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Another teen girl weight thread

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 

I just finished reading the thread that Amber started about her 14 year old daughter.  Such a touchy subject!  I hope that my questions don't rub people the wrong way but they probably will.

 

My 13 year old daughter is a beautiful girl with a growing belly.  It is making me crazy.  This is not a thread about how to get her to lose weight (or maybe it is) but more about how to get myself to stop panicking about it.  I am having trouble sleeping because of my anxiety over my daughter's belly.  I am pathetic!

 

We are a food-aware family - we keep kosher and I'm gluten intolerant, so there are many discussions about what we can eat.  I love to cook and we eat almost all of our meals at home.  We don't keep much junk in the house, but we are not averse to dessert on occasion.  My teen daughter likes to cook, too, and I think she understands what healthy food is.

 

My biggest concern with her is over portion control and impulsive eating.  She's an impulsive person.  She hasn't had much awareness about hunger and fullness and we've talked about that a few times.  She seems completely unaware of her body and her shape.  Many of her friends are on the heavy side and I think she feels comfortable with them and perceives herself as normal.  I understand this is fine and I'm glad she feels good about herself.  Unfortunately I do not think she is seeing what I see.  I've had to buy her new clothes about every 2 months this year - yes, it is normal for her body to be changing, but she has gone up 3 bra sizes in 3 months (she went from a 32A to a 34 C and she's going to be wearing my 34 Ds soon at this rate).  The jeans that we bought in October don't fit anymore.  The dresses I bought her for her Bat Mitzvah in December were too small three weeks later and I had to get her Spanx so she could wear the dresses!  UGH, I never thought I'd buy my 13 year old daughter a girdle.

 

There are so many emotional issues around this topic that I am trying to tread carefully.  Here is where things go wrong in my head.  As a teen I was frequently told that I should lose weight.  My mom was crazy about her weight and eating and my dad was worse.  My dad and I share a blessing of having normal weight without a lot of worry, but he is always on some kind of diet or talking about some kind of diet.  My mom has always been on the heavier side of normal, but not obese, but living with my dad for the last 50+ years has made her crazy about her eating.  She and my daughter have a lot in common temperamentally - I do not want to make my daughter crazy.  But I am feeling like my dad's craziness is part of my problem now too!  Maybe my dad's focus on food and eating stems from my mom's impulsiveness.  Or maybe it's vice versa?

 

Either way I am having trouble sleeping when I think about my daughter's body.  She is gorgeous.  Fat or skinny she is a great kid.  I want her to be curvy and beautiful and not have the buddha belly and huge breasts that she has now.  I want her to feel confident in her body and be able to wear all of the beautiful clothes she loves and not have her belly hanging out over her waistband.

 

As far as physical activity goes, she is not a fan.  She plays soccer but unless she's at a team practice or game, she is not active.  I cannot force her to be active.  We try to walk places when we can but we live in a city that is not very walkable and where the weather makes outdoor activity pretty impossible for large chunks of time.

 

I need help getting over myself or communicating in a way that is safe for her emotionally!

post #2 of 42

I can understand your worry and preoccupation. I get a little anxious when my youngest gains weight. I do "know better." I even know that this is that pattern for him in particular... he gains weight, gets a little gut going, then sprouts 4 inches and is a rail again. He's currently gaining more than typical for his past growth spurts but I'm trying to keep calm about it because he is 12 and I do "know better." 

 

And I wanted to add that people can gain weight on healthy food just like they can on junk. Calories are calories. Put too many calories of nutrition dense food and you will gain weight. I sort of hate the assumption that heavy kids are sucking down soda and munching on potato chips all day.... yes, that is often the cause but it's not always the cause. 

 

Anyway, back to how to calm yourself about it, I'm afraid I don't have a ton to offer. Personally, I feel better when I'm being pro-active so I do the things everyone says to do... increase activity, offer less caloric snacks, ect. I know you know all this stuff and weren't looking for ideas so I'll stop there. I just wanted to say, I don't think you are crazy for being concerned in this particular situation. She's gaining quite a bit in short periods of time. It's atypical to jump bra sizes so fast. Have you considered taking her in for a check-up? I guess I'd want to rule out any health issues just for my own peace of mind... especially if this gain doesn't seem proportionate to what she's eating.

post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 

Thanks whatsnextmom, it feels good to be heard.

