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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

It has been recommended by our care team that we work hard now that our daughter is getting better on differentiating between ed behaviour (food based) and "normal" 13 year-old behaviour.  How do I start to do this???
My d's ed started through social anxiety and lonliness/bullying issues at school (this appeared to be the tipping point or trigger).  how do I tell which anxiety issues are going to trigger an ed reaction and whish are just normal teenage crap?
after trying so hard to support her, I'm almost at a loss as to what normal is for her.  I see more of my real d now that she is wr.  I also see some of her former attitude rearing it's ugly head but am never sure anymore if this is anxiety related (as in she needs some support) or if she is being a normal, crabby, tempermental teenage girl and I should nip it in the bud and give her some sh** for it.  so many triggers seem to be non food related (ie: last relapse seemed to stem from a visit with a friend during which her belligerent attitude returned - unsure why but the friend has often been a questionable influence in general).
really feeling unsure of when to put my foot down and when to support...her moods seem to still be very erratic...a very small thing can make her angry and she can just as quickly turn it around.  I really want to get her away from her 'the world revolves around me' frame of mind though.
Any advice?????
Mom Up North
I've been thinking about this quite a bit because I'm in a similar situation with my D. She has been super irritable with me, and especially when we are in Dr's offices, therapy sessions, etc. Part of that was a malnourished brain, part was being 13 and I believe part of it is anxiety which manifests as irritability. I think most of us (like 99%) know how to set boundaries and 99% of kids respond to that boundary setting. If she is NOT responding to reasonable discipline, I think there's more going on. Maybe I am trying to justify because I just started my D on meds (and see an improvement after only 3 days, so perhaps placebo effect?) but she is already responding better to reasonable boundary setting. We know our kids best, and so to hear "oh that's normal 13 yr old behavior" or "oh your boundaries aren't firm enough" is very frustrating, we KNOW what is "normal" for them. 
toothfairy wrote:
I tolerate things that are ridiculous , including bad behaviour , obnoxiousness, back answering, rudeness and general dis-respectfullness, totally not acceptable in a regular family just to keep the status quo, keep him going , I am at his beckoning call for absolutely every ridiculous request, and always keep it light, regardless if I agree or disagree.

Oh yes, that was my life for a couple of years. 

My thinking was that while my d was ill, I needed to make life as smooth sailing as possible for her, in ways related and unrelated to her illness because she just. couldn't. cope.

I knew I would need to "unspoil" her once she was doing better, but I figured that was a bridge to cross later.

"Later" has arrived (at long last), and I'm starting to gradually treat her more the way things would have been had she not gotten sucked down the rabbit hole. Really, it's the least of my problems, or at least, the least of the problems of most anyone on this forum.

That's my roundabout way of saying I'm not sure what point there is in sorting out what's this from what's that. Your d needs heroic parenting for the time being - she's really not herself right now.
Your d is young. Thank heavens you will have plenty of time to 1) Beat the AN monster and then 2) address the teen issues. 

If she isn't a danger to herself or others, I would just focus on getting the AN under control. Then you'll be able to see what problems - if any - are left.

Just my two cents - feel free to ignore of course, as always.

Keep swimming. xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
This is why I chose to keep the boundaries the same sick or well.  I knew that sooner or later my daughter would have to function in the real world and control her emotions and reactions to things so the more practice she got, the better.  Dealing with anxiety is a normal part of life and I always thought that trying to make things easier by letting her spin out of control even around eating and food was just setting her up to fail in real world situations. 

I really found that when I tried to loosen the boundaries like after a hospital stay and I'd try to be more understanding and flexible around her moods it just ended up with her being more confused because what was okay one day suddenly is not the next and it made her impossible to live with.  Sure, I had to some sorting out of what was "normal" for her age and what wasn't but I was very lucky that our family therapist made the point right from that beginning not to change the rules on her and not to treat her as anything but a normal kid.  We worked very hard with her anxiety and reinforcing that the world does not revolve around her and her alone.  I am so glad now that we did because it really saved a lot of the second guessing of when to draw the line and what behavior to tolerate.
Thanks for all the advice.  I know I did kinda let things slide as she was gaining and still do sometimes for fear of triggering a relapse.  I do find that my best course of action is to remove myself from a situation rather than rise to the fight...it gives me time to cool off (and thus not say things I would rather not say or push things to far) and gives her a consequence she doesn't really like...being away from me.  Sometimes she goes away herself - something I think her t has taught her...she goes away to think and calm down and more often than not comes back in a better mood.
She has always wanted the world to revolve around her.  when ed hit and she was hospitalized, it kinda did. Now we need to work on getting things back to normal.  I know there are times when she will need more support, but she also needs to learn to enjoy her own company again.
she often gets riled up when I won't do something with her or say she can't do something she wants to do.  she will go off and pout/not talk for a bit until she gets bored of it then snaps herself out of it.  I guess we just need to find the balance again now that she is getting better. 
Mom Up North
You know I've been thinking so much about this very topic lately.  I came to the conclusion, it doesn't matter.  Hear me out......  I have six children, three of whom are adults now.  Three of them have already gone through those horrible 'teen' years and three are going through it now, one with RAN.  I used to feel I needed to curb the nasty outbursts or door slamming, the eye-rolling, the smart mouth - sometimes under breath; sometimes out loud.  I now realize that when my kids (two girls and a boy) were behaving like this, they were already stressed about something - they were trying to figure something about adult life out - and most importantly, they KNEW they were being rude and obnoxious.  Here's the kicker - THEY OUTGROW IT. 

