You've got to eat something to do well in exams

(26 Posts)
Dooohhh Fri 05-Apr-13 12:13:46

Hi there. New to this so don't really know what dd, ds ect means, but anyway...
My 12yr old daughter is in an extremely competitive London girls school. She has always put masses of pressure on herself during exams and it has been getting worse. It is her first year at the school and even though she was at an even more competitive boarding school with end of year exams, she has started to get really worked up about them.
Before she broke up for Easter she got the results back from random history and English tests in which she got 70 and 75percent. She completely broke down that evening and told me that she felt like she had failed and there was no point anymore.
I have also noticed that she has stopped eating properly, I'm only getting her to eat the toast size kind of plate of food for supper, I'm never up when she leaves for school as I get back from work up-north at 12:30 but her bro says she never eats or drinks anything, and I doubt she eats much at school. All this even though she is in the middle of a massive growing spurt.
Tried explaining that if she wants higher grades she has to eat, even though I did not feel they were bad at all.
Sorry for the length, any advice appreciated
Dooohhh (Homer Simpson)

mindfulmum Tue 09-Apr-13 08:05:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dancingqueen17 Mon 08-Apr-13 18:00:32

Sounds like you've caught it fairly early so that's good. Start with fairly safe foods (ask what she wants for dinner) referring back to ATdt forum, there are some excellent recipes and advice for refeeding there which may be helpful for you to look at. Also there have been some documentaries on roads farm. Search for them on you tube.

Dooohhh Mon 08-Apr-13 16:26:56

Sadly no, she will not believe she has a problem. I tried explaining to her about the BMI but she just said its all lies.
Glad that Rhodes Farm has such a good reputation, so thank you for that.
The GP suggested putting a normal sized portion of food on her plate and sit down together and start talking straight away, about anything, but with 10 or so second breaks

Dancingqueen17 Mon 08-Apr-13 15:41:08

Glad to hear GP was of help. Does your daughter admit she has a problem now?
Rhodes farm is the best place for children with ed's that exactly the sort of specialist help you need. Your v lucky to be able to get a referral there. They have one of the best treatment programs and recovery stats about. Did they give you any suggestions for what to do in the mean time?

Mrsrobertduvall Mon 08-Apr-13 13:44:54

Just read this, and glad things are moving quickly.
When you get back to school, definitely go in and speak with her head of year/pastoral care team. They should give support and reassure her about exams etc.

chartreuse Mon 08-Apr-13 13:37:57

How brilliant that you have got such an early appointment. Afraid I don't know about Rhodes Farm but I'm sure someone will.

Well done for taking such positive action for her smile

Dooohhh Mon 08-Apr-13 11:05:19

Hi everyone
Been to see GP who said although he admits that she doesn't really look underweight at all, but because she is so tall for her weight, he BMI is far too low (16).
He has referred us to CAMHS with an appointment for next week (quick!)
He has also suggested that we put her on the waiting list for Rhodes Farm, but you don't really get much of what it is from the website. Anyone know or have any experience??

chartreuse Mon 08-Apr-13 10:26:11

Good luck with your GP, let us know how you get on. She is lucky that you have noticed something is wrong and are taking it seriously.

Dooohhh Sun 07-Apr-13 20:18:16

Thanks, chartreuse, it's really good to have some real experience advice

chartreuse Sun 07-Apr-13 19:50:34

I had an ED as a teen and even now 20 years later whenever I am stressed or anxious I find it very difficult to eat. Try not to focus in the food, that will make her worse, try to get to the root cause so that she feels like eating again. Try the 'little and often' approach as large meals can be very daunting. Smoothies, milkshakes, etc can be easier to take.

Reassure her that you couldn't care less about her exam results, her happiness is all that matters.

mindfulmum Sat 06-Apr-13 21:25:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dancingqueen17 Sat 06-Apr-13 20:16:58

That should be tlc and support, not sure that talc would be much help!

Dancingqueen17 Sat 06-Apr-13 20:15:43

GP likely to put in a referral camhs (child/adolescent mental health service) they will assess and decide on treatment plan. Where abouts in country are you? Some places are much better than others. First priority will be to stabilise physically, really don't want to frighten you but ed's can become life threatening v quickly in children. GP may also do bloods to rule out any other physical conditions. Then as I say it will depend very much on services available in your area. Some have specialist ed services others don't. It's is likely she will be offered some kind of talking therapy and careful monitoring.
A lot will depend on diagnosis, severity and your daughters acceptance. Of the condition.
In the mean time all I can advise is lots of talc and support, get any calories in that you can. If she won't eat much any chance of drinking, hot choc, milk shakes, smoothies etc. reinforce the importance of food as fuel for the brain. Sounds like this could be a motivator for her.
If you do get a diagnosis of an please check out the Around the dinner table forum (just google) they offer huge support and I now honestly believe that the treatment model they promote is the only one that consistently leads to recovery. It works on the maudsley method and basically says that cognition can't be regained until weight is restored. It is a family based approach and stage one basically says life stops until you eat. Hard but effective. This doesn't explain it very well, check out the site!
Stay strong you're in my thoughts.

