How do I help DD13 with her bingeing problem?

(9 Posts)
Happymonster Wed 11-Sep-19 09:37:57

Sorry this has turned into an essay/rant....

She's been doing this since she started secondary 2 years ago. I've found countless chocolate, sweet and biscuit wrappers stuffed under her bed, in her bag, in drawers, inside pillows and toys. In the past when I've asked her about it she says 'It's from ages ago' but she and I both know that is not true - I cleared out under her bed two days ago and today found lots more wrappers.

Its better in the holidays as I work from home so have a bit more control over what she eats, and she is not passing the sweet shop everyday, but now school is back it has all started up again. At school on her lunch card she is buying flavoured milk and pain au chocolate, usually not proper meal. She often skips breakfast and usually complains about my cooking at dinner, pushing her food around her plate (I can cook quite well I think, and try to do a variety of healthy, tasty food - also have occasional treats of ice cream, crisps etc).

She is overweight and I suspect very unhappy about the way she looks. I know she has been having friend issues at school, and rarely has social invitations from others - I think that is making her anxious which will be at the root of it, although she has always had a thing for sugary fatty food (always the last one at the birthday party to leave the table).

I've tried different approaches over the past two years - everything from softly softly to getting really cross. I've considered loitering (like a weirdo) outside the sweetshop at home time, confiscating her money, checking her pockets and bag when she gets in, but don't want to turn into the sweet police and anyway that is not tackling the cause. I've thought about sending her on a cooking course to help improve her relationship with food - she did a taster in the holidays and enjoyed it, but haven't found a regular course that suits.

I worry about what eating so much bad food does to the health of a growing teen. She is not remotely sporty - does no formal exercise outside school and last year only had one PE lesson a week(!). I've tried encouraging her to take an activity up, but she is not interested at all. Both DH and I are physically quite active. He has always been a bigger bloke and struggles a little with his weight and self control (food and alcohol), but his whole family are 'large boned'' (their own description). My side of the family are all tall and slim. Our son takes after me physically, daughter after her father.

I have asked at school for help, but I don't really want to tell her tutor about her eating issues - so said she seemed sad and anxious at home and was having friend issues. So far nothing has happened. I will try again now its a new school year, but do I go to the doctor if that does not work?

Has anyone been through something similar and sorted it out, or is it something she will always struggle with?

OP’s posts: |
FourFlapjacksPlease Wed 11-Sep-19 10:53:04

What about getting her some counselling? If she is having friend issues and is unhappy about how she looks, these are the things she needs to be tackling. If she can find some strategies for dealing with the friend issues and how she sees herself, the eating is more likely to sort itself out.

My teen DD was like this when she was a similar age (once ate 10 kit Kats in a single sitting!) but she was generally stressed and unhappy at the time. She had a year of counselling to deal with her anxieties and when she felt better about life the eating calmed down. Good luck with it, so hard when you can see they are unhappy and making daft choices.

Happymonster Wed 11-Sep-19 11:11:03

Thanks fourflapjacksplease, did you get counselling via school or did you find it elsewhere? Sometimes it is hard to know where to turn.

OP’s posts: |
DontCallMeDarling Wed 11-Sep-19 11:38:18

My daughter aged 13 is also anxious and stressed. She has friendship issues, takes school work way too seriously and as a result any slight setback sends her self confidence plummeting. She also has moments where she will eat a bunch of sugary stuff in minutes as comfort. After her most recent melt down, I got her to send an email to school counsellor to arrange sessions, even this stressed her out. She hasn't started yet but now thinks they are a good idea for her and that she needs something to help. Fingers crossed. I do my best to support her but I think a third party is useful to give them a different perspective. Good luck

leasedaudi Wed 11-Sep-19 12:43:34

Poor love. Sounds like emotional eating. How about getting her into yoga or taking her to a gym class as something to do with you? Yoga is good for helping you feel good about yourself.

And maybe get her involved in cooking. If she eats enough substantial and healthy food she'll be less likely to get the sugar cravings.

PotteringAlong Wed 11-Sep-19 12:44:44

Stop giving her money got school and send her with her lunch / a drink?

SunshineAngel Thu 12-Sep-19 00:57:54

Firstly, well done on addressing this the way that you are. When I was growing up, food was never scare in our house, and I ate what I was given - which was a lot. I was overfed and therefore overweight, and treated with junk food when I did something good (which again was a lot). By the time I was in my early 20s and leaving home I was VERY overweight, and had to diet for two years to get to a healthy weight. So the fact you are addressing this now is really, really good.

Firstly, unfortunately you have to live by example. So if you want her to eat healthily, don't have unhealthy foods in the house, and don't eat them yourself.

Secondly, if she's buying sweets on her way to school, don't let her take money to school. Why does she need to? Give her a packed lunch and enough for the bus (if applicable) but other than that, no money to school. She shouldn't need money at school really, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Also try to get more active as a family. Walks at weekends, on nice evenings, that kind of thing.

Working together will help a lot smile.


Flower777 Thu 12-Sep-19 01:11:43

The book brain over binge is good and explains about needing to eat enough of the proper stuff to stop our brain trying to make us binge.

So it would probably help if she had a proper breakfast and lunch.

The book is worth a read.

FourFlapjacksPlease Fri 13-Sep-19 00:21:36

sorry happymonster - only just seen your question. We got her private counselling via Mind. It was £40 a session but it was completely life changing for her. We had a CAMHS referral via GP but they were useless so decided to sort out counselling ourselves. Worth every single penny.

DD'd school do offer counselling and she tried 2 counsellors there but she didn't like them and didn't trust that what she told them would remain confidential. She really liked and trusted the Mind counsellor and it made a huge difference. If you do look for private counselling you may need to try a couple of people until you find someone who is the right fit - I think that is really key.

I went in with her a few times and then she saw the counsellor on her own. I then had a separate session with the counsellor every couple of months which really helped me with strategies to support her. She is really happy and thriving now. No disordered eating or any of the other alarming behaviours she was displaying.

Really hope she starts feeling happier soon x

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