10 Year Old DD Not Eating - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 19 Old 11-06-2007, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Funny how this Mothering site comes back to me, like a dear old friend, whenever I need 'her'...

Our 10 year old daughter is giving me cause for concern. She's a fantastically witty girl with a dry sense of humor. She's smart, very loving, and incredibly sensitive. But none of those things, of course, are the problem.

What is the problem is that her lack of appetite has progressed to a point where I'm sure she must be hungry. She is VERY thin. When I put out a snack, she will dip her finger in the crumbs and call it a meal (literally). Supper is painful. Breakfast is a bite or two with the rest slid to the dog or one of her sisters. Lunch gets brought home with a few bites out of it (she says she doesn't "have time to eat", but still doesn't want a snack).

I'm a Nutritionist so I wonder if food is somehow associated with me. I'm trying not to make this into an issue, but I'm starting to think that it IS an issue. It's not a case of being picky, she has always eaten anything.

Has anyone out there gone through something similar? Any suggestions?

Thank you!

41 year old mama to three beautiful girls (19, 16, and 11)

Wildly, passionately, eternally in love with my dear husband.

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#2 of 19 Old 11-06-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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I honestly am not sure if she is just eating enough for her. But if she is literally eating as little as you say I would look seriously into the issue. I personally have known girls as young as 9 and 10 who were anorexic. I do not want to scare you but I would look into this issue. Also sometimes the girls who have this problem are not the ones who you would think who would struggle with it.
s to you both.
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#3 of 19 Old 11-06-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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I am one to not freak about food.

I am one to be totally laid back about kids and their quirks.

This would concern me.

Does she show obsessive behavior about her looks in any way? Does she participate in any "body-conscious" activities? (gymnastics, dance, skating, etc)

Does she make comments about her appearance?

I would mention it to her pediatrician personally and try to set up a meeting with a counselor who is well versed in eating disorders.

It could be nothing. A blip on the developmental radar. But it would be something I'd want to be wary of right now.



-Angela
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#4 of 19 Old 11-06-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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What is her height/ weight?
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#5 of 19 Old 11-06-2007, 08:50 PM
 
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I would be very concerned as well. Is she aware of eating disorders? Maybe a book would help. I know American Girl covers this subject in some of their books.
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#6 of 19 Old 11-06-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I am one to not freak about food.

I am one to be totally laid back about kids and their quirks.

This would concern me.

Does she show obsessive behavior about her looks in any way? Does she participate in any "body-conscious" activities? (gymnastics, dance, skating, etc)

Does she make comments about her appearance?

I would mention it to her pediatrician personally and try to set up a meeting with a counselor who is well versed in eating disorders.

It could be nothing. A blip on the developmental radar. But it would be something I'd want to be wary of right now.
:
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#7 of 19 Old 11-07-2007, 02:33 AM
 
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I would have her assessed for anorexia *immediately*. Smart girls, particularly those who have perfectionistic tendencies, seem a bit more afflicted with this problem.
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#8 of 19 Old 11-07-2007, 04:39 AM
 
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I agree with the other posters - this does sound like a possible problem, but the one thing I would say is this (and I acknowledge that I'm probably reacting a little emotionally here due to my own personal history): please try to be careful not that your daughter doesn't feel like you're bypassing her feelings, or that you're 'diagnosed' her without her input.

The background to this: I have a small appetite. I'm also very thin. It's basically just how my body operates, and always has. As I've gotten older, my mother has become increasingly concerned about my weight. She pretty much ignores my replies to any questions or comments about my eating habits, and has diagnosed me in her mind with an eating disorder. While I know she is not (and has never been) trying to upset me or cause emotional problems for me, her approach has distressed me very greatly at times.

All the best - I sincerely hope that it's just that she has a small appetite, or that it's just a momentary thing.
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#9 of 19 Old 11-07-2007, 10:25 AM
 
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In the OP's position, I would be very concerned.

My 9 year old DD just today said to me that she didn't want cashews for lunch as they are 'fattening'. Well I was just gobsmacked.

And I can absolutely guarantee that she doen't hear that sh!t from me.

