Here are some of the resources we have specifically for teens:
Click here for the following articles in our Resources 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
How Do I Talk To My Parents About My Eating Disorder?
Talking to your parents about any topic can sometimes be a difficult task. Talking to your parents about your eating disorder may seem very frightening, if not almost impossible. At Hope’s Garden, we recognize the difficulty teens may have discussing problems or concerns with those closest to them, like their parents. We would like you to know that recognizing that you are struggling with issues about food and body shape is a very important starting point for getting help and recovering from an eating disorder. By coming to Hope’s Garden, you have made an important step in your road to overcoming your eating disorder. And, the fact that you are interested in joining a support group for Hope’s Garden means that you are ready and willing to take steps necessary to do so. But, remember you cannot do it alone.
As a teen, it is important for your parents to be involved in the recovery process. As a young teen, your parents need to know the steps you are taking to receive support for your illness. Perhaps you are concerned that they will be angry or disappointed. Perhaps your relationship with either your mom or dad isn’t very positive right now. However, both you and they need to realize that this is not your fault and not something that you in control of. Eating disorders are illnesses, and should be treated as such- your parents wouldn’t get angry with you for getting a cold, would they? Hopefully, your parents will be understanding and do everything they can to help you get through this. If not, it is important that you find other supportive people to see you through your illness and get you the help you need. Is there a friend you can take with you for support when you speak with your parents about your illness? Perhaps a cousin or a neighbour? The more your parents and others understand what is happening with you, the more they and Hope’s Garden can help you.
Hope’s Garden is here to help you. By joining one of our teen support groups, by reading books in our library, or by talking to one of our volunteers, you have a place to turn to for help and support.
But they will be angry with me…
Some teens are afraid to talk with their parents about their eating disorder because they are worried their parents might get angry or mad. And that may happen or not. What is important for you to understand is that your parents want the best for you and what may seem like anger on the outside, is often their concern for your health and safety on the inside. Of course, not all teens feel that their parents want the best for them. Some days, your mom and dad may say and do things that make you really angry because it doesn’t seem as if they are looking out for your best interests. It is on those days we hope you can find the strength within yourself, from friends or other supportive family members and relatives to help you find the right time to discuss this very important, yet scary part of your life. The bottom line is to find someone or someplace, like Hope’s Garden, that you can trust and share your feelings with about your eating disorder because no one should go through this alone.
I am scared I will disappoint them…
At times, everyone, teens and adults alike, are afraid of disappointing their parents. Why shouldn’t we be? We want our parents to be proud of us. But, it is important to understand that most parents will come to see how strong their children are for confiding in them about your eating disorder. It is not easy sharing difficult topics with our parents. But when it comes to your health and well-being, parents need to know what they can do to help – and right now, that means sharing with them your concerns. If at this time you feel that you cannot confide in your parents about your eating disorder, than it is important to find another adult, a sibling, or a good friend who can give you the support you need to get better.
I am embarrassed and ashamed…
Remember, an eating disorder is an illness, and you are not to blame. Parents can help their children through the good and bad times of growing up. Family life isn’t always easy. Your mom may be overbearing or bossy some days. Your dad may be too strict or doesn’t always show you the love that you need. But over time, you will find out that members of your family are a source of strength. Part of loving yourself is asking parents for what you need – and right now, you need to tell them what is going on with you.
Some Helpful Steps on Communication with your Parents:
- Set a time to talk. Leave a note or talk with them about setting up a private time to talk about something very important.
- Communicate your concerns to them as you would your best friend. Tell them what you are feeling or what you are scared of, and why you have come to them to talk. It may be hard to see your parents as you would a friend, but, the sooner you can, the more support and help they can provide you.
- Be honest and don’t be afraid. Tell your parents the truth about your eating habits and behaviours and that you are trying to get help.
Why Can Parents Help?
- Your parents know you better than anyone else, but, more importantly, they love you and they don’t want to see you hurting. Of course, there are teens who don’t feel this way. Parents can have a hard time understanding the lives of their children because teen life is complex and not easy! There are some days when the things your parents say and do make you feel alone, sad, and unloved. On the days, we hope you can turn to a good friend, a close relative, a teacher or Hope’s Garden to help you through your eating disorder.
- Parents can sometimes miss the cues or signals you may be sending them. If you need a parent to be there, its best you find some alone time with them and open up.
- The more people who know about your illness, the more help you can get to overcome your illness.
- One of the really important programs at Hope’s Garden is our support groups for parents and families affected by eating disorders. Parents and other family members need to understand about the nature of eating disorders and how to help their children on the road to recovery. Your parents will benefit from the support of other parents and family members during this difficult time. If you feel this is something your parents or another family member would be interested in, encourage them to come with you to Hope’s Garden and we will do our best to support both you and your family.