Definition of the don't

Usually I focus on the actions, not the failure to act. But I've got a collection of Do Nots to share.

"He's trying" is not our time to sit back and hope.

"It would kill her to miss track this season" could be a fatal mistake.

Do not try the easiest thing first, do not listen to those who say "don't make it into a big deal." Run, speedily, from anyone who says "it's very common, it's a phase." Don't say to yourself "let's see how she does with this therapist that she likes." Don't say "we'll get a second opinion if this doesn't work out." "Don't think "he's not that sick, he doesn't even have the full diagnosis yet." Don't settle for "just go home and feed her."  Or, "I'm sure we can get her to open us to us, leave it to us." Don't listen to your spouse who thinks you're making too big a deal out of it. Don't listen to your sister-in-law who had an eating disorder in the 80s. Don't read one book and think you're done. Don't consult one "expert" and settle in.

And don't listen to me, either. Do trust your bravest parental instincts.


  1. Life saving advice! If I may add ... Don't say "I can't do it, I'm not as strong as those other parents". You can do it, you're stronger than you know and there are a lot of people here to support you!

  2. These dont's are so important for all parents to hear.

    I think our parental instincts are the most important signals - and we need to listen to them.

    I, for one, listened to many others and had blind faith and the one person I didn't listen to was myself.

    A huge mistake and this time around, I trusted my parental instincts all along the way.

    and acted on them

    It's saved my D's life after over a decade of ED controlling her.

  3. Oh, Stephanie - exactly! I forgot that one but it is so important. It makes me mad when people discourage parents but deeply sad when parents do it to themselves - as hard as it is for US our kids only HAVE us to be strong for them. If it was a tiger you'd find the strength to defend your child, and ED is a TIGER!

  4. Laura, Thank you and your commenters for inspiring me this morning. I could have gone for a walk, but my motherly instincts wouldn't let me until I shared your post and added some of my experiences with instinct on my blog. My daughter is Recovering because of Instinct and Action. She is ALIVE because of Instinct and Action. She is happy because of Instinct and Action. She is productive because of Instinct and Action. She does not have an Anorexic identity because of Instinct and Action.

    I am going for a walk now.

    Everyone, please have a wonderful, instinctive, action Saturday!!

    I write because I care. I am a mother first.


  5. Laura, one of the best benefits of FBT is that I have learned to trust my instinct that my daughter needs me to be her MOTHER first and foremost-to heed my maternal intuition, to say the things a mother says to a child and protect her like any other mother would protect her child. I'm not a therapist or an ed specialist. Somehow in trying to make my interactions with her, too, well, therapeutic, I lost sight of the fact that she needed a MOM quite a lot. And she has a therapist who stays on her own turf too so it works well!!!

  6. Big Bad Brick Wall Mama12:32 PM, October 08, 2011

    If I may be presumptuous enough to add two more things to your "don't" list... from my personal experience. Don't go against your "gut" or maternal instinct.. no matter what other people are saying. And don't give up. No matter what. Keep on fighting for your child. At times you may be the only one truly trying. Thanks for the encouragement Laura!


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