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

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Kidster
So my eldest has restrictive AN and is very, very slowly recovering but has such long way to go. Does anyone have any words of wisdom about how to manage siblings? How are they meant to survive the destruction of an ED as it has such an impact on family life. I am doing my best to keep the show on the road and keep things as ‘normal’ as possible, but they’re fed up with the ED behaviour and I don’t blame them. They just want to get on. Endless things cancelled, last minute change of plans, treading on eggshells for fear of saying the wrong thing. One of them said to me  “if D ruins my birthday she’s not coming out with us”..... I’ve have been very open and honest with them about the ED but any other hints? 
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debra18
My ED daughter is the oldest of 9 kids so I could offer some advice about the siblings. But probably her siblings are younger than those of your daughter.
I once had a friend that had a 3 week old baby that passed away and she asked a therapist what to say to the other kids. One of the things she was told to say is "everyone has what they need and if you think you need something you dont have than tell me." I used this advice with my other kids. I do have to give her more than other kids, including piano lessons and extra crafts but they are supportive and tell everyone proudly they have a sister who is a professional piano player. 
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sandie
Hi my tips:
Avoid talking to siblings only about ED.
Focus on siblings when you have Time with them, even if the time is short.
I would try to arrange time away from the house eg fun time/dinner at a friends. 

I would try to shield siblings as much as possible from the impact, eg let them eat different time/ different room and different food if appropriate.

i arranged a session with family therapist just for sibling.

probably the best thing I did was arrange a holiday for sibling Away from the family!!!

really difficult managing fallout on siblings!! 
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Barberton
I have not handled my non ED d well at all. There is only 1 year apart between the girls and there has always been a degree of sibling rivalry. But the ED d ramped it up to levels that were hard to deal with. I really have not taken enough 1 on 1 time with the non ED d to talk about the dynamics. When ED d and I are 'discussing' something to do with the ED, the non ED d walks out of the room and refuses to get drawn into the discussion.

I do think it is important to say (and I will do this!) to the non ED child, that it is not the other child's fault that they are behaving this way. And to help them understand what triggers the behaviors. Otherwise, there's the risk that they make assumptions about what is going on (their sibling is ungrateful/crazy/attention seeking). How much you explain depends on your child, but truth is important.

The issue I have now is that the non ED d has been given the freedom to eat whatever she wants and it's tipping into 'unhealthy'. But I am too frightened to say anything to her because if I made her hold back on cake, then my ED d would match the restriction. And I don't want to teach my non ED to eat in secret. So I have to think very carefully before I say anything about food. Tricky.
D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
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Torie
This vile illness takes such a toll on the whole family.  Ugh.
 
It's great that you are keeping things are normal as possible for the sibs, but don't kill yourself with all of everyone else's needs.  Are there relatives and/or friends who can be recruited to help out with them and create some special times?

My kids were older so some of this might not apply, but I tried to affirm that the situation was unfair for them so they knew I saw that.  And pointed out that if they ever had a time of intense needs, I would be there for them, too. 

In general, sibs can't and shouldn't have a role as caretakers, but there is one task they tend to be great at: conversation and distraction.  Since they are of the same generation, they often excel at this.

Hang in there,  It does get better. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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ValentinaGermania
Deenl has had some great threads and posts about siblings and how they managed that, please use the search button.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Foodsupport_AUS
Here is a link to deenl's siblings thread https://www.aroundthedinnertable.org/post/supporting-siblings-10268886?highlight=siblings&pid=1309915987
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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Kidster
Thanks for the thoughts and advice, I will have a look at the link
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Ronson
Hi these are my tips

speak to the siblings teachers - let them know that there is a rubbish time at home and they may need more supporting at school

if things are bad then let them eat separately

spend some time one on one each day

let them have a normal life as much as possible 

let them speak to a therapist if they need ro

do not involve them in caring - my d sister is the only one who treats her normally - speaks as though she doesn’t have an Ed - says guess what I got ice cream when we were out are you jealous - offers sweets.  And sometimes d will take them now

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ValentinaGermania
Ronson wrote:


do not involve them in caring - my d sister is the only one who treats her normally - speaks as though she doesn’t have an Ed - says guess what I got ice cream when we were out are you jealous - offers sweets.  And sometimes d will take them now



I think that is very important, to not involve the younger or same age siblings in care and let them have an at least kind of normal relationship.

Hey, Ronson, that is great that she takes the offered sweets now and then!!! Gold star moments!!!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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sandie
Great list Ronson. 
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Kidster
Good to know I’m doing what others do
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ValentinaGermania
I talked about that topic with a friend at the weekend that has a disabled child and a healthy sibling (so this problem in that family is not only there for a limited phase like in our families but for years now).

She also said it is important to take time for the sibling every day and to split it supervision if needed to do that.
And she gave me an idea that I wanted to post here: in their situation the grandparents were living in a town too far away to be helpful for the younger boy and they found a "replacement-grandpa" in the neighborhood. That old man takes him fishing and accompanies him to the soccer training and his wife bakes cookies with him. These people do not have grandchildren so a win-win situation for both.

Worth a try to think about that?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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EASL
Kidster - our eldest D is recovering for R-AN and a dash of bulimia (not being irreverant just no real description for her condition), anyway she has two younger siblings. We (H and I) instituted a few things - along the lines of what has been mentioned above - dedicated one-on-one time with each sibling each day. For my non-ED D that was 20 minutes of crosswords/word puzzles before bed in her room just the two of us for my S it was reading and/or drawing together. We also manufactured reasons to take the siblings out for dinner once a week while running an errand or something - we still had 4-5 family dinners each week but we also had some fun - no pressure dinners where we could order anything and just enjoy - this was beneficial for them and ME! It might be helpful to reach out to the parents of your non-ED children's friends and ask for a sleep-over or dinners - more social for the non-sufferers and sometimes an incentive to get well for the sufferer. Families are tough and the best we can do is help each other and appreciate our efforts, sounds slightly mean - but I would remind myself that 4/5ths of my family was doing really well and that we couldn't always allow the 1/5th to dictate the mood and tenor of the household. As my D began getting better one thing she said was she disliked the fact that she was treated differently - so we tried to just do meals with the least amount of coaching and encouragement and kept our ED chat to less than 15minutes a day (sometimes not at all). Good luck to you - sounds like you are a very caring mum - feel good about that.
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