 

She is due for a check-up. We usually do our birthday physicals in January (she and her younger sister are 26 months apart so we do them together). I think this year I will schedule hers separately from her sister.  I would like her to have a conversation with her ped in private. I think I should not even be in the room. I want to talk to her ped separately though about my concerns. I think I should set up a meeting for just the ped and me before the physical. Do people do that? Will I come off as a crazy mom?

 

One thing I forgot to mention in my original thread is ADHD meds.  My daughter was on Daytrana from age 9.5 until October of this year.  I do think a lot of the weight gain is because she stopped using her patch.  It is an appetite suppressant and lots of kids have trouble maintaining a healthy weight on it - she was always fine that way.  In fact, I think one of the reasons she stayed at a healthy weight up until recently was because of the patch.  It suppressed her appetite to the point where she ate normally, if that makes sense.  I think a lot of her impulsive behavior is around eating (we started Daytrana because of impulse control problems around speech and anger, not because of grades).  We let her stop using her Daytrana on her own.  Her grades are fine and her social interactions are good (a huge improvement from when she was 9).  She recently decided to start using it again.  I've asked her why - I really want her to be able to understand her impulse control issues - and she says it is helping her stay on track at school and not be disruptive in class.  That's all good. I'm worried that she has also restarted it because she knows it will keep her from overeating.

 

I wouldn't look at the Daytrana as a diet pill because it is not. She might come to think of it that way, though. There are some negative side effects which bother her and which contributed to her wanted to stop using it, including headache. Mostly I think she loves to eat and was bothered that she had no appetite. On the other hand, she confessed to me a few months ago that when she is not wearing the patch she thinks too much about food. I remember as a young teen I loooooved sweets and cookies and would eat them whenever I could - I still do love them but really can't stomach too much of sweets and being gluten free is a pretty good barrier, LOL.  Her appetite for these foods seems endless, although she does have self-control when dessert is served. Its so confusing. I know your comment is right, whatsnextmom, that healthy food eaten in excess can obviously lead to a weight problem. I think my 13 year old just eats too much of whatever is being served.

 

I think we need to go back to her psychiatrist and talk about these issues with Daytrana and ADHD meds in general. And her ped for general health issues.

post #4 of 42

Our ped office requires teens to be seen on separate days from siblings (even if they are young, even if they are teens themselves. even if they see different doctors.) It's a little annoying but I do understand the practice and was surprised that my eldest seemed to actually appreciate it. It's also not unusual for parents to see a doctor about their child on their own. The kids office actually asks when you make the appointment if you have any private concerns to discuss. I did that twice with my youngest when we were exploring occupational therapy and when learning disabilities became a possibility. No one acted like I was crazy at least lol.

post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 

thank you!

post #6 of 42

I think it is well within the range of normal for a girls breasts to go through a growth spurt. One of my DD's did. She had a year that was INSANE for breast development and we couldn't keep her in bras. Then it pretty much stopped. I have her professional fitted once a year now.

 

I can see why the impulsive issues are a concern for you. It sounds like that is a pattern in her life and food is just one of the many ways it plays out for her. I hope that you are able to get some good guidance from her doctors.

 

I wouldn't worry about the bra thing, though. Suddenly just being a lot bigger is how it worked at our house.

post #7 of 42
Thread Starter 

It's been a while since I posted this about my teen girl. She will see her ped on Thursday morning - last week I talked to the ped about my concerns and I think that she understood where I was coming from. She reminded me that my DD is still a little girl (intellectually) and might not understand really what is going on with her body. She knows my daughter and noted that while she might be very bright and speak well for her age, this disguises the fact that she is just 13. It took me until today to really put this together and this morning I asked my daughter what her thoughts were about her body. She said she had no thoughts. I asked again, what do you think when you try to wear the dresses in your closet and they are too small? She said she had no thoughts. I said "You know, you don't have to have these large breasts [We tried on size L dresses yesterday at a store and they are too small now. In September she was wearing a S - these are adult sizes, just to be clear]. You can make different choices about what you eat and your clothes might fit better."

