National Eating Disorders Association

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The at HOME help that no Doctor, Psychologist, or Psychiatrist can give me

HI! My name is Amy, and I am the mother of a 12 year old girl that is suffering from anorexia. My daughter's struggle begin last spring when she started losing weight because a boy started teasing her about being a FAT COW!!!

She begin this journey weighing in the triple digits last spring, to a low double digit as of recent. I took her to the Doctor in May 2018 with concerns and the Pediatrician told me she was in the normal weight range and her BMI was in normal range, and I got told she was an active girl, and was doing just fine!!! That was when things slowly begin to slip. I told the Pediatrician it wasn't the fact that she was in "normal range" it was that she had lost a certain number of pounds which is a HUGE weight loss for a child in the 6th grade. He assured me, that there was NOTHING wrong with her, of course in my heart I knew differently.

The summer went on, and the weight continued to poor off of her. They told me that I would need to bring her back to the Doctor for a three month check up and lab work and I decided to try taking her to a Family Medicine Professional instead of the Pediatrician.

In August 2018 she was down again, and the Family Medicine Doctor thought it was time to have her see a Clinical Psychologist. She begin seeing a Clinical Psychologist August 6, 2018. During the first 6 weeks of the visits with the Clinical Psychologist were spent with my daughter, the Psychologist, my husband, and myself. WE would go to sessions and I would do 95% of the talking and I wasn't sure why she wasn't spending any individual time with our daughter.

She started seeing her alone, and some sessions were good, and some were not productive at all.....She felt it was appropriate to move her visits to bi-weekly with her progression. My daughter seems to relate o.k. to the Psychologist but, I am not convinced she is 100% the best fit. I would like her to spend more time with her, and less time visiting with us (mom and dad)

Approx, 2 weeks ago she had a re-check up and it didn't go so well this time. She was directly admitted from the Clinic to the hospital for dehydration and low BP. She was back down to her double digit low. Her lab work came back perfect, EKG's came back normal, and she HATED being in the hospital.

She stayed two nights, and she was very sad while there. It was very scary for all of us.
She is now seeing a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and and doing weekly weigh-ins.

She says she wants to get better, says she is too skinny, but her behaviors show otherwise. She does the sneaky things at meal time. (Dropping food, throws it away when not looking)
But, desperately says she wants to get better.

I am looking for at HOME advice.....
-We are currently doing a meal plan of 6 meals per day.
(Small meals)
-What do other parents do to encourage their child to eat?
-How do you find a fine line between Screaming and yelling to not saying much of anything at all?
-Do any parents use reward systems for their child?
-We are currently using POSITIVE reinforcement every time she does something good, but it just doesn't seem to be enough
-How do parents Cope with the moods and depression
-Have parents tried an anti-depressant and has it been successful for them and their family.
-What tips can you give me to make the home life more comfortable for my family and I

I know this is a lot of information but I am looking for support. Any information and help is much appreciated.

Hello and welcome to the

Hello and welcome to the forums scaredmom1322. Your post has been slightly editedt to more adhere to the community guideliness. Users are discouraged from sharing specific numbers.    Thank you and please continue posting.


Hello. My daughter is 12 also, and is very much like your daughter. My best advice would be to read as much as you can. I have read Help your teenager beat an eating disorder, and Eating with your anorexic. Both have helped me tremendously. The moods and depression I just say to myself that this is not my daughter who for 12 years was a model daughter, and still is, but the yelling and moodiness is the eating disorder talking and not her. She truly ants and needs help, but does not understand her illness. I have not tried medications and hope to never. Basically whatever works to get the medicine (food) in is fine. Good luck


