Help for parents of children and adolescents suffering from anorexia and other eating disorders

Welcome! If you are caring for someone with an eating disorder, you’ve come to the right place. This vast web resource is packed full of

  • the information you need in a hurry
  • practical advice backed up by research from the top scientists in the field
  • the know-how I and scores of parents all over the world have gathered from therapists and from personal experience
  • the companionship of someone who knows what it’s like, providing hope and confidence

I’m a parent, I’ve been gathering expertise on this topic for over 7 years, and I’m dedicated to helping you help your child.

These resources will save you years of research and will prevent you going down dead ends. I want to save you wasting time and struggling unnecessarily the way I did at first. Eating disorders need action fast. I’m here to help you find out what you can do that will make all the difference.

“If only I had had Eva’s books/website/YouTube when my daughter was first struggling, the NHS could have saved so much money.”

(From a parent’s written feedback at one of my workshops)

How this website can help you right away

  • My book will give you up to date, in depth help – fast. It is recommended by the most eminent therapists/researchers in the field in the UK, USA, and beyond. Buy it here.
  • This website shows parts of each chapter. And because every day you go down the wrong track makes things harder and more dangerous for your child, the chapters I want you to benefit from right away are there in their entirety. Scroll down for the book’s table of contents.
  • My videos and audios will get you started right away, and some offer longer term emotional resources.
  • I  offer individual support to parents (world-wide, by video link) to move you out of confusion or fear right away with information, meal coaching or communication tools. I may also give you regular accompaniment during this demanding emotional journey, so you keep well and give your child the best of yourself.
  • And when invited I deliver workshops for clinicians and parents in the UK

Do sign up to my mailing list (for occasional news / research / resources / videos or major updates to the book). You can email me at .

Anorexia-eating disorders book for mothers and fathers to support child's recovery

What’s in the book, and who is it for? Here’s a video with a quick overview, followed by a table of contents with links to each chapter.


1. How this book can help you (Entire chapter HERE)

An overview of the help I’d like to offer you in this book and some suggestions on how to find your way around the information fast.

2. How does an eating disorder affect you and your child?  (Entire chapter HERE)

What’s going on in the mind of someone with an eating disorder? And what’s it like for you the parent? The aim of this chapter is to lead the way to understanding and compassion for yourself and for your child.

3.The parent’s part in diagnosis  (Entire chapter HERE)

Find out how eating disorders are diagnosed, the pitfalls you can guard against, and get tips on how to get expert care without delay.

4. Treatment: the essentials (Entire chapter HERE)

The essentials for a parent who wants immediate answers: what are the main principles of the treatments covered in this book, and how long before you can expect some relief?

5. What parents need to know about the causes of eating disorders (Entire chapter HERE)

There are many outdated theories about what causes eating disorders. Here’s what you need to know so that you can focus on what matters. If your mum thinks you gave your child an eating disorder, show her this.

6. Practical steps to help your child beat the eating disorder (HERE)

An eating disorder affects almost every aspect of our children’s lives. Here is an overview of what you can do to systematically weaken its grip and get your child back.

7. How do you get your child to eat in spite of the eating disorder? (The bungee-jumping analogy)  (HERE)

In this chapter I give you all the tips I’ve learned from experience, from our therapists and from other parents. I’ll use a bungee-jumping analogy to illustrate the principles. Later, I’ll offer some examples using practical scenarios.

8. See the tools in action: mealtime scenarios (HERE)

In this chapter I’ll give you examples of things to say and not to say when you’re supporting your child at mealtimes. This will help you keep calm and will help your child to pick up that fork and eat. I then offer a scenario in which parents assist their child to eat for the first time. This chapter uses many of the practical and emotional tools described throughout the book.

9. How to free your child of fears: exposure therapy  ( HERE)

Our children can remain stuck in an eating disorder while they’re scared of certain foods or situations. In this chapter I describe how they can be desensitised to their fears through systematic exposure. Then I’ll give you a practical example of a desensitisation session.

10. The road to full recovery (HERE)

How do we deal with school or everyday challenges in the early days, and how do we return to normal after the worst is over? How do we prepare our children for independence? What does the future hold?

11. Partners, family, friends and work: help or hindrance? (HERE)

How do you get your partner, your other children, your family, to function well as a team? What about the outside world, with its money and work concerns, and people who don’t understand this illness?

12. Which treatments work?  (Entire chapter HERE)

What are the principles of successful therapies? What should you look for when choosing a therapist or treatment centre? And what are the red flags for poor treatment? I tell you more about family therapy, Family-Based Treatment (FBT), Maudsley, CBT and other approaches, suggest how to work in partnership with clinicians and look at when it might be better to find a new team. I also highlight what to look for in psychological support for yourself.

13. Powerful tools for well-being and compassionate connection (Entire chapter HERE)

It’s one thing knowing what to do, and another managing to do it when you’re overwhelmed or when your child puts up strong resistance. How do you keep calm and remain supportive? How do you listen and talk to your child so he feels that you’re by his side and that you understand? How do you take care of your child’s needs and also ask for what matters to you? This chapter addresses your emotional well-being as well as your child’s.

