Wow, my heart goes out to you. I, too have (had, hopefully) a child who sneaks and hoards food. One of the similarities I see between our children is an early trauma. I don't know if you are divorced, or widowed, or a single parent, but at some point your son 'lost' a father. My child is adopted, so her early years were without parental care. Please don't get defensive... I'm not judging, just making an observation. Even if you married your current husband when your son was very young, somehow it changes them.
My DD was sneaking food into her room and eating it there, then stashing the wrappings in the back of her drawers, under her bed, behind the toys, books, and hanging clothes, in backpacks and purses.... When we found the wrappings, we were shocked and stunned! We really didn't know. We found empty BOXES of 100-calorie treats, the soda cans, an empty ice cream container... you name it! She was asleep, when we found the first few wrappers, and kept digging. We ended up with a pile on her floor about 6 feet square, a foot and a half high. Suddenly, I figured out why, despite the basketball and swimming training she was still gaining weight. As busy as she was, she should have been slimming down. We do know in the orphanage, the food was carefully and stingily metered out, so she did have 'food' issues, but we'd had her for 5 years already! It was mind boggling. She got very defensive, and like your older son, wouldn't own up to it and got very angry and stubborn. We took her to her pediatrician to rule out any medical causes, and her Dr recommended some psychological counseling. DD has been seeing the counselor for about 6 months, now, and we have managed to work thru some of her anger. She will always deal with the pain of being 'given up' by her birth mom, (at birth, so trust me when I say even when they are very young, it makes a huge impact), trust issues, a family she will never really know, AND..... her paralysis. She had a stroke on the operating table when a neurosurgeon was repairing a spinal cord deformity that would have eventually left her paralyzed high on her chest, and the stroke paralyzed her at T7/T8, about half way between the end of the sternum and the belly button. Anger and mourning the loss of her mobility is a tough combination. The counseling certainly seems to be helping. The Psychologist also put her on an anti-anxiety medicine. DD lost a little bit of weight in the first month or two after we started all of this, and I think now she has stabilized. I would love to see her lose some more since it is so important to keep her lighter for mobility reasons. Can you look into some therapy?
We always have fruit and vegetables in the house to snack on. We put all the other snacks up high where she can't reach them and taken away her extension grabbers. She has to ask to use one if she needs it, and she has to ask for treats. (yeah, I know, she was supposed to do so before, too) I'm trying to be careful about what I have in the house. I agree with the poster who said that SHE needs to ban from HER diet the items she wouldn't let her child have. It only makes sense.
Meanwhile, my DD is a natural athlete, and we go the extra (50) mile(s) to get her to specialized sports programs. We are going to St. Louis all next week because she has qualified to compete in the National Jr. Disabilities Competitions in track (racing chairs), and free style and butterfly in swimming. Basketball season has already started for Fall, and she has been playing tennis for about a month. Maybe the point of my bragging (sorry) is to ask if he is already involved in any sports programs? Something he enjoys, because as a non-athlete, I'll say from personal experience, forced sports are NO FUN, and will only build resentment from the forced child. Can you find something he really enjoys and encourage him to play it at a higher level than casual 'play' with friends?
This thread was started about 3 weeks ago. How are you doing? Your husband sounds less than helpful in this by gleefully watching YOUR problem and how YOU are going to handle this. Have you been able to get any support from him, as opposed to that unhelpful type of behavior? (((hugs))).
My 13 year old has been sneaking food for 5 years now. She has ADHD w/ Anxiety ,Deppression, ODD, and EBD. We tried giving her oatmeal before bedtime so she would have a full belly to go to sleep. that does work. However that was because of her meds wearing off. We now find her sneaking food before dinner. I now send healthy snacks for her to keep in he locker and she has her own cabinet in her room with healthy snacks I only buy enough fo the week however.thats all she gets until its shopping time again. I also don't expect her to eat normal portions at meals except at breakfast She gets and eats a filling breakfast. She also goes in spurts. Try logging when they do this behavior. It just could be that they are going through a growth spurt. Hope this is helpful.
My 8 year old sneaks food. He isn't over weight and as far as junk food I don't buy it for the house. I buy fruit and vegetables. I have found wrappers from food behind things in the house and he lies about doing it. I really need ideas on how to stop this behavior.
Hello! I am a newbie. My son is 18 and has aspergers' syndrome. He has the mind of an 8 year old child. Absolutely refuses to eat healthy in anyway shape or form. He looks pregnant. He sneaks food. We have to lock up chips, cookies (if and when we have them) in the bedroom closet. I would greatly appreciate any help. When he is taken into a store, he screams for food, telling whoever is with him, that he'll report them into the state if he doesn't get what he wants. -What do we do?
