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.

Need to talk with another parent? F.E.A.S.T. parents offer peer support via:

sunny6
Our child has been working hard the last few months.  They have been showing real progress even with a few slips.  However, recently, they purged a couple of times, which we hadn't seen in months.  They are 3 years into this and have been in a good range recently.  We are concerned that these slips may be due to a trigger, but they can't really identify it.  They have been pretty upset since we caught the last purging event.  They have asked to see their weight, which they haven't seen in a long time.  We talked numbers, ranges, etc. as we believe that it is time that they start to understand what they weigh as they will step on scales throughout their lives.  This created anxiety.  Today, they are requesting freedom to do this on their own (we have been watching all meals the last few months, monitoring sinks and toilets, etc).  However, when we talk about what happens if weight loss occurs, they try to deflect or argue that 5 kg (out of the dr range) wouldn't impact their mental status and only help them and that that loss would be fine.  They want to see a dr (but not an ED specialist) to discuss their range as they believe it doesn't match their curve and they want to meet with a dietician as they want to be a vegetarian.

Where did this come from?  We are afraid it is because school is coming around although they say that this isn't the case.  Should we back off and let them try or has ED decided to show up again?  They insist that it is them and not ED and that they really want the chance to prove to us that they can do this.  Up until a few days ago, we would have agreed with them. 

Keep in mind, we tried the independence thing 8 months ago and struggled for 4 months to regain that weight loss (it wasn't even 5 kg).  They won't engage with a therapist, so we are doing this on our own.  However, they worked hard this summer and we have seen things we haven't seen in 3 years for progress.
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
My thought would be that your child may believe what they are saying to be true, however I also agree with you  that ED is likely to be at the heart of things. It is always so hard to work out where to move next. I believe your child is 16? So an age where developing independence is important but also an age where they believe their parents know nothing!. Of course anxiety drives eating disorders, and so when something is bugging them it is likely you will see a spike in behaviours. They may not even know themselves where this is coming from. 
Have you thought about perhaps offering a time line for doing various things, asking for input but at the same time trying to keep things how you would like things to proceed. What can you "give" in the negotiations to help them feel they have agency without you feeling that all is too risky. Loosening things slowly generally works best and as you say they clearly have some underlying ED issues still happening. Can you negotiate that if you "give one thing" that they "give back" something else that you think would be really helpful. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Quote
sunny6
We do have a timeline listed as it was our goal this summer to really push to some independence around eating.  However, everytime we get close to another step, something happens and some weight is lost and we can't go forward.  We have given up some other rules to give then space outside of eating, but this always takes front and center as when weight is lost, independence is lost because we go back to monitoring.

I think for us, they continue to struggle with their weight goal and I continue to struggle with  how much weight to allow to be lost before we step back in.  Some people say if they lose weight for 2 or 3 weeks, then step in.  They can lose a lot of weight quickly and we really struggled getting any back on the last time for months.  It just seems that any time we get close to range, the anxiety picks up and the work is lost.

I would be willing to open up on the guidelines if I knew that they would be willing to push themselves to correct weight loss, but this continued argument over their historical weight range really makes me believe that they won't try to get back up and we will keep sliding.

Some have said to the them go and then take them to residential at this point.  I really can't watch our child sink back into that hole after working on this for so long.  I do feel though that they need to see some reward for their work, which we thought we were giving as we could until the last few days.  
Quote
salmy
Hi, @sunny6
we have been circling around this push for independence this summer as well, at the urging of our FBT therapist. Just yesterday(after we had resumed all control except for drink pouring almost 3 weeks ago), it was suggested that our d (also 16) needs some nudging towards independence because she is passive and perfectly happy with us doing all the things- but it keeps her from having to confront and decide against ED-  and that we need to decide a place or two with her food to give her the opportunity to engage and decide against ED. This was new thinking for me, and it did not fly well with me during our session... so much fear tied up in letting go of control, because like you, the risk is so great. But, I’m going to give it a shot. With my
d’s personality this may in fact be a valid tactic. Only tone will tell! 🥰
D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
Quote
PurpleRain
My D is younger (14 almost 15) and 1 year WR+. I've decided to let her decide about the afternoon snack. What, how much, and even if she wants one or not. We are just starting this. And she chooses and serves herself morning snack as well, and eats it unsupervised (although everyone is in the house still working/studying online). My husband is nervous and told me this would be hard for him. But really she is ready for this, even if she doesn't eat it, she doesn't need an evening snack anymore, but instead of telling her, you don't need am afternoon snack, we are cancelling it,vi vi decided to give her control and observe what she does. she is eating quite freely lately. We'll see what happens. Our approach has been sloooowly does it.
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
 
Quote
PurpleRain
My D is younger (14 almost 15) and 1 year WR+. I've decided to let her decide about the afternoon snack. What, how much, and even if she wants one or not. We are just starting with this. And she chooses and serves herself morning snack as well, and eats it unsupervised (although everyone is in the house still working/studying online). My husband is nervous and told me this would be hard for him. But really she is ready for this, even if she doesn't eat it, she doesn't need an evening snack anymore, but instead of telling her you don't need an afternoon snack, we are cancelling it, decided i've decided to give her control and observe what she does. she is eating quite freely lately. We'll see what happens. Our approach has been sloooowly does it.
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
 
Quote
MKR
Hi @Sunny6,

I would follow your instinct. 

Snacks are easy for your child to make decisions on, maybe even breakfast, but big meals like dinner will be overwhelming for some time and you may want to stay in charge.

I believe this is because we parents prepare a meal that involves several food groups, most often cooked separately. If my d was to undertake that, she'd definitely lose the plot soon. Fortunately, she is quite happy for me to do this daily.

So I think you will only be ready when it feels the right time for you.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
Quote
sunny6
We tried to back off a bit and let them try.  Unfortunately, behaviors came back pretty quickly as well as some other issues we haven't seen for over a year and a half.  They did tell us that they feel that their anxiety is high.  They continue to blame us; however, we have never changed. The only thing changing is the potential of school starting again and the discussion on weight.  They are concerned that they need to hold themselves accountable and are unsure how to do so.  I know this step of letting them try is so important, but the purging frequency is picking up and we feel like we have to step back in.  They haven't grown in over 3 years and have gained some the last few months.

What is next?  We really think that they need IOP, but the therapist has said that they really aren't ready to hear it.  Yet, when the therapist has made suggestions, they have tried.  We have seen a lot of that lately, they are trying, but this storm of behaviors feels uncontrollable, especially the SH behaviors that had been gone for so long.
Quote

        

WTadmin