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12 yo sneaking food

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

We just sat down to breakfast for dinner and tried to pour the maple syrup only to realize that the liter jug was empty.  We hadn't eaten it on anything yet as a family.  I have also found about three empty gogurt boxes, one empty can of parmesan, and some cocoa packets this week.  Two half-full cartons of ice cream disappeared in the night.  We haven't had sugar in weeks because an entire canister of it disappeared in about a week and I have mostly resorted to not replacing foods that get stolen like that, but at this point it has crossed the line into punishing the entire family multiple times for every time she cleans out another favorite.

I am at my wits' end.  We have TONS of healthy snacks, she never finishes her dinner, and I have tried every way I know how to convince my daughter to quit sneaking food.  Most of the time it is either stuff I would have given her (in reasonable amounts) if she had asked or stuff that should not be eaten by itself.  She is growing and gaining reasonably, and definitely does not have a weight problem so I think it is a control/passive aggression problem. 

Does anyone have any insight here?  I try to keep the kitchen stocked, but losing a liter of maple syrup and discovering it on a night when we were supposed to have a "fun" dinner as a family was just too much.

post #2 of 10

I don't have a lot of advice accept I think it might be good for her to talk to a councilor or a therapist so she can gain some insight into herself as to why she's behaving that way.  I had a co-worker like this, she actually ate a whole bottle of BBQ sauce out of the staff fridge that someone else had brought.  She'd get so embarrassed whenever she realized we knew, and I felt so bad for her.   I really hope she finds someone she can talk to.

post #3 of 10
That is odd behavior. I would also find someone to talk to her about it. Sorry your dealing with something like this. Especially since it's pretty unfair to the rest of the family. How did she react when you all discovered the syrup was gone?
post #4 of 10

Hmm, a jug of syrup? What did she eat in on? 

 

We've had some food issues with DS 10. He has motor oral aversion which means his gag reflex is way out in front of his mouth. Many foods literally make him gag and so food in general sort of stresses him out. He's had occupational therapy and we've come along way but we always have some weird food issue going on. Around age 6 we found a hundred wrappers easily hidden everywhere. Basically, he was trying to make up for lost calories at dinner by bulking up during the day. He was worried about getting in trouble for it so hid everything. Just talking to him was enough to change the behavior but like I said, it's a really long term issue we are dealing with.

 

Have you taken her to a doctor just to make sure everything is physically well? I'd mention this too. There may be a reason she's so drawn to all the sugar in the house.

post #5 of 10

Does she have any other issues?

 

I ask because we've had some of the exact some foods disappear and the culprit was my DD who is on the autism spectrum and has an anxiety disorder and intense sensory issues. I can't explain the food thing in isolation because we were dealing with so, so many issues at once.

 

She was in counseling.

 

For her, it really related to the other issues. Dealing with the anxiety and such were the very helpful on the food front. It was most intense during puberty (around age 12) and got better with age.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yes, she is also on the spectrum, but usually it makes her refuse food, not eat all of it.  We talked today about how I would work harder to have more appropriate snacks in the house but she had to work harder about asking first in return.  Also, that I understand how being a teenager (she's only a couple of months away) makes you hungry all the time, but that she needed to eat more at dinner and less in the middle of the night.  She seemed receptive, and I really do try to make sure she gets enough food all the time, but we'll see.  I am trying to not make more of an issue of it than necessary because she is pretty thin and already worried about the recent changes in her body (she has gone from being the thinnest kid in school to being maybe the third thinnest kid, which really worries her) so I don't want her to develop any more food issues than she already has.

post #7 of 10

I think it sounds like you handled it really well.  I don't know if your daughter is like this, but my 11 year old son is on the spectrum and right now he seems to need very specific comfort foods or it's like he won't register full and he just keeps eating (he's on the thinner side so it doesn't matter that way, but he'll go through lots of milk and fruit and graham crackers, etc, etc, trying to feel satisfied).  We came to an agreement that we would keep instant oatmeal around in the house in his two favorite flavours for snacks, and we always need to have lemon juice around (only way he'll drink water, only drinks sour tasting juices) and lots of black pepper (which goes on lots of foods).  I still think your daughter probably also needs someone to talk to to help her deal with any anxieties or difficult feelings, but maybe she also has a need for a specific food or taste and she's not quite finding it.

post #8 of 10

How does she eat at breakfast and lunch?

 

At that age, my DD couldn't eat breakfast because her anxiety was off the charts so she was busy just FREAKING OUT that time of day. Lunch at school as overwhelming (it pushed all her sensory buttons) so she couldn't eat then, either. So even with a normal dinner, the kid was famished all evening and did things like consume an entire container of Parmesan cheese in one sitting.

 

(I agree that you are handling it well and that a counselor is a good thing for a kid this age on the spectrum)

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by layne View Post

Yes, she is also on the spectrum, but usually it makes her refuse food, not eat all of it.  We talked today about how I would work harder to have more appropriate snacks in the house but she had to work harder about asking first in return.  Also, that I understand how being a teenager (she's only a couple of months away) makes you hungry all the time, but that she needed to eat more at dinner and less in the middle of the night.  She seemed receptive, and I really do try to make sure she gets enough food all the time, but we'll see.  I am trying to not make more of an issue of it than necessary because she is pretty thin and already worried about the recent changes in her body (she has gone from being the thinnest kid in school to being maybe the third thinnest kid, which really worries her) so I don't want her to develop any more food issues than she already has.


She may do better with several small meals a day than big meals. We found this with DS. DS just can't handle most dinner foods... he just can't and it stresses him out (and us as really, no matter how often it's happened, your kid throwing up at the table is just not pleasant.) We stopped looking at dinner as his main source of calories/vitamins/protein/ect/ and that really helped. Instead of "snacking," we actually added a second lunch to his schedule. He has a big breakfast, big packed school lunch, when he comes home at 3pm, he eats a full meal. Then at dinner he eats what he can handle (sometimes a lot, sometimes a little depending on what we are having.) He then has a snack about an hour to bedtime. Basically, he eats every 3-4 hours he's awake.... sort of like a Hobbit winky.gif He also has control issues and this seemed to actually relax him about food as opposed to making it a source of stress like it once did.

 

Once we stopped putting importance on DS eating dinner and instead looked at his overall nutritional needs, things got better.

post #10 of 10

We've had issues w/my oldest dd, who is on the spectrum.  She has Asperger's, anxiety, OCD, etc.  Getting so much better since she's been on a healing protocol thru the Neurosensory Center of America.  It is holistic, btw.  For her I'd find empty Taco Bell sauce packets everywhere.  Or ramen noodle packets (she's 22 and would go buy them herself).  Or half eaten bananas under her bed, but the TB sauce is the worst.  Again, she'd get it herself.  The answer for us was more blotion (specially formulated because kids on the spectrum can't always absorb vitamins properly) and taking away her access to $.  Obviously there were $ issues, too, that would cause us to take that drastic step with her, but now she thanks us and is healing!

 

Good luck, OP.  Sounds like you handled it well.  FTR, my 12 yo is not on the spectrum and gets up during the night (most nights) to eat.  she will eat a sandwich or cereal, though.  Avacados keep her filled up for sure.  Maybe try increasing her good fats and introduce a good oily supplement like fermented cod liver oil would help?

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