Overweight kids

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    OK, I'm watching DR. P right now and he's talking about really overweight kids (due to compulsive eating- not medications or health problems causing it) and how parents are dealing with this in a way that's making it worse. A mom was buying snacks and keeping them locked up and trying to ration them out. The mom was cooking healthy meals and trying hard to get her kid's major weight problem under control, in spite of the unhealthy meals the sd provides.

    Dr. P says stop locking food up- it makes the desire for the food stronger and turns the issue into a power struggle. He says stop buying ANYTHING unhealthy. He says when the kid throws a tantrum in the store, trying to get Mom to buy unhealthy stuff, that Mom should stand back and let the kid scream and tell anyone who comes around throwing dirty looks that the kid is throwing a tantrum for food she won't buy and asked the on-lookers if they'd like to stay there and watch with her (the mom) to show support. LOL!

    I found that interesting! I know some things Dr P says seem off the wall for parents with difficult child's, but he might have a point with this, in my humble opinion. What he said made me think 1) maybe we should deal with any of our kids' compulsions by keeping it away altogether instead of trying to ration it because rationing can make the compulsion worse and create more struggle, and 2) I kind of liked his approach of how to handle public tantrums-
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2009
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    It's not just junk found though... It's anything they aren't supposed to have! All of my red and green sugar sprinkles got used in "homemade ice cream". OK, that's sugar... Most of my mexican vanilla extract - the real thing - too. Catch a kid putting sugar in their apple juice. Taking packets of unsweetened kool-aid to eat (EWW!). Margarine straight out of the dish (again, EWW). Frozen cranberries - till they figured out that they were NOT cherries - LOL! That one was funny.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My daughter M used to have meltdowns every time we went clothes shopping because she wanted EVERYTHING and I only wanted to buy her certain things. I did need to stop taking her shopping for a while until her medications were straightened out and she had learned coping strategies about making choices that we could both live with.

    In terms of inviting strangers to join in watching a public tantrum, I totally disagree with Dr. P. Most kids don't want to tantrum and don't feel good about themselves after a tantrum. I think it's completely demeaning and disrespectful to the child for others to observe the tantrum. Any tantruming child should be removed from the scene of the "crime" and dealt with in private. A child needs to be understood and worked with, not embarrased in public, to behave better over the long run.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't know- I can see when difficult child was having a meltdown- say over homework or something causing anxiety that humiliation is not the answer. But I know that when he was little, he tried the manipulation by misbehaving in a store to get something he wanted. The first couple of times, it worked because I was embarressed so I gave into him. Then, instead of me getting embaressed, I stood back and looked at him and didn't give in. Then, HE got embarressed over how he was behaving and stopped. So, maybe it just depends on what is behind the behavior- the clip they showed on this show clearly looked like a manipulative kid and the parents even said that they gave in because they didn't want to deal with the bad behavior they'd get otherwise.
  5. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    God no. Not for easy child kids, not for difficult children. Two reasons, in my opinion!

    1) My sister would not have been "shamed" into stopping. Ha! So many of our difficult children have social unawareness as part and parcel of their issues. She would have enjoyed every minute of making a scene, because it would have "served Mom and I right for not buying her what she wanted". She knew her public behavior was embarrassing---and she USED that against us. So for my difficult child, oh heck no! Total backfire plan!

    2) Horror. Inviting strangers to mock your child for misbehavior is poor parenting, plain and simple. If your child is smart enough to realize they're embarrassing themselves, fine---that's great! But actually encouraging strangers to stop and join in the public shaming of your own child? That's....I don't even have words for how disgusting that is to me. :)
  6. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I watched the first part of that Dr. Phil show about the little girl. I'm no expert but it looked to me like that kids problems went waaaaay beyond simple overeating and too many snacks! From what I saw, this little girl was totally obsessed with food. She would eat 24/7 if they let her and if she wasn't eating, she was in full tantrum mode screaming for more food! That's not just sneaking a few extra snacks!

    If they mentioned it, I missed it, but if that were my kid I would have been trying to get help for her a long time before going on the Dr. Phil show! There was a lot more going on there besides simple overeating.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Dr. Phil's advice on parenting always leaves me a little cold because I feel like he never experienced what some families (like ours) go through. He and his wife, Robin, always say they never yelled--not even one time, they never got impatient, they never got frustrated with their children, etc. etc. etc.

    What???!!?? Whenever I hear them say those sorts of things, it makes me feel like I cannot relate to them at ALL because I am a human being who gets tired, angry, frustrated, and I make mistakes. How can anyone be such perfect parents all the time?

