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How much control should a parent have with a 13 year olds eating habits/weight?

(5 Posts)
nowttodowithme Tue 28-Jul-15 20:35:44

My lovely friend is at her wits end with her 13 year old son and his eating habits.

He is fairly overweight and doesn't do much exercise. He has told me and his mum separately that he gets called fat at school and hates it. However he has no motivation to change his eating habits.

Therefore his mum feels there isn't a lot she can do. We have a great relationship and can be very honest with each other. I gently tried to say she's never allowed them to decide they have had enough to eat, so always hassled them with 'just one more mouthful' even though they said they've had enough.

She is also overweight (as am I) and admits she thinks she passed her eating issues onto him.

He constantly thinks about food, wolfs everything down and goes into an almost trance like state when eating. I went away for a weekend with them and I can honestly say they grazed all day. When they had a lull of less than an hour, he hassled for snacks etc until she gave him something.

In restaurants he wants to order the big item he can find and only last week she let him eat a sharing platter on his own!

To be fair to her she normally provides good meals and he will eat anything including veggies etc.

She's admitted he 'sneaks' food and she'll go to get something and it will be gone. He ate a whole jar of Nutella recently and put empty jar back. So the problem seems to be sneaking food and buying rubbish at school.

I feel she needs to get tough with him and stop buying the crap he's sneaking, but it's not me that has to deal with it all.

So should she have more control or is she fighting a losing battle?

Ragwort Tue 28-Jul-15 21:04:45

It is very easy to say that she should have more control, and a lot harder to do it in real life.

It sounds as though she too has an uneasy relationship with food if she is over weight and grazes all day herself .......... and that is going to be difficult to change. I know because I am overweight and of course I know that I shouldn't buy so much food, buy certain food, eat such large portions etc etc but I enjoy my food and it is a big grin part of my life.

You could gently suggest that she tries to eat more healthily, do some fun exercise with her son, buy less junk food so that it's not so easy for either of them to 'sneak' food. You could suggest outings to a swimming pool or something like that. But she probably knows all that in her heart anyway and sometimes we don't have the energy or inclination to really make changes, even though we know it's the right thing to do.

I am not at all hungry this evening, I have eaten a good breakfast and lunch and had a snack but I haven't had an evening meal - I know I will probably go and find something else to eat before bed time, even though I am not hungry. It's a bad habit that I have got into and your friend might just be the same.

nowttodowithme Tue 28-Jul-15 21:45:01

We're both a couple of stone overweight and talk about dieting all the time.

We are both able to lose weight but can't keep it off!

He's a lovely lad but it's obvious he's not happy with his weight. She's not sporty at all so will not encourage him. In fact she let him stay at home on sports day this year!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 28-Jul-15 21:57:23

So the problem seems to be sneaking food and buying rubbish at school.

She needs to go totally cold turkey on buying crap food. I think they could agree to have one day a week where they relax the healthy eating and he can have a meal of his choice and some treats. She needs to get him weaned off sugar and eating tons of lean protein and good fats to fill him up. Unlimited access to that.

No eating out until his stomach has shrunk a bit/sugar addiction dealt with. Then, when it does, eating out would only be on the "treat day" and in appropriate portion sizes.

Packed lunch for school. No money for crap.

This is a serious health issue and she needs to take it seriously.

Ragwort Wed 29-Jul-15 00:07:46

Does he have a dad or are mum and the son just living alone together? It could be that they've got into a rut of over eating and not doing enough exercise as a way of being 'happy & comfortable' together.

Perhaps focus on the fact that he is unhappy at school because of the bullying, is there a tutor or mentor at school that might be able to help? Can she try and focus on getting him some other interests - if not a sports club then something like Scouts or Cadets - just to get him out and have something else in his life?

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