I am so surprised to read all the posts. Nobody here sees a potential problem here?? I am concerned for the kids. It does sound like the kids are deprived to me. "they are ravenous for everything, including food" sounds like deprivation. THe food part would concern me the most (are they being abused? is food being withheld?) but their minds need stimulation too. Are they bored at home? What is an average day like? What do they do? Do they ever get punished and if so, what happens? Are you close enough to the kids that you could ask these last few questions?
I've had kids stay at my house and none of them act like this - we are usually so busy having fun and playing games that none of them ever ask for snacks, sometimes I worry that they didn't eat enough during "meals" when here that they might go home hungry, because kids do need snacks too, especially if they didn't eat a lot during mealtime.
I did read one of the posts where the parent returned a bag of pistachios and cheese sticks... seriously?!?! WTH is up with that?? Why did she have a problem with this , I can't for the life of me figure that one out, unless this child is being abused. We often send snacks and food and even little toys home with kids (they are relatives I'm referring to, but I can't really see the difference between friends either) and nobody EVER has a problem with it.. we probably do this because it was done for us when WE were kids... we would visit my grandma, and she'd always send us home with some of her healthy food from the garden, snacks or leftovers she prepared for us there... it was always much appreciated, a gracious gift, and we thought of her later at home and the next day because of it. Sharing your food with others is a GOOD THING, not something to be considered "rude" or implying some evil message that the parents aren't doing a good job!... its a gracious gift and you're supposed to be happy and accept it. If you don't like the gift given, you never return it and hurt their feelings!!
I think that was very rude of them to return the bag of treats you sent over - I understand they do not have computer or tv (I don't have an issue with) - but, do they have no manners too? That is unbelievable.
This sentence here really haunts me: "ONe of the children in particular though seems more ravenous, like she will actually take food out of someone elses hands to eat their food and will eat, eat, eat anything that is given and ask for more continouusly"
Are you sure she's not being abused? Is food ever withheld from her as a punishment? Does she have "rations" or is she allowed to eat as much as she wants at mealtimes?
IT sounds to me like she's being physically abused (doesn't necessarily have to be intentionally) by NOT getting enough to eat. OF course, it is also possible she has a medical disorder, and she IS getting enough to eat at home, but a medical condition is causing her to act this way. Someone mentioned an eating disorder, but perhaps even a nutritional deficiency of something that is not yet recognized. Like if she's deficient in something in her diet, her body may seek to get it by increasing her appetite, hoping the next thing she eats will fulfill her need! I hope she's been to the doctor for a checkup.
I think you should follow your intuitions on this one, and make sure there is nothing deeper going on that you are not aware of. ON a more positive note, perhaps if there were serious abuse going on, the mother would never let the child to your house to eat to her fill (which I sincerely hope she gets to!! - if this parent has given you ANY sort of food instructions or 'rationing' for the children, that would be setting off red flags for me.)
I don't have problem with limiting computer, tv, or toys, but let the child eat for god sake, WHAT is this mother's problem!?! Why in the world would she say "you can take this home we won't eat it" when the kids were just asking to eat it! The kids are old enough to be out of choking hazard risk (I can understand if they were toddlers, her having a problem with nuts), these are both healthy snacks, I just don't get it
I went hungry at home often and I can tell you no matter how hungry I was I never acted like that, nor have I seen other hungry kids act that way-and I grew up out in the woods and there was a lot of poverty. I've seen it as many people here have. I don't think it is a bad idea to address it in some fashion.
The child mentioned acts deprived. There is a difference between just being a kid with bad manners and acting out of deprivation. I think there's a line being crossed here.
I don't know that this is a judgment issue, but a concern.