I can only guess that she hears it from school.


.............

Aussiemum (43), DH (42) DD (16), & DS (14).
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#10 of 19 Old 11-07-2007, 10:48 AM
 
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I have a child who does not eat so I can understand your concern. Could your daughter have any kind of food allergy or GI issue? Has she started to hit puberty and afraid of the changes to her body? I would sit down and talk to her about eating and her food choices.

There are so many reasons that children decide not to eat.
Some are related to pain and some unfortunately to body image.

Do you eat with her or in front of her? I think it is important for our children to see us eat. If we starve ourselves or just pick, they will do the same.

My heart goes out to you and your daughter. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Take care,

Jen, mama to  (M-13, N- 10, C- 8 rainbow1284.gif J- 3.5, and rainbow1284.gifJ -2, angel3.gifA (10/4/07) and 3 early losses)
We are expecting baby #7 in November 2013

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#11 of 19 Old 11-10-2007, 04:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Datura View Post
I would have her assessed for anorexia *immediately*. Smart girls, particularly those who have perfectionistic tendencies, seem a bit more afflicted with this problem.
How does she tend to see her self? Not just physical... what's her self esteem like? Is there anything going on in her life that might be making her feel like she has no control? My niece is 12 and I just saw her for 2.5 days a month ago, for the first time in 5 years, and it was CLEAR that she is anorexic. My sister is in total denial... but my sister is also mentally unhealthy, and emotionally abusive to my niece. Clearly that isn't a problem for you... The fact that you're worried is reason enough to get her assessed NOW. Eating disorders do NOT get better, they only get WORSE, and the worse they get the harder they are to treat.
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#12 of 19 Old 11-10-2007, 08:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by momoftworedheads View Post

Do you eat with her or in front of her? I think it is important for our children to see us eat. If we starve ourselves or just pick, they will do the same.
I totally agree with this. Whilst I certainly don't pick at food or starve myself (anymore!), I do have a tendency to eat on a slightly different schedule to the kids, & I eat different food sometimes (i.e. they don't like some foods that I really, really love like mushrooms, eggplant & ricotta ravioli for example). So I am really trying to conciously sit down & eat afternoon tea everyday with them after school, & we all eat dinner together about 6 nights a week. DH & the kids eat breakkie together several days a week, but I am a late-riser & so when I get out of bed I usually grab a piece of toast and some coffee & eat as I go through our morning routines. About an hour after everybody has left for the morning, i'll sit down & have a proper breakfast over the newspaper, but the kids don't see this, yk?

Aussiemum (43), DH (42) DD (16), & DS (14).
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#13 of 19 Old 11-12-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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I have a 16 yo cousin who was diagnosed with anorexia about 3 years ago. She's getting over it after spending the summer in a treatment centre. I hope your dd just has a small appetite - I wish I knew more about the situation with my cousin and how my aunt and uncle finally decided she needed help, but it was kept quite secret from the rest of the family.
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#14 of 19 Old 11-12-2007, 10:29 PM
 
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as someone who was diagnosed with an eating disorder at age 12 and still struggles with it today, it troubles me to hear about this. You need to talk to your daughter. From what you describe, even if she does not technically *have* an eating disorder, she is participating in what is called eating-disordered behavior. It could be a just a quirk or some uncertainty about the changes her body is going through, but it has the potential to develop into a full-blown eating disorder. The underlying cause of an eating disorder is not body image or a desire to be thin-- these are symptoms. Some people with eating disorders do not show these particular symptoms. It's not about models and magazines, it's about feelings. Girls her age can feel a lack of control over the changes their bodies are going through. Is she a perfectionist? As a pp stated, people who are perfectionists tend to need to feel in control, hence their predisposition toward eating disorders.

