Help!!!!Food Issue!! - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-27-2006, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This has been an issue since my sd was small, her parents have been divorced since she was 3, seperated before that.

We only have her in the summer, due to other issues that would require a new advice thread..she is now 11.

Other than being VERY immature she is obsessed with food. Mind you she weighs 59 pounds at age 11. Her mother is near anorexic and I'm not sure how to address the issues with my sd.

Since the age of 3 she could tell you how many carbs, calories, fats were in ANY food item. She would also tell us about serving size, when we eat out that a "grilled cheese kids meal is plenty of calories and nutrition for a child". (This was age 4).

While at our house she eats WILD. ( I don't know how else to say it in short form). She protects her plate, makes a HUGE MESS, dragging food to her instead of holding her head off over her plate, doesn't use table manners, grunts, snorts, attacks her food. Constantly says (usually with a mouthfull of food) "this is great, this is soooo good, I want more, is there more, how many can I have, how many do we get, I can eat a lot, when do we get a snack, is there more, I could eat that whole pan"...etc....If she wasn't monitored she would take the whole tray of grilled chicken , pile up her plate, leave nothing for anyone else and sit and eat it all even if she wasn't no longer hungry.
In her younger years it broke my heart.Now I feel angry. At who..the mother? Dare I say...Her? The situation? I'm not certain. We serve well balanced meals and snacks..no one goes hungry at our house. We have addressed her mother on the subject MANY TIMES OVER MANY YEARS...and she gets very upset over it....Ultimately yelling at the child. So we don't bring it up anymore.


How do I handle this?

~Gabbi~ Life experienced by me..... Mommy to 4 chicken3.gif,Furry Babies x 2 dog2.gif,and the love of my life trekkie.gif

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Old 06-27-2006, 03:58 PM
 
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WOW! I don't really know what to say - I could be way off base, but the first thing that comes to mind is that you and your dh should take sd aside and explain to her that, while you appreciate that she enjoys your cooking so much, she won't go hungry in your house, so she can sit back and enjoy the meal...then I'd go about teaching table manners. Something that has helped us is to point out good and poor table manners in movies - so that our kids know how good manners look, and how awful bad manners look. At 11 she is certainly old enough to understand that, at least in your house, mealtimes should be peaceful and no one should worry about going hungry. Also, do you post a daily schedule at your house? I know that that has really helped us - so the kids know when to expect what (including meals and snacks). I also let mine help themselves to snacks - within reason - at the appointed snack time. For instance, in the afternoon they can choose 2 snacks (total) from the snack options available, which are listed on the fridge (and they have to choose from different categories - so I know they are getting at least one fruit or vegetable). I don't know if this is really naive advice, because I've never had to deal with what is obviously a disorder, but that's where I'd start. Good luck!!

Mrs. S - Crunchy child of The King, Wife to my best friend, and Mama to my many blessings.

 
 
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Old 06-27-2006, 04:11 PM
 
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wow. This sounds really serious to me. It's like she's being starved at home. On a different forum a woman once wrote about how her adopted daughters from China were very much like this and it wasn't until they had unlimited access to food and were allowed to hoard it in their bedrooms/bags etc. for a very long time that they finally *realized* there was no longer a food shortage. Apparently when one of them was younger she would cry every time the spoon touched the bottom of the bowl.

I'm not sure what to suggest to you. Talk to her pediatrician. I don't think it's a good idea to have her mother yelling at her for it, of course, but I can't think of a solution since this child is so hungry. To me, teaching her table manners isn't enough. It's a start but I don't think you can expect a person who has such fear of shortage to have the inner resources to deal ... kwim? What about a psychiatrist? In my mind, such food scarcity is abusive. Am I wrong?

