last night after everyone went to bed, i needed to borrow my dd's ipad cord to charge my ipad. so i looked in her backpack and i was almost knocked over by the smell. i found 4 pieces of rotting fruit and 3 mold covered sandwiches in ziplocks amongst other unidentifiable rotting food items.
so, here is where i am struggling. she is 13, in 7th grade and we pay for her school lunch more often than i care to admit at $3.50 a pop for our lazy ways. but on the days when her account is running low or we are up and ready earlier than usual we have her make a lunch and bring it. quite frankly, if we were more together she would be taking her lunch every day because it is healthier and is less expensive! it never occurred to me that she would not be eating her lunch even though i did something very similar in 9th grade - it was some kind of embarrassment about brown-bagging it and i just shoved every lunch in my locker and found something else to do.......i don't really remember if my parents ever found out, i don't think so.....
at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, i'm really pissed about the waste of food and the lying. however, the biggest twist and the worst part is this. she is a type1 diabetic. so, if she is not eating at lunch that means she is going without food from breakfast till 4pm and she is supposed to be group texting her numbers and carb intake to us and the nurse but there are many days that we don't hear from her, the nurse reaches out to her, but there is always some excuse that she didn't notice the text, she forgot or was too busy with class to respond.
i never thought much of it till now, we are working on giving her more autonomy and responsibility with her diabetes and for the most part she is extremely compliant (meaning she knows the importance of taking care of herself and does so willingly), but now that i know that she is lying about this food, i really don't know what else she is hiding. i have found whole sleeves of fig newtons gone in a day. i don't think she is not taking insulin for them but the fact that she is being secretive about food is worrying.
i don't know whether i should be focused on the lying and waste, the diabetes, or the whole "food" thing. that part is very scary to me...google "diabulimia" if you don't already know what it is.
we have a pretty close relationship, she is our only child and we live 45mins from her school so we spend a lot of time together in the car. i need help with how to talk about this with her. i know this post seems all over the place, but if you have any questions i will respond to try to clear anything up. thanks, trina
Well, I'd start by laying it out pretty much like you did here. "Hey dd, I needed to use the iPad and found all this stuff in your backpack. What's up with that?"
Then I might make a guess at why she didn't eat it — "are you embarrassed to be brown bagging your lunch?" (which btw, is totally a non-issue at my kids' schools).
"This is a problem because it's wasteful and I'm worried about your health." (I'm sure she knows this, but now might be a good time to remind her that not taking care of her blood sugar can cause big problems down the road. My high school friend and college roomate was type 1 diabetic, and I had to help her through a few situations, and I learned quite a bit about diabetes.)
"Also, I need to be able to trust you and I want you to feel comfortable coming to me if there's a problem. You can tell me if there's a problem with bringing your lunch from home."
Then once you have laid our your problems (wasteful, unhealthy, gross—I didn't mention that one, trust), let her lay out her problems (it's embarrassing to bring my lunch, it makes me feel different/stupid/like-a-diabetic-freak, I really don't like peanut butter sandwiches, etc).
Then you work together and see if you can come up with an agreement and a plan for the future. She pays for school lunch 2 days a week out of her own money. She makes her own sandwich, whatever.
I wouldn't punish. I have one daughter (dd1) who doesn't have a sneaky bone in her body, but dd2 will try to sneak. If I catch her and am angry that just makes it worse, but if I can keep my temper in check and make a connection with her it shuts down the sneaky impulse and builds the trust.
"All you fascists are bound to lose" — Woody Guthrie
thanks for your reply! funny enough, that's about how i handled it (been a member of this board for about the same amount of time as you, i guess we must have a similar style of parenting :) )
i did get a little snappy with her because i wasn't getting much from her in the area of "why" she would do that and it was getting frustrating. but we ended with a plan in place that she would not do that anymore, she would empty her backpack nightly and get back into the habit of texting her numbers and checking in and she has been keeping it up for the last few days so i am feeling better. i think i panicked before i spoke to her about it because of the possible long-term implications of her actions and what they might mean but i'm confident that i was over-reacting.
thanks again for your input, i kinda figured i wouldn't get too many responses because of the T1D component but i'm glad you chimed in! :)
I just gave you my ideal parenting solution. Not sure if I would have been that cool digging into a bag of wasted food in real life. On the internet, I'm cool mom, but IRL...not always.
We have wasting food issues at my house, too, and it drives me crazy. My kids both take their lunches from home, though, and have insulated lunch bags, so we have an empty-the-lunch-bag ritual every afternoon. I still find dirty socks and random empty chip bags (trading with friends?) and other detritus in the backpacks whenever I have to excavate while looking for some important paper/book/whatever. Sometimes it's moderately gross, but we do stay on top of the lunch bags because we've got to use them again the next day.
FWIW, my friend who is Type 1 will be turning 50 next month and is in pretty good health. She went through many years of finger pricks and giving herself injections before she got a pump. She did have some high blood sugar times and low blood sugar times over the years, but I don't think any youthful indiscretion has had a major impact on her health.
"All you fascists are bound to lose" — Woody Guthrie
We didn't have critical health issues but we did deal with this issue somewhat in my household... My daughter wanted to bring food from home without all the flack. Daily the faculty and students would pass by to see what was in her lunch bag, offering her other options to "save" her. She would talk about this and I was surprised, because I didn't remember this kind of pressure (however, 40% of my school bagged lunch in those days).
What I did was this: I "gourmeted" her lunch. Since she was already getting attention, we decided to spin it and I made stuff like lettuce or balogna rolls with cheese filling, fancy olives or pickles, tuna in an herbed pita, etc. So the issue was spun from questions about "why you don't eat like we do" to curiosity and sharing and conversation about food, cuisine, and nutrition (more or less, it was an improvement, although she would have wished the attention went way altogether).
Perhaps if your daughter felt that her food was "better" than what was being offered or had a social patina to it she would eat it willingly. Even publicly.