- Learn as much as you can about eating disorders. Visit the websites under "Suggested Links" for more helpful information.
- Be patient, sympathetic, non-judgmental, and a good listener. Let your loved one know that you care and have her (or his) best interests at heart.
- Encourage her (or him) to enter professional therapy and even offer to go along.
- Ask what you can do to help.
- Accept that recovery is a process and does not happen quickly. Help your loved one to be patient, as well.
- Do not be controlling of your loved one's life; you are limited in what you can do to help. You may need to learn about letting go.
- When your loved one's behavior affects you, express yourself without placing guilt or blame. Try not to take her (or his) actions personally. Use "I" messages, explaining your feelings and concerns. You may need to disengage to take care of yourself.
- Have compassion. Your loved one may be overwhelmed as she (or he) gets in touch with the painful issues underlying the behavior. Your loved one will need your support at these times more than ever.
- Do not try to guess what she (or he) wants. Encourage your loved one to express needs. If you have questions, ask.
- Be flexible and open with your support.
- Avoid comments about his or her appearance and or about food.
- Remember that recovery work is up to the affected person.
*For more information on do and don'ts, please visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org Parent Toolkit.