Jump to content
Eating - My head tells me not to
13 replies to this topic
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:11 AM
My DD is turning 8 in a month, and we have been having problems with dinner for forever now it is at crisis point (I think I am going to go bald I feel like tearing my hair out every night). Every night it is a long drawn out process of a miniscule of food going into mouth getting its far wack of 40 chews, then a big dramatic swollow. It takes a good hour of me sitting with her telling her to eat, to get on with it. I serve her probably the amount I feed my 1 year old and he's well and truely done in about 15 minutes. In the past she has made herself throw up when she has been made eat something she didn't like. If I don't sit with her she will hide food (sneak up & dispose of it in a pot, our bathroom bin, she has even sat on it to hide it before!!!! and she has learnt not to put it in kitchen bin cause she is caught). She will still take it out & feed the dog if she gets a chance where I have to change baby or something.
A dietician suggested timer & if she hasn't eaten she goes straight to bed. DD loves this, she gets out of eating. Having said all of this she does eat ok (plenty of fruit in day, no biscuits/cakes/chips etc. if it is something in her very limited favourite foods we have no problem. I stopped buying bread because that is all she would eat bread, sneak it & eat a whole loaf if possible.
Last night we sat down for a cuddle and a chat after dinner, she told me she wants to eat it but her head tells her not to. Now I am alarmed and worried. She also said she thinks people at school, her friends & others, are talking and whispering about her.
So after writing all this I think the original question I had of is this just a defiant child or do you think there is some BIG issue going on, I am changing my question to WHERE DO I GO FOR HELP? At the risk of again being fobbed off by a doctor, do I look for a psych or dietician again? Has anyone had these problems & what helped?
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:15 AM
my DS is 8 in August and he often tells me his head tells me not to do things and he doesnt know why, Im hoping its an age thing lol my DS is an absoutely shocking eater will sit with any meal for well over an hour and would prefer to go to bed or miss out on things then eat. You have my full sympathy! Have a chat to the dietitian DS's is lovely he also has coealiacs disease so they think alot of his problems are psychological
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:17 AM
Contact your community health centre (usually attached to the local hospital) and make an appointment with their child psych. It is a free service this way.
Or, go to your GP and tell them what you have told us and ask for a mental health plan for a child psych which will give you Medicare rebate on a set number of appointments.
Or, if you have the money, just pay to see a child psych as a self-funded client - can cost up to $200 (well, around our area, this variies, but I'm giving you an idea of cost) and yo can't claim it through Medicare.
The first appointment is generally with just the parent/s so you can discuss the situtation, background, your concerns etc to give them an idea of what approach to use if/when seeing the child, and also to give you some strategies to start to implement.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:19 AM
I would try a psychologist with her to start with given she is paranoid about people talking about her & her head telling her not to eat. The other thing I would query is whether there is a sensory issue given that she will eat what she likes without a problem.
I don't think it is just her being a defiant child with the extremes she is going to.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:20 AM
I agree with Mamabug. I do think you need to speak to someone about it soon. Good luck, I will be thinking of you.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:22 AM
Is it possible to break the routine/cycle you are in somehow? Different foods in a different location maybe in front of the TV or a picnic out in the garden, just something that isn't the dinner routine you have at the moment. But it would probably be beneficial to speak to a therapist, not because your DD is mentally ill or anything, but they they probably have some great techniques and methods to help you and your daughter.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:26 AM
It sounds like you are concerned that she has something psychological going on. What about starting with the school psych? Also, have you checked with the teacher as to whether there is actually something going on at school? I wonder what the dynamic is like in her group of friends.
Just taking a stab, but based just on what you have written, she sounds like an anxious/self-conscious child? I wonder if she is having tummy symptoms from anxiety/nervousness in the evenings. Does she go to bed/sleep ok?
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:41 AM
i'm really sorry to hear this. as someone who struggled for upwards of ten yrs now with bulemia i would suggest a psychiatrist. has she had any trauma in her life? do try to listen as her 'head' isnt wrong, its just the way the message gets through can be confused. i hope she will be fine, all the best x
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:48 AM
Big hug, OP.
