A very social 10yo. Too social? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 05-23-2010, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Since kindergarten DD1 goal in life has been to go to as many other people's houses that she can. It's not that she doesn't like our house and she loves inviting people over too. She is very well liked: she is kind, is a good listener, she is a good sport and she enjoys all kinds of activities. The problem is that one of the reason she wants to go to other people's houses so badly is the food. Junk food. We cook from scratch mostly but I do make cakes regularly and we have ice cream so it's not like she doesn't get any treats. But we don't buy hot dogs, chips or sodas. Which she'll eat all day long at other people's houses. And she is invited very often. I don't want to limit these outings as she enjoys them immensely and they are very important. And they often go ride their bikes which is great. But she has gained a lot of weight. She is 10 but I have to buy her a size 16 yo. And that is getting small. She is definitely gearing up for puberty and has for some time. She has a bit of breasts and hair. she also has a belly and a lot of cellulite in her thighs and belly area. She is fairly active: she is on the dance team and she rides her bike sometimes for hours several times a week and she enjoys PE twice a week.
She doesn't seem to know when to stop when she eats treats. Her meals are the right portion, she doesn't overeat or under eat. But she could snack all day long.
I don't know what to tell her anymore that would not be offensive. She is very aware of the importance of eating healthily and in not too big quantity but it doesn't seem to matter. I have also seen evidence on many occasion that she'll eat and trade at lunch time so that she can get cheetos or other junk food on top of the generous lunch that we prepare her.

What else could we do and say?

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#2 of 15 Old 05-24-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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Tricky situation. On the one hand I think it's very important for parents not to make food an emotional issue for kids. Home should be a safe place to eat, with lots of nutritious foods. Sounds like you've covered the nutritious foods. Is home a safe place for her to eat? No nagging, no body-conscious issues handed down from her parents?

On the other hand, size 16 on a 10 y.o. does seem like cause for concern.

You're right to point out that she's on the verge of adulthood. It's at this age that girls pack on the weight --in the form of fat-- to prepare them for being fertile. Just before a growth spurt, when they'll grow a little taller and the weight will be balanced out. It is normal.

How about her extended family? Any grandparents overweight? How about you and her dad?

People eat for all kinds of reasons other than to satisfy hunger; boredom, sadness, anxiety, loneliness (doesn't sound like she's lonely!).

Sometimes girls put on weight as a way of dealing with womanhood. If I'm fat people won't notice me, MEN won't notice me sexually. Is it possible that she's dealing with something like that?

Frankly I think it's OK to cut back how often she goes to friends' homes. But it needs to be replaced with some specific structure: more dance class, maybe gymnastics, martial arts class.

This issue may well work itself out as she gets older.

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#3 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for answering Journeymom. It is a very tricky situation. I'm really hoping that puberty is a big part of it and that she'll grow in length and stop putting on so much weight. We have never ever said anything about weight to her, or anybody else for that matter. Her father is very active and skinny, so are her brother and sister. I'm overweight but I always am after pregnancy and during breastfeeding. I lose it fairly easily after I stop nursing.
My DH's sister has a very different genetic make up than my husband. DH is naturally slender and thin boned. His sister is thick boned, has a tendency to be overweight and is taller than he is. Unless she exercises every day for at least an hour or two she gains weight. When you look at DD1 and my sister in law side by side it is very clear that they have the same body type, except that DD1 is short like I am.
DH and I have talked at length about it and decided to try this: the entire family (except for the toddler) will eat a snack together ( as much as possible) around 4pm. We'll put the emphasis on healthy snacks but treats from time to time are ok. There will be no snacking before or after that snack until dinnertime. That way it does not matter where she is: she can have one snack only. Hopefully she'll follow suit.

What do you think? Anybody?

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#4 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 01:52 AM
 
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I think it's important to remember that it's better to be a physically active overweight person who eats healthy than a lazy, skinny person who eats junk.

Personally I wouldn't focus on the weight as much as making sure the snacks are healthy, and that she continues to be an active person.

On the verge of adulthood, eating and weight both go up. They need to, her body needs it to develop properly. This isn't just a guy thing, DD could easily eat a meals worth in snacks and then have a full dinner 30 minutes later and still have room for dessert.

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#5 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 02:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The reason I'm putting the emphasis on the weight is because she is already active and eats very healthily at meals. I think the main problem is that she doesn't seem to listen to her body if it tells her that she is full. On several occasions she complained not feeling good after eating, while somewhere else, what turned out to be way too much. I'm wondering how much hormones play a role in this. When I'm going to have my period or when I'm nursing I'm always feeling hungry.
Nevertheless, she is overweight and diabetes runs on both sides of our family. If she doesn't learn how to regulate her food intake I'd be very worried for her future health.
Although it's true that appetite goes up around her age the fact that she is wearing a size 16 is worrisome to me...even if she is thick boned.
Eating also seems to be the only thing on her mind and it doesn't matter what she is doing. For example, yesterday we went for a trip to another city. We went to Japantown, an aquarium, a huge playground and friend's house. Although she seemed to enjoy all this a lot, she worried all-day-long about what and when she was going to eat next. She asked to eat every 30mns. She had 2 eggs and several strawberries for breakfast, a peruvian dish made with quinoa, potatoes peppers tomatoes and milk for lunch, snacks of bread and a yogurt + a cupcake at Japantown, a large sandwich and a salad + bread for dinner. 30 mns after dinner she wanted a snack again.