Fitness Minutes: (14,351)
1,805 7/16/09 9:42 A
I never had that problem with my children, but sometimes my grandson tries hiding a snack behind his back. I tell him to go ahead and eat it, BUT, if he tries to sneak a snack again I will throw it away. I guess I will see how this works in a few years when he becomes a teen.
My 13 year old sneaks food also. He is not over weight and I let him eat junk food but I ration it out for him. If he wants chips, he gets exactly 1 serving, plus I recently had to shell out 200 dollars for 6 cavities, so I am trying to stop his sugar intake all together. I am always finding candy wrappers in his gym bag, book bag, and dresser drawers. Every time he gets money he wants to spend it on junk food. I told him from now on he is paying for the rest of his cavities. I want him to break out of his junk food habits, His always says "but I'm not fat", I try to explain to him if he doesn't change his eating habits now, he will be when he gets older.
I explain to him I used to sneak food when I was his age just like him and just like him I wasn't "fat"-(we were not allowed to eat junk food at all growing up) and I ended up over weight as an adult. Kids don't want to listen, but I do got through his stuff looking for junk on a regular basis. Whatever I find, I throw away.
My daughter used to do that, I think she still does? I just haven't caught her yet, but my sister said that one day while she was watching her while i went to run some errands. That she heard her opening the pantry door(where the snacks are) and heard wrappings being open. And then would go back and do it again. I laughed because when she was younger like 2 or 3 I didn't let her eat too much sweets but grandma would let her grub out on anything she wanted. And when I wasn't looking she would get sweets and hide them to eat later. I would find candy by the dozen in her hiding places. I never confronted her, just throw it away. But then she started hiding food and candy at her grandmas in the same spot underneath this cabinet. One day her grandma was cleaning and found all kinds of candy, twinkies, cupcakes and soda. I let her eat sweets once in a while, but not on a daily basis. But if her grandma wouldn't have let her indulge her self in what ever she wanted she would have the weight problem she has now. I was very angry when I found out my daughter had high cholesterol and was pre diabetic. So I suggest that if it's snacks that you don't want your child to eat then don't buy them, or hide them. One thing I learned is if she can't have it, then neither can I. That's the rule in my home, we all have to be careful what we eat and how much we eat. when she wants sweets I would offer to give her fruit or make a big bowl of fruit salad for all of us to enjoy. Fruit always hits my sweet crave.
I also decided that saying "no" was only making the problem worse. Someone here on Spark People advised that the answer would be better if it were "yes, but" as in, "yes, you can eat some chips, but later" or "yes, you can have ice cream but let's go with 1 scoop instead of 3" etc etc. This takes the whole power struggle away from the child and leaves nothing to rebel against. Loving your child enough to be a good example to him or her too is also a good motivator for the whole family to try to do better - acknowledging it's a struggle and facing it together makes the load a little easier to bear for everyone.
giving a junk food allotment per day is better than them sneaking the food.
7/13/09 9:20 P
I snuck food all the time at that age. I kept a stash of stuff in the drawer next to my bed! I am a compulsive eater. No amount of talking to or punishment in the world ever did, or ever could have gotten me to stop. The only thing that would have helped me is if my parents stopped buying junk food all together, or at least hid the junk in their room (They had a mini fridge in there, and always locked their bedroom door) I really rather wish that they would have. I was addicted, and too immature to be ready to deal with it on my own. Even now at 22, I can't have the stuff in my house, or I will eat it.
Fitness Minutes: (16,683)
7/8/09 9:17 P
REDESIGNINGME I think your post was very insightful and hopefully will be helpful. I dont think I could present any more sound advice nicely put.
It sounds to me like food is a big issue in your house. Due to each child and adults' health needs, you control the what, where, when, and why of all food consumption. Inevitably, this makes any type of "goodies" a forbidden pleasure, a rule to rebel against, a scarcity that should be coveted.
I grew up in a similar situation. My whole extended family worked so hard to prevent me from gaining weight when I was young and thin, that I inevitably became overweight because I too was a food sneak that overindulged in whatever I could get that was a controlled food or drink. As I got older, a couple things occurred to me - why did they keep these things in the house if I wasn't supposed to eat them? How did they ever come to think that I was going to learn good eating habits if food was all about restrictions and controlled foods. I've struggles with food issues my whole life.
