I think a little girl isn't getting the care she needs (regarding enough food) but she's overweight.(35 Posts)
I really don't want this to come across like I'm knocking this girl for being overweight, I'm just not sure whether it helps prove my point that she isn't fed properly.
She is about 7/8 and in DD1's year. She came to DD1's party, as the whole year was invited. She was just dropped off late, outside, no mum or dad came in and we didn't even get a "she will be attending" text. So wasn't expecting her. She picks at the foot, claiming she is absolutely starving, she looks considerably unwell, you can see it - very pale, droopy eyes - you would notice if your DC looked 'that ill', when she had some food, she was no longer looking faint and played with the other children. Party finished at 3 pm, this was the other week, btw. No person came to pick her up until 4-5 ish, I had to get her mum's number off another child's mum, I didn't have a contact number until a mum gave it to me (I really wasn't impressed). She asked me "can I have dinner to tonight" and I was a bit like what do you normally have and she says "if my mum remembers..." It's all odd and definitely something I am not comfy with. However, a very close friend (parent of DD1's friend) made the comment of her not looking like a child who isn't well nourished. However, AIBU to think it shouldn't matter what she looks like, and that the signs are there?
If you feel like it's weird maybe speak to the school, they'll have a home school link worker who may be able to broach things in a sensitive manner. Yanbu to think that her appearance has no bearing on her nutritional intake, though could she have any long term illnesses? If on steroids for example she will look 'fat' but might well be undernourished.
It's a myth that children suffering from malnutrition look underweight. The reverse is often true.
How did the dinner conversation go? Did she ask you if she could take some food home for dinner, as her Mum might not remember to provide food?
Yeah, Flogging she asked if she was 'allowed' to have dinner. I thought that was odd and said about her mum forgetting
I'd be worried too. Just being left without the parents checking she got in OK, not being picked up on time and the good thing especially. It's very sad. Definitely speak to someone about your concerns, someone at the school may be able to investigate and try to help. A young child talking about being "allowed dinner" is heartbreaking.
Odd. When you said she picked at the food, do you mean she didn't really eat anything that was available? Did she say she didn't like it?
Seems a bit odd that she didn't wolf down the tea, if she were hungry?
anna it is hard to explain, but she was picking at it and saying she was starving, waiting for me to like confirm she can have it, if that makes sense?
Doesn't matter what she looks like, I agree.
And what she said about not getting dinner every day is worrying.
There's definitely something wrong. Would assume some illness that makes her body accumulate water, as she seems to not get enough calories, even. I don't think a lack of vitamins and minerals would be so suddenly helped by just eating some food.
Speak to the school to raise your concerns. Without knowing her home life or background you could be jumping to wrong conclusion. But given what you've said Id want to be sure that she's not coasting under the radar just in case.
Perhaps she's not used to being given regular well balanced meals at home. Or maybe she's a fussy eater and not making healthy choices. Or maybe she has underlying health issues. Maybe she just worded things wrong. There are so many reasonable explanation's.
Is she friends with your DD? Could you suggest DD invites her round for tea after school if so?
I remember many years ago, two young brothers, one fat and the other thin and both looked malnourished. No advice but it sounds like a good idea to tell the school.
This does not sound right, I would contact the school.
If your diet is full of crap you can be overweight and yet malnourished as your body isn't getting the vitamins required. This is raising a red flag particularly with the parents not picking up on time and some of the comments made by the child. I'd definitely contact the school or even social services about your concerns who may already be aware of the family. It can help build a picture.
Maybe she isn't allowed to start eating until everyone is sitting at the table (clutching at straws) so she was waiting for a signal so,she can start eating.
Junk food is cheaper and more fattening so,healthy food, so maybe that's why she looks under nourished despite not being thin.
Definantly needs investigating though.
Poor kid. Speak to the school. That's made me really sad.
Yes. Speak to the school. Tell them your concerns, or better still write them an email (your OP above is fine). That is all you personally can do. If the school are any good, they'll take appropriate action.
I think the food with the drop off / no collection adds up to something that needs passing on..
With school governor hat on:
Yes please do talk to the school 'safeguarding' person (or the head if you're not sure who that is). They will not share any confidential information with you obvs but they are obliged to keep records of all concerns raised. Sometimes the things that are logged are turn out to be nothing, but more likely than not what you have seen is part of a bigger picture they are already aware of. The school has access to many kinds of help for vulnerable children and their families (not just social services) and will be well placed to get help for her if the situation demands.
We all have a duty of care to protect the most vulnerable children, and that means having the courage to speak up when you see or hear something that isn't right. Some very sad things have happened to vulnerable children when the adults around them did not want to believe what they saw, and did not report things they should have done.
If she is overweight she could have been made to feel bad about eating or told she "can't" have this or that.
How many times have you heard adults saying "I'm not allowed that" about a certain food because they are on a diet?
But I agree - you should report.
Oh poor little girl,that's so sad OP please speak to the school and tell them everything you've told us.
The fact that she was dropped off outside on her own,the fact that you weren't given any contact details for the parents,didn't even know the little girl was outside,the fact that the parents didn't come to pick her up you had to contact them after they were an hour to two hours late.
The fact that she looked really ill and was very hungry,the fact that she asked you for dinner and told you she doesn't always get dinner at home.
All of those facts point towards a case of neglect OP.Schools don't always notice sadly or if they do they don't always have enough of a picture of the family and what's going on at home or they don't have enough proof.
I used to teach and then I went onto to work with SS.Please report it OP something like this is something we would have taken seriously and looked into.
"anna it is hard to explain, but she was picking at it and saying she was starving, waiting for me to like confirm she can have it, if that makes sense?"
Not feeling able to say you're hungry and/or ask for food may be a sign that the child is punished or made to feel guilty for asking for food. It may not, and I certainly don't want to insinuate that all children who don't say they're hungry are suffering neglect or abuse, but this is certainly a behaviour sometimes seen amongst children who have been neglected and not fed regularly or enough.
Raise your concerns with the school or ring NSPCC for advice if you don't feel comfortable speaking to children's services.
Yes, malnourished children can look puffed up and overweight. Their bodies are just storing the junk they're putting in, instead of using it for energy etc. Also there's something, it had a name but I can't quite remember, whereby the feast and famine nature of the diet causes the body to store fat. You need to speak to the school as the child may or may not be known to them already, and they will have safeguarding procedures and links with the right services. Definitely don't hit leave it.
It all rings alarm bells to me. I recently went on a safeguarding course and they talked about Daniel P and all the signs missed by different people. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-24106823
Please talk to the school or local social services and list your concerns.
If the child has an illness that explains it then it will be fine but the drop-off with no parent even checking and then the late pick up are red flags as well as the trigger word "allowed" for food. That really does hint at withholding food as a form of punishment.
Please speak to someone soon. Poor child. And good on you for noticing and thinking to do something.
Please do speak to the school. I had a similar situation with a little boy dropped at our swimming party. He was late and we were in the water but nobody came in with him. He changed and jumped into the water. Soon after this we realised he couldn't swim. Nightmare.
Later, after tea he said that his mum had asked if we could drop him home. He lived well out of our way. When we finally got there ( he didn't actually know his address) his mum was out. He knocked on the neighbour's door and she raised her eyebrows and took him in.
I really regretted not reporting this. There was more. These are all signs of chronically poor parenting and need to be assessed by professionals. There is never any regret about checking something.
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