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<p>DS12 is ADHD, Aspie, SPD, and borderline ODD.</p>
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<p>When he goes too long without eating, his behaviour deteriorates.  This is a known issue.  He's generally doing pretty well right now with his current meds, but I guess if his blood sugar gets lower, he gets extra sensitive, super cranky, and a tantrum meltdown is almost unavoidable.</p>
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<p>But I wonder if he's abusing his known issue, using it as an excuse to get out of something he doesn't want to do, or using it to "win" a power struggle.  He won't acquiesce, he won't relax an co-operate... he "needs food" and "can't help it" until he gets what he wants.</p>
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<p>If he honestly can't control himself because he's low blood sugar, or whatever, then I'm happy to give him some food.  But it *feels* like he's deliberately exaggerating... or even subconsciously exaggerating... in order to be able to believe to himself "I really couldn't control myself, it was all mom's fault for not feeding me enough."  He will never take responsibility for anything, it's always my fault, or the fault of the thing he broke (it jumped off the table, he didn't touch it), or in this case -- the fault of hunger, nothing to do with his own self-control (or lack thereof).</p>
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<p>We're trying to work on him taking responsibility for his actions, for his choices.  So I'm really reluctant to "give in" on this one, since it's just another way for him to evade the responsibility for his behavior choices.  He uses it as a way to say that it wasn't his fault.</p>
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<p>But I don't want to withhold food when he honestly does need it, when it honestly is the problem.</p>
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<p>We're going through a spell this very moment, which is why I'm reaching out for advice.  What happened this time was that he was doing his piano practice.  It was going fine.  Then there was a part that we were supposed to do together, and he didn't want to.  That's when his behaviour dissolved.  After resisting for several minutes, he went into a full-scale meltdown.  After calming down enough to talk, THAT is when he started saying he was "starving" and needed food.  That after he had food, he'd be able to cooperate and do the piano lesson.</p>
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<p>What makes it suspicious, is that everything was fine until we hit the part he didn't want to do.  If he had said something while he was still doing stuff he wanted to, then it would be more believable.  But this smacks of being too convenient.</p>
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<p>And now he's just sobbing and whining that he can't do anything because he's staaaaaaarving.  He's 'stuck'.  He has lots of energy to cry, lots of energy to walk down the stairs to tell me he has no energy, then mopes all the way back up dragging himself on his bum like he can't even stand up.  Moaning that he's starving and dying.</p>
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<p>I really just don't know what to do when he gets like this.  If I give in and give him some food, there's a good chance he'll cooperate afterwards.  But why?  Because he knows he won and can get away with this?  And what if he still doesn't?  </p>
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<p>Oh, FYI, he had a decent breakfast and only a couple of hours ago.  It's reasonable for him to be hungry now, but not STAAAAAAAAAAAAAARVING, not so terribly deprived of nutrition that he's "DYYYYYYYYYYYYING".</p>
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<p>And he really exaggerates the crying too... choking and dramatizing and pretending to faint... and yes, it's all definitely a put-on.  My instinct is that it's all just about him not wanting to accept responsibility for anything so he over-dramatizes in order to "prove" how horribly he's being "abused"...</p>
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<p>argh... </p>
 

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<p>Oh, and this whole time I had been planning to take us all out for lunch as soon as he finishes his piano.  He knows this full well.  All he has to do is like 5 more minutes of this thing we have to do together.  Then we all go out and he not only gets food, he gets special 'treat' food!  This should have been motivation enough, I would think, for him to bear with it for just 5 more minutes.  But no, he's still whining like a 2-year-old that he neeeeeeeeeeeds foooooooooooood before he can do anything... making the rest of us wait, too, since we're all getting hungry now and want to go out.</p>
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<p>Yes, I'm frustrated and a bit bitter right now.  I needed a safe outlet to get that out.  Getting a case of the "why-me's".  </p>
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<p>Ugh, and now he's collapsed on the chair beside me, he's stopped crying because he's stopped doing anything - pretending to be unconscious, I think.  Like I've starved him into a stupor.  Yup, very believable.  arghhh....</p>
 

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<p>I'm sorry, but I do have to laugh at your description.</p>
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<p>We just had a similar issue with ds at school. He eats breakfast on the way to school around 7:15. Lunch is at 11:00. DS was having a *really* bad day about a week ago and just really flipped out. He was violent with his special ed teacher and ended up in the "white room" (a room at his school where they put children who are being violent and need to be secluded). DP ended up going to the school to help (I was at work and didn't learn about this until later because I missed the call from ds's teacher). It took dp quite awhile to get ds to calm down, but when he did ds told dp that he was just hungry. Huh. DP got his lunch (it was almost lunchtime by that time) and ds scarfed the whole thing down. He did fine the rest of the day at school <span><img alt="shrug.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/shrug.gif">  We had a talk with ds's teacher and his special ed teacher and it was decided that I would bring in some individually packed foods for ds and if he starts the melting down they would offer him food to see if that helps. So far we haven't had to do that (the next couple days went well for ds then he was absent from school friday and school was closed today). I fear he will act up just to get a break from his class and get a snack (he will go to the special ed room to eat his snack so he's not eating in front of the other kids, I think). We will see....</span></p>
 

