What is our responsibility to others? Other parents, I mean. Fellow parents facing an eating disorder.
In my advocacy I've focused on empowering parents with good information, believing that with the opportunity to know about the options, and that there are a variety of ways to respond to the illness, that parents get the chance to do a better job. I have developed a line there where I stop: I don't expect parents to use that information the way I do, or act the way I think they should. I don't take responsibility for whether they understand or use the information.Not only do I not believe it is my place I really think I risk disempowering the vulnerable parent from owning their situation and acting with the necessary confidence.
At times I do feel more zealous - especially when I see a dangerous situation. At these moments I feel irresponsible saying less, quieter, and without urgency. I see wrongs I want to see righted, I see risks and possibilities where the other parent may not and feel it my responsibility to speak up. So, where's the line? When is it over-reaching, meddling, even harmful? When does a fastidiousness about boundaries risk harm?
I won't pretend this is always simple or that I'm always successful. I've had infamous situations where I was so passionate that people felt pressured just by my stridency. I've had people disappear feeling judged. Others I feel I failed because I didn't do enough.
I know others who similarly struggle. I've seen people go take personal action to help a fellow parent and probably saved a life. I've also seen people get burned and burned out by putting themselves out for another parent and been unsuccessful. It is REALLY hard to watch another family struggle when we "know" another way - a way we believe is better.
I'd be interested to know how others find their peace with this problem?