It just seems off to me that she is always, always hungry. Her friends, including some bigger than she is do not want to eat that constantly.

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#6 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 04:27 AM
 
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She's 10. Of course she is going to be feeling hungry all the time. Whats more is her body doesn't have the same cognitive thought process that human consciousness has. That means that if she's hungry and you or her and limiting food intake then her body thinks it's starving and starts storing fat.

If you are that concerned then take her to see a doctor. There maybe something else at play such as a metabolic disorder. Or it could just be that genetically she is pre-programmed to be larger, and the main focus should be on overall health rather then specific weight.

I don't mean to sound pushy if it comes off that way, but as someone who has personally dealt with an eating disorder the thought of one person trying to control another persons food intake (even a 10 year olds) scares me just a bit.

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#7 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 04:50 AM
 
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What do you mean by size 16 yo? I just looked at a chart with kid's clothing sizes and the difference between a 10 kids and a 16 kids is only 3 inches in the bust and in the chest. When you take into account that kids often need to wear a size bigger than their age, that doesn't sound huge to me. I think the PP thought you meant size 16 (women's) which would be an entirely different thing.

2 eggs + strawberries doesn't sound like enough breakfast to me for a growing kid. I would expect a kid that age to eat as much or possibly more (during growth spurts) than an adult.
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#8 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 08:09 AM
 
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I would try not to worry about it. A kid that age needs 1,800-2,200 calories/day depending on their activity level. I know that my extremely lean, historically small/picky eater has started becoming hungry all the time and I've really had to adjust to having a lot more food available to her. I'm guessing the day of food you just described as maybe totaling 1,500 or 1,600 calories so it's not surprising to me that she'd still be hungry - especially if you were walking around a lot. Also, I'm not sure how much protein and fats those meals have, which she really needs for satiety.

I would be more concerned that she is developing food insecurity issues. Both her desire to go to friends where she feels she can have more access to food and your description of her worry about meals while on vacation indicate a fear and lack of control over where her food is coming from. That can be very anxiety-producing, especially for a kid. I think that could easily explain the overeating at meals; if you're worried about whether you're going to be hungry in the future, you fill up at your next meal. My partner has these issues since childhood and just identified it as a key reason he has such a bad habit of eating too much at meals and became obese. He's on ww now and has lost almost 40lbs in the last few months (and 80 more to go); but it's really important for him to know what his food is for the day and to make sure he has plenty of it. You should see the massive bags of food he brings to work every day. That security has been absolutely key. I would avoid the anxiety in the first place at all costs.

I would back off the food control, provide plenty of healthy choices, let her eat frequently (if she is really active than her body burns through fuel quickly) and let her determine her eating. If allowed to control her own food then it's likely she'll learn to self-regulate. The reason she binges (and I use that word really loosely) at friends is likely that she's not learning/practicing self-moderation at home. I agree she's probably ready for a growth spurt and 10-11-12 are key ages for developing body issues; I'd really focus on spending these years on building up confidence for the challenging issues of adolescence. Society will be deluging her with the message that she's not thin enough or beautiful enough; we want to be the countervailing factor so she can resist the barrage of those messages.
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#9 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurienna View Post
We have never ever said anything about weight to her, or anybody else for that matter.
Excellent! And your family snack time sounds like a good idea.

Quote:
Although she seemed to enjoy all this a lot, she worried all-day-long about what and when she was going to eat next.
Maybe this is how she deals with stress? Maybe she's not listening to her body, just isn't aware of what her body is asking for.

Frankly, I don't think there is a lot you can do about this. Help her learn to listen to her body and heed what it's telling her. Keep providing her with healthy foods and living a healthy life. This can be a frustrating stage for a parent, because we've been in charge of what they eat (for the most part) up until now. But they're supposed to be taking over.

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#10 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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This is just my own personal experience. I had a friend who wanted to come to my house, or Shelly's house, or whoever's house, and then she wanted to eat. I stopped inviting her over because she'd eat everything in the house, and my parents would get mad at me for letting her. But, I didn't know what else to do.

My 17 yr old has a friend who went through a huge eating spurt. (but she was older and realized the effects it had) She came over to sleep over, and she drank SIX cokes in one night!! Plus, a box of cupcakes that I bought for them.. so, I didn't care. I just assumed they'd eat one or two.

I didn't worry that her mom would be mad at me. But, if my own daughter ate all of that in one night, I'd be pretty upset with her. I felt kindof bad though, like I enabled it or something.