14. Love, no matter what: how to support your child with compassionate communication (HERE)

Has it become difficult to recognise your child? Do you struggle to help her as she flips between depression and aggression? Are you finding it hard to give unconditional love, and are you confused about rewards and punishment? In this chapter I offer you resources and examples to help you communicate with compassion and build connection.

15. How to build up your own resilience and well-being (HERE)

In Chapter 13 I offered you tools for mindfulness and compassionate communication. I now build on these to help you access more resilience and a sense of well-being, right away and in the long term. Whether you’re getting ready to serve a meal or trying to cope with emotional exhaustion, you will find resources here.

Appendix: Compassionate or  Nonviolent Communication  (NVC) (HERE)

A brief description of Compassionate Communication, also called Nonviolent Communication, or NVC, and links for more information.

Thank you (HERE)

When you buy the book you automatically get the latest update – and I work hard to keep the book up to date. The chapters on this website are not updated quite so often.


NOT IN THE BOOK: Resources to complement the book’s contents

Audio support to help you be at your best (HERE)

My book gives you the why and the how of compassion. My new audio resources help you actually experience the power that lies with a compassionate state, so you can shift yourself into a state closer to wellbeing.

Internal conflict: Self-compassion and how to mediate arguments in your brain (HERE)

If you’re finding it hard to disentangle yourself from blame and shame, or if you’re getting eaten up by thoughts of what you could have done better, try this self-compassion and acceptance exercise in this example.

Empathic dialogue after a bust-up (HERE)

After your child has screamed, kicked or run away, an example of post-fireworks dialogue.

Empathic and effective dialogue with your child: example after food is binned in school (HERE)

In the book I give you principles and examples of empathy and dialogue. Here is one more example you might relate to. The child has secretly been binning food in school and the parent is trying to connect, understand and find solutions.

Don’t beat up your child (or yourself) for failing in spite of therapy (HERE)

Telling someone ‘Stop shouting and do your bloody CBT!’ isn’t going to work.

Young adults with anorexia: not too old for family therapy (HERE)

Plenty of parents report that family-based treatment for their college-age child works. This article of mine in Mirror-Mirror describes how the creators of FBT are trying it out on 17-25s.

Getting your child with an eating disorder to eat (HERE)

A short article with an overview of many of the tips that are already in my book, in response to the question “How can I get my child to eat?”

Eating disorders: understand where psychotherapists are coming from (HERE)

Underlying causes, insight, unconscious motivations and all those other red herrings

Psychotherapy approaches: which might help? (HERE)

For your child. For you. Navigate your way through the alphabet (Positive psychology, NVC, ACT, CBT, DBT, Psychodynamic therapis, EMDR (for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD) and Cognitive Remediation CRT)

Three routes out of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (HERE)

Evidence-based approaches to address the effect of traumas large and small, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

‘OK’: two letters for mindfulness and compassion (HERE)

‘O for Observe’ and ‘K for Kindness’: they won’t make the sun shine 24/7, but they can transform how you relate to whatever weather comes your way.

School support: a checklist for parents of a child with an eating disorder (HERE)

Would your child benefit from going (back) to school, but some support measures need to be in place? If so, here’s a checklist to remind you issues to discuss with the staff.

School trips with a child suffering from an eating disorder: flow chart to support teachers (HERE)

Can your child go on a school trip provided the teachers are properly briefed? If so, here’s a flowchart to use as a starting point for your discussion with teachers.

Some statistics: how common are the various types of eating disorder? (HERE)

Ballpark figures to help you with campaigning.

Suicide and eating disorders: some statistics (HERE)

This is not for parents – it’s statistics, so it doesn’t apply to any individual. The graphs I produced here are popular among campaigners.

England’s new eating-disorder treatment standard: a model for the rest of the world? (HERE)

Very, very exciting improvements on the way. An idiot’s guide to standards everyone should be emulating.

What do we mean by recovery (or remission) from an eating disorder? (HERE)

Some of the issues to be teased out when we talk of recovery – and stories of hope.

List of previous posts (HERE)




24 thoughts on “Help for parents of children and adolescents suffering from anorexia and other eating disorders

  1. Janice Densley said:

    Thank you so much for the most practical advice on helping me work through the nightmare we are trying to muddle and chip away at. My daughter has been unwell for six years. Please tell me where I can buy your book . Thank you for the most practical advice I’ve every come across.
    Warm regards
    Janice Densley

    • Eva Musby said:

      Dear Janice
      I’m so glad you are getting something practical to help you make some inroads. My book will be available as a paperback or as an ebook from this site or from Amazon. The harder question is ‘When’. I am doing some final editing right now, so hopefully not much longer now.

  2. Anonymous said:

    I found your website a few days ago, when I was at a very low ebb. It felt like my daughter’s anorexia was winning the battle and after almost 3 years I had no strength left to fight it. In desperation I googled “How can you get an anorexic to eat?” and came up with your website. I can’t thank you enough for your practical advice and tips, which made total sense to me, and allowed me to begin again with renewed purpose. I have found the bungee jumping analogy and the dialogue scripts particularly helpful, and my daughter has started eating again. It is so good to read advice from someone who knows exactly what we are going through. I have recommend your website to our family therapist and will be buying your book so that it is at hand whenever I need some more encouragement.

