I wrote A Manifesto For Parents of Anorexic Teens during my daughter’s struggle with anorexia. I hope this declaration of my beliefs and intentions is helpful to you as you support your teen’s recovery.
I believe in anorexic teens, and I believe in their parents.
I believe that outcomes for anorexic teens will improve as parents learn how powerful they are in their teen’s recovery.
I believe in my teen’s ability to overcome challenges.
I believe anorexia is happening for my teen (not that anorexia is happening to her), and that she will become the best version of herself for having experienced it.
I believe anorexia is not a limit to my teen’s life, but an expansion of it.
I believe that parenting my teen through this is the privilege of a lifetime.
I believe love is stronger than anorexia.
I believe it is my job to protect her and fight for her when no one else can or no one else will.
I believe in a full and complete recovery.
I believe in happy endings.
I know my family will be better for having gone through this together.
I know that anorexia is not my teen’s fault, nor is it mine.
I know that my teen is not broken.
I know that I am not broken.
I know my teen has a bright future.
I will not give up.
I will keep going for as long as it takes.
I will learn the skills necessary to be the best mom I can be for her.
No matter what, I will strive to be the mom that I want to be and the mom that she needs me to be.
I will not require her to be braver than I am willing to be.
I am willing to go through my fear to find my courage.
I am willing to ask for help and to consider higher levels of care if needed.
I am willing to face the most difficult emotions.
Even when she is terrified, I can ask her to take another bite.
I can take care of myself while caring for my teen.
I can set limits for her when she isn’t able to do so for herself.
I can find at least one meaningful minute a day no matter what obstacles present themselves.
I have unconditional love for my teen regardless of what the anorexia is making her do.
There is nothing anorexia can do that will change my love for her.
I am committed to believing in her when she doesn’t believe in herself.
I am inspired by her bravery.
I do not let anorexia’s reputation intimidate me.
I choose to feel confident.
I choose to be compassionate.
I choose love over fear.
I respect that there are many strong opinions about anorexia, and I reserve the right to have my own without apology.
I honor my wisdom in deciding whether a treatment is right for her or not.
I am proud of my teen for her fight, and I am proud of myself for being on her side, always.
I am committed to showing other parents of anorexic teens what is possible.