 

This conversation came about after I watched her make her yogurt this morning. She put 3 heaping teaspoons of sugar into a cup and then added about 4 oz of greek yogurt. ugh. All these years I have been preparing their food and sharing the process and it is clear to me that she has no clue how to manage her intake. It felt like a slap to realize that I really must teach her, step by step, what kind of food choices are reasonable. She told me this morning that she wasn't ready for this convo - she is too grumpy in the morning, she said - but she will talk about it with me later. I think part of her knows what I'm going to say, but I honestly think that she really just needs to sit down and learn how food works.

 

Ugh.

post #8 of 42
Is it possible she is rebelling by not caring? It seems obvious that it worries you and kids, especially teens, sometimes rebel by going against some of the things that are important to their parents. Also, breast size and eating aren't all that connected ime, my breasts have stayed the same through a lot of weight ups and downs. I suggest getting clarification from the doctor about her breast size being caused solely from overeating before linking her breast size and eating habits again. This is a touchy subject because there is no gentle way to tell a person they need to change their eating habits and because children often hear and internalize only the putdown not the concern that drives a parent to speak up.
post #9 of 42
Thread Starter 

Yes, it is certainly possible and maybe partly the motivation for her choices. On the other hand, yesterday we took a long walk together and we talked about "how food works" and she seemed genuinely surprised to learn that when you take in more "energy" than you use, your body stores that as fat.

 

I do think that if she were to lose weight she would have smaller breasts. She would also have smaller hips and thighs and a smaller waist. My personal experience is that I will lose weight unevenly, with the first change at my waist and the last at my hips, breasts in the middle. I've known my daughter's body for her whole life and I think her experience will be similar.

 

Part of our conversation last night was about how much her body has changed in the past year and how much control she has over it from here on out. She was not aware that her growth spurt is over (her menses began 11 months ago). She was not aware that her body size is mostly in her control now. She was pleased to hear that she is at a great age to learn how to balance her choices and to make new habits. I think I did a good job in keeping the conversation focused on how things work and not giving her any negatives about how she looks. I want her to feel that these are her choices, because they are her choices. The next step is to help her learn how to actually manage these choices in her real day-to-day experiences.

 

My two girls are so different from each other. It's hard to understand how we can explain things to both of them and they hear it differently, but of course that's how all people are. I can't believe I didn't know until now that she really didn't understand these things.

post #10 of 42
I've gained and lost a lot of weight. I haven't noticed much change in my cup size.
post #11 of 42
Thread Starter 

I guess we're all different.

 

My weight hasn't varied much in my life - I graduated high school weighing 140, peaked at about 155 a few years ago and now I weigh 145. My breasts have certainly gotten larger as I've aged, and now that I'm menopausal I've settled in at a C+ or a D cup. But when I was at my peak weight I was a DD+. Of course, when pregnant I learned how bra sizes go up the alphabet, and that was certainly thrilling, LOL.

 

I think my daughter's probably a D cup at this point, and if she were to lose 10-15 pounds she'd probably be a C - at least that's where she was in December when I last bought her bras. It's hard to say really. A lot changes when you're still pubescent.

post #12 of 42

honestly kareneb  please know i come here with intentions to support. but my words might sound harsh. 

 

please leave your dd alone. you dont have to give her all the answers. let her find them herself. 

 

instead work on yourself and see what is up with you that you feel so bent out of shape when even her ped is saying she is a little girl - mature perhaps - but still a little girl. 

 

3 heaped teaspoons of sugar is wigging you out. THAT is crazy. its still healthier than an already sweetened youghurt. teens have a tendency to eat high carbs and sugar. it makes total sense to me since they are growing so fast - esp. at 13. even though her periods have kinda slowed it down a bit.   

 

look around you at the teens you've known since they were young. arent they all a bit chubby these days? dont they all have a more pear like figure? i see that with my dd's friends (not all). i remember having that as a teen myself when growing up where junk food was healthy food and still is. 

 

sorry i am being so harsh. but you need to let. this. go. the conversation you had. if i was your dd i would want to punch you in the face. so so so not appropriate when your dd is dealing with society. 

