When Advice Crosses the Line

When Advice Crosses the Line

Advice from loved ones can be extremely helpful when going through a hard situation, especially one that involves a child with an eating disorder, but there are times when that advice is not actually advice, and can be harmful to the receiver. Support groups can often foster this type of “advice-giving.” There are many times in which support groups are helpful and provide validation to its members, but there are other times when the members of the support group tell other members to disregard important information from therapists or dietitians, even though these members are not health professionals. Many members of these groups do not take into consideration the fact that everyone is different. What may work extremely well for their family, might not work at all for another family, and that is completely okay. Therapists and nutritionists work extremely hard at providing treatment plans for their patients, especially those with eating disorders, so they should be respected as the experts in their field, not the support group members. Many families and individuals rely on support groups to help them get through such a difficult period in their lives, and support group members should provide what they are meant to provide: support, not professional advice that they do not have the authority to give.

Key Points:

  • 1With the advent of online support groups, people have more ways to get help and advice than ever.
  • 2Thoughtful advice givers often offer ideas from their own experience, or proffer well-researched opinions.
  • 3It’s best to be wary of advice givers that make sweeping, dictatorial statements, such as get rid of that, you must do this, ignore him, etc.

I have seen parents told that their entire family should be observing the exercise/dietary restrictions that their child is prescribed.

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