When I had my own children, I vowed to never make an issue of food control. If I don't want them to eat or drink it freely, it isn't even in the house. Once a week or so, I buy them a candy bar, ice cream treat, soda, fast food, etc. However, we always have "healthy" versions of treats around the house, diet pop, Sobe lifewater, ice pops, real fruit snacks, sugar free fat free pudding cups, applesauce and pineapple cups, nonfat pretzels, low calorie dips, all kinds of fruits, lite frozen treats, custard style yogurt, Twizzlers, Sweet Tarts, and so on. Today, I have three kids at healthy weights from ages 6-19. We don't force them to finish the food on their plate and allow snacking between meals as desired. When someone starts overindulging in a given food for an extended period of time, it get's removed from the grocery list and replaced with a different healthy alternative. I don't get upset with the child, I just change the availability of the item in question.
Personally, I would suggest taking the fight and punishment out of the food realm and refocus as a family on keeping only those foods on hand that are truly healthy and in quantities that don't lend themselves to out of control behavior. Sure, this can be a big adjustment for you and dh too, since there will be some things that you each enjoy that will need to go, but this is about the mental and physical health of your family. Given your son's age, I would also set down and talk to him about the fact that you want to change your families approach to food to make everyone happier and ask for his help in making good decisions about what should stay and go so that he has a good supply of healthy foods. If this approach doesn't work, you might have him see a therapist so you can all get to the root of his behavior before he becomes and obese adult with these food issues. I would also try to help him find some type of physical activity he enjoys to help out with his overall appetite and health. Be creative, my oldest loves country dancing and it's a good workout while my middle child loves to walk or bike ride while listening to outrageous music and swim, and the youngest is a natural runner and loves the trampoline. When you look at the big picture, dancing lessons, a YMCA membership, a trampoline, etc are not nearly as expensive as treating obesity.
We have two sons, the youngest (13) is my son from a previous marriage and the oldest is my DH son from a previous marriage. Up until recently, they both lived with us. On Mother's Day weekend, the oldest moved to his mothers home. Why am I telling you about the oldest if he doesn't live here...Well, the oldest used to sneak food/soda...ALL THE TIME. We would find empty cans of soda stashed in the oddest places (like the trees outside, behind the shed, under the bathroom counter and so on). We would find empty granola bar packages and PB/Cheese cracker wrappers stuffed everywhere as well. The bad thing was, when he did it and was busted, he would deny it until he was blue in the face...then finally own up to it. Very seldom would the youngest ever do this and when he did get busted...he owned up to it immediately. Well, since the oldest moved, we haven't stumbled across anything...nothing...it's been just about six weeks now...and BAM! I was making DH's lunch this morning and all of the sudden the remaining 1/2 bag of chips were gone. I remembered putting 1/2 a bag back in the pantry yesterday. I searched the kitchen high and low. Even searched cabinets that are only opened to get that "one special bowl or plate" down for a special occassion...there is where the fun began. Two empty soda cans...(but no chips)...so my DH went on the hunt...knowing that the youngest ate the chips...then wha-la...more stashed, empty soda cans in the front bathroom drawers.
I of course am livid, but I'm also scared. Why is he sneaking food? I know that some of it has to do with the fact that we are pretty strict when it comes with them eating certain foods, especially him. He is overweight and three times has been on the verge of boarderline diabetes. He hasn't lost any weight since his last "warning" from the pedi, but he has recently hit a growth spurt so his waist is two inches smaller and he went from being an inch shorter than me to now passing me up by an inch or two. But he is still far from "healthly".
I of course as a mom am torn. I've got my son sneaking the food and I don't know what to do. I've got my DH that is LOVING this. Why...because it's not "his son" that's doing it. He was making comments this morning as "how it's almost worth calling in sick to see the fireworks today". I mean, yes, he should get into trouble for sneaking food (we narrowed it down to him having to had done this after we went to bed as I was with him every waking moment yesterday up to us going to bed) and he most likely ate the in his room.....A BIG NO-NO in our house. Plus all the empty cans of soda, so yes, there should be some kind of punishment. But, I also see this as a possible addiction. Which a simple punishment will not cure. And DH being pleased and such will not make this situation any better.
Any words of advice? (Oh...thought I should share this...the foods/snacks we have are all pretty healthy...when we do buy chips/snacks/crackers, they are the baked kind...not 100% the best, but I'm trying to teach that it's okay to eat things in moderation...oh...and the oldest son....he was underweight. So we go from one extreme to the next here.)...
Anyway, any words of wisdom would be great! Thanks!