Dooohhh Sat 06-Apr-13 17:03:30

Also, is there anything else I should be doing in the mean time?

Dooohhh Sat 06-Apr-13 16:55:05

Thank you so much for that
Looking at that, sadly, I think she shows the signs of anorexia, so I can't say that's put my mind at rest, but I will hope for the best and wait for the GPs opinion
Thank you

Some info here and links.

Dooohhh Sat 06-Apr-13 16:12:27

Thanks everyone.
I have asked her why she won't eat and she says she just isn't hungry.
Yesterday I made an appointment with the GP for Monday, if it is an ed, what can he do??

Dancingqueen17 Fri 05-Apr-13 22:26:27

Agree with help about structured revision and timetabling both revision time and time away from study.
Alarm bells are ringing I'm afraid, sounds like she is starting to become physically compromised. Get her to a Dr. I speak from experience when I say time saved at the start can make the world of difference in terms of development of an ed.

DS1 us in Y8 and was starting to get a bit anxious about this year's exams. In some subjects he has to learn everything they have done since the beginning of Y7, and he is also at a competitive school with some very bright (and pushed) boys.

If he comes fifth in the class on a test, he'll compare his performance with the four boys who did better than him, rather than all the others who did less well.

I sat down with him at the beginning of the Easter holidays and we made a list of the topics that he needs to revise for each subject. This helped something unknown and anxiety-triggering become a manageable task that could be broken down into steps.

I then asked him to rate each topic green (very confident), yellow (bit rusty) or red (no clue about any of it). He didn't rate any topics red, and there were quite a few greens. This made him realise how much he has already learnt.

Perhaps you and your daughter can come up with similar strategies to make the whole exam season seem less daunting and a bit more something that she has some control over.

BriansBrain Fri 05-Apr-13 21:35:38

Are you close, could you ask her outright what the no eating thing is about and ask her if she thinks it is stress related.

I'm sure you wouldn't but please don't get on her case or try and force her to eat. My dad who now I know was just concerned about me would make me eat meals, cold meals that I would then make myself sick to get rid of.

My ED started as a lack of interest In food at that time for what ever reason and ended up a constant battle at meal times, I learned to hide food and avoid meal times altogether very quickly.

I'm nearly 40 and still have an awful relationship with food.

Dooohhh Fri 05-Apr-13 21:26:07

Didn't eat any Easter eggs, barely touched supper, she just says she's not hungry
I can normally get a berrocca down her and a vitamin d pill, but she is looking so pale, like getting looks from people across the street pale.
Thanks, will keep trying to persuade her in the mean time

eatyourveg Fri 05-Apr-13 19:16:06

Not sure if this is helpful but would getting a good multivitamin & mineral tablet be something she would consider taking in the morning?

ds2 (ASD) has had huge issues with food over the years and when he is having a bumpy ride of things he refuses to eat anything but will accept a complan drink which has the nutrients in it to tide him over in the short term. That may be another way to go but I assume if it is an ED, it would require a different approach entirely

Dancingqueen17 Fri 05-Apr-13 18:24:05

No, you never really know what will take off. It depends who's about. Don't worry about it. Teens is a less viewed forum than something like chat but gets better quality answers!!!!!
Have u managed to ask your daughter about why she's not eating. I might be tempted to put her to the test. Cook her fav meal at a less stressy time see if she goes for it. What about snacks? Did she eat Easter eggs?

Dooohhh Fri 05-Apr-13 16:46:48

Thanks so much dancing queen.
One question; this was my first post, the London clubs one was the second, I was wandering why they have had next to no interest. Is it the subject or is it me???

Dancingqueen17 Fri 05-Apr-13 16:15:35

I'm afraid the ed alarm bells are ringing. I guess you may have your own suspicions. Is your dd loosing weight. Ed's so often present in perfectionistic, academic girls. Firstly don't panic, secondly confront her, is the a fear of food/weight or is not eating just a side effect of exam stress. Contact the school, ask how they think she is coping, explain your concerns. If u do suspect ed get help ASAP, speed is of the essence!

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