to ask for advice re teen daughter?(21 Posts)
I'm very worried about her. She is 15 and has always been a sturdy build, but recently has been putting on weight extremely quickly (not pregnant! she's never had a boyfriend). She is unhappy with her friendships at school and to be frank overeats. She eats so much I have to hide food. If I buy a packet of cereal bars for example for school snacks, they'll be gone by the end of the day. She will eat anything except healthy food - our house is well stocked with fruit and healthy snacks but she won't touch them.
She has her own job and spends all her money on junk food - her bin is overflowing with crisp packets, coke bottles, etc. She won't eat meals - just says she isn't hungry - then locks herself in her room and eats a family size bag of crisps and a bag of cookies.
Please believe me, I have not alluded to her weight to her once. I know what a sensitive subject it is for a teenage girl - I don't even want to put the thought in her head that there's a problem. But she is now noticeably overweight. I have tried to talk to her instead about healthy eating and asked her to consider reserving junk food as a treat for weekends - she said no way.I have asked her what she would like me to cook for her but the only things she wants are pizzas and nachos.
I am just scared for her. I have a sister who started out like my daughter and at the age of 30 she is now morbidly obese, can barely walk and sits in her house seeing noone.
Please don't flame me, I am trying not to make an issue out of it in front of my daughter but any suggestions of ways to help her would be welcome. Or maybe I just have to hope she'll start eating better off her own bat. I know she isn't happy with the way she looks and has asked me if I think she is fat. I say no, even though she is.
Please believe me, I have not alluded to her weight to her once. I know what a sensitive subject it is for a teenage girl - I don't even want to put the thought in her head that there's a problem. But she is now noticeably overweight.
Maybe that's it?
Weight gain/loss is not a taboo subject in our house and I'm going to make sure it never will be. By talking openly about these things all their lives, I think it makes it easier to point out when they need to cut back, without them being offended.
But since you don't have that sort of relationship, could you possible think of some energetic things to do together? Swimming or bike riding perhaps?
I can understand why you've not alluded to her weight and are denying she's "fat" to spare her feelings, but clearly it's a problem for both you and her. I think the biggest issue is why she's over-eating. Help to reconcile that and her weight issues will be easier to resolve. Good luck. You sound like a lovely Mum.
I would find a gentle way of telling her you are concerned, you can tell her why without calling her fat, discuss your sister and ask her what she is hoping to achieve in her life, point out that if she was to take more care over what she eats then she would have more energy, sleep better, and feel better about herself. refuse to buy junk so it's not around for her, I appreciate she will just eat her own but show her the advice on healthy eating, offer to pay for her to attend SW or WW if she agrees her weight is becoming an issue and yes, try to get her out and about even if it is just for a walk. denying her weight is not helpful sorry, I know you don'y want her to become paranoid about it but if she is in denial you are validating for her that she is ok.
oh and try to get her interested in what is in her food choices and try cooking food herself.
time to be honest or it will get worse , why lie to her , suggest going for walks , bike rides , eating properly before it gets too out of hand.
Thanks, that's good advice. I guess I'm just terrified of pushing her in the opposite direction but you're right, there's no point denying she's fat. Maybe I could suggest she weighs herself and looks up her own BMI next time she asks if she's fat, so she can see for herself rather than me telling her....
We do try to get her out, we're an active family and go for lots of walks, locally and further afield, but she rarely comes.
She's terrified of her friends seeing her do anything so any activity, class or sport would have to be done further away. But maybe we can look into that - she did like tennis for a while so I'll ask her again about that.
She is very fragile at the moment and often comes home in tears about her 'friends' at school - the usual teen stuff, not being invited to parties, a boy making a nasty comment about her skin(she has quite bad skin atm) - I just don't want to knock her confidence further, but at the same time the longer I let it go on the worse it will get.
No real advice to offer, but you sound lovely.
Does she have spotty skin, and not acne? If just spotty/oily, that will not benefit from the rubbish food also. And cutting out the rubbish would have a very positive impact on her skin - in addition to drinking more water.
I think some straight talking is in order. As gently as you can, it will be a tough conversation for both of you. But probably no harm to tell her that is how her aunt started out, and that this really needs to be nipped in the bud.
While it may knock her confidence a bit, if you can both agree on a plan of action, it may be a big relief to her. And any successes will boost her confidence.
Best of luck with it!
