A little while ago I was watching a BYU broadcast and there was a talk by Kip Rasmussen PHD mft called "The Magic of Allowing Imperfection." The talk was about eating disorders and how parents can help prevent them.
I have posted another list of things parents can do which I agree with but it wasn't an LDS specific list. Also I have come up with my own list that I haven't posted because I use it for my presentations and media appearances.
I wanted to share a few things I got out of Brother Rasmussen's talk with you because it was one of the best comprehensive talks I've heard that really "gets" the disorder. It also hits exactly on points that I think are powerful for parents to know in raising their child not only free from an eating disorder but other self-esteem and addictive problems. Also, he speaks to those who are suffering.
Here is a link to the entire talk, I highly recommend you watch or read it.
This is what I took away from the talk:
What Parents Can Do to Prevent Eating Disorders:
(I think most of these are good for parents to do and will reap benefits independently of anything to do with eating disorders)
1. Catch kids doing something right. Give praise freely. Behavior that gets attention is usually repeated - good or bad.
2. Spend time with your kids. Sounds simple enough, just spending time will help you build a bond and trust with your child.
3. Encourage them to have their own voice. I thought this was interesting because I don't know why but growing up I did feel too weak, ashamed, or untitled to my own voice. I was timid and shy, feeling like I couldn't "make waves." I think this also can set a child up to be a victim of other situations so let you child know it is okay to "go against the grain" and that their voice is valid and important.
4. Teach that we don't value people based on appearance. You can do this with discussion as well as setting the example.
How You Can Help a Loved One With an Eating Disorder:
( I am often asked this question by interviewers. It is one of the hardest questions for me to answer since looking back at my own situation I saw how defiant I was to others trying to help me. I was in denial and in a dark place where I didn't feel worthy of help. In my case I know I had to literally hit rock bottom and feel myself dying before I could get help. I see the value in this list and hope by using it as a guide that you can reach your loved one before she gets to the life threatening state I was at.)
1. Empathize without offering advice or judgment.
2. Work on your own approach to food.
3. Let her know how much you love them- unconditionally.
4. Refrain from being "food Police."
5. Refrain from making judgments of why she has eating disorder.
6. Spend time together.
7. Enquire often about her emotional well being and be there for her.
8. Ask her if there are specific ways you can help her.
(In Brother Rasmussen's talk he explains each step better than I can.)
To Those Who Have Eating Disorders:
At the end of my book, before the pictures, I wrote a heartfelt plea to those who are suffering. If any of you want a copy of that page please let me know and would love to give it to you. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the list Brother Rasmussen used in his speech:
1. Don't push friends away. Don't isolate yourself.
2. Allow family in.
3. Know that appearances and accomplishments wont met what you crave - love, acceptance, etc.
4. Speak your mind, have a voice, feel emotions, get in touch with your needs and feelings.
5. Don't judge yourself so harshly.
6. GET HELP, be open and honest to counselor.
I couldn't agree more with this list. There is great power of healing in these steps.
I would like to add
* FIND A PASSION
*PRAY TO KNOW YOUR WORTH.