We welcome parents of children and teens 10 to 20 with Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) to our virtual support group.
Parenting a child or teen with ARFID is challenging. Feeding a child or teen with ARFID is extremely challenging. Meals may feel like a constant struggle. It’s likely you’ve been given conflicting advice about whether to cater to their food preferences or not. You may feel like you’re running ragged searching for their preferred brand of yogurt or chicken nuggets or having to bring home the exact right fast food every night. You may have run out of ideas for what food to serve them. They may be eating the same eight foods over and over again and the list of foods they are willing to eat only seems to get smaller over time. You feel worried about their health and you know they are not getting enough nutrition.
Who Leads the ARFID Parent Group?
This monthly group is alternately led by Lauren Muhlheim, Psy.D., CEDS-S and Carolyn Comas, LCSW, CEDS-S over Zoom. Both are certified eating disorder specialists and approved supervisors with extensive training and experience in ARFID.
We have been supporting parents in supporting their teens with ARFID. Our work is rooted in Family-Based Treatment for teen eating disorders and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for ARFID. In our work with families of teens with ARFID, we see how hard it is to parent and feed and support recovery. This is why we have created a monthly support group for parents of teens with ARFID.
What Happens During Parent ARFID Group?
We provide psychoeducation about ARFID, the different types of ARFID, how it may develop, maintaining factors, and recovery strategies. Parents are able to share struggles and successes as well as resources.
Who May Attend Our Parent ARFID Support Group?
Parents or caregivers of people with ARFID (approximately ages 10 to 20) may attend. This includes parents and family members in any location around the world. Please be aware that our meeting is in the Pacific time zone.
When Does the ARFID Parent Support Group Meet?
The group meets over Zoom monthly, usually on the first Wednesday of the month at 12 noon pacific time. We usually do not meet during July and August.
To Register for Our Parent ARFID Support Group
Strategies for Supporting Your Child or Teen With ARFID
2. Serve preferred foods at meal and snack time. Keep meals calm and try to rebuild positive food experiences. People with ARFID often have had many negative eating experiences.
3. Be aware of sensory-specific satiety. Offer meals with different components (e.g charcuterie platter meal) and homemade snack mixes of different favorite snacks.
4. Do exposure to new foods outside of regular meals and snacks. Reduce pressure on whether they like the new food. Focus on exploring the different properties of the food (e.g. taste, smell, texture). Encourage only two bites for new foods. The child must have buy-in for each food they try.
5. It is common for people with ARFID to need to try foods 10 to 15 times before they are able to incorporate them. When incorporating new foods, you may need to start with smaller amounts (less than full portions).
6. When starting with food exposures, start with foods that are very similar to foods that are already accepted. Consider new brands or flavors of preferred foods or foods your child used to eat.
Read our additional strategies for helping a child with ARFID to eat.
Get Help for Your Child or Teen or Young Adult With ARFID
If your child or teen has ARFID our experienced therapists can help. We can provide telehealth to families anywhere in California and in person in our office in Los Angeles. We also offer individual and family-based CBT-AR for teens and adults with ARFID. Contact us to learn more.