    So clearly, they never had to deal with a tantrum in a supermarket....or they would know how awful it would be to invite strangers to humiliate your child. Whatever little magical words they whispered in their children's ears caused their kids to smile and say "You're right, Mom & Dad--I guess I really don't want the sugary cereal after all....".

    Why not just give us ALL the magic words?


  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Actually, for the most part, I like Dr. Phil. I like the affirmation "How's that working for you?" However, I have found him and other mental health professionals to be lacking when it comes to really "getting" how life is with difficult children.

    With reference to food, I DO think many parents (not just moms...UGH! :() need to stop enabling their young kids by buying excessive junk food and keeping it in the house. Or using food as rewards/awards.

    Again...difficult children...well...that's a tricky subject. A difficult child will do whatever it takes to get a snacky poo. :faint: And I mean WHATEVER IT TAKES. Some people do not understand the concept. Do not understand the freight train that might come at them. Or the roller coaster ride.

    I'm having this problem right now with my difficult child.

    I, as a parent, can have a minor influence. I will use whatever influence I have.
    However, my difficult child, since she is an adult...ultimately makes her own choices.

    by the way...I have, literally experienced my difficult child (when she was a kid) throw herself on the food store FLOOR in full blown out, heavy duty, VERY LOUD, temper tamper mode, because I would not buy her cookies. I stepped right over her and continued my shopping.
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It kind of bothered me because I think they just skimmed the surface with that little girl. This kid literally ATE all the time, and she didn't just have tantrums in the grocery store. At home, if she wasn't eating, she was following her mother around screaming and crying for more food! She was gaining a few pounds each week!

    At one point, the mother stated that the doctor said there was nothing physically wrong with the girl to make her eat like that, but I wonder if she took her to anyone other than her regular pediatrician? At the rate she's going, this girl will never make it out of her teens alive. I've watched some of those shows about the horribly overweight 1,000 pound people who are bedbound and can't even turn over, much less get up and walk. Isn't there supposed to be some kind of neurological defect in some people where the brain never gets the message that the stomach is full? No matter how much they eat, they still feel hungry so they keep eating and eating.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    wow, I had no idea this would hit nerves. Let me clarify a couple of things- I was paraphrasing a little in my original post to keep it from getting too lengthy (as I sometimes do). He did say that after someeone becomes obese, there are physical problems and one of them is the metabolism changing and messages in the body changing that keep a person eating all the time (that's a bit of a paraphrase too, but the point is that it was not a physical illness or medications, etc, that caused the excessive hunger or weight gain to start with).

    Ok, he didn't say to go thru a store inviting people to humilate your child. The mother was apparently giving into tantrums in the store because she was miore concerned about what others' were thinking than about sticking to what was best for the child. The mother asked something about how to handle it when people came by and gave her dirty looks or made a snide comment when her child was throwing a tantrum. Apparently the mom was concerned that these people might think she was abusing the child or something.

    As a side note, we aren't talking about kids with neurological problems or Learning Disability (LD)'s or our typical difficult child's (I don't think)- where the bigger issue is something else and food is only one trigger for a meltdown or conflict. At least that is the way it appeared to me.
  11. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    Sounds like Prader-Willi. I wonder if Dr. Phil brought that up?
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I dunno about other state's school menu's, but the one's in the schools my kids have attended have been anything but healthy. They mostly consist of junk food...on the protest that kids won't eat healthy food.

    Funny, when I was a kid we used to get a 3 course meal.......better than what I ate at home.......and I don't recall a single kid going hungry. But those meals are far more expensive to make than say the tacos.......

    K had a weight problem as a child. Not enough exercise and too much fast food/junk food. She came to visit every summer and went home 20-30 pounds lighter. One year we had to go out and buy her clothes because what she brought was hanging on her.

    I didn't do anything special. My kids rarely got junk food or fast food. Snacks were fruit and popcorn (unbuttered) and fresh veggies. They drank sugar free koolaide I made myself and water. The only sweet snack they got were popcicles and at 20 cal per popcicle that wasn't bad. And my kids played outside all day. If it was 40 degrees plus and not raining.....they were outside running around, riding bikes, skating, playing ball, swimming ect.

    So K never dieted at our house.......she just lived life the way my kids did. lol But boy that first week would sure be heck as she whined we had no snack food/sweets she could sit and eat all day, and that she had to go outside and actually move. lol
  13. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Lisa, that's pretty much what we did too. But mine had the opposite problem - they were both so skinny that I wouldn't have minded seeing them gain a few pounds!