Are there any ladies only gyms close to you? Could you both go together?
OP she's 15. She'll know that she's fat. I think she needs your support and companionship. Would you exercise with her? Join a gym with her? Go to a weight-loss class with her?
I really think you should have a chat with her about going to see the GP. There is a hormonal deficiency which can make teenagers suddenly behave like this, and eating disorders can kick in aroumd this age. I think maybe she needs some tests done, some counselling about her anxieties and she needs you to just listen and hold off on advice until you have all the facts. <hand hold>
Sounds exactly like me at the same age. Except that the only thing that worried my mum is what people would think of her for having a fat daughter.
Locking herself in her room to eat crisps and cookies screams eating disorder to me. If she had lost a couple of stones rapidly, you would (rightly) be concerned about anorexia. Binge eating also needs to be dealt with.
If you have a good, understanding GP, it would be the place to start.
Oh you poor things. I think pp have the right idea. You need to be gentle but firm. There are other dangers from very rapid weight, and the most common one is Type 2 diabetes. Teenagers with diabetes are the hardest group to treat, because the discipline needed to control it is something that goes directly against their need to rebel.
And now for some hope: DD hit 17 stone at 15. She was 5'8" then, now 5'10". Same cause: treating unhappiness by carb and fat bingeing. Then she had counselling, and her calorie intake halved. She lost 4 stone in a year. Then she got into performing arts, lost another stone and put on muscle. She is happy, beautiful (yes of course I'm biased) and fearsomely strong.
Oh gosh, this must be such a difficult thing to deal with. I always find that I can talk more easily with my kids while we are driving somewhere. I think it's the lack of eye contact and the fact the little buggers can't escape . My DC are all adults now but each of them had the big 'no teen pregnancies' talk whilst I was driving.
I would approach it by asking if she wants any help and if she has any suggestions about how she can address her weight. I would offer her a visit to the doctors or, possibly a nutritionist as well. At 15 it is her choice but it is right that you bring it up.
My DC were never allowed to eat in their rooms. Is it at all feasible to implement a retrospective bedroom food ban? You could develop a mouse problem
Is there anyway you could suggest she is paid straight into a bank account rather than by cash, maybe you could offer her a cash incentive for doing so in the guise of encouraging her to save.
I would ask MN if they can move this to the Teens section. There are some very experienced mothers of teens on there, with sound non-judgmental advice
Sorry forgot to add, teen weight issues can be very sensitive and lead to lifetime issues if not handled carefully, hence the suggestion about moving it to the teens section.
She knows she is fat, she doesn't need you to tell her.What she does need is your unconditional love and acceptance of her whatever size she is, and she needs you to boost her self esteem.Tell her what lovely eyes, hair she has, what a happy,friendly, kind girl.
If she is going to lose weight it will only be because she is ready to do it.
Can you do something about the root cause?
If she is having such a horrible time at school, can this be addressed? Have you spoken to her tutor? Is there anyone there kind to her?
I know her pain. I was treated like that at school (never told my parents) and I loathed every day. Didn't have much money so couldn't do the junk food thankfully.
Bad skin and binge eating could be because of teen hormones but this is also the age that something like polycystic ovary syndrome might become symptomatic and bad skin and weight gain are classic symptoms. Lets be honest - if your daughter is as you describe, she knows she's overweight - you don't have to worry about 'pointing this out' the boys and girls at school will have made sure she's aware. But she probably doesn't have the skills she needs to deal with it. It may be that there's an underlying reason such as PCOS but if not and she's 'comfort eating' then she's trapped in an emotional/hormonal cycle and would likely benefit from a safe impartial counselling service to equip her with the skills she needs to boost her self esteem and embrace dealing with her insecurity (weight, skin, terrified of friends seeing her doing 'uncool' exercise).
It may be that she's struggling socially. As a teen I found there were sudden fractures within groups of friends who had been solid for years - I had to transition to a new friendship group when I realised I no longer wanted to continue down the path of teen sex, smoking and under-performance at school that my friends (since the age of 5!) had decided was 'cool'. I'm now a secure and comfortable adult (with the benefit of counselling and a few new friends!), but that teen transition was enormously stressful for me and hurt acutely - Its easy to fall through the gaps even with a fantastic family - teen relationships are enormously important. Don't be hurt if she doesn't want to talk to you, she'll not want to upset you. Its SO much easier to talk to a stranger
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.