hard! You can’t just cut cold turkey. So it’s a progression. Things that you can ask, and that I would encourage you to ask: “How did your day go? Is it stressful? Are you following your meal plan? Have you talked to your therapist? Have you talked to your dietician? Are things going well?” And the most important: “What else can I do?” “Is there anything you need from me? I am always here to listen.” Those are some really constructive things that you can do and it…we wanna open the door for more conversation, you don’t wanna force it, and you don’t want your daughter to feel like you’re just hounding her, because what that does, is it makes us retreat more, it makes us worry and then we think that all that you’re noticing, all you care about is the food. And like I’ve talked to you a little bit about before, it’s not about the food. It’s actually about managing our emotions in a more healthy and constructive way. The food is just the product that we focus on instead of the emotions. If that makes sense? So, hopefully that helps a little bit and that can ease a little of the stress, because like I said, the worst thing we can do is just hound them, because they’ll retreat. And then they won’t come out of their bedrooms, they won’t talk to you, they won’t come over. And we really want to engage and we wanna get more information and we wanna be there to support. Other questions that we can ask, I know, dads it’s really difficult for you, especially because it’s you daughter and it can be uncomfortable and “just eat your food!” a lot of dads I know, have that feeling like “just eat your food! what’s the problem?!” But things that you can say, that might feel more comfortable for you are things like: “Hey how did that class go you’re taking?” or “Hey do you wanna go out with me and grab a snack” or “Hey, do you wanna kick the ball around?” I mean, there are things you can do, the same that you used to do when they were younger, to interact with them, on a different level, to talk about what’s going on in their day or in their life and how things are going. You don’t have to ask the deep questions, you don’t have to get into “how things went with your therapist” if you don’t want to! But I would just encourage you: try not to focus on the food, because that’s all she’s focusing on right now. Try to focus on other things in her life that she’s working on and just ask if there’s anything else that you can do. I hope that helps a little bit. I know, it’s a difficult bridge to gap..it’s difficult to bridge the gap between parents and their children, especially when they’re suffering from eating disorders. But I hope that helps start a conversation, because the one thing that we don’t wanna do is not talk about it. So continue to talk, continue to ask questions. If you have trouble, or let’s say you need more information, feel free to comment! Subscribe to my channel! I give out a lot of information and also the girls give out a lot of comments that can really be helpful to understand what they are experiencing. So that you can be better equipped to be supportive and not intrusive. It’s a tight balance, I know it’s really difficult to live in that, that little in between. But we will work on it. And let me know, if there’s anything else that you want me to cover. Just like I said, subscribe, check out my website: katimorton.com! And we will keep working together, ’cause we need everybody involved to give us the great support system, to get a Healthy Mind and a Healthy Body. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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