Kids' eating disorders?

Options
245

Replies

  • jkal1979
    jkal1979 Posts: 1,896 Member
    Options
    What exactly did you say to educate her about calories?

    This reminds me of when I was 13 and had two of my aunts and my grandma lecture me about my eating habits. While they didn't outright say anything about my weight, I knew it was their way of telling me that I was fat.

    23 years later and I'm still reminded of that incident every time I see green peppers. That was what they were encouraging me to eat during that lecture.

    My point is that it might seem harmless to talk about it to her especially if you are talking about yourself, but you never know what kind of impact that will have on your niece. Even if you don't say anything about her weight directly she may take it that way and you have no way of knowing what that will do to her emotionally or what it could do to your relationship with her.
  • slaite1
    slaite1 Posts: 1,307 Member
    Options
    PeachyPlum wrote: »
    But I'm thinking of offering to pick them up from day care and feeding them dinner at my house during the week. I doubt their mom will agree, but I suppose it's worth a try. Any suggestions?

    Family time around the dinner table is often when parents catch up with their kids, what they did at school, etc.

    You want to take that away from this family?

    I'm sure your intentions are good, but think about it for a minute.

    They don't have family time. She works until 7:00 or 8:00 at night, and her husband, their stepfather, usually feeds them whatever he can get his hands on until he goes to work after their mother gets home.

    Well that's an opportunity, you can just offer to pick them up and feed them a few times a week to give stepdad a break. Then you can teach them to cook some of the healthy things they like.

    That's what I was thinking, too, Peachy Plum. Thanks for the support.


    This all the way. They sound like they are a busy family and could actually use the assistance. Seems like you would be helping in more ways than one. Either way, it is good of you to care enough to sacrifice so much of your time. You're a good sister.
  • atypicalsmith
    atypicalsmith Posts: 2,742 Member
    Options
    MrM27 wrote: »
    MrM27 wrote: »
    I have 2 views on a topic like this.

    I think this is a really tough subject and it's more than likely a losing battle for you since they are not your kids. If they were not family, immediate family then I would say that you should mind your business. It can only lead to trouble.

    These being your niece and nephew I would say you need to consider what the parents reaction would be if you brought it up to them. Then that should tell you what's the right move. Families don't operate the same and I don't know yours.

    My brother has a 22 year old daughter who is my god daughter as well and he has 2 sons ages 19 and 16. We are a tight family and we have no boundaries as far as what we address towards each other. I have free reign to say what I please with the kids and I have when it comes to school, hanging out with their friends, dating, drugs, etc. Obviously off limits would be hitting them, that would be wrong and I would never do it.

    Thanks, Mr. M27!

    Don't thank me, it will throw off our feng shui.

    ROFL!! (ooops, scratch that)
  • itisjoan
    itisjoan Posts: 5 Member
    Options
    They don't have an eating disorder. I assess kids/women with eating disorders and... this isn't what it looks like. Do not talk to children about being 'big boned' or anything that talks about their physical appearance. You don't know how it will impact them for years to come.
  • atypicalsmith
    atypicalsmith Posts: 2,742 Member
    Options
    I just love them so, and I don't know
    slaite1 wrote: »
    PeachyPlum wrote: »
    But I'm thinking of offering to pick them up from day care and feeding them dinner at my house during the week. I doubt their mom will agree, but I suppose it's worth a try. Any suggestions?

    Family time around the dinner table is often when parents catch up with their kids, what they did at school, etc.

    You want to take that away from this family?

    I'm sure your intentions are good, but think about it for a minute.

    They don't have family time. She works until 7:00 or 8:00 at night, and her husband, their stepfather, usually feeds them whatever he can get his hands on until he goes to work after their mother gets home.

    Well that's an opportunity, you can just offer to pick them up and feed them a few times a week to give stepdad a break. Then you can teach them to cook some of the healthy things they like.

    That's what I was thinking, too, Peachy Plum. Thanks for the support.


