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

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Hi everyone out there,
you all know the following situation: your d wants to go out with a friend, join a sports team, go to a sleep-over. You know she´s not recovered enough to do this and you think you have to say "no".
But how can I communicate this without being the enemy? I know it´s the ED that keeps her away from all the nice things in life. I tell her that but she doesn´t want to hear or believe it. In her eyes her strict parents don´t want her to do things all the other teenagers are allowed to do. How can we save good mood between us and her and be strict with "no"?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Hi Tina72,

...this is how we handled it during refeeding:

It was understood that she needed to eat meals at home.

I let d. go out with a friend IF she ate at home first. AND ate the next meal at home also. She could certainly go out between the meals. Or she could go out after dinner. 

I let d. go out for a sleepover at a friends house IF she ate dinner at home and then came home for breakfast or brunch the next morning.

Sports? That one was off the table and non negotiable...for a year after weight restoration and by then she was no longer interested. 

As she became more weight restored and more able to eat on her own I relaxed some of the limits. But it was not without some backsliding at times. If there is backsliding you can try tightening up the limits again.

Best wishes,


Hi Kali,
The problem is, I know what I must do but I don´t know how to communicate it without being the bad mother.
I told her that it´s not me but ED that takes all her fun to join the things she wants to do. But in the end it´s ME who doesn´t allow it.
There is not so much you can do as an elder teenager between all the meals with ED. There are mostly about 2-3 hours left. Not enough to drive into town to go to the cinema. Not enough to visit a birthday party of a friend. Not enough for everything she wants to do...
I tell her that it´s not my wish to keep her from going out with friends but the ED needs me to do so. I tell her that it´s getting better soon and that she can do all the things a normal teenager will do then. But "soon" is not "today"...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
"I'm so sorry," said genuinely, can go a long way.  "I want to be able to say 'yes,' and I look forward to being able to do that again."

In other words, let her see your sadness that you are forced into this role not of your choosing.   And remind her it is only temporary.  xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Tina, she is not going to be able to see that it is the eating disorder and not you doing this for a long time.  Her brain just can't understand it right now and like TF, I too had to decide I was going to be a parent rather than my kid's best friend.  It was more important to me to get her healthy and well than for her to see me as mother of the year [frown]  My daughter hated me during refeeding and for months after but we have a great relationship now.  It takes time, weight restoration, continued feeding and brain healing. You are doing the right thing.  Just hold fast and keep reminding her it is her eating disorder that is limiting her and not you whether she believes that right now or not.
It is a tough thing to say no to them missing out on even more of their teen years than they already have. We are always the bad guy that stands in the way, because to be honest they can't see a need to miss out, they don't have the same perspective and almost certainly never will. 
That being said I bent over backwards to try to help her not miss out on things like parties, movies. I organised to pack things up, take it with us if needs be, drove her all around so that we could make sure the food went in, but she still got to see her friends, do those more social things. Sometimes she would have to leave a party early, or arrive late. Sometimes I would compromise half an hour of time so we could squeeze something in. For my D who spent much of her early ill years feeling suicidal it was important to me to give her some joyful experiences as well as dealing with her eating. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Hi Tina

Just replying to the 2-3 hours gap between meals. I know it is hard trying to fit everything in between meals. This is what we did. Eating in the car. Before ED eating in the car was a big no-no. Now it is a 'safe place' to eat. At the beginning of refeeding, we would drive to a place and arrive in time for a snack/meal. Dad and D's sister would leave the car and I would sit with my D until she has finished eating and then join the rest of the family for the outing. We also managed to go to the cinemas. My D had ensures and muesli bars while watching movies. Just make sure she sits next to you and keep one eye on her while enjoying the movie. After a while she became more comfortable eating in front of us, so when it is snack time we would just find a picnic table. For now I still make or bring snacks and she is still uncomfortable with takeaways.
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww