Helpful Resources for Parents whose Child has an Eating Disorder

Dad talking to Teenage daughter about pursuing treatment for anorexia

Contributor: Leigh Bell, BA, writer for Eating Disorder Hope

If your child has an eating disorder, your mind is probably the greatest and most immediate resource. You need to know the eating disorder is not your fault.

Moms and dads don’t cause eating disorders. You also need to know what you don’t know about this illness. It is important for you to do your research.

National Resource Available to You

A great place to begin learning is with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), which provides on its website the Parent Toolkit, a fairly comprehensive but free reference. NEDA also provides parents a free online support system for families with its Parent, Family, and Friends Network.

One arm of this network is the Navigator Program (http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators), a peer-to-peer online support system that connects people caring for a loved one with an eating disorder or individuals struggling themselves to trained volunteers called “Navigators” who can share information, personal experiences, and additional resources.

Mother and daughter planting flowers together.Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders (FEAST) is an international organization formed specifically to support families of those fighting the illness. FEAST offers basic information and up-to-date news about eating disorders, but one of its best resources is a forum for parents and loved ones to ask questions and gain support from others worldwide who are going through similar situations.

The Eating Disorder Coalition for Research, Policy, and Action (EDC) is an activist organization working to provide more awareness, research money, and insurance coverage for eating disorders. The EDC is an outlet for hurting and frustrated families to advocate for their loved ones. The EDC website also has helpful and extensive information on insurance coverage of eating disorders.

There is an App for That

Some mobile-phone applications allow you (and your child’s therapist) to support and track your child’s recovery progress.

Young blonde woman using tablet while sitting on steps of TrocadRecovery Record is probably the most popular among apps designed to support recovery from an eating disorder. The free app for Apple and Android allows users to log everything they eat and how they felt doing it.

All of this information is put into a simple chart to help users and their caregivers track trends and achievement. Treatment-team members, including moms and dads, can log in to see what’s going on and how to best support the user.

Rise Up and Recover, designed by a woman who recovered from an eating disorder, is another free app for iPhones and Androids to support people dealing with eating and exercise issues. Users can log what they eat and how they feel, in general, and they can export this to a PDF to share with their treatment team or family members.

Most importantly, as a parent caring for a child with an eating disorder, find ways to provide yourself with emotional support, encouragement, and time for yourself.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What resources have your found helpful in supporting your child’s recovery? What resources have been helpful in supporting you through this process?


Leigh BellAbout the Author: Leigh Bell holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in Creative Writing and French from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is a published author, journalist with 15 years of experience, and a recipient of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism. Leigh is recovered from a near-fatal, decade-long battle with anorexia and the mother of three young, rambunctious children.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 25, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.