*Standard disclaimer that this is general advice, and my personal opinion, and for proper advice, go see your GP *
Food/eating can be one of the biggest causes of tension between parents and kids.
I definitely think you are best off going and having a chat with a good psychologist who is knowledgable on eating issues (not all are, you might have to have a hunt around). I think they would be better placed to help you than a dietician. No offense at all intended to dieticians, but based on what you have described, it sounds like this is primarily a behavioural issue rather than a nutritional one.
Food refusal is often linked to anxiety. There is good physiological evidence as to why this is. Some of the same hormone pathways that are involved in anxiety are involved in digestion. Do you know what it feels like when you are really nervous, and your tummy gets all fluttery? And some people find that being anxiety can give them diarrhea (where the phrase, "scared the sh*t out of me" comes from. IBS (irritable bowel) is also strongly linked to anxiety. So, if your daughter has a tendency to be quite an anxious child, this might be impacting on her appetite.
Also, for a child, food is one area of their life in which they can exert control. Ultimately, they decide what they eat, or what they don't. If your child is feeling quite out of control in other areas of their life, sometimes this need for control can start to impact on their eating.
A good psychologist will have LOTS and LOTS of helpful information they can take you through. Depending on what state you are in, there are also eating disorder clinics which have a wealth of resources for tackling these issues (and may be able to provide some subsidised therapy). NOTE: I am NOT saying your DD has an eating disorder, or that she will develop one. That is not at all what I am implying, I am just suggesting them as a source of well-trained, knowledgable people who can point you in the right direction and provide support for you as a parent.
I think there are some negative habits that your daughter is forming, especially hiding food and sneaking/stealing food (eg bread), and these would be worth addressing too, as they do have some potential to escalate.
I just wanted to congratulate you on being so proactive, and caring for your DD. Eating issues can be very difficult to tackle, as a lot of parents think it is something their kids will grow out of, so put off seeking any advice or assistance. The best thing you can do is to act now and nip this in the bud.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:53 AM
If it helps at all, my 8 year old son hardly eats at all either and if offered sweet treats etc. usually declines.
He has also said things like "the voice in my head is telling me _____" which freaked me right out. I thought he was schizophrenic when I first heard him say this. I sought the advice of a paediatrician and they said it was a common way that this age group use to explain their thought processes (not that they really did have different voices shouting in their heads).
I hope this helps, although as others have said, I am no expert and I do believe in mother's instinct...if you feel there's something not quite right, get it investigated by an expert.
Have you considered letting her choose what to have each night? Maybe get her to help cook dinner. I also think it's better to eat something than nothing (ie: toast/cereal/banana/yoghurt/apple) - common things my son eats for dinner ....sigh, I feel your pain
Edited by Blish, 27 April 2012 - 10:57 AM.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 11:16 AM
I think you need to delve into yourself a bit deeper before calling in the psychs.
You have done the right think by sitting down to cuddle and chat so make it a routine to allow her to slowly let you in on what is really going on. There may be something going on at school perhaps. Friendships may be shifting around or there may be some bullying going on or it could be all in her mind.
She trusts you and you love her so that is the perfect starting platform to start to unwind what is causing the eating problems. The eating might be a reaction to something else so be careful about getting angry over it because until, you know what is going on, you could make the problem worse. I know it is stressful for you so just breathe and rehearse in your mind what you will do when the dinner time struggles happen again tonight. I really like the idea of getting her to help you cook. Try to make the meal preparation activity a fun activity an let her make some choices if appropriate. Talk about what kind of food you need to include to make meals that keep the family healthy and happy.
