You are trying your best. You would do anything just so your teenager gets better. It seems that you’ve tried everything. You can’t think of anything else. You wish you could do more but it seems there is a limit to how much a parent is able to do when your loved one suffers with an eating disorder like bulimia.
You want to keep going. You don’t know what else to do, how else to help. You are running out of ideas.
Despite trying so hard and doing your best, all you get is: “Leave me alone”
My clients find that this is one of the toughest part of caring for a young person with an eating disorder like bulimia.
They tell me in the one to one sessions that they recognise they are desperate for their teenager to recover and that sometimes they can’t help but take over. That often ends up being counterproductive.
Might they be trying too hard?
And how might your teenager perceive it?
There certainly are times when you need to make decisions for them but there will also be occasions when your teenager wants to be in charge.
They will be grateful to you for giving them some responsibility over decision making.
By taking a step back, allowing yourself some room to breathe and giving your teens some independence may be challenging, however it will be very much appreciated by them.
Giving the right amount of support can be rather tricky. Finding the balance between helping and avoiding overwhelm can take a while to learn.
If you want to help your teenager and be appreciated, here is what to do:
- Allow them to make SOME decisions. At time you are the one who needs to make decisions. However, there will be a point at which no matter how much you want something for your loved one, it will be their choice whether they go along with you. They want to feel that they are able to make decisions.
- Support them without being overbearing. Teenagers can be very sensitive, particularly when suffering with an eating disorder. Showing them you’re there for them and simultaneously giving them space without them feeling suffocated will have the best effect on your relationship.
- Spend time together without focusing on the issue. Your teenager knows how much you love, care and worry about them. However, sometimes they want you to forget about their illness and at least for a short while pretend it doesn’t exist so you can both switch off and have a good time.
Over to you
What’s your experience? How easy do you find it to give your teenager space? Are you able to spend time together without focusing on the issue? Please, share your thoughts.
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If you would like more details on how you can help your child, here is my free guide for parents: