My child is becoming afraid to eat...HELP!!

Posted on: Mon, 07/23/2007 - 9:56am
Gwen 5's picture
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Joined: 01/24/2003 - 09:00

My dd is 9 1/2 and she has become increasingly anxious about eating food in general.

She is afraid at restaurants that we go to often, she is afraid of foods that she has not had before. She doesn't want to share a water bottle with anyone in the family, she is basically scared herself silly that she may have a reaction.

Has anyone had this with their child and how did you handle it.

This is not about being a tween and body conscious- she is thin and perfect. When she is comfortable she will eat alot, but it is situations that she sees that are not as controlled as being at home.

I would love to hear from you-

Thanks

Posted on: Mon, 07/23/2007 - 9:59am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

oh--there are a few threads on this. Search for "won't eat" or "anxious" or "anxiety"
You may want to check these out:
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/008367.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/008367.html[/url] (note strep & OCD)
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/008546.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/008546.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/009447.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/009447.html[/url]
[This message has been edited by McCobbre (edited July 23, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 07/23/2007 - 10:07am
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Yes, there are other discussions that you can check out.
For the water bottle thing, dd came up with a method. She plays lots of sports and the water bottles get all messed up under the bench etc... so now she puts a sweat band (in the team colors) on her bottle so she can always find it. If she forgets it, she peels the label off the bottle so it is "hers".
Hope that helps.

Posted on: Mon, 07/23/2007 - 11:00am
AlwaysAvoidAnaphylaxis's picture
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Joined: 06/23/2001 - 09:00

Allow her to take control of her situation-----teach her what is in her control and let her take charge and in doing so, it will help her regain confidence.
Find a friend with food allergies so that they can talk about it and discuss their coping mechanisms together.
Consider taking her to see a child psychologist that teaches children how to overcome their fears (phobias) before they interfere more with their life.
Just some suggestions that may work.

Posted on: Mon, 07/23/2007 - 10:58pm
Rach's picture
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Joined: 05/01/2001 - 09:00

Not sure, but this might work. This is based on how I have handled my eating.
Maybe try writing out an eating plan evey morning with her. So she will know when the "scary points" are scheduled and how they are going to be handled and who will be with her at that time. To take it one step further, you could ask her to try and identify how she feels when confronted with these situations and link her feelings to the preventative measures you are taking to keep her safe.
I have some coping strategies somewhere, if they might be of use I could e mail them to you.
Take care
Rach

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 12:34am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Gwen 5:
[b]My dd is 9 1/2 and she has become increasingly anxious about eating food in general.
She is afraid at restaurants that we go to often, she is afraid of foods that she has not had before. She doesn't want to share a water bottle with anyone in the family, she is basically scared herself silly that she may have a reaction.
Has anyone had this with their child and how did you handle it.
This is not about being a tween and body conscious- she is thin and perfect. When she is comfortable she will eat alot, but it is situations that she sees that are not as controlled as being at home.
I would love to hear from you-
Thanks[/b]
Here`s another perspective. My dd is 12 and she would consider all the above to be risky behaviors. Yet I don`t consider her overly anxious at all. I`ve never shared drinking cups with her, we`ve always had separate water bottles, restaurants [b]are[/b] risky as they are where most food allergy fatalities occur in adults, we are always very cautious about trying new foods, and sounds to me like your daughter`s concerns are appropriate. She is just doing what she needs to do to be safe. Unless there are other things you have not mentioned, I don`t consider the things you posted above to be overly anxious.

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 2:07am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I agree with Carefulmom. (But remember that our DDs both live with LTFA to other common foods....)
It could just be that she is developing a comfort zone that is substantially 'tighter' than your own-- at least for now.
You don't say what [i]kind[/i] of restaurants... I mean, my DD isn't 'comfortable' at places that serve breakfast, no matter how many times we've been there. And I would regard it as complacent if she (or we) were, given that she has an egg allergy that can kill her.
Unless this is [i]really[/i] interfering with her social normalcy with her peers, I think I would wait and see, supporting and [i]validating[/i] her concerns. I'd be pretty happy for my DD to enter (and hopefully pass through) adolescence with a comfort zone that is suitably tight. There is a reason that adolescent girls are the highest fatality risk-- peer pressure does a lot of bad things to girls with FA.
OTOH, if she's become obsessive-compulsive (she checks labels five times, even after they enter your house, and always [i]exactly[/i] five times, for example) then it is probably time to seek help. But you won't wnat to take her to anyone who is simply going to tell her that her fears are entirely irrational, either--- because they aren't. She may just have trouble managing them well at this point.
It is hard to watch them struggle to find their own way of managing things, isn't it?

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 2:07am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

She is trying to find her own comfort zone. Right now, she is being more conservative than you. It shows that she is really thinking about how her food could become contaminated. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. Why not have her pack food to take to restaurants? Having her own water bottle is not a bad idea. New foods should be tried with caution. Show her how to call the manufacturer for information. Help her take charge of managing her allergies (with you as a back-up of course [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] )
Cathy

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 4:54am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I thought about the fact that my dd is allergic to milk before I posted, but all of the things I posted above would still be true if she were only pa. We still wouldn`t share water bottles unless I read ingredients on everything I ever eat. I`m sure I eat may contains from time to time, so sharing water bottles is out. Restaurants ARE risky even if only pa. There are so many fatalaties occuring in restaurants where people previously ate safely. Didn`t McCobbre have a reaction requiring epi in a restaurant where she had eaten the same item many times? I think it was a shellfish reaction, but the same thing can happen with pa. Even if dd were only pa, she would be doing the same things as Gwen 5`s dd is doing.

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 5:39am
LisaM's picture
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Joined: 11/04/2005 - 09:00

Totally agree that the water bottle thing would be a concern . . . unless it is 100% certain that others in the family are not consuming allergens . . but even then, I'd let that issue go.
Has she had reactions in restaurants? What sort of precautions do you take when you go there? (Just asking because my parents used to just ask whether the dish contained x, y, and z. We didn't inquire about food preparation and cross contamination, which is important in the case of anaphylactic allergies.)
I think somewhere on the mayo clinic website, they have a good resource on dining safely with allergies. Maybe there are steps that you could take to help her feel safe and in control of the situation? (like talking to the manager ahead of time, asking questions about x-contam, bringing a chef's card . . .etc.)
Just speaking from my experience----I was fairly laid back about the allergies until I had a life threatening reaction in highschool. Then I went through a phase where I was totally anxious about the food I ate . . . yes, I probably would have benefitted from counselling. But I also think that it would have helped if others had taken my anxieties seriously and if I didn't feel embarrassed about voicing my concerns. Some of the cross contamination issues I was worried about mentioning in case it seemed like I was overreacting were actually important from a medical perspective! Also, I think it would have helped if I had joined a support group at that time so I could see how others lived with their allergies.
Finding a 'comfort zone' is an ongoing process that takes some time and research.
The fear about trying new foods might be a concern unless she has had reactions lately or has been developing new allergies. Do you think she would be comfortable with tasting just a little bit first and then waiting for a period of time before trying more?
I'd say to encourage your daughter to express her concerns. I wouldn't push her to do eat anything she doesn't want to eat.
If she is avoiding foods she's not allergic to period, I'd be concerned . . . but if she is just avoiding foods in certain settings where she doesn't have control over food preparation, I wouldn't worry about it.

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 7:33am
Gwen 5's picture
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Joined: 01/24/2003 - 09:00

We only go to the same Mexican and Italian restaurants for the most part.
I always carry a chef's card and use it-
Maybe I ma trying to loosen up my comfort zone because it has been too tight and that is why my dd has become so paranoid.
I have always been so careful and still am, but I find myself basically trying to be black or white- If I go gray my dd goes crazy and take it to the extreme!
The water bottle example could be that it is 4 in the afternoon and I want a sip of her water as we are at the park and she says
but what if you ate something for breakfast that was not ok-
I am trying to explain if I did eat anything she could not have at breakfast( even thought I did not) it would be long gone by now- wouldn't it?
I think when they are getting to be a little on the anxious side we need to make it more clear to them-
If you eat it you can have a reaction, but if you don't eat it you won't.
She is not contact sensitive-
she is allergic to pa/tna and sesame.
I have always been overly-cautious- you should ask my family, they will tell you I am overboard. Now suddenly, I am trying to back peddle a bit because I see the craziness in my dd now that she is getting older and wiser.
It gets quite dicey at times and I so want her to be comfortable in her life!

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