    It's funny but when I was a kid (a l-o-n-g time ago) I don't remember seeing that many overweight kids. There just weren't any. We maybe had two or three in the whole school, and none were all that bad. But we only had three channels on the TV, we didn't have video games or computers or cell phones or any of the other goodies that keep todays kids idle and in the house. We were all outside riding bikes or climbing trees! And we only had candy and soft drinks as an occasional treat - they weren't routinely kept in the house. If we came in the house thirsty from playing, we got a glass of water.

    And I've never seen so many outright FAT kids as I've seen since we moved here! And usually these kids have equally fat parents. A lot of it is good ol' 'country cooking'. But when you see them in the grocery store, they have a whole cartful of junk food, cases and cases of soft drinks, and four or five different flavors of ice cream! A lot has changed since I was a kid, and not all for the better.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Lisa & Donna- I think the point you are leading to is what Dr P was trying to get to. (Not that I want to advertise for him- I don't always agree with him either.) But apparently this week he's trying to cover families where the kids have taken over and the parents are giving in WAY too much. Today he had on a kid who was dressing too revealing for her age. Yes, it's a self-esteem problem, but it's difficult to deal with the self-esteem issue if the mom is giving in and buying the daughter these clothes. The other day he had on a teacher who did salvia (I think that's the name of this new popular- and legal- drug that's as bad as LSD) AND she was getting it for her son, then complaining because he was 3 years behind in school and had no motivation.

    I know these things don't apply to those of us here- that's why I brought it up on the WC. Being warrior moms of difficult child's is a lot different than just enabling all this in a kid because a parent doesn't want to deal with an issue. Now, whether or not each kid is a difficult child or just being enabled- well, I guess that is case specific.
  15. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I think that one of the problems we have here is that we have all had difficult children and I firmly believe that, in many cases, what works with so-called "normal" kids does not work with difficult children.
    When you are talking about overweight kids, it can be a symptom of some kind of rare metabolic disorder, it can be a kid using it as manipulation, it can be unhealthy lifestyle, it can be simply eating too much of the wrong things. Around here, when I see a very overweight child, 9 times out of 10 they are accompanied by a very overweight adult. It could be an inherited disorder but, more likely, it is parent who eat too much of the wrong things feeding the same things to their kids. It is easy to judge other people without knowing the facts; that's why so often when we do judge others we are MISjudging them.
    As far as the tantrum thing goes, again, if you have a difficult child, how you deal with it may be tempered by your child's disorder. However, if it is just a kid having a fit to try to get you to do what he wants, I see nothing wrong with enlisting the aid of bystanders. Might is make the child feel bad and be ashamed? Sure. But isn't that a good thing? Kids should be taught to feel bad and be ashamed when they do something wrong. I am tired of living in a culture that thinks we mustn't ever bruise their little egos. My generation was raised to take responsibility for our actions and be ashamed when we did something wrong and I don't think it was a bad thing at all. Of course, I agree that if your child is a difficult child the issues may be different but, in general, I see nothing wrong with what he is saying.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's how I wass looking at it MM. My son didn't really exhibit signs of being a difficult child until he was about 11 yo. When he was little and tried the typical manipulation or pushing limits, if other adults stood and looked at me like I was a bad parent, it made me feel pressured (not to mention judged) and I was more likely to give into him just to make it stop. I think he knew that for a bit, it worked to behave poorly in public because I would feel pressure. If other adults looked at him in a disapproving way, instead of focusing on me, I think it helped him learn that this was not acceptable behavior and he needed to change it. That being said, I would not have wanted or appreciated any snide remarks to my child or anything other than maybe a glance to the child in a disapproving way- instead of them looking at me like I was the parent from Pluto.

    And yeah- many reasons can be behind difficult child'ish behavior and over-eating, etc. I hope I didn't come across as trying to judge the parents- this show was about parents who conceded that they were out of control with their kids' eating habits and were asking what they should do about it. A couple of the clips showed people who gave 2-3 yo's huge sausage/eggs, pancake breakfasts on a regular basis, then the kid throwing a fit if the parent or grandparent didn't have sausage one morning and the adult talking about going to the store to get it so the kid would hush. And the kid was about 100 lbs at 3yo, I think.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I didn't see the Dr Phil show. Often he goes over the top for me. I used to like him, but he's getting a wee bit too "hollywood" these days for my tastes.

