Registered: 1515557397 Posts: 1
Reply with quote #1
Hi all, I’m sorry, this is a really long introduction.
I finally decided to take the plunge and join here after months of dealing with being a non-family member of a nine (almost 10) year old suffering from AN. I’m not his parent, I’m his nanny (of 5 years) and I am fairly close with him (and was close with his family in the past). I was a chronic ED sufferer for nearly half my life, and have a lot of experience with the subtleties of the disorder; obviously, I was the first one to notice his skipping lunches, etc.—when I mentioned it to one of his parents, I was blown off. I brought it up a few more times, especially when he began to lose rapidly, but was told that I was being dramatic.
I was assured that they were watching him carefully, and that if he lost more weight action would be taken. Two months passed before a therapist appointment was made, and he’d lost over 20 lbs more. During these two months, I relentlessly urged them to get him help; I recommended books for parents, I mentioned this forum, and I researched tons of FBT places specializing in very young children...I dealt with a lot of aggression from them, a lot of being told to [F-off], and I persisted, because I was OK being fired if that meant getting this kid some help.
Well, there reached a point where it could no longer be ignored or denied; after he’d lost an overall 35-40 lbs (at 4’6”) he had his first session with a therapist. Since the beginning of treatment (end of November) they’ve allowed him to 1) decide to be a vegan, 2) watch endless YouTube videos about “healthy, clean eating” and recipes, grocery shop, and make every single one of his own meals 3) start to exercise as soon as his labs were back to normal (1.5 weeks into refeeding). The exercising backfired, as expected. He wasn’t allowed to exercise for another 2-3 weeks; since last week he has been given permission again.
It’s been about a month and a half since he started therapy, and he hasn’t gained much weight. As long as he Isn’t clinically underweight (under 5% on the growth chart), they are OK with it...but he’s only gained probably 3-5 lbs, and he’s gotten taller, so he is still so underweight for his body. I completely don’t understand this. If they are doing FBT the right way, I am so on board and happy to listen to literally any instructions. But I’ve done a ton of research on FBT, and I can’t rationalize most of what’s been going on...my biggest fear is that if he doesn’t get the right treatment, he’ll become a long-term/chronic sufferer in the future.
Their son trusts me, and every time he has asked for me to be part of his recovery, he’s been told no. I’m not his parent, and I respect that—despite not agreeing with much of what’s been done, I’ve very much tried to be on the same page and follow their directions. But...I am getting to a point where I may crack. I’ve gone home and cried so much over the situation, but I feel that if I leave it would be horrible for him. I feel so helpless in my ability to do anything...if there are any parents, or caregivers, that have information/experience/opinions I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading, and sorry again that this is so long.
Registered: 1496061527 Posts: 496
Reply with quote #2
first of all a warm welcome from Germany and I must say that I am very impressed that you joined us here. You must love that little boy very much. It is often a big problem that we parents don´t want to see what is going on. It is part of the disease that it is so tricky and hiding and everything is looking quite o.k. until you get to a point when you really recognize that nothing is o.k. Then you have lost precious time and are deep down the rabbit hole. Please don´t feel sorry for the lenght of your post, it is totally o.k. here and you need a place to vent and we need information to help you. In which country/state are you? From what you tell I can say to you that the boys therapists do not FBT. I don´t know what they are doing, but this is not FBT. Real FBT would not allow him to choose what to eat, not allow to be vegan at that state (that is unhealthy for every growing child in my opinion) and not allow him to make his own meals. You must compare it to cancer: they would not allow him to choose the amount of chemotherapy, wouldn´t they? So yes, you are totally right, they are not helping him with that and it might get really worser with that. Is there any family member who has a good contact to you and the parents you can talk to? You cannot help him without the parents. Do you have contact with his GP? I feel so with you, I can understand how desperate you must be. You know what is going on and can not help him. That must be terrible. You must be a wonderful nanny. I wished my daughter had someone like you who opened our eyes more early. Tina72
Registered: 1284535839 Posts: 3,295
Reply with quote #3
Welcome to the forum. Sorry that you have struggled with your own illness for so long and that you are now in this terrible situation.
It sounds as though from what you say there have been other unusual parenting decisions too. I am yet to know of a parent who supported their 9 year old becoming vegan unless they themselves were vegan, 9 year olds are also not of an age where they would be expected to feed themselves. Presumably this was happening before he got ill. Given you are not the parent you do have very little input. You do have the option of putting in a formal report of concern for child welfare, or making some form of contact with his formal caregiving team. This does not sound like FBT. Otherwise as Tina has said if there are other family members you have a better relationship with you can voice your concerns there. For your own health and well-being it may be that you do need to leave this job. As hard as this is, and I am sure you are very attached to the child, your own mental health and well being are also of great importance. It is his parents responsibility here, no matter how poor a job they are doing. __________________ D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Registered: 1438737617 Posts: 1,466
Reply with quote #4
Have you reached out to his physician/treatment team? You could ask to speak to them (you can tell them anything about the situation-they can't tell you anything without a release) and share what is going on and your worries. You could ask to talk to them without parental knowledge. If I was treating that kid, I'd consider this abusive and would feel obligated to investigate and report it. You could file a report with social services yourself too but it would get more attention coming from a doctor. It would also give the treatment team a much more accurate understanding of what is happening at home and work with the family to save this kid.
In the end though you may have to walk away from him to save your own sanity. I think it is great you want to help and are in a unique situation to truly understand. It is sad that the parents can't seem to get their minds around what ED wants VS what he really needs.
Registered: 1496061527 Posts: 496
Reply with quote #5
I think the others are right, you have to care for yourself first and it is not good for you that you are so stressed about that situation. And maybe it would change the situation when you tell the parents that you will leeve the job when nothing changes. I don´t know about the "nanny-situation" in your country, but here good nannys are very rare and I would roll the red carpet out to keep you in the house. So maybe that is another power tool you could use to help him. Send you a big pack of power! Tina72