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Yeah, ds1 gets that way when his blood sugar is low too. And he definately notices any discomfort more so when he's under pressure. So doing something he doesn't want to is more likely to trigger a "starving" fit. I try to give him a small snack before he has to do something I know he might not want to, like homework for instance or cleaning his room. I have seen him use this as an excuse as well. I do truly think he convinces himself that his behavior is because of being hungry...or something I've done...or something his brothers have done...or something the squirrel that we passed on the road 10 minutes before. <img alt="lol.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/lol.gif">
 

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<p>What about having a small bowl/plate of acceptable snacks available at all times. If he's 'starving' he can grab something from that. If nothing else, it'll take away one excuse for his not cooperating, right? If it's something like fruit or nuts or something that he likes that doesn't have a lot of refined carbs, it won't be that bad for him to eat, even close to a meal.</p>
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<p>I don't regulate my kids' food that much at all. If they're hungry and it's more than 15 minutes to the next meal, I'll let them have a small snack. Dd was ravenous last night because she hadn't had much to eat for lunch -- a bowl of tomato soup and an apple. We went to a cookie party, but she didn't like the cookies <span><img alt="headscratch.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/headscratch.gif">. So, while I was making mac 'n cheese for dinner, I gave her some cheese. It helped a lot. (We have a lot of blood sugar related meltdowns at our house, mom included!) She then ate 4 helpings of mac 'n cheese for dinner. So, an ounce of cheddar didn't really make that much difference. She needed food.</span></p>
 
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<p>I'd love to let him snack, but he so's darned fussy it's really hard.  He'll get "stuck" on a particular food in his mind, and if he can't have that, then NOTHING else will do.  There are very few quick and easy snack foods that he'll actually eat.</p>
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<p>But I do appreciate the commiseration (misery loves company heh) and just knowing there are folks out there who understand helps.  :)</p>
 

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<p>sounds a little like my ds who we think has some sensory issues...he will say he can't eat the food because it's too hot, or cold, or too sticky, or too "together" or feels funny, etc. I generally try to make meals fun unless I'm really short on time so I will make "funny face" lunches, cut pancakes into shapes, etc. I was going along with this "sensory" thing, catering to him because I felt he couldn't help it until finally one day he told my mom he couldn't eat his dinner because it wasn't smiling at him. He tantrumed until she rearranged the macaroni into a smiley face. <span><img alt="eyesroll.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span> I'm not saying there aren't legitimate sensory issues going on, but he definitely tries to push the envelope!</p>
 

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<p>i had a child like this <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>hen i vas a foster mom.</p>
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<p><span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>e set a food schdule and a timer.  he had to eat / got to eat  each time the timer vent off. (2 or 3 choices each time -- not "anything").</p>
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<p><span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>e also found that <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>e had to have eat a snack before chore time, before home <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>ork time, etc (like beofre music pratice :) ).  <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>e found he <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>as -- in some situations -- pulling the "can't control it" card -- but if he kne<span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w </span></span> and <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>e kne<span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span> he <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>as eating every X amount of time -- then that took some of the <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>ind out of his sails. </p>
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<p><span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w </span></span>e had a snack basket for him -- small bags of trail mix, etc .... some he didn't like as much ...but it did eleminate the pbhysical and allo<span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span> us to see <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>hat <span style="font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:'times new roman';">w</span></span>hat choice or behavior</p>
 

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<p>He's definitely using food and eating to express his need to control his environment. The fact that he's being fussy about food but claims to be starving/low blood sugar is evidence of that. Not really an answer, but you can certainly say to him, "Well these are your healthy options. If you're really hungry then you'll choose one of those options. Period." Of course thins will get worse behavior-wise before they get better, right? So if you do choose to limit his ability to use control here, he'll fight it and you.</p>
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<p>Best of luck with this, Mama!</p>
 

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<p>Yes, he is clearly using the food as a means to escape the unpleasant tasks (and this is all perfectly normal, if a bit excessive and dramatic)- you said you were wanting him to be more responsible for his behavior so try and incorporate this into your schedule and routine - Let him have the control but also do not allow him to get out of the thing he is trying to escape - if he's doing it to also pull you into a power struggle you have to try and be as calm as you can - the bowl of snacks idea might work if you problem solve with him - he's of an age where he should be able to do this so it's not a convenient escape.</p>
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<p>If you approach him as a partner in this and honor his legitimate needs - and I will say that a 12 yo is growing fast and might in fact BE really hungry at that point - and I know when my blood sugar is low I am apt to snap and not act anywhere near my best... not an excuse for poor behavior or a free pass on any unpleasant task - but definitely a real contributor to his unpleasant behavior...</p>
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