Her eating behaviour might just be a side issue because the main game is figuring out if there are any external influences that could be causing her to behave the way she does. If you decide to keep going with a nightly chat routine, I think you need to be careful not to lead the conversation but just listen with lots of comforting cuddles. If the conversation wanes, don't ask questions that assume anything (like "How is Amy? You and Amy are good friends aren't you?" or "You like your teacher don't you?"). Questions like "was it raining at lunchtime?" and try to see if she keeps the conversation going or very gently try to keep it going with a few more questions. If she doesn't want to keep it going, just give her cuddles and sit in silence cuddling. Keep the routine going each night and see what happens. Chat to her teacher, help out in the classroom if appropriate, and keep a safe line of communication open with you at all times. You need to be her rock and the one she knows will love her unconditionally. When you get an idea of what her school day is like (how the teacher is interacting with her, how her friends are interacting with her, and how other children interact with her), you might get a better idea if the problem is being driven by internal perceptions or external problems causing her stress.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 11:39 AM
Perhaps she has a form of sensory dyspraxia related to taste / eating? I have a very bland set of 'safe' foods that I can eat as a result of this because my head can't handle certain things, such as mixed spreads, some 'wet' foods that are not fruit, etc. basically intense picky eating but it's due to the sensory elements of eating. Not sure if this is what your daughter has though. Mine is co-morbid with my ADHD. Does your daughter have this or is she on the spectrum? Sensory issues (food related) are not uncommon in these scenarios.
I hope you get some insight soon.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 12:37 PM
Thank you for your replies. I definately need to find help but just working out exactly what/where, as I've discussed this in the past with CHN & Dr's & they have just given it a brush off with the "she'll grow out of it" or "this is a behavoural thing". We've had her help in the kitchen, even grown the vegetables to go into the meal, and all is fine until it comes to actually eating it. Because I've got 2 others & another on the way I don't want to be making different meals for her, then have to start for the others also. DH is FIFO, even when he is here he is of little use in this situation - he will finish he dinner then go park himself in front of tv & ignore the situation. The whole process is so frustrating and heartbreaking, even a bribe of ice-cream doesn't work!!! My DS1 is SO easy, put food in front of him & watch it disappear in seconds, then he starts asking for seconds whilst eye-ing off his sisters hardly touched meal LOL.
Summers - i was very interested in reading about sensory dyspraxia, she seems to have a variety of texture (although has always been really funny about meat so a possibility)in there so hadn't put much thought into that, maybe something needing looking at. She has always been extremely full on so ADHD could be a possibility I guess, we have never had her tested. Sugary products set her off in a huge way.
Alacritous~Andy - thank you for your honest opinion, no disclaimer needed as this is exactly what I fear, that we maybe leading down the road to a serious eating disorder, and we could be working on fixing the gate long before the horse has bolted.
Mummy Em - Sleep & bedtime is a whole other issue. This is also a long struggle, she's quite happy to play/read in her bedroom for half the night, but doesn't just go to sleep.
ally0812 - she hasn't had any trauma, I am hoping I can work with her so this doesn't develop into something like bulimia, I may not understand bulimia well enough - but I hope early intervention is the best prevention? I hope you are keeping well, and sincerely thank you for your reply.
I have left a msg for our CHN to contact me, I will speak to her to get contact details for a psych, and won't let her fob me off this time.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:03 PM
Just another uneducated opinion but...
You say you have a 1yo, could this be in part an attention seeking thing.
The image of you sitting with her for an hour every night really struck a cord with me. Not sure if you have other children, but could it be that she feels like as your family has expanded so to your one on one time with her has receded.
You say she eats reasonably well at other times and it may be an entirely subconscious thing she is doing, but maybe over time she has realised that not eating dinner = mummy paying her lots of attention.
Just another thing to be considered.
2 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users
Today, on White Ribbon Day - and every other day - we're teaching our son to say no to violence against women.
If there is one thing the owners of Tillings Cafe can be certain of, it is that the eatery won't win the award for Britain's best baby-friendly coffee shop any time soon.
A woman who admitted to dumping her newborn baby down a Sydney drain has reportedly been allowed to give him a name.
Are you feeling used up by life's stress, family problems and a demanding job you can't turn off? Many people are way beyond work-life exhaustion. They are functioning as robots.
The world's biggest chocolate-maker says we're running out of chocolate.
A baby who was born at 23 weeks has survived her first week of life outside the womb.
