When Your Son Has An Eating Disorder
Eating disorders are often thought of as a “female problem,” but boys and men can also struggle with these illnesses. According to a research review published in the Journal of Eating Disorders in 2020, approximately 25% of individuals with eating disorders are male. However, the actual prevalence of eating disorders in males may be higher, as men are often underrepresented in clinical and research settings.
If your son has an eating disorder, it’s important to know how to support him. Here are some tips for talking to your son about his eating disorder:
- Use “I” statements. Instead of saying “you need to eat more,” say “I’m worried; how can I support you better?”
- Validate his feelings. Let your son know that his feelings are valid, even if you disagree with his behaviors.
- Avoid triggering topics. Don’t talk about food, weight, or exercise and don’t comment on appearance or food.
- Role model healthy behaviors. Show your son that it’s possible to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise.
- Get support for yourself. Parenting a child with an eating disorder can be challenging. Get help for yourself so you can be a better support for your son. OutshiningED offers parent coaching sessions and a free Facebook group.
Read my most popular blog post on what to say and what not to say when your child has an eating disorder.
And remember the most important thing is that your child gets professional support. A parent can be a great source of support and accountability. However, your son with an eating disorder will benefit from working with an expert.
Finally, let’s stay in touch. Please consider joining my parent email list so that I can keep you updated on the latest offerings, research and specific ways to help your son.