    This all the way. They sound like they are a busy family and could actually use the assistance. Seems like you would be helping in more ways than one. Either way, it is good of you to care enough to sacrifice so much of your time. You're a good sister.

    Thanks so much! All I want to do is help, not belittle anyone in any way. Your advice is much appreciated.
  • Lleldiranne
    Lleldiranne Posts: 5,516 Member
    Options
    I don't think that you need to worry much about them. They both sound like normal, typical kids.

    For your niece, at 11, she is hitting puberty (if she hasn't already) and adjusting to all the hormone changes and body shape changes that go with that. There is a good chance she is still growing (height wise), but as someone who is 5' tall, I can tell you that 132 is an okay weight. (Stretch marks are very normal with the rapid growth girls go through at this age). My daughter was also about the same height and weight and build at 11, and still is now at 16 and she has a lovely hourglass shape and is very healthy. It's good to model eating appropriate foods for your body, but be very careful that you don't give her a message that she has to count calories all the time, because that CAN develop into an eating disorder.

    As for the 9 year old, boys can often be small and skinny through childhood. Both my sons were small for their age at 9 (one quite a bit so), and quite picky eaters (a lot of it is texture for one). They grow out of it. One of my boys is now 14 and growing like a weed, though still super skinny. That's how boys are.

    There's nothing wrong with kids liking sweets. And you really don't know what they eat at home ... it might be far better than you make it sound ("anything he can get his hands on"). When they are with you, model healthy eating behaviors -- fruits and vegetables and lean meats especially, but not counting calories -- and an active lifestyle. If you think it may help your sister out to pick them up a couple of days a week and feed them dinner, offer it, but only as a way to help her out with the difficult schedule she and her husband seem to have. (I know I would/have been upset when a family member suggested I was doing something wrong in raising my kids, even just in how I fed them, and I even lost trust in family members for a while because of that sort of thing, so be very careful to avoid any sort of insinuation)
  • futuremanda
    futuremanda Posts: 816 Member
    Options
    I'd like to echo MrM27 in that I don't know your family, so I can't give advice so much as some thoughts based on who I am and my own experiences.

    I wouldn't bring it up directly. i.e. "I'm concerned about your kids' weight/health" type of thing. It's their mom's business/responsibility, and it sounds like she has a lot going on, and probably wouldn't take it the way you'd want her to. And if the kids got wind of it, especially the 11 year old, I'd worry that it would increase their self-consciousness.

    I also wouldn't try to drastically change those kids, "fix" them (their weight, eating habits, etc).

    But I don't see why you can't ask to have them come over sometimes, and feed them, and you don't have to feel like you're being underhanded or lying, as if you have a secret agenda. I had family do that for me and those were some of the highlights of my childhood -- I have NO idea if they had any agenda regarding my food, I just liked being there and spending time with them.

    So if they aren't sleeping over as often as they used to, the way you spend time together will have to change. A bit of after-school care and food sounds fun to me. Plus, 11 is a great age to learn more about cooking and food prep, and 7 is old enough to get involved, so if you could get them interested / get them to participate, bonus. If they're having fun and learning, that will be really beneficial for their eating habits down the line.

    If the parents say no, maybe you could start scheduling the odd activity together. Ice skating or swimming or a picnic in the park or a beach day or something. Again, it doesn't have to be about you trying to butt in or control them. But I think it's fair to incorporate who you are into your exchanges -- you're their aunt, so you are going to have an influence in your own way by just being you. If you have a passion for cooking or are interested in certain foods or you like to be active, then it's great to share that with the kids. I used to bake with my Grandma because she baked a lot. There doesn't have to be anything more to it.

    TLDR: Dial down the worry. Don't say anything to the parents. Don't try to "fix" the kids. Do try to spend more time with them, try to have fun, and feel free to do that by sharing who you are and what you like, which can include food and physical activity.
  • atypicalsmith
    atypicalsmith Posts: 2,742 Member
    Options
    mathjulz wrote: »
    I don't think that you need to worry much about them. They both sound like normal, typical kids.

