F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

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Tempest
Hello All, It’s been along time since I have posted here. My D has struggled with ED since 13 she is now a young adult struggling with ED and bipolar II. I am having difficulty figuring out how to parent a young adult. The issues are many. Would love to hear from others in the following areas:
How do you support without smothering?
How do you set limits such as sleeping at home (instead of BF apartment all the time)
How do you provide needed med supervision when she thinks she’s got it, but proves time and again she doesn’t?
How do you handle meals when she won’t ever eat at home and basically eats fast food, if she eats at all.
How do you monitor, encourage a weed free lifestyle?

Oh, so many more questions. Looking to make contact for moral support and practical ideas. Thank you, Tempest
Tempest -18 yo daughter diagnosed with EDNOS since 15, FBT at home WR 12/13, relapse 10/14, Residential 2015 for 3 months, PHP several weeks. New dx bi-polar. Home now seeing good treatment team weekly, attending college. D still occasionally purging but weight stable.
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ValentinaGermania
Hi Tempest,

as a mum of a 19 year old d two years into recovery now I would answer your questions as follows:
We have a contract about what we do for her (pay for university, life, cellphone and car etc) and what she has to do to get that (eat 3 meals 2 snacks, maintain weight, go to GP regularly). If one of that would not been done I will take the car key first and she loves the car. If she cannot maintain her weight she will need to have a health break semester.
My d does not have a BF at the moment but had one last year and we did allow only one sleepover every week. One part of the contract that is not actual at the moment. We also allowed only 2 (now 3) main meals outside home a week. That is still part of the contract and that is why she is having half schedule at University at the moment.
Same with med supervision, she has to go there to regular appointments and I accompany her. She wants me to do that as her GP is not an ED specialist and if I do not join her he forgets half of the things that need to be done.
"weed free lifestyle" I had to google that as English is not my mother tongue and I hope I found the right thing - are we talking about drugs? That is one of the no goes on our contract, but I am quite sure my d would not even touch them as she has a friend who had a dramatic psychiotric experience after only one cannabis trip two years ago and he was in psychiatric ward for 6 months and is still on meds and has very dramatic side effects with that. She saw and realised all that has happened to him and I believe she does not want to have any of that in addition. So no idea how to help you with that.

Who pays for her living? Do you do things for her like driving her around or buying clothes or paying for school or University? If so, you earn the money and you set the rules. We are not helpless when they are 18 and still depended...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Foodsupport_AUS
Sorry that you have had to come back here. It sounds like you are having many of the parenting issues that go with older teens with the added issues of a mental health issue. My D is now 22, and also first got sick at 13. 

To your questions:
How to support without smothering - At this stage my D like yours believes she is an adult and expects and wants to behave this way. I have found that letting her know that she is able to make these decisions and letting her make some mistakes is worth while. As she has matured ironically she asks more for my input /opinion without me needing to tell her what to do. It is definitely a dance, but we have to let them make some decisions. My D knows that I will always have her back. She also knows that I am there to help out if needed, all she has to do is ask. Initially she was reluctant to ask (we are genetically inherently stubbornly independent)  but she seems to be much better about choosing to ask for help as needed.

Medications are a bit of an issue. Early on my D was terrible about taking them so I would put them out for her daily. Now she is much  better but also admits to making some mistakes. I guess the time to have this discussion is when she is forgetting or missing doses - asking how she thinks it could work better. Would a phone reminder help her? SMS? Does she need a dose box to help?

Handling meals - this is tricky. There is no doubt they eat a lot more away from home as they get older and you have no idea of what or if they have eaten. Essentially that leave you with Tina's plan of a contract regarding maintaining weight and an agreement that she will eat three meals plus snacks per day and ask for help if she is having urges re bingeing/purging. Agreeing to keep in therapy I think is also helpful. D confesses much more to her psychiatrist than she does to me but he also then gets her to work on things.

Encouraging a weed free/alcohol free/non smoking lifestyle is easy with my D. She had restrictive AN and tends to be risk averse. At the same time many her friends to partake in drugs, alcohol etc.. I think being honest about your concerns, in particular any risk there may be given her history of mental illness for psychosis with weed is important to at least raise. I think we need to acknowledge that we cannot control their lives or the choices they make but also they are responsible for the consequences of their actions. Has she done DBT? Learning those skills may be immensely helpful to her.
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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