Tips to Coexist with a Teen with an Eating Disorder on Thanksgiving
With the holidays coming up, you may be afraid of what you will be faced with regarding your teenager’s eating disorder. Thanksgiving is all about eating as much as you can for that day and all the days after that you have leftovers. The holiday is wrapped about turkey, stuffing, candied yams, and pumpkin pie although you may not have any appetite if you are worried about your teen on Thanksgiving. The best thing you can do is to make sure that you are prepared for this special day, so you can celebrate the holiday being thankful while eating the way you would like to with no regret.
Understand they are struggling.
Not only should you be thankful, but compassion will go a long way in trying to fathom what your teen must be going through. Having a full plate of food is similar to putting a drink in front of a alcoholic. A teen who has an eating disorder typically does not want to eat in front of others and views food in a different way.
Keep the talk to something other than food.
Instead of complaining about how “stuffed” you are or how you need a wheelbarrow to carry you out, being sensitive to your teen’s feelings at your Thanksgiving table can help to make the day go smoother. Obviously be yourself and remain the parent but recognizing that your words could be hurtful should be motivation to use discretion to not embarrass them or make them feel uncomfortable in front of friends and other family members.
Overthinking is for the bird
Sit at the table and enjoy yourself. That is all you have to do. There is nothing that you can do in that moment to prevent your teen from doing what they are going to do. Let go of your fear and enjoy everyone’s chit chat and laughter. Keep it simple by staying in the moment to get through the holiday with everybody feeling blessed they were at the dinner table with you.
Remember that the reason for the holiday is appreciating what you have and being grateful for it. Go around the table and ask everyone, including your teen, what they are thankful for. Sure, this activity may seem cheesy, but there is nothing like being at an occasion where everyone is expressing their blessings. Gratitude will connect more people than allowing that notorious elephant to reside in the room.
Make the holiday count by doing your best to make everyone feel comfortable. You may feel like you are pretending that the eating disorder does not exist although there is a time and a place to make a difference with your teen’s eating disorder other than Thanksgiving Day.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center can help your teen with their drug and alcohol abuse. Our unique, adolescent, substance abuse program provides our patients with a customized and comprehensive level of care to maintain their sobriety.
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