For Friends and Families

This area of our website is for friends and family members of someone who is struggling with an eating disorder. Here, friends and families can find information and resources on eating disorders, as well as learn more about the services we offer for friends and family members at Hope’s Garden.

Here are some of the resources we have specifically for families and friends:

We also have the following articles in our Resource section:

  • Facts on Eating Disorders
  • The Continuum of Disordered Eating
  • What Factors Contribute to Eating Disorders?
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Signs of Relapse

Click Here to access these resources.

Other Articles:

Here are some links to other articles that may be helpful:

  • Help for Friends and Family
  • Information For Parents
  • What You Can Do To Help Loved Ones
  • Helping Loved Ones With An Eating Disorder
  • Help for Families
  • For Family and Friends

How Can Parents Prevent Eating Disorders?

  • Examine your beliefs and prejudices about weight and appearance. Develop and communicate acceptance and respect for yourself and other people, regardless of weight. This will reduce some of the pressures your children feel to change their bodies.
  • Help your children notice and draw self-esteem from their positive qualities, not only from the way they look.
  • Help your children to define their values and to determine what is really important about themselves.
  • Talk to your children about cultural, media, peer and social pressures to lose weight.
  • Discourage the idea that a particular diet or body size can reliably lead to happiness. Discuss with your children that celebrities lives are often dysfunctional and filled with problems even though they may have “perfect bodies”.
  • Demonstrate balance in eating. In moderation, all foods can be eaten and enjoyed.
  • Demonstrate balance in exercise. Exercise should be for fun, not weight loss.
  • Do not model or encourage dieting. Accept and talk about the fact that diets don’t work and the dangers of dieting.
  • If your child’s health would benefit from weight loss, he/she can better achieve this through moderation in eating and exercising for fun.
  • Do not avoid activities that call attention to your weight or shape, such as swimming, sunbathing or wearing shorts.
  • Trust your child’s hunger. Beginning in infancy, most children know when they are hungry or full. Honour their signals and do not force them to eat or stop them from eating.
  • Listen to and respect your children. Guide them and encourage them to develop healthy values, but don’t insist that they accept your views.
  • Respect women. If you put down or treat women unequally, your daughter will feel put down too, and your sons may continue this tradition of emotional violence against women. This cycle can lead to eating disorder behaviour in both boys and girls.
  • Do not use food as a reward or punishment. Do not label food or eating habits as good or bad.
  • Do not struggle over who is in control of the child’s body. Children sometimes eat when they are not supposed to or refuse to eat when they should. Do not engage in a power struggle at this time.
  • If separated or divorced, let your child know that you want to be part of his/her life.
  • Know the warning signs of eating disorders.
  • Let your children know you love them no matter what they weigh.