    I raised my kids the way I did because that was the way I was raised. When you're poor there usually isn't much money for junk or electronic toys. lol And I know my kids benefited from it. easy child and Nichole I've noticed are doing much the same with the grands.

    I think society as a whole has become lazy due to the techincal revolution. And that in a nutshell is the reason obesity is out of control. There will always be those who are obese due to underlying conditions....easy child has hyperthyroidism and if her medications are wrong she'll pack on the pounds eating a strictly healthy diet. But as a whole.....we've become addicted to junkfood, fastfood, and sitting on our arses. And then we wonder why obesity is rampant.

    I had parents think I was neglectful because my kids walked the mile to school. Heck, it was a good 2 mile walk for them each day. They're young, it's not like it's gonna kill them. I walked twice as far to school each day. sheesh And now Travis has taken it up to get back into shape....and both easy child and Nichole are talking about joining him. lol

    As far as tantrums.......I'm a witch. I don't give in. I can out stubborn even the most stubborn child. I don't get embarrassed over it, and I could care less what others around me think. Tantrums never got my kids anywhere, and the grands have already figured out not to try it with Nana, it doesn't work.

    I think the worst thing I've seen with modern parenting is parents giving in due to the fact they feel guilty for both parents working. I used to run a daycare and I saw this so often it really disturbed me. Many parents seemed to be buying their kids love.....intentionally or not. Worried me more when I worked retail and watched kids coming in with 100.00 a week allowances!! And it was the rare kid that actually had to do something to earn that allowance.

    And I'm sad to say.......I see easy child doing it. I point it out to her and explain why it worries me. She has improved, but not stopped altogether. Oh well, they're her kids, not mine.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I freely admit to being a Dt Phil fan. However, what we get to see in Australia is not in sync with what you guys get to see.

    I also will feel free to disagree with him at times, ofcourse he won't always be right.

    A point I feel needs to be made here - when we see Dr Phil handing out advice, it is FOR THAT SITUATION. The gist I got from the initial description - the mother was giving way to the public tantrum out of embarrassment. I've nnoticed Dr Phil often makes a statement that encourages the person to consider swimnging the pensulum almost too far the other way, probably knowing they actually wouldn't go quite that far. he's making a point - "no, Mom, you don't give in to shut the kid up, if anything you should stand there and applaud yourself for NOT giving in! Who is getting embarrassed here? Not you, YOU'RE not throwing the tantrum! And if anyone tries to criticise you - tell them why. Make it clear - the kid is throwing a tantrum because you're being a GOOD parent, you should be proud of yourself fot standing strong."
    OK, it sounds over the top and maybe he wouldn't say it like that, but it's a (hypothetical, demonstration only) attempt to change the mother's mindset from "I am so embarrassed by my child in public" to "I have to be strong for the long-term welfare of my child."

    The next parent presenting with an ALMOST identical problem could well get very different advice.

    And no matter what he says, I don't beleive Dr Phil never yelled. He yells often, in demonstration at least, on his stage. "What were you thinking?" If he yells it to people on his show, then he has yelled it to his family. Sorry, Dr Phil. I'm getting real here.
    But then - is that so wrong? And when he says he doesn't yell, exactly what is he talking about? Generally when we say "never" we're generalising, we're usually saying, "It's something I try to not do, as a matter of principle." And for most of us, that's the best we can do.

    We've had tantrums. Very public ones. And while I wouldn't necessarily encourage bystanders to stand and applaud (because that would frankly only get MORE people mad at me), I would do my utmost to ignore it. The standard trick is "Whose naughty child is that? Certainly not mine!"
    If it is too obvious that it IS my child, I still stand my ground. The main poin here is - DO NOT LET THE CHILD'S TANTRUM BLACKMAIL YOU INTO GIVING WAY. Because if you do, you have just trained the child a little bit more, to throw more tantrums. You have given the child control, and in a dangerous area. NOT good.

    Public humiliation - oh yes, been there done that. Nasty. I like the cold remedy ad (works fast) where the child is throwing a tantrum, so the mother throws a bigger one to show SHE can be even more embarrassing. If your child has already humiliated you, what have you got to lose! Then there is the French ad where a child throws a public tantrum - it's an ad for contraceptives. Cute. And I once saw an ad which showed "parents of..." various world despots. IDi Amin. Adolf Hitler. And more. The end line was, "If only they had used contraception..."

