time for us to listen to our instincts
I agree wholeheartedly with you that parents should trust their instincts and that food, not doctors, gives parents and kids strength.
For too long we parents have assumed that professionals have some secret treatment for anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. We've been led to believe that if we turn our kids over to them, they'll use great wisdom and scientific knowledge and will know the right cure.
It's an illusion.
The best available evidence is that when parents, not professionals, are in charge, with the right supports, they are best equipped to heal their children and adolescents. Further, the best available evidence shows that food, and lots of it, not talk, is the top priority in recovery.
Our gut parental instinct is to feed our kids when they are starving. That instinct has been side-tracked by well-meaning but misinformed speculation by certain schools of psychotherapy that assume eating disorders are caused by trauma and interpersonal conflict and that anxiety and conflict should be minimized in treatment, not faced head on. That school of thought has done huge damage. It has allowed sufferers to starve to death and it has disabled parents with feelings of unwarranted guilt and powerlessness. It's time for parents to take back the agenda. The older models of treatment have been around for several decades and haven't shown any measurable success. In fact, it's to the point where old theories of treatment are not even being tested any more using modern methods of systematic scientific inquiry. The proponents of the older theories are afraid, in my experience, to subject their methods to public scrutiny.
Our gut instinct as parents includesthe wisdom of earlier generations. Over the ages, peoplehave faced all kinds of fears and anxieties, and as a species we have learned, by trial and error, how toovercome them. My favorite advice is from"Falling off Your Horse; Getting Over an Unscheduled Dismount.
As soon as you can do so, climb back into that saddle, even if its just for a short walk around the arena. This will prevent a single spill from turning into the snowballing
nightmare of anticipating another. Facing fears directly is the only way to overcome them. If we don't, our fears will grow into looming dread. In other words, if you don't get right back on that horse, it will only become harder to do so."
On this forum we say, "If you aren't catching flak, you're not over the target."
Our kids have fallen of their food horses. They need a boost from us to get back on, and they need the boost right away.
Parents of eating disordered kids are,based on my personal experience and confirmed in scientific studies, among the most loving, devoted, conscientious, intelligent and persistent people anywhere. It really is time for us to listen to our instincts. "