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Anorexia Nervosa Health Center

When Your Child is Anorexic

How active you are may be the key to effective treatment.
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Parents Learn to Let Go

Once Megan had achieved her target weight of 115 pounds, the focus of therapy shifted gears. Siegel began to concentrate on family issues that would keep Megan healthy. For years an avid dancer who spent many hours each week practicing, Megan now wanted to enjoy a more relaxed teenage life. Claire, proud of her role as a "dance parent," realized that she had unconsciously pressured Megan to stick with her dancing. "Megan wanted more time with her peer group but had never known how to tell her parents that," Siegel says.

Once Megan's parents understood what she needed, they supported her moves toward independence, including her plan to go away to college the following fall. Siegel helped the Donovans balance their anxiety about letting go of their child with an enjoyment of their newfound free time for themselves and for each other. "They began golfing and traveling together," Siegel says. "A chapter needed to be closed in their lives, and they were able to close it."

Susan Chollar is a freelance writer who has written about health, behavior, and science for Woman's Day, Health, American Health, McCall's, and Redbook. She lives in Corralitos, Calif.

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