Child, Children's diseases, Health, Health and precaution, Puberty

My child is anorexic!

My child is anorexic!

Anorexia in children and adolescents

“I’ve already eaten…” is probably the standard excuse for not attending family meals together. If such or similar statements accumulate and are brought forward at almost every opportunity, parents should prick up their ears. In everyday life, many little things often go unnoticed, but increased attention is required at the first suspicion. Does my child drink large amounts of water to make the full stomach appear full? Are baggy, layered garments supposed to hide rapid weight loss? Do you exercise excessively and take excessively long showers? Have character traits changed? How should one react if the suspicion is confirmed? Find out from us why meals together are important

Silence or Response?

Before confronting your child about suspected anorexia, it’s important to realize that this isn’t just about food and weight. In most cases, the causes of the condition run much deeper, and the fixation on apparent weight loss is just an outlet for it. Rude comments like “You look awful!” plunge those affected even deeper into their physical dilemma. Equally inappropriate are finger pointing “Why are you doing this to us?” or “Pull yourself together and eat like a normal person!” only deepen the feeling of not being understood. At best, the topics “food” and “weight” are not addressed at all. The more generously these areas are circumnavigated verbally, the greater the chance of finding access.

You should always convey to the person concerned that you appreciate them, like them and are there for them. It is totally inappropriate to force the meal or impose sanctions – meals are not battles to be won. Allegations or pseudotherapeutic statements do not help either. The willingness to listen and patience are a good basis for approaching the actual problem. When someone is asked about their eating disorder for the first time, resentment and denials usually follow. Don’t push the conversation any further, just change the subject. It is crucial to clearly signal your own willingness to talk, so that the child realizes that it can open up at any time and is met with understanding.
More about eating disorders in children


Ways out of anorexia in children: professional help

It is indescribable torture for parents to watch helplessly as their own child destroys itself. Fear, confusion, a guilty conscience and helplessness quickly take over. Anyone who does not feel able to deal with the situation needs outside help. One is prepared for such cases at paediatricians, in pastoral or family-oriented contact points, desperate parents receive help and advice for coping and treatment options. But those affected are also helped here. The prerequisite for this is, of course, the insight that you actually need help. The success of your recovery depends solely on it. However, if the child is already in a life-threatening condition, this cannot be taken into account.

The Long Road to Healing

Medical and therapeutic approaches can only lead to success if all family members actually “pull in the same direction”. Nutritional advice, individual and perhaps family therapy and medical care must be maintained over a long period of time. The best prerequisites here are the feeling of unrestricted support and the willingness to accept help – even from family members.


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