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Old 07-18-2018, 07:39 PM   #1
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Stealing food & becoming obese

Ds is 10, and for the past few years, his food stealing has increased quite a bit. He's always been a pretty big dude, but just this last year he's put on almost 40lbs and is now in a 2x adult clothing.

Over 2 years ago, we quit buying any chips/ice cream/sodas/junk foods unless it was a special occasion, because I was under the care of a nutritionist and couldn't eat them anyway. Ds would still eat 3 meals a day, plus the snacks I gave him, then go and sneak a whole lb of cheese or 4 apples or basically whatever he could grab, and lie about it. It keeps getting worse. Today I discovered that he ate all but 2 of my $40 prenatal gummy vitamins.

I've spoken to his Dr about it, who has tried speaking with him privately and with me about his health and his choices and tried to figure out why he does it, and he just says "I can't help it." She said that she doesn't recommend any of the mental health centers nearby (or not nearby, since one was over an hour away) because every time she sends a kid to them, they come back over-drugged for conditions they don't exhibit signs for. (and honestly she's right, I worked with the mentally handicapped several years, and we had people who attended the various facilities. They were so over drugged that at one point we almost got shut down because the state thought we were pushing the psychologists to prescribe more)

Ds's dad (we aren't together) says I need to lock everything up. It seems really cruel to do that, if not illegal. I try to keep the kid active, but due to his weight gain, he no longer fits in his uniform for his dance classes (and he was already in the biggest size available) and they are considering kicking him out because he's not able to perform properly anymore. It's his favorite activity and that doesn't even seem to make a dent in his behavior.

He gets so angry when he gets caught, and since this month he's been told that the food we have is all we have because we're stretched so thin, now he's yelling about how terrible we are because all of our food is awful. Well no kidding, you ate everything good for the month within 2 weeks! We went and picked blueberries together last week, and picked a little over 10lbs of them. I had a couple of cups of them, dh didn't have any, and they're gone because of ds sneaking them either at night, before we get up in the morning or when I'm working outside in the yard.

This all has increased on par with lying about his activities (ie playing video games instead of doing his homework, lying about mowing the lawn, about having his homework done, etc). Could this be an age thing? I considered food insecurity too, but this is the first time he's experienced a shortage of food in his life that I know of.

I'm at my wit's end here. His health is suffering and I don't trust anything he says anymore. I've resorted to refusing to buy a food that he likes every time I discover something he's lied about. I haven't bought pasta in over a year, we don't eat frozen dinners, we make our own pizzas, don't buy any cookies or cakes or anything! I just don't understand.

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Old 07-18-2018, 08:43 PM   #2
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Re: Stealing food & becoming obese

Have you looked into food addiction? Between the food stealing and lying about everything else, it sounds like compulsive behavior (addiction-related or otherwise) and it may require counseling to make any headway.

For what it's worth, if I shopped for a month at a time everything "good" (i.e. easy and tasty) would be gone in the first week. But I have 6 kids, and they are like locusts. However, they can resist if they are told some things are off limits. Could you try shopping for a week at a time? Or using locks but not on everything, just on the stuff you don't want him to eat THAT DAY? That age is when some kids start having growth spurts and being hungry all the time, but this sounds more extreme than that.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:44 AM   #3
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Re: Stealing food & becoming obese

I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

As a foster parent, I can assure you that it may seem cruel to lock up food, but it absolutely isn't illegal. For some kids it is necessary. You could try locking the fridge/pantry, but leaving out some fresh veggies or something if it felt to harsh to lock up everything.

Is he seeing a counselor? Locking the food might help stop part of the issue, but it seems fairly deep rooted and I would think you'd need to figure out the cause to be able to properly address it.

How is his self control/impulse control in other areas?

Anything big or stressful going on in your home/his dad's home/school?
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:21 PM   #4
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Re: Stealing food & becoming obese

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Have you looked into food addiction? Between the food stealing and lying about everything else, it sounds like compulsive behavior (addiction-related or otherwise) and it may require counseling to make any headway.

For what it's worth, if I shopped for a month at a time everything "good" (i.e. easy and tasty) would be gone in the first week. But I have 6 kids, and they are like locusts. However, they can resist if they are told some things are off limits. Could you try shopping for a week at a time? Or using locks but not on everything, just on the stuff you don't want him to eat THAT DAY? That age is when some kids start having growth spurts and being hungry all the time, but this sounds more extreme than that.