    For your niece, at 11, she is hitting puberty (if she hasn't already) and adjusting to all the hormone changes and body shape changes that go with that. There is a good chance she is still growing (height wise), but as someone who is 5' tall, I can tell you that 132 is an okay weight. (Stretch marks are very normal with the rapid growth girls go through at this age). My daughter was also about the same height and weight and build at 11, and still is now at 16 and she has a lovely hourglass shape and is very healthy. It's good to model eating appropriate foods for your body, but be very careful that you don't give her a message that she has to count calories all the time, because that CAN develop into an eating disorder.

    As for the 9 year old, boys can often be small and skinny through childhood. Both my sons were small for their age at 9 (one quite a bit so), and quite picky eaters (a lot of it is texture for one). They grow out of it. One of my boys is now 14 and growing like a weed, though still super skinny. That's how boys are.

    There's nothing wrong with kids liking sweets. And you really don't know what they eat at home ... it might be far better than you make it sound ("anything he can get his hands on"). When they are with you, model healthy eating behaviors -- fruits and vegetables and lean meats especially, but not counting calories -- and an active lifestyle. If you think it may help your sister out to pick them up a couple of days a week and feed them dinner, offer it, but only as a way to help her out with the difficult schedule she and her husband seem to have. (I know I would/have been upset when a family member suggested I was doing something wrong in raising my kids, even just in how I fed them, and I even lost trust in family members for a while because of that sort of thing, so be very careful to avoid any sort of insinuation)

    I totally agree. I don't quiz them about what goes on at home, but they occasionally let the cat out of the bag. I pretend to not hear and make light of it because the last thing I want to do is to alienate their mother and stepfather. I never told my niece to count her calories; just explained scientifically what a calorie was in response to her questions. Which is why I suspect there is a bit of eating disorders going on at home. I would never, ever suggest that to any of them.
  • atypicalsmith
    atypicalsmith Posts: 2,742 Member
    Options
    itisjoan wrote: »
    They don't have an eating disorder. I assess kids/women with eating disorders and... this isn't what it looks like. Do not talk to children about being 'big boned' or anything that talks about their physical appearance. You don't know how it will impact them for years to come.

    I don't, but suspect their mother does.
  • atypicalsmith
    atypicalsmith Posts: 2,742 Member
    Options
    I'd like to echo MrM27 in that I don't know your family, so I can't give advice so much as some thoughts based on who I am and my own experiences.

    I wouldn't bring it up directly. i.e. "I'm concerned about your kids' weight/health" type of thing. It's their mom's business/responsibility, and it sounds like she has a lot going on, and probably wouldn't take it the way you'd want her to. And if the kids got wind of it, especially the 11 year old, I'd worry that it would increase their self-consciousness.

    I also wouldn't try to drastically change those kids, "fix" them (their weight, eating habits, etc).

    But I don't see why you can't ask to have them come over sometimes, and feed them, and you don't have to feel like you're being underhanded or lying, as if you have a secret agenda. I had family do that for me and those were some of the highlights of my childhood -- I have NO idea if they had any agenda regarding my food, I just liked being there and spending time with them.

    So if they aren't sleeping over as often as they used to, the way you spend time together will have to change. A bit of after-school care and food sounds fun to me. Plus, 11 is a great age to learn more about cooking and food prep, and 7 is old enough to get involved, so if you could get them interested / get them to participate, bonus. If they're having fun and learning, that will be really beneficial for their eating habits down the line.

    If the parents say no, maybe you could start scheduling the odd activity together. Ice skating or swimming or a picnic in the park or a beach day or something. Again, it doesn't have to be about you trying to butt in or control them. But I think it's fair to incorporate who you are into your exchanges -- you're their aunt, so you are going to have an influence in your own way by just being you. If you have a passion for cooking or are interested in certain foods or you like to be active, then it's great to share that with the kids. I used to bake with my Grandma because she baked a lot. There doesn't have to be anything more to it.

