11year old daughter showings anorexic signs

Hi my 11 year old daughter is showing signs of anorexia. She is very very slim naturally, but recently she has grown an aversion to food, and has admitted to me & her dad that she has a fat stomach - she doesn't. We have tried to talk to her, and have told her she is perfect, beautiful etc, but there still seems to be a problem. Do I go down the route of taking her to her doctor now, or wait awhile.

Any help/advice gratefully received.

7 Replies

  • Please seek help for her as soon as you can. The earlier help is sought the better the recovery outlook. I speak from personal experience. It sounds like you are talking and listening to her, which is great. Try not to dismiss the expression of her feelings. .. this is difficult obviously, as some of her verbalized feelings may seem irrational to others.

    For example her telling you she feels she has a fat tummy.

    We feel many of our deepest difficult emotions in our tummies, perhaps the real issue is may be feeling overwhelmed. Transition to high school, puberty .. her body changing anyway, peer expectation or competition .. it is a challenging age .. but of cause no eleven year old should be so concerned about their body .. but this is a growing social problem.

    Talk to your GP .. but I would involve your daughter in the decision process to give her a sense of agency as she may already feel she has no control.

    I am a final year art therapy student , 45 year old single mother of two boys, one 19 month one 4 years. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I didn't get help early, and my ability to recover was affected, I still struggled in my mid thirties.

    Feel free to contact me if you want to ask any questions. Good luck



  • Imogen - thank you for your reply.

    I have spoken to her about going to the doctor and she has reluctantly agreed to do this, food really seems to be her enemy at the moment, but I think the biggest issue for her is 'growing up'. She will be back at school next week - I also believe there is a 'friend' causing her problems, do I need to involve the school too?

    Thank you again


  • Hi Sam,

    It is tricky I know. Schools are generally very sensitive at responding to these issues today ... I am not surprised that there are peer issues, possibly even an element of bullying may around too. Is this friend bullying or coercing ? sometimes there is collusion between girls (unconscious often ) and high degrees of manipulation. I would talk to a teacher you trust and find easy to relate to, perhaps more importantly one that your daughter relates to well? But again I would advise, let your daughter know and involve her in the discussion/process so that she doesn't feel that she is being 'talked' about, or that her feelings are not important.

    It must be so hard, I wish I had hindsight experience as a mum of a girl to give you that perspective with experience of how hard it must be for you. But I know my parents struggled a lot.

    Keep talking,

    Imogen... .

  • ..also .. don't forget to look after yourself ;)

  • Hi, I reiterate the advice already given, the earlier you intervene the better. You are the best person to notice early signs of an eating disorder, as you know your daughter and her behaviour better than most. It will be interesting to see what your GP says and there is a possibility that they will have nothing to offer unless your daughter hits certain physical criteria ie BMI, which is very difficult because the early you intervene the better. If this is the case then please seek some help elsewhere, private counsellor or Eating

    Disorder charities maybe.

    As well as running a private practice I am a school counsellor one day a week. I personally am only to glad to hear from parents (with the young persons permission) so that we can all support someone and be aware of what may help them.

    Well done for asking for help, and yes look after yourself and follow your instinct, you know your daughter do what you feel is right for her and don't be fobbed off if you are not happy with the service you get.

    Good luck and keep us posted

  • I would get her weighed and have her bmi taken. You then have a benchmark. Read lots but don't believe everything you read. The book on the Maudsley method (there is a link on my blog ) tomagcro.com is a good one for parents.

    Also consider involving other people as watchers eg school teachers. They can keep an eye on her and report back.

    Hopefully it's not the onset of an eating disorder but don't ignore the signs once you know what they are.

  • A book call queen bees and wannabes is also a good read if there are friendship group issues

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