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Question
Posted by: Sandar | 2010-01-15

My daughter of 7 refuses to eat

Please could you let me know who I coudl take my daughter to for help. Since a baby she has hated food (from milk to solids to now) for this reason I have kep her on formula (2 cups a day) she will only try about 10 different foods. If I try disguise foods in her food she can taste it - I have no idea how.If another food just touches her plate, or she sees me using the same knife on something she does not eat she will gag. She gags if she smells certain foods. She does however eat all sorts of the wrong food (chips/ice cream etc). I have bribed, threatened, shouted, starved her and nothing works I am so desperate I dont know what to do.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Sandar
I can imagine that you must be desperate because your 7-year-old daughter is such a difficult eater. Because it is necessary to determine if she has any physiological problems that prevent her from eating certain foods (e.g. allergies, intolerances, etc), I would recommend that you take her for a medical checkup or consult a clinical dietitian to assess her food intake. I do, however, think that your daughter is using food and her refusal to eat as a method of controlling you and possibly the entire family. I would, therefore, also recommend that you have her assessed by a child psychologist to identify why she is doing this. Refusal to eat in young children is often a 'cry for help' because of underlying anxiety, depression or feelings of helplessness. She should really not still be drinking formula as this reinforces her refusal to grow up and start taking responsibility for her life and food intake. So please get some expert help from a dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area) and a child psychologist (the latter is very important).
Holding thumbs for you
DietDoc

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: A Mothers'  helper | 2010-01-20

Dear Sandar,

I know exactly how you feel.

As much as I can respect the opinion of the expert comment above, I would also like to offer my suggestions and opinion.

I have 2 girls and had similiar problems - NOW: Both my girls are on Multivitamins i.e. Dynajets and Choco Vites.
I came to the realisation that as a Mother we see food as a responsibilty and forget that kids develop tendencies and mannerisms that we sometimes don'  t even realise.

When I use to get home in the evenings, it was always such a rush and I hardly had quality time with the kids (bath, cook, check homework, get ready for the next day) BUT the only real minute or two that I dedicated to either one of my girls (youngest is 5) was when they would'  t eat and later I discovered that it bacame more frequent.. But I too got a little wiser and realised that they would do this as a means to get attention so I diverted the focus...

THis is how I do it
- Put my girls on vitamins.
- If they wouldn'  t eat - then that was fine but no dessert - calm with love(cos you are obviously not hungry)
- put up a reward chart in both their rooms (NOT regarding the food but redirecting focus to little chores, responsbilty, kindness, etc)
- NEVER force feed - especially girls... they end up hating food.

My advise to you is to try a few methods with her. Make her fee proud of herself in other aspects of her young life.

Maybe step 1 should be to teach her to stop drinking formula with the use of the reward system e.g. For everyday that she doesn'  t drink her formula, she gets a star and for every 5 stars she gets, she get an Ice-cream (keep the gift/reward simple) BUT whatever you do, do NOT reward her for eating.

Eating is not an achievement but a neccessity. Remember, your little one will NOT starve herself and die. Kids are active and automatically need to refuel to keep going so give her Vitamins (for your peace of mind as well) and leave her if she doesn'  t want to eat but you need to be firm about the intake of sugary snack, etc. - In my case my girls are only allowed sweets and chips and chocolates over the weekend (friday eve till Sunday noon) and that too in moderation i.e. only one chocolate, one packet of crisps, jelly babies, wine gums and/ sucker. They re not allowed fizzy drinks until they are about 13 and that excluded coke....

I could go on and on but I guess you get the picture. I hope this affords you some insight and help but if I were you, I would try every thing I can before going to a "  Shrink"  cos the last thing you want to do is make your kid feel like something is wrong with her for just being a KID!

Good Luck.

Reply to A Mothers&#39  helper
Posted by: Been there... | 2010-01-18

Dear Sandar,

I know exactly how you feel.

As much as I can respect the opinion of the expert comment above, I would also like to offer my suggestions and opinion.

I have 2 girls and had similiar problems - NOW: Both my girls are on Multivitamins i.e. Dynajets and Choco Vites.
I came to the realisation that as a Mother we see food as a responsibilty and forget that kids develop tendencies and mannerisms that we sometimes don' t even realise.

When I use to get home in the evenings, it was always such a rush and I hardly had quality time with the kids (bath, cook, check homework, get ready for the next day) BUT the only real minute or two that I dedicated to either one of my girls (youngest is 5) was when they would' t eat and later I discovered that it bacame more frequent.. But I too got a little wiser and realised that they would do this as a means to get attention so I diverted the focus...

THis is how I do it
- Put my girls on vitamins.
- If they wouldn' t eat - then that was fine but no dessert - calm with love(cos you are obviously not hungry)
- put up a reward chart in both their rooms (NOT regarding the food but redirecting focus to little chores, responsbilty, kindness, etc)
- NEVER force feed - especially girls... they end up hating food.

My advise to you is to try a few methods with her. Make her fee proud of herself in other aspects of her young life.

Maybe step 1 should be to teach her to stop drinking formula with the use of the reward system e.g. For everyday that she doesn' t drink her formula, she gets a star and for every 5 stars she gets, she get an Ice-cream (keep the gift/reward simple) BUT whatever you do, do NOT reward her for eating.

Eating is not an achievement but a neccessity. Remember, your little one will NOT starve herself and die. Kids are active and automatically need to refuel to keep going so give her Vitamins (for your peace of mind as well) and leave her if she doesn' t want to eat but you need to be firm about the intake of sugary snack, etc. - In my case my girls are only allowed sweets and chips and chocolates over the weekend (friday eve till Sunday noon) and that too in moderation i.e. only one chocolate, one packet of crisps, jelly babies, wine gums and/ sucker. They re not allowed fizzy drinks until they are about 13 and that excluded coke....

I could go on and on but I guess you get the picture. I hope this affords you some insight and help but if I were you, I would try every thing I can before going to a " Shrink"  cos the last thing you want to do is make your kid feel like something is wrong with her for just being a KID!

Good Luck.

Reply to Been there...
Posted by: DietDoc | 2010-01-15

Dear Sandar
I can imagine that you must be desperate because your 7-year-old daughter is such a difficult eater. Because it is necessary to determine if she has any physiological problems that prevent her from eating certain foods (e.g. allergies, intolerances, etc), I would recommend that you take her for a medical checkup or consult a clinical dietitian to assess her food intake. I do, however, think that your daughter is using food and her refusal to eat as a method of controlling you and possibly the entire family. I would, therefore, also recommend that you have her assessed by a child psychologist to identify why she is doing this. Refusal to eat in young children is often a 'cry for help' because of underlying anxiety, depression or feelings of helplessness. She should really not still be drinking formula as this reinforces her refusal to grow up and start taking responsibility for her life and food intake. So please get some expert help from a dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area) and a child psychologist (the latter is very important).
Holding thumbs for you
DietDoc

Reply to DietDoc

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