Tips For Recovery

Tips For Parents

A Letter to Your Daughter

Use any of the following messages that might feel appropriate for you to say or write to your daughter. Feel free to use our words or make up your own.

Include any of the following:

Dear Daughter,

Our culture is extremely messed up around food and weight. I am so sorry you have gotten such crazy and confusing messages about how girls should look. It must be so hard for you, as a young girl, to like and accept your body with all these negative messages constantly coming at you.

To me, the most lovely way for you to look, is how you would naturally look at whatever weight you end up when you eat healthy and treat your body really well for a long period of time.

You don't have to be perfect. I'm not. Nobody is. I don't need for your grades, your performance in sports or for anything you do to be perfect. I just care that you are healthy and balanced.

I understand that it is so hard to stop the eating disorder behaviors since they have become such a habit. I know that you must have felt really badly about yourself and your body to turn to the eating disorder but I want you to know that YOU are not bad. I now get that you developed this both as a result of dieting and because of not knowing how to deal with difficult feelings. It is not your fault that you got an eating disorder. Now that I understand this, I no longer blame you.

I really want to understand how you feel. I want to get better at talking about all kinds of things together and I want to become a better listener. I will no longer focus on or criticize what you eat.

You don't need to be only happy around me. You can be sad and mad and scared too. These are all normal feelings. I am sorry if I haven't been the best at listening to all your feelings. I want to try to get better at that. All of us in the family need to grow and change and look at how we are with food and body image and with welcoming all feelings. I am open to changing.

I also want to try to spend more time together, just you and I. Just hanging out, talking or not talking. Just being together. You are important to me and I am so sorry that I have been unavailable and so caught up in my own work that I forgot to give us time together.

I want you to know that I adore you and that you mean the world to me and that if I do anything that adds to your poor body image or feeling that you need to be perfect, I want you to tell me. Also, if there is anything I can start doing that might help you get better, I want to know.

I love you and I want you to get better and I also know that it takes time and it is not easy to do. I am proud of you for getting help. All you need to do is keep trying--and I will too.