It might sound like temporary insanity, but almost obsessive nesting as you near your due date isn’t uncommon – even if you’re not usually a particularly clean person.
The baby found abandoned in a Sydney drain may have been alone for up to six days without being fed, leaving many asking how he could have survived.
A child's excitement at Christmas time is a beautiful thing, but one dad ponders whether his toddler daughter is getting into the festive mood a bit too soon.
A new experience is radically altering men's views of childbirth.
Italian police have placed 12 doctors under house arrest on suspicion of promoting baby milk formula over breastfeeding.
Cara Simmons arrived at work to clean a large and beautiful house in time for a party planned for that evening. It was soon hers.
Every now and then your child does or says something that is truly memorable.
A few weeks ago, some dear friends of mine had their first baby. As the proud dad texted me a picture I had to fight the natural instinct to say “Enjoy every moment!”
Footage of Australian babies and children sleeping in their bedrooms are among the images on a Russian site showing live feeds from thousands of homes and businesses around the world.
Was there really a man who was actually there by his wife’s side as she laboured and gave birth to his child, all while he was making what he perceived to be meaningful eye contact with a midwife?
Tantrum Trolls are a small but growing species of predatory bottom-feeders who delight in picking on parents at their most vulnerable.
The death of children, siblings, and parents has long term impacts on the rest of our lives.
Love has nothing to do with mental illness. But love may drive a mother to do something about it.
We have a beautiful seven-month-old son, and his allergy rules our life.
A transgender man who breastfed his first baby - despite having his breasts removed as part of his transformation from female to male - has now had a second child.
A Canadian couple were slammed with a million dollar medical bill after their daughter was prematurely during their babymoon.
One in every five dollars spent at supermarkets goes on cigarettes or junk food, according to industry data.
There is no doubt mums have a right to continue breastfeeding after they have returned to work, but one teacher in the US has taken it to the extreme.
We have 4 family passes to give away to see Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales, touring Australia this December/January.
Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.
Top 5 Articles
To celebrate the release of PADDINGTON, we are giving five lucky winners the chance to win a family pass to the exclusive Australian Premiere in Sydney on December 7!
We were green and uninitiated, perhaps a little naïve when it came to the favourite toy responsibility.
She looks him up and down and then touches his chin, but baby Lindsey still isn't sure this clean-shaven man is her dad.
Medical experts say intense fitness routines can be done safely during pregnancy - if the mums-to-be follow some guidelines.
Are our hopes, dreams and expectations for our children what they really need?
Before even giving birth, Katie Myers' maternal instincts warned her something was wrong with her baby.
Some dads-to-be don't miss a beat when their partner is pregnant; others struggle with a range of issues and can become withdrawn, right when their support is needed most.
Katharine and Kris Camilli devised a clever trick to immortalise their family and friends' reactions to their exciting pregnancy news.
"After 30 years on television, I had become what I despised: a painted doll who spent an hour a day and close to $200 a week putting on a mask."
I am secure, confident and strong, but the responsibility of protecting my children can almost bring me undone.
There are so many ways in which parenthood changes us as women, but one of the most noticeable, for me, has been the changing state of my emotions.
Baby Maia was conceived against the odds, only to find she was sharing a womb with an ominous "foreign body".
They say dog is man's best friend, but this playful pooch seems to have chosen a jumping baby as her number one buddy.
New paernts can get frustrated when their newborn gets fussy and can't settle down. When you're feeling overwhelmed, try some of these simple tips to help soothe your baby.
The data-lovers at nameberry.com have been at it again – this time, they’ve discovered the names that are continually rising up the ranks, ready to take out some top spots in the next few years.
Ideally, you want to give food that isn’t expensive to make, isn't too difficult to create, and freezes well; stews, bakes, soups and pasta sauces are perfect.
Some pregnancy products come to market and are just awesome. Others just leave you scratching your head.
Twin brothers have become dads on the same day ? with their partners giving birth in the same hospital, and even the same birthing pool.
How many weeks til Christmas?
Get the "Santa" shopping done without the kids in tow.