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Monday, 21 November 2011

What they hear

Rearing teenagers is not an easy job.  One of the most difficult bits is communication.  I remember being a teenager.  Just.  The world was in technicolour and stereophonic surround sound.  Stuff mattered.  Really mattered and nobody understood.  And I mean, NOBODY.

My husband and I (risk of sounding like the Queen there!) try really hard to communicate with our children.  Having learnt from Professor Janet Treasure's Skills Based Learning for Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder, we instituted a Family Forum.  We don't do this every week but it is a chance for us all to sit down and discuss what is on our minds.  What I discovered yesterday was that what we said was heard as criticism when it was meant to be a loving "ask for help".  That was the only thing they heard and then switched off.  Harrumphing and chuntering.  (I know it's tough that they have dinosaurs for parents, but do they need to say it out loud?)

Now those of us who have been through FBT and helped our children recover from an eating disorder can look back and vaguely remember the semantics of what the eating disorder threw at us (literally and figuratively) throughout the initial refeeding Stage 1.  My advice to parents who are currently in the trenches and at the sharp end of a disempowering, guilt-inducing tirade of eating disorder vitriol.  Don't bother to learn fluent "Eating Disorder".  Just switch off.

Pretend you are a teenager.

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