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Question
Posted by: Heidi Spence | 2017/12/07

My son is on a hunger strike because he got braces

Hello, my son has had braces fitted, which his dad insisted on (we are divorced). He has a phobia against metal things, spoons people putting metal necklaces in their mouth, he cleans his eating utensils before he can eat, he won't touch food if someone else has handled it, it's quite bad, can't eat with small metal spoons.... Now he is point blankly refusing to eat, because there is metal in his mouth. It's been 3 days. Please can someone tell me what to do. He is 15 and already extremely thin. He is 6 foot and 50 weighs 50kgs.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2017/12/11

Hello Heidi,
Sorry to hear about this.  If what you describe, concerning the boy's phobias and unusual, and extremely severe fears about metal in his mouth, etc., it was extraordinarily unwise for anyone to insist that he have braces fitted against his wishes.  I wonder about the legal situation after this divorce, whether the father should have had the right to insist and enforce his wishes for a non-essential treatment with a high potential for deeply upsetting and disturbing his son, over the boy's own wishes and yours.
So far as I know, nobody has ever died from not having braces fitted.  But someone could indeed be harmed by imposing such a non-essential treatment while ignoring the highly important psychological aspects of the  situation. 
From your description it sounds as though your son has a far more serious and distressing set of psychological problems requiring far more urgent attention.  Do find a way for your unhappy son to see a good child psychologist for a thorough assessment and diagnosis, and a discussion of treatment options for the problems he definitely does have,  rather than the comparatively trivial dental problems he might have.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Anonymous | 2017/12/11

My biggest concern is your son's weight. Are you sure the hunger strike is really about the braces, or is there something else like anorexia going on? Braces or no braces, I would put him on an appetite stimulant.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Dee | 2017/12/11

Take your son to have the braces removed? It's clearly causing him a great deal of distress and it's completely non-vital to have them.

Reply to Dee

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