Hello and welcome to the forum. I am so very sorry for your pain and for the suffering of your daughter. I am sorry that the doctors don't listen to Mom's who know their children and instead treat people like things. It is such a shame that while you were trying so hard to get your daughter who you knew needed help were told, "she is fine". You knew better and now are dealing with her health issues that are even more serious. I am not a mother, but I know one. Mine. She dealt with me in the years I dealt with a serious eating disorder with my father. They were both active nurses at the time. I am told how I was very angry and extremely difficult. When I was so sick back initially in the mid 80's, there was little known about treatment in hospitals or out. Now more is known, but not enough. It is a shame because as you know, eating disorders are difficult to treat, and the sufferers are difficult to live with, even when they are your child. The anger and rage again is more about her fear about what is happening to her and her fear of gaining weight. As sufferers, we have a NEED to protect that at any cost. Even if that means lying when that was never a part of us ever. We don't really do it on purpose. It is to protect what we think is keeping us safe and from what we don't always know. For me it was being shy, being abused by my sister at home that my parent's weren't aware of. Or the extent of. It was fear of being attacked. It was fear of going to school where I was bullied. It was fear of growing up and not knowing how to adapt to the changes going on in my body. It was fear from seeing what was happening in my sisters lives. I have four sisters, all of whom have been abused and physically, emotionally and/or sexually. I didn't want that to happen to me. The world of eating disorders was safer or so I thought. So I did anything to keep it. And keep it I did for decades. I am now free from all forms of the eating disorder and all self harm.

For you. My Mom and Dad loved me. They put my butt in hospitals when necessary to keep me alive. They prayed a lot. And many others did as well. They educated themselves as best they could. They listened to me, they explained to me why my body needed food. When one's body becomes malnourished the brain doesn't work properly. It sees things that aren't there, such as fat on ones body. The brain becomes addicted to starvation as one becomes addicted to drugs. So as another mother pointed out, one of the best "drugs" your daughter needs right now is food. To help her think more clearly. To focus better. To have less anger. To understand why she is angry, besides just having to eat and gain weight. To understand what gaining weight means to her. If she is being bullied at school. Being called names. Being teased for her weight initially. That is really hard to hear. Especially these days when most people thing being thin is the answer to all problems. They are wrong. Today I am 51 and am at a higher weight than I ever thought I would settle on. I am happier though than I ever thought I would be. I am active in life, leading a Bible study at my home, taking a class at my community college, involved in church working part time. I am truly living and I was so afraid to live for so may years I found it safer to live in hospitals and hide out in day programs. But my faith in Jesus and finally being able to trust Him with my fears and surrendering to Him my fears has helped me to be able to say no to the eating disorder and self harm. I am two and a half years free from the anorexia and ten months form all other forms of self harm and eating disorders.

For you, loving your daughter, getting help for yourself, support for you and your husband, you need others to help you go through this. You can not do it alone. NEDA has great resources and are available to talk to when you have questions or need support. Posting here is a good thing. Ask your daughter what she needs from you. Let her know you are there no matter what. Her moods and anger are a result again I believe in part from fear. Fear of the anorexia being taken away from her. She will need to learn other ways to cope. Other things to look to to help her deal with her fears and pain. Therapy is there to help her with that. If you go down that route. I hope you get help in knowing what is best for her and yourselves. I do not know what your faith backround is but mine is Christianity. If you can find a good youth group where she can find some other teens to meet with on a weekly basis with a hopefully good youth leader is one idea. Again, I do not know your faith backround but for me, that is why I am alive today, my faith in Jesus. Even today, or last night, I needed to cry out to Him to help me deal with some feelings that were uncomfortable. He did. It isn't always easy but I am maintaining my recovery.

I again am sorry you are going through this very painful time. I pray your daughter gets the help she needs and is able to move forward in healing and health. If you haven't see if you can get the help of a dietician to help you know how many calories your daughter needs to gain and then she is still growing and will need to continue to gain or maintain as she grows. So having a good dietician will be helpful. Or a medical doctor who understands eating disorders and meal plans. Maybe having her have some input into what she eats, as long as it isn't low calorie and is what is needed. She may not be there yet. As for rewards, initially it may work but she is going to have to learn to want to recover and giving her reasons why and understanding her fears about her need for needing the anorexia I think are key. There are usually always reasons an eating disorder develops. Understanding those and finding out why are key. Family therapy at her age is also very helpful. I believe in letting her know what is and is not acceptable, such as screaming and yelling. But a therapist would be helpful in helping you know how to handle these things. I am not a therapist. I only know from experience that fear played a big role in why I stayed ill for so long. I also didn't know that my first "diet" would take me down the road it did. You are from what I see a loving and caring mother and I will pray for you that you get the best help possible for your daughter and for yourself. Please post anytime and know you are not alone. I know my response was long. I am sorry. I hope it was of some help. Take care and post anytime.