Boyfriend's 11 year old daughter is starving herself… Advice?posted 2 years ago in Parenting
- 2 years ago
dresscrazy34 : It’s very kind of you to try to help in this situation with your boyfriend’s daughter. I also developed an eating disorder at age 11, after my parents divorce a couple years prior. For me it was a lot about perfectionism and control. Both of my parents behaved very dysfunctionally after the divorce and as the eldest kid I was treated like a mini-adult and they took a lot of their anger out on me. It sounds like your boyfriend’s daughter may be experiencing similar dysfuction at her mother’s house as well as some peer pressure from school to be very thin and these things are taking a toll on her.
Just to share my story in case this helps- I went from about 105 lbs at 5 foot two to 76 lbs at the smallest. Counted and restricted calories and exercised a ton. My parents yelling at me and trying to force me to eat only made things worse. Eating or choosing not to eat was the one thing I had control over and I wanted to look perfect so that my life would be better. What turned things around for me was a visit to my pediatrician. He also had a background in psychology and was a close friend of my family.
First he asked me some questions and listened to me explain my reasonings behind what I was doing. He very kindly laid out the consequences that would happen to my body if I continued to eat so little, including renal failure. He pointed out, again very kindly, that my weight was in a very underweight BMI range and just a few pounds over the threshold where, as a doctor he would be obligated to send me to a hospital for treatment. He described what would happen at such a hospital as far as treatment. He then offered that, as an alternative to hospitalization, I could work with him to add more food to my diet and gain weight back to a healthy level. He asked if I could agree to do that and I said yes, that I didn’t want to go to a hospital. He suggested some foods and we made a plan to gain weight in a healthy manner. He made very, very clear that I was doing serious harm to my body without making me feel embarrassed or ashamed or stupid. Pretty sure he also talked to my parents (diplomatically) about how the stress of our home environment was causing stress on me and a lot of times kids that age don’t have the words to express themselves so it manifests in other ways. Hopefully your Boyfriend or Best Friend can find a good doctor or pediatrician who can assist with his daughter with getting a healthy weight and body image and also dealing with the things that are going on in her mother’s house in a healthy way.
*Edited to add- also, a good therapist or specialist. And please, please! Don’t present therapy or any kind of treatment as a punishment or consequence!!*
- 2 years ago
dresscrazy34 : I have 3 daughters, one who has been called fat at school 5 times, and it’s the fucking worst.
He needs to talk to the ex. ASAP. Like now, yesterday, 3 months ago. She needs positive body re-enforcement. You need to know what she is doing online, who she is talking to, what she is looking at. She needs to be told she is beautiful and perfect just the way she is. There is something much bigger and more sinister at play here. 6th grade and she has an eating disorder. God, that is so heartbreaking. I know she isn’t yours, but stepping up and being more involved in her life, could save her life. 6th graders are vulnerable but I bet you could get through to her. She needs unconditional love, and she needs help. Ask the hard questions. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room.
- 2 years ago
- Wedding: June 2012
Things have shifted a lot now. Her meals are monitored closely at home and the guidance counselor at school is around the lunchroom to make sure lunch isn’t thrown away. She gets weighed daily and has to take vitamins. Her lab results came back that her kidneys were struggling and her potassium was low, so electrolytes are replaced daily in case she’s throwing up. She’s starting eating disorder therapy this week since the specialist her mom wanted has a month wait time and she wasn’t sick enough for inpatient or to be fast tracked. (That’s both good and bad).
Her dad is being incredibly supportive but very insistent about eating and gaining weight and helping her through the breakdowns. She cries about eating a few times a day now. I talked to her and let her know how hard it is and I’ve been where she is and how much I care. Her dad is so exhausted all the time now. He’s giving her 150%.
One thing that happened I wanted to ask you all about…. last night her mom took her yoga mat away so she couldn’t exercise. Then later texted my Boyfriend or Best Friend that she was caught exercising in her room anyway so yelling ensued and her mom and stepdad took her door off her room because she lies and can’t be trusted. I was appalled. That’s some pretty extreme punishment for a young girl. I don’t know. I don’t like it. And I told my Boyfriend or Best Friend not to take her door at his house. I don’t know anything about parenting, but that doesn’t sit right with me. What do you all think?
lavieenviolette : What do you think of removing door?
- 2 years ago
- Wedding: City, State
First, thank you for the update. And thank gawd the girl is finally getting much needed medical attention.
Has she been instructed to stop all forms of exercise for the time being as part of her treatment? If so, drastic action is justifiable.
Otherwise, there are better consequences for lying, eg loss of TV time or whatever 11 year old girls care about.
- 1 year ago
- Wedding: September 2012
Medical intervention now. I have not been through this with another child, but was there myself as a teenager. The consequences to her not developing properly at that young of age are dire- she may not get her period, develop cardiac issues, stress fractures, osteoperosis, etc. There are outpatient and inpatient options depending on the severity but act fast.