There is a method by which parents take complete control over the food their children eat. True, it is controversial. But for the same reasons that most new methods are controversial; lack of education and true understanding. The method I am referring to is called the Maudsley Approach.
One of the terms most associated with eating disorders is “control.” The general belief is that if the girl or individual only had enough self-control they would be able to combat their “illness.” Then the entire ordeal would be resolved.
Many believe an eating disorder is about lack of personal control but it is not. With anorexia the parents need to take control which is a frightening prospect. It seems almost barbaric and many professionals are adamantly against it.
When parents realize they must do what they believe they haven’t been able to do already; which is get their child to eat, they feel worried and frustrated. They have thoughts like, “What if we do something wrong or what if heaven forbid we make it worse?!?” Or “If I could get my child to eat I would have done it already! And you’re telling me the answer is to get my kid to eat! That makes no sense!”
The Maudsley Approach is definitely not for everyone. For years parents have been told that if they do take control, that it will undoubtedly make things worse. Maudsley requires that you believe in your abilities as a parent at the very same time that you have lost that belief. Some parents cannot get beyond the belief there is nothing they can do.
This is what you need to know: You have not done anything wrong. An eating disorder is a powerful illness and it has in many ways taken over your lives. It has overwhelmed you and your family. The eating disorder or ED has convinced you that you cannot help your child.
You have begun to believe there is nothing you can do because you feel utterly helpless. You hear talk of in-patient facilities, and you wonder if this may be the best and only option.
The lie has become the reality, that ED is in control, and you fear there is absolutely nothing you can do to make your child eat. First your child began to believe this concept, and then ED convinced you too that he is in charge.
But there is good news here! The good news is you do have influence and more power than you know. The good news is you can learn a method that may indeed help your child not only eat, but eventually want to eat.
Don’t give up. Get to know the Maudsley Approach before you make any more decisions about treatment for your child.