We have looked into it, but the counselors I've talked to for it require both parent's permission to speak with a minor and his dad won't sign. There's only 3 of us here, so our food usually lasts a good while.
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:25 PM   #5
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Re: Stealing food & becoming obese

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I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

As a foster parent, I can assure you that it may seem cruel to lock up food, but it absolutely isn't illegal. For some kids it is necessary. You could try locking the fridge/pantry, but leaving out some fresh veggies or something if it felt to harsh to lock up everything.

Is he seeing a counselor? Locking the food might help stop part of the issue, but it seems fairly deep rooted and I would think you'd need to figure out the cause to be able to properly address it.

How is his self control/impulse control in other areas?

Anything big or stressful going on in your home/his dad's home/school?

The counselors I've spoken to won't see him without both parent's consent, and his dad won't. He doesn't believe in it. Then again, his dad is over 300lbs and his grandma buys him his own bags of doritos when he's there for visitation .

He doesn't have much impulse control as far as his temper goes, which has concerned me for quite some time. He's gotten better, but it's still an issue. I don't know about at his dad's house, all I know about there is that he doesn't get along with his new stepmom and they don't speak to each other. Here, he's about to start back into traditional school after being homeschooled for 3 years or so, and we have a baby due any day now.
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Old 07-20-2018, 04:29 AM   #6
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Re: Stealing food & becoming obese

That sounds like he is eating to find comfort and consolation. Locking up the food isn't going to break the feeling he has of a hole needing to be filled.

Can it be age related? Sure can inmho. The hormone shifts can cause all kind of commotion.

Does your insurance cover a nutritionist?

I wonder if going to school at his current size will give him the motivation to change or if it will make things worse.

This is a tough situation. What does he say about his weight gain?
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:05 AM   #7
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Re: Stealing food & becoming obese

I'm so sorry, that has to be so frustrating. I don't have any directly related advice, but I would say it is important to separate the issues your son is having from your relationship with him as much as possible. Make sure you are hugging him and praising him for the good things he is doing and making time to be together. Sometimes a challenge like that can seem to take over your relationship, but it doesn't have to. And sometimes taking time to build the relationship can help the issues resolve themselves, even if they don't seem to be related at all. Hugs, mama. Hang in there, it will get better.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:58 PM   #8
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Re: Stealing food & becoming obese

The gummy vitamins--do they contain iron? Do you mean he ate them all in one day? That would warrant a trip to the ER or at least a call to poison control immediately.

Sorry you are dealing with all this It does sound like it's partially emotional/relationship stuff, but maybe a medical deficiency involved.

ETA: Don't let him turn it into a mom's house vs dad's house you're awful for not having "good" food. It does sound like a LOT of really big chanegs in a short time and at a sensitive age...if he starts going to school now (access to food) plus spending some time with dad/grandma, I can't see how locking food up (or any other thing you do at home) will help him at all, but it can at least keep him from taking all of what is meant to last for the family. I would give unlimited access to vegetables and water only, serve healthy balanced meals with aage appropriate serving sizes (no snacks) at set times, and lock or keep out of the house everything else. But I can't see making a change like that when your baby is coming now and he's starting school. Has his doctor ruled out medical reasons?
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:12 PM   #9
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Re: Stealing food & becoming obese

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Originally Posted by zeotwoski View Post
The gummy vitamins--do they contain iron? Do you mean he ate them all in one day? That would warrant a trip to the ER or at least a call to poison control immediately.

Sorry you are dealing with all this It does sound like it's partially emotional/relationship stuff, but maybe a medical deficiency involved.

They do not have iron, thankfully. He says he ate them over 2 days.
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:35 PM   #10
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Re: Stealing food & becoming obese

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That sounds like he is eating to find comfort and consolation. Locking up the food isn't going to break the feeling he has of a hole needing to be filled.

Can it be age related? Sure can inmho. The hormone shifts can cause all kind of commotion.

Does your insurance cover a nutritionist?

I wonder if going to school at his current size will give him the motivation to change or if it will make things worse.

This is a tough situation. What does he say about his weight gain?
I'm not sure if it would cover a nutritionist or not. He is very bothered by his weight, and gets very upset if anyone mentions it.
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