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Do any of yours hoard food?

(17 Posts)
Ticktacktock Mon 21-Mar-16 20:31:35

I know it's quite common amongst fostered and adopted children. My dfd hoards food, and I am currently trying different tactics to try and help her, but it's proving tricky.

She knows why she does it but she's not really bothered, it bothers us, her foster family much more!

Does anyone have any advice?

GlitteryShoes Mon 21-Mar-16 20:35:38

Let her have a snack box with food in so she knows she won't go hungry - I use things like cereal bars and rice cakes, not chocolate etc but things they do enjoy. I find having a weekly meal planner and crossing the meals off each day helps, but you also have to make peace with it, it's not done to annoy or deprive you but as survival. There is also research that says children with developmental trauma do crave sugar and carbs even more than non traumatised humans so bear that in mind too.

Whycantweallgetalong Mon 21-Mar-16 20:37:05

I think it's only with time and a lot of patience that this habit will stop. They are used to not trusting adults around them, some going hungry during the day and not being able to tell someone, so this is a form of self preservation. Only when they reach full realisation that there will always be a listening ear, comfort, shelter and hopefull stability, that the habit will stop.

Ticktacktock Mon 21-Mar-16 20:44:20

Thanks. She has a box of snacks in her room that she can use as she wishes, but she just eats it all in a couple of days, as she says she's hungry, when she really isn't!

She has been with me years, but the hoarding has recently escalated and she doesn't know why.

I know it's not about food it's about survival, but I've also read that the habit can last a life time.

GlitteryShoes Mon 21-Mar-16 20:55:38

It may be that you have to accept it. I find if I have really tried to break a habit, another one replaces it - I had one child who used to pull his hair out, I stopped him by putting Vaseline on it and while his hair grew back he started biting his nails till they bled! Just show curiosity and empathy - acknowledge what she is doing but try not to judge.

Whycantweallgetalong Mon 21-Mar-16 20:59:01

How sad for these children though. To have been so traumatised at such a young age.

Ticktacktock Mon 21-Mar-16 21:01:52

Thanks Glittery, I also worry that the constant eating will make her look the size of a house! She eats more than is good for her.

Acceptance is fine, but I would really like to find a way to help her break it.

GlitteryShoes Mon 21-Mar-16 22:02:36

The acceptance IS what resolves things. If they feel loveable there is capacity for change from within. You can be curious ' you seem to need to be full of food to feel safe.....?"

It's very tempting as a foster carer to want to fix things, but often the only way to do this is love them for who they are. Food issues are the hardest thing to sort out though.

Nigels58 Wed 23-Mar-16 09:23:58

The hoarding is just a symptom, you need to address the anxiety causing it.

Kitsandkids Wed 23-Mar-16 19:52:06

My eldest doesn't hoard but is quite greedy. He will keep eating past the point of being full and if there is anything to share, leftover sweets from decorating biscuits for example, he will grab and gobble them in an absolute frenzy.

He came to us really skinny (with concerns that he wasn't getting enough food) and has put on a lot of weight. He's not fat but I can see the start of a tummy and I am concerned that as he gets older, and we can't control how much he eats, he will get really fat and have the health problems associated with that. At the moment I seem to be saying to him a lot 'just because you can eat lots of something doesn't mean that you should.' For example, if we're out at a restaurant he'll argue that he can eat an adult meal whereas I always insist on a children's portion (he's only 8), and I try to explain that his body is not designed to eat large amounts even if he can physically fit them in.

Ticktacktock Wed 23-Mar-16 22:11:57

Hi Kits, mines a bit like that, in as much as she always wants more on her plate than she can eat. We say, just eat what's on your plate then you can have seconds if you're still hungry. She isn't happy about that, but if we give her the portion size she wants she can't eat it all, and it goes in the bin. That doesn't go down well with the other children who have been brought up to eat what is on their plate with minimum waste.

It's the not knowing where her next meal is coming from, your boy sounds the same.

Does your boy not sneak food to his room?

Kitsandkids Wed 23-Mar-16 22:36:28

No, no sneaking. They don't really get the opportunity. He knows he's not allowed to open the fridge or cupboards. There are sweet tins for both kids out on the side - both my fc are allowed a few sweets after tea if they're not full up. He doesn't try to open these when it's not sweet time, but I know that when he is eating them he often eats a few before he then counts out the amount he's really allowed!

mygorgeousmilo Tue 14-Jun-16 20:48:58

I wonder if you have something like a white board or a chalk board listing what's for breakfast/lunch/dinner each day and sticking to it, if that would help. Reinforcing the "there's always food available" feeling. Things being as expected, time running as they expect it etc. all go towards reducing that feeling of spiralling and losing control. Knowing what will happen, even if it seems obvious or silly, can really help to reduce anxiety, which is the root of all this.

Ticktacktock Thu 16-Jun-16 18:05:34

I have a weekly menu that is up on the board for dinner. She doesn't eat breakfast in the house, and will get her own lunch in the house if she is in. She is also a very fussy eater and there is something on the menu each week that she doesn't like, in fact more than once probably. She is allowed to get her own dinner if she doesn't want mine, but this brings on a massive sulk, as she thinks that I should go out of my way to cook dinner without the ingredients she doesn't like.

She no longer has the food box in her room as she wasn't able to keep to my request of having all food and wrappers kept in the box. They were strewn all over the floor and windowsill. There's no wonder we've had mice!

Lightbulbon Sat 18-Jun-16 23:40:13

How old is she?

Why do you think she should eat food you make when you know she doesn't like it?

No wonder she's hoarding food!

Ticktacktock Sun 19-Jun-16 22:16:17

She's 16. She doesn't have to eat the food I cook, she can get her own if she doesn't want what we're having. She quite often does like what I cook, but also quite often says, I just don't want to eat that today.

Yukduck Mon 20-Jun-16 13:39:41

Tickatock could it be that she wants to feel you "get" her and food is a biggie for this.
When working in elderly care, food was more than calories it was a sort of "love on a plate". The old people knew we really cared for them if we piled favourite things up high and left off the things they did not like!
Nothing bonded us to the elderly residents quicker than mealtimes.

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