almost 16 yr old son won't eat with us

(5 Posts)
JennyCliff Tue 25-Feb-14 19:48:46

Hi, my teenage boy is quite introverted but can hold a good adult conversation if he has to. He spends most of his free time on his computer (downstairs in a room next to lounge) and although he hates school has a good brain and has achieved some good results. He was always a fussy eater but I tried to ignore it when he was a baby so as not to make an issue etc. He's quite small for his age and always wondered about this....his sister was the opposite. Lately (past 6 months) I've noticed he will dash upstairs from the computer for 15-20 min at a time. It's as if he's running to the loo or running off to do teenage boy things, hahaa, but he never says. I ask if everything is ok and he just says yes. ANYWAY, the latest thing is he now doesn't want to eat with me and his sister and says he wants/needs to eat in private. When I probed further he says he doesn't want to eat in front of people and hates people eating in front of him. Having said that he usually eats the meal when he goes off on his own. I've been allowing him to do it so far because I didn't want to make it a big deal. However, I'm now wondering if I'm just enabling him to have some sort of phobia. It's creating tension as I don't understand this 'private' eating thing. Any thoughts or ideas greatly appreciated.

Some of what you describe sounds like behaviour that might be associated with an eating disorder. The NHS has some useful information on how to raise the subject with your DS - click here. I also think it might be an idea to talk to your GP.
Sorry I can't be more helpful - hopefully someone more knowledgeable will be along soon.

LongTimeLurking Wed 26-Feb-14 17:37:32

You say he is very introverted but does it go further than that?

What I mean is could he be suffering from social anxiety? Many people with social anxiety get really anxious and panicky about eating in front of others, even family and friends.

Ask him why he doesn't want to eat in front of others.

DealForTheKids Wed 26-Feb-14 20:10:48

I second the echoes of eating disorders. Any reason to suspect on that front, OP?

JennyCliff Thu 27-Feb-14 20:03:34

He does eat what I give him (usually) and often makes snacks so he isn't limiting his food intake in any way. I would say however that he is underweight. I've gone out of my way to reassure myself about this by watching what he does but without his knowledge. I think he just wants to be alone but the social anxiety idea could be true. Also, as eating is supposed to be a social activity I think he is missing out. Perhaps it's just another teenage thing. If it is social anxiety then I need to do some research.

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