What Prevents A Mother From Confronting Her Daughter When She Fears Her Daughter May Have An Eating Disorder?

I Think That Many Times A
janurse427 – 04/13/2011 – 03:33

I think that many times a parent knows, but is also afraid of having their fears confirmed, or, they may not know how to ‘push’ their daughter to get help, even though they are the parent. The dynamics may be such that the parent has never been able to take charge, or have in a way that has not been helpful. A young person is likely to rebel or ‘refuse’, so parents often need that reassurance from a professional that it’s critical for them to find help for their daughter. There is also the element of parents feeling responsible if their daughter/son has an eating disorder, which is very seldom the case. In my opinion, straightforward expression of concern, and letting their daugher know that they are going to take her to be assessed for help because they care…..that is critical. Being critical or berating, or simply ignoring the problem is obviously not helpful. Great question!


Thanks For This Response.
Dr. Michael Katz – 04/16/2011 – 13:20

Thanks for this response. I’m becoming very interested in the psychology of parents during this trying time. I’m hoping to find answers that will push parents in the right direction.


Yes, It’s A Very Interesting
janurse427 – 04/16/2011 – 16:46

Yes, it’s a very interesting aspect; but also one that I believe is sorely overlooked or simply misunderstood. As with the one suffering, the parents also have ‘layers’ of emotional pain that needs to be ‘peeled’ and dealt with. We are seeing more and more ‘generational’ components with the patients we deal with.
Bottom line; I don’t think either ‘side’ realizes how to allow themselves to act out their own empowerment.
Thank YOU for what you are doing in this field!


My Thoughts: -The Mother Has
skittleschick – 04/20/2011 – 03:10

My thoughts:

-The mother has her own issue with eating and is worried that she may not be able to confront her daughter without being confronted with her own issues

-She may be scared that her daughter will pull away and isolate herself in order to make the facilitation of her eating disorder easier (thus potentially damaging the relationship and connection between mother and daughter)

-She may be unsure of how to help and doesn’t want to make things worse by bringing attention to it and focusing more on eating patterns

-She may be uneducated about eating disorders and considers it “just a phase” or something that will go away on it’s own. The seriousness of the disorder (in both it’s physical and psychological effects) may be unknown to her.

-She may be dealing with guilt in that she feels like she was a poor model for eating habits and healthy behavior (and acknowledging this problem could lead to the idea that she is a ‘bad parent’ which can be very damaging to one’s self identity)

-It could be a process of denial. Acknowledgement would require action and facing the reality of the situation.

-She may be worried that recognizing the disorder will introduce family conflict into the home

-She could be worried about her social image/reputation with friends, family, and people within her social circle. Admitting that one’s family is not perfect can be very hard for some who try hard to create an idealized image of their family

-She may not have the access or resources that she will need to address the issue (costly bills, special doctors, etc…)

Just some thoughts, I’m also interested in psychology and have studied ED’s to some extent. Hope this helped/gave you some possible ideas 🙂

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