My daughter, Little GV, is 12 and has many wonderful qualities. Unfortunately, self-regulation isn’t one of them. We have had problems with hygiene here and there for most of her life. When she was little she wouldn’t wipe when she urinated unless someone was watching. She didn’t wash her ladybits well and would get rashes. She wouldn’t brush her teeth of her own accord for the longest time. Most recently, she had to have her long hair cut because she wasn’t washing it properly and was going around greasy and kinda smelly. She was skipping showers for days at a time. She would go in the bathroom and stand under the shower for 30 min or more and didn’t wash herself. She wasted so much water I could have screamed. And she was still filthy!
Then there was school. She was diagnosed with ADHD this year and I know that managing it is an ongoing process for parents and kids. There are a lot of habits to develop and a lot of work to do. Motivation for school seems extra difficult and I understand that bit. She doesn’t want to take medication and I support that, but she also doesn’t want to do the work. As a result, she tanked last year and her grades are abysmal. Again, I know this particular issue is ongoing and requires a lot of patience.
Now food is becoming an issue. We’ve always tried to demonstrate appropriate eating habits (like most involved parents do) and up until recently she made healthier choices. Her eating habits at school have gone to shit and she put on a lot of weight. Instead of addressing it head-on, our response was to work on raising her activity level and modeling healthy eating habits. It didn’t help. Apparently, a few weeks ago she was at her dad’s and had a meltdown about her weight. He and his gf handled it well and we’ve worked out what we think will help, mostly having her set some goals and helping her work toward them (eg., running track next year).
It seems like one of the primary issues is the amount of food she’s eating. When she made her lunches I think she often ate that and some of the school food (she gets free lunches at school), something she’s done before. In preschool, she stole another kid’s lunch. In fifth grade she told a teacher her dad wasn’t feeding her enough for lunch (he was). I bought a box of taquitos for her lunches at home this week and she finished off the box in three days. That works out to over two servings a day. She makes pudding (sugar-free) every other day and eats at least half of it with a quarter of a container of sf Cool Whip. We have dinner with Mr GV’s folks on Sundays and she sneaked into the kitchen after dessert for a second helping of ice cream. I don’t nitpick her choices beyond asking her to leave at least a serving rather than three bites when the cereal is getting low.
I am at a loss. I don’t want to ration her food. I don’t want to tell her “you can have three taquitos, a nectarine, some chips and a cheese stick.” I don’t want to count taquitos. That seems like a recipe for disordered eating. It doesn’t help that the biological deck is stacked against this kid for diabetes. Me, my maternal grandmother, possibly her mother, my paternal grandfather and Babydaddy’s mother all have it (my mother has had high blood sugar at times, but hasn’t tipped over to the dark side).
I know a lot of this is not necessarily developmentally inappropriate, I just want her to feel good about herself, I want her to feel some motivation, and I want to prevent major problems from developing down the road. Thanks for sticking with this lengthy post. Share your thoughts if you have them.