    TLDR: Dial down the worry. Don't say anything to the parents. Don't try to "fix" the kids. Do try to spend more time with them, try to have fun, and feel free to do that by sharing who you are and what you like, which can include food and physical activity.

    Absolutely!
  • alyci
    alyci Posts: 50 Member
    Options
    Please don't bother your niece over her weight. She is eleven and too young to worry about that, she is still growing and will probably grow out of the weight. My own mother was constantly on me about calories when I was young(10-15). This lead to me having some serious issues with food for most of high school. Between starving myself and serious over eating the last year or so to prove 'I'm okay with food'. I still am struggling a lot with accepting that in time I may have to eat more than 1400-1500 calories a day to maintain a good weight.

    Also a skinny child who is a picky eater. As long as he shows an appetite it is just not eating food he doesn't like. The only advice I give is always offer him a varied diet when he comes to visit. Introduce him to different foods so he can taste them. If he doesn't like it just remind him that taste buds change over time and to always give food and second chance.
  • SLLRunner
    SLLRunner Posts: 12,942 Member
    Options
    itisjoan wrote: »
    They don't have an eating disorder. I assess kids/women with eating disorders and... this isn't what it looks like. Do not talk to children about being 'big boned' or anything that talks about their physical appearance. You don't know how it will impact them for years to come.

    So true.

    I got 'talked to" A LOT about my weight, including a mother saying I wasn't fat just "big boned," and a father who blamed her because I was fat and asking her why she wasn't making me lose weight. All you can do is lead by example and hope they catch on to some good habits.

    No, I would not talk to their parents about their weight. What you describe are not eating disorders.
  • arditarose
    arditarose Posts: 15,573 Member
    Options
    Just echoing these are not eating disorders.
  • atypicalsmith
    atypicalsmith Posts: 2,742 Member
    Options
    alyci wrote: »
    Please don't bother your niece over her weight. She is eleven and too young to worry about that, she is still growing and will probably grow out of the weight. My own mother was constantly on me about calories when I was young(10-15). This lead to me having some serious issues with food for most of high school. Between starving myself and serious over eating the last year or so to prove 'I'm okay with food'. I still am struggling a lot with accepting that in time I may have to eat more than 1400-1500 calories a day to maintain a good weight.

    Also a skinny child who is a picky eater. As long as he shows an appetite it is just not eating food he doesn't like. The only advice I give is always offer him a varied diet when he comes to visit. Introduce him to different foods so he can taste them. If he doesn't like it just remind him that taste buds change over time and to always give food and second chance.

    I will not do that. I suspect their mother, however, is.
  • misskarne
    misskarne Posts: 1,765 Member
    Options
    You keep saying you "suspect" their mother is. You have no proof she does, but you want to stick your nose in anyway.
  • Glinda1971
    Glinda1971 Posts: 2,328 Member
    Options
    At 9 and 11 please don't make them worry about food and weight. I have a niece and nephew who are twins with a mother who is overly concerned about weight.

    To the point where my 11 year old niece was stressed that she weighed 2 lbs more than her brother. I had to tell her she was a girl, had a butt while her brother was flat at the back and that was probably her 2 lbs.

    Please never make an 11 year old feel fat and start to obsess about stuff. She's a child.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,751 Member
    Options
    Kids follow routines. Just because they may eat "well" at your house for one meal a week, DOESN'T mean it's going to take care of the other 15 hours they are up during the day.
    It's like when people were blaming school lunches for kids being obese or fat. One meal a day that's 500 calories or a little more isn't what's making kids fat. It's the compiled total that's the issue.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • atypicalsmith
    atypicalsmith Posts: 2,742 Member
    Options
    I shouldn't have posted something so personal here. Sorry about that.
  • twoshakeslambstail
    twoshakeslambstail Posts: 3 Member
    Options
    Hmm given that shes 11 its probably just puppy fat
    Shes quite tall for an 11 year old girl. My daughter is 11 short and slim but theres a couple im her class taller than me (im only 4'10 lol) and quite big boned
    She will probablt slim out a bit once her hormones calm down
This discussion has been closed.