I am not overly concerned with what my child eats. I buy and cook healthy foods, so whatever snacks she has is OK with me. But, I don't want her going around finding as much as she can get. I also don't want her going into other people's homes and asking for food.. or even hinting for food.

I don't have any good ideas for you though. But, I would also be worried about her weight. We all know we shouldn't focus on weight... but, in reality we do. As moms we can't bear to think that life will be difficult for our kids. And, being overweight is difficult.

Almost ALL kids do go through that chubby age in about 4th-6th grade. It's pretty typical, and doesn't always mean they will have a lifelong struggle. Some kids just grow out before they grow up.
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#11 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your input, it is very much appreciated. This is all very interesting, it's such a loaded subject isn't it? I've always been very easy going with food. We like to cook and eat very much and frankly I never thought that we'd have problems like this. I'd like to add also that I'm french which I think is quite relevant to this discussion.
My childhood (and all of my friends and family) went like this: we had 3 solid meals a day and a snack around 4pm. Dinner was at 7:30pm every day. I don't remember at all that any of us wanted food all day long even as teenagers ( although we certainly ate a lot at that age). None of us were overweight and none of us were skinny either.
Then I moved to the States and in 6 months I gained 15 lbs. I did not realize that I was overeating. We moved with my in-laws while waiting to purchase a house and everybody there was eating all day long. At first I was surprised at all the food and it was way too much for me, I just couldn't eat that much. But, wanting to be polite I'd eat a little bit every time they proposed food to me. and that's all it took: the little bits turned to bigger bits, then became full portions. I started to feel hungry all day long and kept eating all day long. Then we moved in our own place where we returned to the pattern I had known in France and I lost the weight pretty easily ( I don't like to eat low fat or any diets for that matter, I just reduced my food intake by keeping the pattern of 3 meals a day + a snack). My point is, it is very easy to train your body into thinking it wants more wether it needs it or not.
I do think that Bronxmom nailed it though: she is anxious. In general and about food. She loves going to school but since kindergarten she has had quite a bit of anxiety. She is a really nice person who is very respectful of other people and well, not everybody at school is like that. She is not often the one who has a problem with other kids but every time she sees another child treated unfairly or be picked on etc... she worries about them and takes it hard. She'll still talk about it days later, wondering what she could have done to help them.
I also think that she is not eating enough protein. Her favorite meals are lettuce salads + other veggies, hummus sandwiches and fruits. All very healthy but I do have to remind her to eat dairy, meat and eggs too and she'll not eat much of it when she does.
I think we'll keep the family snack time since we actually had a really good time yesterday and it was very relaxing for everybody. I had made lightly sugared custards and served cherries with it. She liked that a lot and did not ask for food again until 6pm. So that seemed to work well. She ate a good dinner and when I asked her later if she was feeling hungry she thought about it and said no... and seemed surprised about that.
So, maybe very regular mealtimes will help so that she doesn't feel anxious about when she is going to eat next and worry about it. I'm also going to ask the kids to help with planning meals . They already cook with us and enjoy it. We'll see if that works better. We are not going to limit the amount of food that she eats though. We were super uneasy about it in the first place and reading everybody's posts just cemented that.
I just want her to be healthy and happy not just now but also through adulthood.

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#12 of 15 Old 05-25-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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Maybe you can enpower her to be conscious of how certain foods affect her mood/energy level and focus less on her weight. Knowledge is power!

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#13 of 15 Old 05-26-2010, 08:35 AM
 
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Well... this really isn't an issue of being "social" or "too social". It seems to be more of a food issue than anything.

I've found that, when parents restrict certain "treat"-type foods, kids go a bit nuts when they finally get access to them. It seems that it's more important to teach them to eat things in moderation than to NOT eat things they may crave.

I allow junk food, hot dogs, etc. In moderation. Because honestly? Sometimes *I* want some, too. One hot dog with the works satisfies the urge. Same with other stuff. Because we all know that we CAN have it from time-to-time and it's okay.

As for amounts? My daughter has eaten like a lumberjack for years, and she's 5'6"/116 lbs of pure muscle. She can eat three solid (and large) meals, and graze all day in between. Yes, there's junk in there. But also a lot of good stuff. And a lot of physical activity.

The family snacks are a great idea - how about a family exercise time, too? Now that it's spring/summer, how about a family walk? Go on a hike a few evenings a week, and bring dinner with you for a picnic.
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#14 of 15 Old 05-26-2010, 06:27 PM
 
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Laurienna, good point about protein. A little protein has some staying power, so she won't be hungry so soon.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#15 of 15 Old 05-31-2010, 03:33 AM
 
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What about the friends' parents? Could you get them on board in the sense of that there is no unlimited supply of junk food in their houses? (It would make a difference if kids snacked on a veggie plate with some dip and a small bag of chips instead of gobbling down chips / doritos / donuts only.)

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