Now, when any of my younger three get like "that", I ask them if they need/want to talk (calmly and supportive).  If not, I leave them to it and let them know the door is open.  On rare occasion, I'll let them know that something they did/said hurt my feelings but mostly I let it go.  Trying to curb the teen behavior just sucked me in to a non-winnable battle for control.  For what?  All it did was give them justification for being obnoxious. 

Right now, I'm no longer the 'go to' person for my kids.  They think we don't understand, don't know anything, are embarrassing and that they can't WAIT to be 'out on their own'.  We don't need to convince them of otherwise.  All they NEED to know is we won't judge them, abandon them and that when they want our input, we will provide it.  They need to know we love them.

You've taught them well.  But there will be outbursts.  Door slams.  Cursing even.  Just take a deep breath, count to ten and remember THEY WILL grow up to be kind and respectful adults.  And they will open up to you again - and your baby will return.
Thanks Caroline.  I have been of this opinion as well.  I know I am not the person of choice to talk to right now.  I am often the big, hairy meanie in my house and I proud of this!  LOL!  I do however, sometimes feel like I let too much slide but do find that removing myself rather than rising to the outburst is my best choice and often works to calm the kids down faster than if I exploded.  I appreciate that someone else has the same thought process and that it has worked!
Thank you!
Mom Up North
Here's the kicker - THEY OUTGROW IT. 

This is true.  I guess it is more a matter of how bad life can get living with them until they outgrow it.  For me, I was not willing to live like a prisoner in my own home at the whim of my daughter's fits and rages.  I have been at this for quite awhile and I am taking more a long view of it.

I suffer from depression and it has taken me too long to find my own emotional balance with meds and therapy to let someone else have control over how my day goes (even my own daughter).  I would plan things and then my daughter would kick off and I would end up not taking care of my own needs because she was raging about something.  I finally got the point where I would tell her that nothing she did was going to ruin something for me.  I love to canoe and we live on a river.  I need to get out and canoe a few times a week to keep my sanity.  There was a time when my daughter had to come with me and she would throw fits about it because she didn't want to go (yes I tortured her by making her sit in a boat while I rowed).  I finally realized it was either her or me in a very real sense.  I made her go and I'd tell her that it was not a negotiable subject and nothing she could do was going to ruin it for me.  I started taking the attitude with other things too.  When my daughter saw that she was going no matter what and no matter what she did I had a good time, she started making an effort to curb her responses.  Before that she had no reason to not react.  She reacted, got what she wanted and we both were miserable.  This way at least I enjoyed myself and in the end she looks back on those trips as the best part of that time that we spent together.

Yes, there are things you let slip but there is no reason why you have to allow your kids to completely control your life and the things you do.  I saw that my daughter could hold it together with other people so I just made her responsible for holding herself together and treating me like a person too.  I think we are role models in the way we live our lives for our children and also in how we allow them to treat us.  Who wants a life like that? 

I've seen people come back and really regret letting their kids get away with things just to get the weight on.  Honestly if your kid is going to stop eating again, he/she is going to do it no matter what and you can't parent well from a place of fear.  You got them through it once and you can do it again.  If you like the life you are living, I don't think you would be asking the question and if people on the outside are suggesting it, maybe it is time to change some of what you are doing.
What a great question and thread. I have been more of Playball's view: Yes she is obnoxious and rude to me/us at home, and takes no responsibility for chores. BUT at school and at her job she is (they tell me) polite, helpful, responsible, conscientious.

One of the parenting books I read before RAN hit said that if you are worried about your kid's behavior, look at how they behave with people OUTSIDE the home, because that is the adult they will become. I can live with a few more years of sass and unhelpfulness because 1. She is eating almost entirely freely and 2. With everyone else she is great, which means to me that this is a passing adolescent thing.
In our case, we made more allowances in the beginning and as D showed improvement (as she got closer to WR, started meds, and started seeming a lot better) we started expecting more of her.  This was not a deliberate plan, but more how it worked out as we felt our way through the dark tunnel of ED.  But I find that since she has been improving not only have we been expecting more of her, but we are able to give more to her too.  We are able to have really meaningful conversations every now and then because she is able to listen to us and take in our love and support.  We still have a ways to go, but things are much better than before.
DD diagnosed with anorexia at 14; FBT at home with the help of psychologist and medical dr; 3+ years later and doing well (knock on wood)
hi edaction,
this is kinds what we have been doing as well.  I just find my d is now balking a lot as we expect more...she often walks off in a huff and will refuse to talk to me because I said no, got upset by her behaviour or did jump right when she wanted something.  I think it is because for so long the world revolved around her (esp in the hospital..as we were there to see her, nurses were there to help when needed, etc).  we are now backing off the constant company (ie not doing every single thing she wants, my mom not coming to help as often) and trying to get her to occupy herself...a skill she is admittedly having trouble relearning.
I guess we have a ways to go, too...but we will get there.
thanks for the advice.
Mom Up North