    But I digress - public tantrums. If my child has chosen to make his tantrum public, I will not put as a high priority, removing that child from the public forum. You have to wear the consequences. I will, however, recognise that perhaps my child is overloaded from the stress of the shopping centre, the noise, the lgihts, the bsutle, the confusion of choices. THEN I will consider that grounds for removing the child, but it will be instantremoval of myself, the child, eveything. No stopping to finish the grocery shopping - we will just drop it all and walk away. Or if I have the option, I will send the offending child to wait in the car with someone responsible, while I get the essentials dealt with as fast as possible so we can leave.

    difficult child 3 learnt fairly quickly, to take himself to the car if he wasn't coping.

    I think my worst public humiliation was when difficult child 3 was about 3 years old and constantly wandering off or even running off, so I had bought a child harness for him, with a leash. It was a five point webbing harness, a rather ingenious design. The leash we were using at the time was one of those curly telescopic ones, like a curly phone cord. Actually, this may have been the one that attached with velcro to difficult child 3's wrist while the other end attached to my wrist (or someone else as carer).
    I had left difficult child 3 being minded by easy child 2/difficult child 2, who was 10 years old. difficult child 1 was also nearby - he was 12. I needed to go into a china shop and I left the kids in the mall open area, right outside the shop. I should have realised - polished floors, small kids, telescoping tether. Not a good combo. I came back out to see acrowd gathering and easy child 2/difficult child 2 was sliding difficult child 3 around in every-increasing large circles, he swished across the floor on his corduroy dungarees as she swung him from her wrist, by his wrist, and difficult child 1 was 'jumping rope' as the teter swung round. The circles were full length by the time I came out - about 3 metres RADIUS, which means almost the entire width of the mall, shoppers were having to jump rope. Meanwhile difficult child 3 was making whining noises (which Dopplered every time he made another circle), he had had enough and wanted to stop. As I came on the scene and began to stop the action, it became clear that I was the appallingly neglectful parent who had allowed her kids to mistreat their baby brother in such an awful manner. Boy, did I cop it from people!

    What did I do? I totally ignore the critics standing around. I scolded easy child 2/difficult child 2 and difficult child 1 publicly, when they said, "It's no big deal" I pointed to the crowd and the nearest, most vocal critic and said, "Do you see these people? Can you hear what they are saying? Do THEY think it's no big deal? And do they have more life experience than you?"

    And yes, I yelled. I'm sure even Dr Phil would have yelled at them. Because they ruddy well deserved it. In this situation specifically.

  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    LOL! Marg, I like the way you think!!

    Now I'm watching the Nanny. This one- I don't have much faith in. I can't see her really being help to able many families unless it's just common sense stuff. She's telling these parents to give their kids a watch so they will know when to come in from playing and then trust will develop. When I gave my son a watch, and he was a couple of years older than these, he came back and the watch was broken. I believed that the first time- I didn't by the third time. (Yeah right- the kid just hit the Mom by the way)

    Oh- I think you're right that Dr P didn't mean the statement about the bystanders quite so literal- he also made a comment to the Mom to just tell them to pull up a chair if they wanted to stare. I think he meant it just like you explained.

    I've watched way too much tv the past 2 days. LOL! I think it is difficult child withdrawal. I haven't seen him in 2 weeks and haven't spoken with him in 12 days. He might be able to call me in the morning and I'm antsy.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I get the message about the watch.

    Some kids are deliberately destructive, others are just careless. difficult child 1 was careless in the extreme. He would go to school in new grey flannel trousers (school uniform is standard for most Aussie schools) and would have worn through at least one knee of the trousers, by the first day. So I began to patch his school trousers with vinyl. It looked awful, it wasn't standard uniform, but they only ever criticised me once. I told them that if they didn't want me to patch difficult child 1's clothes, THEY could buy new trousers for him for every day of the school year.

    They shut up after that, even when I switched from grey flannel to charcoal denim (it holds the patches better)

    I've been trying to clean out the boys' room, now that difficult child 1 no longer lives here. And I'm finding the most appalling things, clothing in a shocking state. difficult child 1 simply has no idea about clothing. He will wear the same thing day in, day out because he doesn't like change. I snuck into his room once when he was at school, and took his payjamas and bedding to wash them. It as a summer day, everything was dry before he got home from school, I had re-made the bed and put his pyjamas back on the bed ready for him. But he complained - he'd never get to sleep because the bedding and PJs no longer smelled right, or felt right.

    So I gve him a toffee hammer and said, "OK, you are now in charge of your own bedding."

    Now he's daughter in law's problem. Hmm, I think I really need to help them make that marriage work, or he'll be back home...