What do parents want?

I was saddened to hear at the NEDA conference that the dozens of F.E.A.S.T. parents who attended were considered a "clique" by some in the eating disorder leadership. It isn't nice, it isn't true, and it bodes ill for good relations between groups.

I encouraged F.E.A.S.T. members to come to the conference and many, many did - I actually lost count. They came to meet one another, to learn, to be part of the larger eating disorder community - these are things we at F.E.A.S.T. believe in. They shared rooms, they shared meals, they bought one another drinks. They came with open minds, big hearts, and great attitudes.

They also came with opinions, questions, and a common interest in F.E.A.S.T. I don't think that makes them a clique; I think that makes them valuable members of the eating disorder world. Those opinions are not always the same as the mainstream but they are important. The questions, well, they were good questions and deserved answers. The common interest in F.E.A.S.T. - the parent-oriented organization that brought them to NEDA and encouraged them to get involved - is also an asset. F.E.A.S.T. isn't competing with anyone - there's plenty of work to be done and many needs to be met.

I love the ideals of the nonprofit world: synergy rather than competition. Niches instead of markets. The best possible way for us to win our common goal is by listening - respectfully - to one another to find common ground and things to work together to achieve.


  1. Laura

    Did you ever think that you would get to a place where ed world luminaries would complain about the level of support that FEAST has?

    I wish it could have been 26!


  2. According to the definitions of 'clique' that I have come across, a clique is defined as a small body of people with shared interests who spend time together and "do not let readily allow others to join them" - since when was that a feature of a group of FEAST-ERs? We are busily being evangelical and trying to get as many to join us as possible - it's the others who are being "standoffish" in my opinion (luckily, the definitions don't say anything about individual FEAST-ers being childish :P).

    Erica (EB)

  3. What do parents want? A listening ear, information, hope. That's what FEAST give them. That it also gives them a chance to have a really good time and to laugh and share and play together is also all to the good. I didn't notice anyone being standoffish to anyone who wanted to join in - far from it.

  4. I've heard clinicians say, "Just give therapists a chance."

    I want it said the other way around too.

    Just give parents and families a chance as well.

    Mutual teamwork.

  5. I think they were just jealous because we were having so much fun!

  6. It must be that secret handshake you all do.

    Could it be that 'Magic Plate' is being mistaken for some kind of symbol in the way the goat is for the Masons? Sorry to sound silly but honestly....when you have lived through the journey we have, you learn to give things like this the weight they deserve.

    I love you FEAST-ers, you saved my sanity and probably saved my daughter when the fraternity of experts out there was failing her.

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    Mahatma Gandhi quotes

  7. I have to coming from being in healthcare field for the last 30 years, the notion that people with a little info are dangerous and when patients ask lots of questions, it's a hassle and pain is so far from the truth. Educated patients are they're own advocates. They bring observations and info that no healthcare professional should ignore. I have learned to listen to my patients, always encouraged them and their families the understanding that NO questions are stupid and it is not only their right but their responsibility to be informed. I think some of these professionals are too elitist in their attitudes toward patient care. They don't be
    Believe we are capable of understanding or contributing. What a Shame. It speaks for the professional abilities.


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