Here at Sweet Spot Health, we the principles of Intuitive Eating and non-diet nutrition to help people get it together around food, body image and movement so that they can say a big stuff you to diet BS and develop a sustainable way to care for their health.
Hi! I’m Maddi
founder of sweet spot health
Supporting Your Child Through an Eating Disorder: A Parents Guide

Navigating the complex journey of parenting a child living with an eating disorder can be a profound challenge. It’s a path laden with concerns, learning, and deep compassion.

At Sweet Spot Health, we understand the intricacies of this journey and stand ready to guide you through. This guide hopes to empower parents with not just knowledge and strategies, but also a gentle reminder that your support can be a beacon of hope for your child.

Understanding Eating Disorders

The initial step in this supportive process is grasping the essence of eating disorders. Conditions such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder are intricate mental health challenges arising from a blend of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.

Knowledge of an eating disorder is crucial. By deepening your understanding, you’ll create a nurturing, informed atmosphere conducive to your child’s recovery.

Recognising the need for support, we offer one-on-one consultations at Sweet Spot Health to assist parents in becoming well-informed advocates for their children’s wellbeing.

Recognising the Signs of an Eating Disorder

Early recognition is pivotal. Warning signs can range from dramatic weight fluctuations to an intense preoccupation with food, calories, and exercise. 

Trust your parental intuition—if something seems amiss, it likely warrants attention.

Encourage dialogue. A gentle, non-judgmental approach facilitates openness. Prompt with questions like, “I’ve noticed some changes and I’m here to understand and support you. Can we talk about it?”.

Fostering Open Communication with Your Child

Approaching a conversation about eating disorders requires sensitivity and genuine care. Remember, ambivalence is often at the heart of an eating disorder; it’s common for your child to have mixed feelings about their eating habits and the concept of recovery. They might not be immediately ready or motivated to discuss their challenges.

Here’s how you can navigate these critical discussions:

Encourage Honesty:

Initiate the dialogue with compassion. Try, “I’ve noticed some things that concern me, and I want to understand your feelings about food and body image. How can I help?”.

Embrace Ambivalence:

Understand that your child’s hesitancy to open up is part of the disorder. Be patient and persist gently. Let them know it’s okay to feel conflicted and that you’re there for them, without pressure, whenever they’re ready to talk.

Maintain Consistent Effort:

Consistency shows that you’re invested in their well-being for the long haul. Regularly remind them of your support and willingness to listen, reinforcing that their thoughts and feelings matter.

By cultivating a relationship built on trust and open communication, you’re laying a foundation that encourages your child to share their struggles when they’re ready. And when that moment comes, your unwavering presence will be a vital part of their support system.

Building a Supportive Environment

The ambience at home plays a significant role. Your home should be a sanctuary of solace and understanding. Here’s how to cultivate such an environment:

Promote Body Diversity

Embrace body diversity and encourage your child to recognise their intrinsic worth, distinct from physical appearance. Celebrate their unique qualities and achievements.

Mealtime Support:

Approach meals with patience and empathy. Foster a stress-free dining experience and focus on the social and nutritional value of eating rather than calorie counts.

Prioritising Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is vital. Engage with support networks, indulge in personal hobbies, and don’t shy away from seeking professional advice. It’s essential for your well-being and your capacity to support your child effectively.

Navigating the Language of Support

Words carry weight, especially in discussions about food, body image, and recovery. Here’s how to navigate these conversations:

Talking About Food:


  • Celebrate the diversity of food and the joy of eating.
  • Encourage balanced meals without focusing on calories or restrictions.


  • Avoid labelling foods as “good” or “bad.”
  • Don’t pressure or comment on the amount of food consumed.

Discussing Appearance:


  • Compliment characteristics unrelated to physical appearance.
  • Affirm their body for its capabilities, not its looks.


  • Refrain from discussing body size or weight.
  • Avoid comparing them to others.

Addressing Eating Disorder Recovery:


  • Validate their struggles and acknowledge their strength.
  • Be patient and remind them that recovery is a personal journey.


  • Avoid setting timelines or dismissing their concerns as a phase.
  • Do not oversimplify the process of recovery.

When to Seek Professional Support for an Eating Disorder

There comes a point when professional assistance is not just a benefit — it’s a necessity. At Sweet Spot Health, our team of Dietitians are skilled in aiding families through the complexities of eating disorders.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or simply need additional resources, our team is here to help.

Book a Consultation with Our Expert Dietitians

Your unwavering love and support are invaluable on this path. Together, let’s navigate this journey with care, knowledge, and the shared goal of a healthier, happier child.

Rochelle Lopes, Accredited Practising Dietitian at Sweet Spot Health.

This blog was written by Rochelle Lopes – one of the Dietitians at Sweet Spot Health. Rochelle has a special interest in disordered eating. She understands that health is more than just numbers on a scale. She adopts a non-diet approach where she helps you find your sweet spot with food. 

Learn more about Rochelle here.

parents supporting a child with an eating disorder.
Here at Sweet Spot Health, we the principles of Intuitive Eating and non-diet nutrition to help people get it together around food, body image and movement so that they can say a big stuff you to diet BS and develop a sustainable way to care for their health.
Hi! I’m Maddi
sweet spot health founder