 

"You know, you don't have to have these large breasts [We tried on size L dresses yesterday at a store and they are too small now. In September she was wearing a S - these are adult sizes, just to be clear]. You can make different choices about what you eat and your clothes might fit better."

this is so condescending. first of all large breasts? why are YOU along with everyone putting the pressure on her? dont you think she already knows "You can make different choices about what you eat and your clothes might fit better." 

 

leave. her. alone. mama before you do more damage. she already has a hard life dealing with ADHD.

 

your job is to inform. just inform. no persuation. if you think she does not have a good idea about nutrition inform her. better still do it hands on. go to a cooking class together. go to a nutrition talk. go visit a farm. let her hear it from all sources. but do not talk to her or push her into going for walks because you think its healthy for her.

 

absolutely go for a walk - not for exercise - but for the chance to have some fun connecting time together. to enjoy spring. 

 

remember one thing. what she gets at home has the BIGGEST impact on her. no matter what the outside world says. she can handle that with support behind her. but if her own world agrees with the outside world how is she going to cope. where is she going to turn. 

 

you wrote in your last post you havent replied in a while. its only been a month. 

 

if you do want her to get healthy - leave her alone and YOU get healthy. it isnt automatic that thin people are healthy. without exercise a thin person could be unhealthier than a fat person. without getting involved in her life, if you are not doing it yourself, start doing it. 

 

why am i so upset? because i see this ALL the time. teens have SO MUCH pressure on them these days (i feel way more than before) that they rebel in horrible ways that hurts them themselves. and then in adult hood they dont like themselves very much and yet they cant get out of the cycle they are in. and then there is eating disorders. 

 

one other thing - you are gluten intolerant. how is she with that? are you guys a gluten free house? sometimes a big belly is also called a wheat belly. 

post #13 of 42
Thread Starter 

Thanks, your words are fine. I realize a lot of this is in my own head.

 

My daughter is beautiful and she knows I think she is beautiful. I think it is hard for her to have such a curvy body and be in a culture where girls dress so provocatively when her mom tells her no, she cannot have her breasts falling out of her dress. She wants to wear the same dresses her size 1 friends are wearing, LOL. On the other hand she has a lot of friends who are on the heavier side of normal, but they're also 8 inches shorter than her, so dress length isn't as much of a challenge for them. She is having a hard time finding clothes that are appropriate. I'm having a really hard time figuring out how to find clothes that fit her.

 

About gluten intolerance - we are not a gluten free family. She has had some digestive problems (probably reflux) that resolved as she got through the onset of menses. It's possible that she will end up with a gluten intolerance, but her belly is really just fat. Trust me.

 

Oh! I should add that a lot of the appearance issue is totally developmental, as she is not yet automatically "standing up straight" and supporting her body with her core muscles. When she does that a lot of the belly disappears. I remember learning this kind of posture around age 10 and it is still an issue, frankly. My daughter and I have a bit of a swayish back and our bellies are going to be sticking out unless we are minding our posture.

 

About the yogurt - we started buying plain yogurt because I just can't stand it that a product like Yoplait has 28 g of sugar in 6 oz of yogurt. What my daughter did at home was essentially replicate the Yoplait. I guess it's not the crime of the century but it kind of boggled my mind.

post #14 of 42

hey how about some camisoles? can that solve the problems of breasts hanging out? how about a small cute lacy jacket that goes upto the bra line. i am having the same problem with a TEN year old. thankfully she is more into boy stuff so i dont have to worry too much. for her school family dance her friends dressed her. in a strapless dress with a bright cute short jacket on top. whew!!!!

 

cut out the gluten to see if her belly is due to wheat. 

 

by the way her yoghurt is lot less sugar than yoplait. so lets say she ate 5 spoons of sugar. that 20gms of sugar. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kareneb View Post

My daughter is beautiful and she knows I think she is beautiful. I think it is hard for her to have such a curvy body and be in a culture where girls dress so provocatively when her mom tells her no, she cannot have her breasts falling out of her dress. She wants to wear the same dresses her size 1 friends are wearing, LOL. On the other hand she has a lot of friends who are on the heavier side of normal, but they're also 8 inches shorter than her, so dress length isn't as much of a challenge for them. She is having a hard time finding clothes that are appropriate. I'm having a really hard time figuring out how to find clothes that fit her.

 

i have another point of view that my dd has helped me with. 