I wish I could be more helpful!
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Old 06-27-2006, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do appreciate the advise. We have had countless attorneys over the years....I don't know if it was our poor follow-up or the fact we were trusting someone many states away....nothing was settled for us. And my Dh still doesn't have rights to his daughter (a whole other thread there.)
We have discussed it over and over, calmly. Slow down, there is plenty, we will buy more. ..etc. My children sit and stare at her like she has something growing out of her head.
We have addressed this so many times with her mother. It DOES lead to my SD getting yelled at or degraded. (I did spell that correctly eh?) We aren't the only ones to notice it either....people who dine with us, relatives..it is obvious.
She makes a huge mess when she eats..so I have began making her clean up her own mess under her chair. It has gotten better over the 3 weeks she has been here..she notices she's the only one with a mess under her chair.
I am going to post that food list..choice list. Even for my kids (we are trying to cut out unhealthy stuff) that sounds like an AWESOME idea!! Thanks!
It helps to know that we aren't being mean or we aren't losing our minds. It is tough!

~Gabbi~ Life experienced by me..... Mommy to 4 chicken3.gif,Furry Babies x 2 dog2.gif,and the love of my life trekkie.gif

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Old 06-27-2006, 07:06 PM
 
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I think food is an incredibly emotive issue: it goes way beyond just protein and carbohydrates and calories. It's a metaphor for feeling loved and cared for.
Have you considered bringing her into the kitchen to help her cook? Teach her to cook? Maybe the one on one time with you will help her to associate food with happy memories, instead of negative ones, and you can undo some of the damage her mother is doing. I'd definitely talk to her paediatrician though and see if you can rule out diabetes and thyroid problems.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 06-27-2006, 08:44 PM
 
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I wonder if, rather than being starved at her mothers, food is just more regulated, only offered in a certain serving size, etc. It wouldn't have to be abusive for it to feel much different between the two houses.

My 11 yo stepson is CRAZY messy about food. Yesterday he ate a muffin and you'd have though he just mashed it up and threw it on the floor. Every shirt he has is stained down the front with food. I'm hoping that his new interest in looking nice for girls will cure it. I hand him a broom and hope that the inconvience of constantly cleaning up after himself will take care of itself.

So, to me, it seemed like the two issues could be separate: 1.messy kid and 2. carb counting toddler. I'd worry about the second issue. She sounds like all the friends I had as a preteen. The ones who are constantly listing their daily food intake to you (I had one grape, two bites of toast. . .). Is her mom always on a diet? I don't know the solution when you only have her for the summer, but sounds like her mom's body issues and diets are affecting her. But maybe in her language only. She eats a lot (like my 11 yo!) and is messy, but talks about diets a lot? Sounds like she has some unhealthy-obessessive sounding language, but does it affect the way she actually eats?
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Old 06-28-2006, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor
I wonder if, rather than being starved at her mothers, food is just more regulated, only offered in a certain serving size, etc. It wouldn't have to be abusive for it to feel much different between the two houses.

My 11 yo stepson is CRAZY messy about food. Yesterday he ate a muffin and you'd have though he just mashed it up and threw it on the floor. Every shirt he has is stained down the front with food. I'm hoping that his new interest in looking nice for girls will cure it. I hand him a broom and hope that the inconvience of constantly cleaning up after himself will take care of itself.

So, to me, it seemed like the two issues could be separate: 1.messy kid and 2. carb counting toddler. I'd worry about the second issue. She sounds like all the friends I had as a preteen. The ones who are constantly listing their daily food intake to you (I had one grape, two bites of toast. . .). Is her mom always on a diet? I don't know the solution when you only have her for the summer, but sounds like her mom's body issues and diets are affecting her. But maybe in her language only. She eats a lot (like my 11 yo!) and is messy, but talks about diets a lot? Sounds like she has some unhealthy-obessessive sounding language, but does it affect the way she actually eats?
In her mother's defense I will say I do NOT believe she starves her. I DO believe (as you said perfectly) Food is regulated. Portions, that's it. And we all know ALL American kids need smaller portions..much smaller portions than she wants/needs...??? Not sure about that. NOT saying she is doing it correctly. KWIM? And I often feel the messy eating is just plain ole IMMATURITY (sp??) she is "fly by the seat of her pants" while doing almost everything...we call it 'A is in LA LA Land again'......it is still annoying.
Thanks for your input.

~Gabbi~ Life experienced by me..... Mommy to 4 chicken3.gif,Furry Babies x 2 dog2.gif,and the love of my life trekkie.gif

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