Last updated on February 26th, 2021
A book by a parent, for parents:
Regularly updated: when you buy the paperback or ebook you are getting the very latest version.
What's the book about and how can it help you?
Here's a five minute overview:
My aim is for you to find strategies for action as well as emotional support.
I offer you tools you can use right away, after you’ve read just a few sections. And then I’ll give you tools that will help you for the longer term. My intention is to support you through the entire journey.
I address the practical questions (starting HERE) that come up, again and again, in parent circles. Such as:
- How do I get my child to eat cheese? To eat anything?
- Will I push him over the edge if I stop him exercising?
- The specialist is aiming at another 3 kg. Won’t that make my daughter even more anxious?
- I'm not sure my child is getting the best treatment (see HERE and HERE)
- What should we do about school, about trips abroad? (see HERE for the period after the crisis).
- What’s going on in her head?
- Will my kid and I ever be close again? I miss her.
- What should I say when he’s hysterical and wailing that he’s fat?
- Rewards haven’t worked, and threats haven’t either. Is this the end of the road?
Finally, most of us sense that our power to support our children lies in the love we’ve had for them since the day they were born. We yearn for emotional resources when we are sorely stretched. These are covered
- How can I be calm when I want to scream? (See THIS chapter)
- I am in despair and I want to cope better (See THIS chapter)
- I resent losing friends, activities, my job. My ex is on obstacle. (See THIS chapter)
I’ll give you general principles, lots of ideas for you to pick from, and lots of examples.
What type of eating disorder will this help you with?
If you’re the parent of a child suffering from the restricting type of anorexia nervosa (i.e. he or she is restricting their food intake), then this book is definitely for you because it’s where my experience lies. Likewise if your son or daughter doesn't quite fit the anorexia nervosa diagnosis but is restricting food and over-exercising. Sometimes what you're seeing is the early signs of anorexia and the sooner you act the better. There may be a diagnosis of atypical anorexia nervosa or other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).
If it’s the binge-purge type of anorexia, there is much in common with the restricting type, and the tools I offer are equally relevant.
All eating disorders have big areas of overlap, so if your child has bulimia nervosa, or binge eating or any other type of disorder, then major sections of this book will be highly relevant to you. But you will also need to complement this with other sources, as there are differences in how each type of eating disorder is best treated.
ARFID may be quite different. It depends on the type. You will still benefit from the communication tools, but get specialised advice on the feeding aspect.
The age group I focus on is young children and adolescents. The family therapy principles at the heart of this book have been validated with under-18s. I used them first when my daughter was 10 through to 12, then again as she went through some blips age 15 to 18. I update the book regularly in light of my experience and other parents'.
I know of parents who have used the same approach with their adult child, with success. The communication resources I offer are ageless, so I believe that if your child is an adult, you will find help in these pages.
I’m referring to you as ‘parents’, but I’d like to include all carers in this.
What about the country you live in? It doesn’t make any difference to the tools in this book. I’m in the United Kingdom.
For parents and professionals
Clinicians all over the world use and recommend this book because it is a 'how-to' for family-based treatment or anorexia-focused family therapy. It also gives them an honest insight into the issues parents face – perhaps more so than they normally see in your consulting room.
As for the emotional resources I offer, they’re valid for you, me, and everyone. The principles of communication, self-compassion, mindfulness and resilience are based on age-old wisdoms, they have been adapted and tested in modern therapies, and they apply to all human beings of all ages.
Bitesize: the large collection of short audios
Bitesize addresses many FAQs from parents in very short audios. Choose Bitesize if you are not into reading, or to complements the book. Note that there is no audiobook version of the book.