 

i will say you dont think your dd is beautiful. you are worried about her big breasts and big belly. you have even told her her breasts are too big. you want to change something. why do you want to change something that is beautiful. it will be beautiful but its  not beautiful now. perhaps what you mean is that your dd is a beautiful person trapped in a not beautiful body. 

 

there is a huge difference and kids pick up on that. when i dont walk the talk, dd points it out totally. 

post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

honestly kareneb  please know i come here with intentions to support. but my words might sound harsh. 

 

please leave your dd alone. you dont have to give her all the answers. let her find them herself. 

 

instead work on yourself and see what is up with you that you feel so bent out of shape when even her ped is saying she is a little girl - mature perhaps - but still a little girl. 

 

3 heaped teaspoons of sugar is wigging you out. THAT is crazy. its still healthier than an already sweetened youghurt. teens have a tendency to eat high carbs and sugar. it makes total sense to me since they are growing so fast - esp. at 13. even though her periods have kinda slowed it down a bit.   

 

look around you at the teens you've known since they were young. arent they all a bit chubby these days? dont they all have a more pear like figure? i see that with my dd's friends (not all). i remember having that as a teen myself when growing up where junk food was healthy food and still is. 

 

sorry i am being so harsh. but you need to let. this. go. the conversation you had. if i was your dd i would want to punch you in the face. so so so not appropriate when your dd is dealing with society. 

 

"You know, you don't have to have these large breasts [We tried on size L dresses yesterday at a store and they are too small now. In September she was wearing a S - these are adult sizes, just to be clear]. You can make different choices about what you eat and your clothes might fit better."

this is so condescending. first of all large breasts? why are YOU along with everyone putting the pressure on her? dont you think she already knows "You can make different choices about what you eat and your clothes might fit better." 

 

leave. her. alone. mama before you do more damage. she already has a hard life dealing with ADHD.

 

your job is to inform. just inform. no persuation. if you think she does not have a good idea about nutrition inform her. better still do it hands on. go to a cooking class together. go to a nutrition talk. go visit a farm. let her hear it from all sources. but do not talk to her or push her into going for walks because you think its healthy for her.

 

absolutely go for a walk - not for exercise - but for the chance to have some fun connecting time together. to enjoy spring. 

 

remember one thing. what she gets at home has the BIGGEST impact on her. no matter what the outside world says. she can handle that with support behind her. but if her own world agrees with the outside world how is she going to cope. where is she going to turn. 

 

you wrote in your last post you havent replied in a while. its only been a month. 

 

if you do want her to get healthy - leave her alone and YOU get healthy. it isnt automatic that thin people are healthy. without exercise a thin person could be unhealthier than a fat person. without getting involved in her life, if you are not doing it yourself, start doing it. 

 

why am i so upset? because i see this ALL the time. teens have SO MUCH pressure on them these days (i feel way more than before) that they rebel in horrible ways that hurts them themselves. and then in adult hood they dont like themselves very much and yet they cant get out of the cycle they are in. and then there is eating disorders. 

 

one other thing - you are gluten intolerant. how is she with that? are you guys a gluten free house? sometimes a big belly is also called a wheat belly. 

I 100% agree with this. Really, what the hell business is it of yours what size bust your daughter has? I am 100% sure she was pulling your leg when she pretended not to know that calories in /energy out has an affect on weight.

 

If you had that conversation with me when I was that age, it would be the last time I took you seriously. Really, really, do you think your daughter does not know she is fat without you pointing it out? My mother used to do this to my sister all the time. Apparently, she thought my sister was too stupid to interpret what she saw in the mirror, so she felt the need to let her know "nicely" that she was overweight.

 

Get over your need to control a body that does not belong to you.

 

Wow, this really touched a nerve with me.

post #16 of 42
Thread Starter 

I am struggling with this last comment, a lot. It is true that I wish she had kept her slim body from a year ago. I think life is so much easier when you can find clothes easily. Beyond that, I think all of us struggle with body image and I wish my daughter didn't have to struggle with her body more than I did/do. I think my breasts are too large and there are lots of clothes I won't wear because I'll end up looking pregnant. She will have the same problem, much worse than me.

