My Daughter’s Teen Eating Disorder
Teen Eating Disorders | Our Teen’s Struggle with an Eating Disorder Part 2
Yes, I did not know. Please, do not judge.
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It still is etched in my mind like it was yesterday. The day Haleigh told me that she had not been eating for a period that was most of her 8th grade. She explained she would go in cycles of not eating for two days. As her mother, I was in shock. How could this be? I packed her lunches. I fixed her dinners. She looked healthy and normal to me.
The root of the problem all boiled down to one person starting rumors, someone who was supposed to be her closest friend. Haleigh was heartbroken and let down. She did not even know friends would or even could do that to friends. She was so emotional and mentally let down.
She had been hiding the not eating from me and I had no idea she was going through something like that. I knew about the rumors but had no idea how much they were affecting her and making her get depressed. She got pretty good at covering up what she was really feeling on the inside. She is a gorgeous girl and makes amazing grades, not to sound conceited, and that made her a target. Plus, she has the gentlest of souls. Which makes her seem like a pushover another easy target. She had gotten use to girls being ‘catty’.
Every year she has to deal with some mean girl, bullying her and for a while I guess she had been able to weather all of that until her best friend stabbed her in the back. That one was able to get under her skin and she could not shake it off.
She has always been petite and to be honest, her dad and I never ever really noticed her weight or any changes in them. It was not until one day when she just came out and said, “Mom, I have a problem”. Then proceeded to tell me what she had been and was going through. We cried and hugged, talked about it a little and I would admit to feeling guilty that I was unaware of all this.
I probably have been way over protective when it comes to her eating now, but she is doing great and is on top of things. I can tell when she is obsessing about her weight and she knows when something has triggered and she does not want to eat. She is open about it a lets me know how she is feeling.
The tricky part for me is to know when she is really not hungry and when it is about her being in not wanting to eat mode. We really are lucky, her dad and I that she turned out to be such and open and honest girl. She is a beautiful person on the inside and out and she has bright future ahead of her.
Now before this start to look like me just bragging about my daughter, I want to say to all the parents and guardians out there, eating disorders are really scary and having your child come out to tell you that he or she is not eating is one of the most frightening things you can ever experience as a parent. But the truth is that not everyone is that lucky to have a relationship with their child that they can come out to make such a confession. This is why you read me saying talk, listen, and HEAR your kids and teens a lot! I have always thought this, but her confession really taught me more than ever… to live by it.
Personally, I am a huge believer in being in your kids business. Yes, give them privacy. But at the same time let them know that you are there for them, that there is no aspect of their life that they cannot share with you. And not just the good, but the bad and the ugly too. Let them know that it doesn’t matter what life throws at them, you are going to go to bat for them. More importantly that your action would in no way be you figuratively taking that bat against them. By this I mean that you should know when to blame your child for a wrongdoing and when to open your arms and let them know that you understand that this is not their fault.
Let them know that TOGETHER WILL WE WILL SURVIVE THIS BEAUTIFUL CHAOS!
Disclaimer: Teen eating disorders are real and we are not professionals and are not trying to diagnose or treat anyone with one. We speak from our experiences only. If you feel you or a loved one may or may not have an eating disorder please seek professional help. Reach out for support.
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