What would you do in this situation


New Member
daughter is 12, depressed and ODD. No medications right now because every one we tried seemed to make it worse. Same with counseling. They all caused more problems than we had to start with.

My daughter loves junk food and is a major junk food, bread, sugar addict and will lose her temper if there is nothing for her to eat in the house that she considers to be "good" Every time I don't have junk for her, she flips out and says everything we have is "disgusting"

I try to eat healthy and give my kids organic whole foods. When I do have something sweet, like the occasional gallon of ice cream, or a bag of chocolate chips for making cookies, these foods disappear in the middle of the night. I usually find the empty containers hidden in my daughter's room the following day. She's so addicted it's unreal.

Now, I know that her symptoms are worse when she has a poor diet and/or when she does not sleep enough. She also refuses to lay down to sleep, sometimes, walking around in her room just to stay awake (I suspect this). Coming home from school, she's irritable from the junk food she's eaten at lunch and also from lack of sleep the night before.

I would like to start her on a gluten free diet because I've heard that it might help but I have a few things holding me back.

1- she's so defiant, how to I convince her to comply? At school she eats whatever she wants to eat. If I pack her a lunch I usually find that she dumps it in the trash on her way to school. She will eat what her friends bring, claiming that I won't give her food.

2. She visits her dad for a few weeks in the summer and also some weekends through the school year. I KNOW he will not go along with this. He's very narrow minded, thinks anything all natural is weird and thinks it's perfectly acceptable to let her goes days without eating veggies or fruits. When she's there her diet is mostly junk. For her to stick to a diet at her father's house, she'll need to be responsible enough to stick to it on her own. If she goes to her dad's house for a weekend and consumes gluten, how long after her return can I expect her to get back to normal? If she spends the summer there, will it take forever once she returns to get her back on her diet?

Also, she will be leaving for her dad's house in about a month.
Would it be worth it to give the girlfriend diet a try before then or should I wait for her to return?

Is this even worth it given the amount of cheating I suspect she'll do?


Active Member
I have dealt with the 10 year old, depressed, ODD girl. I have been trying to get her to eat healthier her entire life but she doesn't like many vegetables or fruits. My husband was not very supportive in the beginning but did go along with it. I didn't have the complication of her going to her dad's and him not keeping her on the diet, however.

I would pack her a gluten free lunch with girlfriend junk food that she will eat. I would let her eat whatever junk she wanted right now that was gluten free. Let the health food be on the back burner for now while you see if eating gluten free will help. You want her to buy into the idea if it does help so you need to provide food she will like and emphasize all the good things she can have. You can make gluten free chocolate chip cookies. They will be better than the ones you buy.

When she does to her dad's, maybe she will try to eat gluten free on her own as best she can, if she feels better. My difficult child now has a stomach ache if she eats gluten. I'm not sure what would happen if she ate it for a whole summer but I would think even she would not want to do it. Even if yours does eat it all summer, you can try again when she gets back.

I have heard that if someone is addicted to something like bread or ice cream that indicates a problem with it. I know I was addicted to bread and sweets before and I do have gluten intolerance. Now, I can eat the gluten free cakes and cookies and it isn't a problem at all to stop at a reasonable portion.

Since she is eating a lot of ice cream and chocolate chips (which probably have milk), she might have a problem with milk instead. My difficult child has both and is girlfriend/CF.

Honestly, my difficult child is a easy child now except when she cheats. She is remarkably compliant though for a former difficult child so it is possible you can get your daughter to do this.

Now that my daughter is admitting when she has cheated, I would say she is mostly back to normal in a few days.


Well-Known Member
I got this email from difficult child's teacher... it's so typical...


Please talk to your child about their lunch at school. When we were picnicking at the museum, I noticed a large amount of "trading" and giving away of items going on. Some students are even trading their sandwiches for bags of chips/pretzels. Many claim not to like the items that are packed for them, but I don't believe they have shared this information with you! Some of them have known food allergies, and are trading for items that they should not have. I discouraged this yesterday, telling them that when you spend money at the store for food, that you intend for THEM to eat it! This is difficult to control from the teacher table in the lunchroom, so please speak to your child about what they may and may not do.


Active Member
You need to have a talk with the person who is in charge of the lunchroom. That is not allowed in our school. Because of food allergies, there are very strict rules in place regarding trading items at school and if they are caught they get detention and if it happens a second time, they are suspended. It is taken very seriously in our schools, as I would think would be the case in most schools these days. I'm surprised to hear this. I mean, they have bans on peanut butter sandwiches in some schools!


New Member
My experience is the flipside to yours. My difficult child has a self-imposed sugar and dairy free, near-vegetarian diet, but does eat fish. She severly limits breads because of gluten, but is known to indulge on all the above, except meat and poultry.

I like to cook and since I've been divorced, I lost my best customer (diagnosis told me many, many times he would have divorced me long ago if not for my cooking). At first, when they were tweeners, I would joke, "There are four food groups: Taco Bell, McDonald's, pizza and cereal". They just wouldn't eat a balanced meal and I didn't fight it. I hate to admit it, but eating junk is cheaper than eating healthy.

When they hit puberty, difficult child dabbled with being a vegetarian for about six months and dropped it. Then easy child tried it out. Even if it didn't last, they both began expanding their palates and ate more fruits and vegetables and less junk.

Then difficult child became completely committed, almost militant and it has been a source of tension between us. She displays much of the same behavior you describe. The cost of organic, fresh food, is more than I can budget and keep easy child happy, too. Besides feeling like I was once again kowtowing to difficult child demands, I felt like because easy child doesn't complain, that she was getting the shaft.

So, I began getting new recipes to try from epicurious.com. I looked for recipes that would incorporate foods we all liked and satisfy tastes and diets. More importantly, they had to be easy to make with affordable ingredients and with whatever was on hand. difficult child loves my cooking, and I've found some outstanding recipes that I will make again and again. I even began to eat healthier. Sometimes easy child would eat them, but she has a job and her own money and a boyfriend with a car and she often prefers fast food, but she is a size two and not hyper, so I think I've laid the foundation and eventually she have a better diet if I keep her exposed to healthy choices.

So (I tend to prattle, I apologize), check out epicurious.com. All the recipes are from Gourmet and Bon Appetit. Plug in your difficult child's favorite foods and do a search. A great deal of them - most of them - use common ingredients. Try a few out and see if you can eliminate the trouble food while offering her food she enjoys. difficult child and I are huge on Asian food, and I've dabbled with African and Middle Eastern fare. Be sure to read the reviews. I found that they are pretty accurate - a high rating with several reviews usually indicates a pretty good recipe.

In my experience, I kept my kids exposed to healthy foods and when they grew up a little, they learned how to make better choices. It may just be a matter of maturity on her part, and a matter of waiting on yours.

Good Luck!


Well-Known Member
Well, a difficult child who is 19 has a better chance at making good decisions than one who is 10. :smile:
A doctor's note is a good idea.