National Eating Disorders Association

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It's me again with a question re: younger siblings

Today my youngest (10) will come back from a weekend at her dad's house. I will have to face her and explain where her sister is. I don't know what to tell her. I don't normally lie to my kids and I don't want to start now however I'm unsure of how much my youngest can handle/comprehend. I haven't heard from my daughter at all since she was admitted on Friday and since she's an adult, I can't just call up and ask questions so if my youngest has questions, I don't even have answers for her.


Hi jscales1999,
I am so glad to hear that she got into a program. I know that they can be so hopeful.
When we put our 15 year old daughter in the hospital for 2 months, it was hard to know what to tell people. My daughter did not want people to know. We have 5 other children, all but one was living at home. We thought it best to tell all of them that she had an eating disorder and was very sick and needed to go to the hospital so she could get better. Even before we put her into the hospital, all of them knew that she was not well, even her 11 year old brother, who misses some of the things going on around him. For us it was the right thing to do. Plus when she got home we had to change so many things around to accommodate what she needed, especially supervision, that it would have been very confusing if they did not know what was happening.
I know each situation is different and I know that you will take into confederation what is best for you and your daughters.
How are you doing? This can be such a stressful time. Please take care of yourself.



Honesty and family therapy

As a parent of 2 daughters with ED, I recommend honest and open conversation within your family. Your younger daughter will find out eventually and is also at a higher risk for developing an eating disorder herself. Dishonesty is a huge part of ED, unfortunately, so modeling honesty, especially when things are uncomfortable, is important.

Also, get into family therapy as soon as possible. You need to learn how to have effective conversation with your daughters and develop tools for dealing with this difficult situation.