When you first discovered your child’s eating disorder, you probably experienced a range of emotions—fear, sadness, anger, guilt. Now that you’ve made the decision to send your son or daughter to rehab for an eating disorder, you might be struggling with a new set of difficult emotions.
Some parents describe feeling as though they are giving up on their child. Others feel inadequate because they can’t fix the problem on their own. The truth is, the fact that you’re reading this post right now is all the evidence you need to the contrary. Still not convinced?
You’re Not Giving Up. You’re Giving Your Child Hope
As parents, it’s natural to want to give your child everything he or she needs to live a healthy, happy life. When an eating disorder, or any mental health disorder, makes this impossible some parents see professional rehab as an admission of failure. Not only is this the wrong way to think about rehab, it’s totally unfair to you.
Think of it this way. If your child broke her arm in gym class you wouldn’t try to fix it yourself—you’d send her to the hospital for professional care. And, you certainly wouldn’t feel guilty about doing so. Well, the same logic applies to sending your child to rehab for anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or any other mental health problem.
Stop Beating Yourself Up for Sending Your Child to Rehab
Sometimes parents need to take a step back and recognize when a situation is beyond their control. If your son or daughter is struggling with an eating disorder, you need to seek professional help sooner rather than later. Your teen might not like the idea of professional treatment, but that’s ok. Young people are not very good at predicting the long-term implications of their choices and they sometimes respond negatively to the idea of rehab.
You are an Important Part of Your Child’s Eating Disorder Treatment
The best eating disorder treatment centers recognize how important support from family members can be during treatment. They also understand how difficult it is to be a parent of a child who has an eating disorder. This is why you should look for a program that offers parental support groups, family therapy sessions and strives to make you a central component of your child’s individualized treatment plan.