 

But truly, really honestly - I don't want my daughter to struggle with the health issues that belly fat brings. My [overweight] mom had breast cancer x2. My husband's family is riddled with heart disease, also correlated to belly fat. I think she has an opportunity now to learn some good habits and I am anxious about her learning them.

 

On the other other hand, I have a hard time seeing my beautiful baby in a two-piece with her belly hanging over the waist band. It's not what I pictured when envisioned her as a grown up. Call me bad, because I probably am, to be so rigid about the definition of beauty.

post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by kareneb View Post

I am struggling with this last comment, a lot. It is true that I wish she had kept her slim body from a year ago. I think life is so much easier when you can find clothes easily. Beyond that, I think all of us struggle with body image and I wish my daughter didn't have to struggle with her body more than I did/do. I think my breasts are too large and there are lots of clothes I won't wear because I'll end up looking pregnant. She will have the same problem, much worse than me.

 

But truly, really honestly - I don't want my daughter to struggle with the health issues that belly fat brings. My [overweight] mom had breast cancer x2. My husband's family is riddled with heart disease, also correlated to belly fat. I think she has an opportunity now to learn some good habits and I am anxious about her learning them.

 

On the other other hand, I have a hard time seeing my beautiful baby in a two-piece with her belly hanging over the waist band. It's not what I pictured when envisioned her as a grown up. Call me bad, because I probably am, to be so rigid about the definition of beauty.

 

YOU are the one struggling with your daughter's body image, not your daughter. It seems to disturb you that she is comfortable with her body.

 

" She seems completely unaware of her body and her shape.  Many of her friends are on the heavy side and I think she feels comfortable with them and perceives herself as normal.  I understand this is fine and I'm glad she feels good about herself.  Unfortunately I do not think she is seeing what I see."

 

Wow, so she is happy and comfortable with her body. You want her to be as unhappy about her body as you are about yours. She sees what you see alright, and she doesn't think it makes her ugly, greedy or a bad person. She has a mirror.

 

Go deal with your own over large breasts and leave your daughter alone. She has a much more mentally healthy attitude than you do. Maybe you could learn from her.

post #18 of 42
Thread Starter 

Well, I'm not sure what my daughter knows or doesn't know. I'm certain you don't know, meemee. She surprised me the other day by telling a story from when she was 11. She had to have an upper endoscopy. We explained to her exactly every step of the process. At the hospital, when we got to the point of the pre-op where the nurse starts the IV, she freaked out, totally and completely. Hysterical, screaming, kicking. At the time, my husband and I did our best to calm her down and ultimately it went fine. When she told the story last week, she reported that she thought, at that moment, that as soon as the nurse inserted the needle she would be unconscious, and she wasn't ready.

 

I don't know how I didn't know this earlier, what did I miss when I tried to explain to her exactly how the process would go? At the hospital she figured it out for herself and calmed herself down.

 

So this weekend I rethought how our conversations have gone around nutrition and food. I don't know that we've actually ever linked calorie intake to body fat. We have been REALLY CAREFUL about using language about fat bodies at home. Maybe too careful? I never talk about my weight. My husband sometimes talks about needing to lose weight because of knee problems. We don't count calories. We have recently started talking about portion sizes and what is the right amount (remember she is pretty impulsive about eating). We don't restrict access to any food in our house. We have cookies and candy and chips.

 

I am trying really hard to find the right balance at home. I get it that many of you find this convo difficult and you think I'm wrong. That's ok. I am sure I am making mistakes here and I appreciate your help in pointing them out.

post #19 of 42
Thread Starter 

.

post #20 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post

 

YOU are the one struggling with your daughter's body image, not your daughter. It seems to disturb you that she is comfortable with her body.

 

" She seems completely unaware of her body and her shape.  Many of her friends are on the heavy side and I think she feels comfortable with them and perceives herself as normal.  I understand this is fine and I'm glad she feels good about herself.  Unfortunately I do not think she is seeing what I see."

 

Wow, so she is happy and comfortable with her body. You want her to be as unhappy about her body as you are about yours. She sees what you see alright, and she doesn't think it makes her ugly, greedy or a bad person. She has a mirror.

 

Go deal with your own over large breasts and leave your daughter alone. She has a much more mentally healthy attitude than you do. Maybe you could learn from her.

Maybe, I am trying.

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