    • Wow, that is just wonderful. I am overjoyed. Thanks for telling me. And all my best wishes for new successes.

  3. Fantastic said:

    Hi there.
    Just came upon your Bungee jump video that was posted on another site I visit called
    What an amazingly great “voice” you have. I found the video so helpful and heve read as much as possible on your site. So enlightening. Really answered some of my questions. Our 18 year old is dealing with trying to claw her way out of anorexia. It’s had her for the last 3 years, badly.
    You need to get that book out !!!
    Maybe you already have I will check, but I just want you to know I’ve learned more in the last hour with your website than I have from our twice weekly sessions with the therapist.
    Thank you so much.

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm. I hope what you’re learning here will help you heaps with your daughter, and I wish you both lots of hope and successes.
      And how about letting your therapist know about this resource? It’s good to have teamwork, plus, it may help other parents.
      Do let me know, if you like, how you get on.

      • Fantastic said:

        Hi again,
        There’s no way I’m not going to let her know. I’ve found it so helpful to find someone to come at this disorder from the parents side. I really can’t thank you enough Eva.
        Our daughter even thanked me tonight for being so understanding and patient. Result !!!

  4. Martha said:

    My son suffers from anorexia and I’d just like to say how amazing our CAMHS nurses, psychiatrist and medical staff have been. Just the best. We feel safe, secure and well informed. They are taking huge care of our family through the most difficult of times.

    • How absolutely wonderful! I am really glad for you and for all the other families they support.

  5. Chris said:

    Your book , journey and resources have been invaluable
    Thank you for sharing
    We are almost one year dealing with anorexia and our 15 yr old daughter
    We just had a relapse so I am vowing to really work on compassion and empathy like never before!

    • It’s really kind of you to give me that feedback. If it’s not quite a year maybe it’s not so much a relapse as a little bit of unfinished business. A bit more time for brain healing? Maybe a few fear foods or fearful situations that are still creating stresses? Either way, I’m sending you my wishes for you all to get through this one with great big helpings of compassion all round.

  6. Gill said:

    I downloaded your book last night and sat up reading it till I fell asleep at 1 am! I’m only a quarter of the way through it but already I feel differently and much more confident about my ability to help my child through this. I wish I’d heard about it earlier and I will certainly recommend it to our psychologist (who is excellent by the way) for her to recommend to other families. I know we have a long way to go but what I’ve read so far has helped so much already. Thank you 🙂

    • Gill, I am really really pleased that you are gaining confidence that you can help your child. Thank you for letting me know, and also for spreading the word. May you have some successes already today, on which to build on!

  7. Hi Eva,

    I am a recovered ED patient and freelance journalist. I’m doing some investigations into inpatient care across the UK and I would really, really value your input. Would you be able to speak with me about this?

  8. alana said:

    Eva your book and you tube videos have been absolute life savers to our family. We can’t thank you enough you have given us invaluable information and hope at the darkest of times. We were advised by our therapists right at the start of our D illness to read your book. I’m so glad we did you gave us tools and strategies to cope in so many situations. Thankyou.X

    • Fantastic! Thank you for the feedback. And it’s great to hear that your therapists trust my book.

  9. Ofelia ayala said:

    Hi Eva am a por person i have a daughter with anorexia and my daughter can not receive more atttention, l can have a password to read your book is very interesting and this help me a lot thanks God there are people like you l appreciate it.

  10. mrscar said:

    This book has hit the nail on the head. Our therapist had shared video’s from you (although I had already found them) I referenced the book a few times and she is currently reading it.. It is so inline with what she has been leading us through.. I can’t imagine she won’t find it a valuable resource.

    My daughter just turned 11.. and it is the first reading I have found that starts at that place. We did not go to the hospital.. and are in Family Based Treatment.. but your home experience seems to be at the same place.. sometimes I think you stole my story.. you were in my living room. The book gave us the confidence to turn the corner and start to see weight gain.

    Still struggling with getting her to increase amounts and “forbidden food”

    • I’m so glad my book helped you turn the corner. I hope things are getting better all the time. Thank you so much for writing in!

  11. mrscar said:

    I forgot one important question.. have you had any experience with parents of twins. My daughter is a twin and its like having a mirror in the room with you all the time. She is constantly trying to feed her sister.. she does have a broken record in her head… from way back.. and it really wasn’t relevant when the disorder hit. She remembers “I can’t tell you apart, but I know J is the heavier one.: She has a strange paranoia that she will get heavier than her sister….. even though they have really both been close …

    • I know of parents with twins but haven’t picked up enough to help you there. I guess we all have “scripts” or stories from our childhood, so “I’m the heavy one in this family” (or “I’m the least-loved of us twins”?) would be one of them. Different psychotherapy approaches (or life?) are more or less successful at helping us let go of our scripts.

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