Here is a video on child anorexia, if you are interested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcr3TAwglaw

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#15 of 19 Old 11-13-2007, 03:00 AM
 
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I would also look into Reflux issues. My 9 year old has reflux. She does go through spells. We figured out her issue young because my dh has reflux but at that age my dh didn't eat anything. My mil talked about being scared for him because he was so skinny and unhealthy looking. DH and his mom now strongly believes it was because of his undiagnosed/treated reflux. It was about that age he discovered tums by accident and was sneaking them because they made him feel hungry. His mom use to worry about all the tums he would take but he finally ate. Even though he was skinny he put on a little wieght but mostly look healthy. My dh had hiatial (SP) hernia and GERD. We think my dd has hiatial hernia we know she has GERD.
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#16 of 19 Old 11-13-2007, 08:23 AM
 
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s: It's so hard to watch our children struggle.

Is this new behavior? Has she lost weight or has she gotten taller and not put on weight to accommodate the new height?

I would have her checked for physical causes as pps have suggested, but I would also be concerned (as you obviously are) about potentially eating disordered behavior. If she has lost weight and this has been going on for some time, it's possible that she's not aware that she is actually hungry and that her hunger cues are "turned off."

I would speak with her very carefully about your concerns about what's going on in her life, any concerns she might have about how she's feeling emotionally or physically (e.g., is she in any pain after she eats or in general?), and tell her that you're concerned and would like to take her for a physical just to see if she's healthy. In the meantime, ask her if she would at least be willing to take a vitamin every day.
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#17 of 19 Old 11-13-2007, 02:13 PM
 
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hugs to you, momma


Any updates for us??

Catholic homeschooling mom of 5 - a teenager, a kindergartener, twin boys and a tiny princess. Follow the Adventures! 

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#18 of 19 Old 11-13-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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I have a niece who was finally diagnosed with Crone's Disease at about this age. She is very tall and thin (and wonderful) - just like your dd. She didn't eat because it was painful.

I agree with pp that you should take her diet seriously. Whatever is going on - physical/emotional/whatever - she is too young to take it on herself and the tendency is to hear us moms as clueless nags at that age (no matter how good the relationship) unless we are really trying to understand their perspective. I would suggest open ended questions as opposed to saying (in whatever way) that you don't like what she is doing around food. Try to decide "together" to get things checked out by a physician.

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#19 of 19 Old 11-13-2007, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Many, many heartfelt thanks for all of your wonderfully generous responses. You have given me many ideas and thoughts on how to best deal with this situation.

Some of my thoughts: It's interesting to hear from women that were/are simply small eaters. This may sound bizarre, but coming from a Slavic background where food is life, I never considered this possibility. I'm sure this does play a part in the overall equation. She has always been a small eater, but I do think that she goes through periods when that tendency is exaggerated.

So, I wrote last week and this week her appetite is different. She's eating more (she's actually eating a "snack" of an organic yam with ghee on it as I write this). She ate quite substantially today (and indeed, for the last few days).

I do wonder about her lack of control in her young life. I often worry about her getting lost in the shuffle of our lives. She's the middle daughter, quiet and undemanding unlike the other two who, if they don't get attention, simply speak up. I have to remind myself to connect with her, give her more of me (same goes for DH). I invited her to be my sous chef at mealtime so that we could chat alone each night. She likes to cook so it seems like it may be something that works. Do Moms ever feel like there's enough of us to go around?

She doesn't make comments about her body. Her older sister tells her she looks like an anorexic (something we have dealt with and hopefully it won't be said again). She knows that she's thin, but she doesn't seem to think either way about it. I am honestly worried to bring it up because I don't want her to have that become an issue if she's just fine with her body. I completely understand that any eating disorder is a symptom of a problem so I'm hoping to deal with any stuff that little heart has going on.

We do eat together as a family everyday (including breakfast). I've always made a point of eating and appreciating food. When my girls come home from school with some terrible nutrition facts regarding what's "fattening" or not, I point out that the issue is whether a food is unprocessed, organic, full of nutrition etc.. and that things like fat or carbs are just buzz words. They all seem to get that. They don't have any hang-ups about slathering coconut butter on their Ezekial bread or what have you.

I truly appreciate all of you taking the time to respond. I don't know any like-minded parenting Mamas in my neck of the woods so it sure is nice to know that all of you exist somewhere, out there.

Tara

41 year old mama to three beautiful girls (19, 16, and 11)

Wildly, passionately, eternally in love with my dear husband.

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