F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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Help!  Daughter (17) in New Zealand declares this morning at our weekly weigh in with GP that is it her legal right to STOP going to see Dr.  (back story: she was hospitlised at 12 years old for AN, and in recovery ever since, has never made it to full weight restoration yet, always hovering below - just caught her a few days ago hiding food in her closet - she IS PISSED about that)

At Dr today, she has declared that she has HAD IT and now she is doing it HER WAY and she wants us out of it. She said she will weigh herself at home and email it to Dr, if she starts slipping she will go back into Dr. She weighs 47 kgs and her goal has been 50 - 52 kgs

It IS her legal right to make her health decisions (according to NZ law) (even though I believe she is mentally incapacitated by AN) but she still lives with us, drives our car, eats our food etc.

I have been making her meals and feeding her 95% of the time for the past 5 years. Now, TODAY, she declares public ally that she wants us to leave her alone.  Well, AN wants us to leave it alone.  Has anyone been thru this? What were the rules you laid down? Our house - our rules?  sigh thank you all!
I have no idea what the legal rights in NZ are. Is a patient allowed to starve himself to death there? Is she really allowed to refuse to see a GP before turning adult? What would they do if she were in a life threatening situation and would refuse to see a GP? Here we have rules for that and if you harm yourself (and not going to GP in that situation can be declared as self harm) then the court would send you to IP at age 18 and before 18 the parents are in charge here.
Is she really allowed to make health decisions that could harm herself? Please check that.

What did her GP say about that? It is not only about weighings, she cannot do blood and heart tests at home herself...

You can simply make weighing at home impossible by having no scale at home.

If she lives with you and is financially depended, set clear and strict rules now. No phone, no pocket money, no nothing. Do not pay for ED. I am quite sure she will be compliant within 48 hours if her phone is down...🙂.

YOUR HOUSE, YOUR RULES! Indeed! That is the way to go.

My d was sick at the same age as yours. We heard a thousand times "when I get 18 you have no say any more and I can do what I want".
We had a contract written down and listed all that we pay for her every months (and that was an impressive number and we did not know it was that much before too) and we showed her her money on her bank account and it was sure that it would only last about 3 months to pay for everything herself...🙂
When she turned 18 the first thing our GP said to her was: "I will not watch anybody die here in my office and when I see that you do not work together with your mum and me I will not hesitate to go to court and get you back into IP because here nobody is allowed to starve himself to death". I was a bit shocked when he said that but it was really the right words at the right time and she is compliant about everything now.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Oh dear Bun378. I have just been looking through your other posts. It sounds like you had push back from your daughter to a large degree for the last five years without ever being able to get to full weight restoration. 

You posted elsewhere that your D has repeatedly been declaring that she can do what she wants when 18 and of course this is just an extension of this. 

I suspect that she is able to decline treatment, or sharing of information as that is the law here in Australia and we have remarkably similar laws. The rules here for compulsory care include an immediate threat to self or others. The bar for threat to self is relatively high. 

You are on the ground with your D and know her best. For my own D just dictating terms to D was always fraught  - there was little she was interested in working towards and was suicidal. Tina has mentioned letting your D know what she risks losing if she doesn't play along, at the same time you need to at least have an idea what will happen when you lay things out - is there a possibility of her getting up and leaving, what leverage do you truly have? If the stakes are too high could a more cooperative approach work and what would that look like?
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
thank you both so much.  Will take all this in and move forward cautiously.  She has said that she doesn't want our help or support.  The GP told her she could weigh at home and email the results to her each week. 
Can you ask the GP what the plan is if your d mails a weight loss or no gain for some weeks? Or if she lies about the numbers???
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Hello, I am not in New Zealand but I think you should be able to contact the GP with your concerns, even if you are not allowed access to your daughter's health records. I would be reminding the GP that if your daughter weighs herself at home there is no verification of the weight and the GP shouldn't be basing clinical decisions on this data.  A normal patient could be trusted but ED cannot be trusted on this data.
Explain that you are worried your daughter will lose weight, not tell the GP and it wil be too long before the problem comes to light. 

I hope you can resolve this
thank you all.  Yesterday I spent most of the day re-reading Eva Musby's book "Anorexia and other eating disorders". Her chapters on non-violent communication practices (chapter 12, 13, 14) have always resonated with me and I had basically forgot about it.  When I was putting this into practice last year, my daughter and I had many milestones.  I agree with Eva that not using "force" (Ie taking away keys, car, phone etc) is the way to go.  Instead of a huge blow out last night with our daughter, we sat down, recognised her wants and needs, laid out our boundaries and goals, and found a compromise that worked for us both that we both could live with. It was AMAZING and the best conversation we have ever had with our daughter in 5 years around the ED.  We played to her strengths and we did not blame her or judge her - we focused on what mattered to her without compromising our rules around her health goals.  Hope we can keep it up and see improvements from her.  Thanks for all your guidance and support.
Truly AMAZING @Bun378!!!

It shows your daughter's health has reached a stage where she is on board. 

She is lucky to have you, I think she'll want to stay by your side for some time.

When I first read your post, I was thinking about NZ legislation and options for parents. In an extreme case a costly urgent application to court would have to be made, and even then the burden of proof would be on the parent. This is a much better solution, I am so happy for you both.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
Hi Bun 378,

So thrilled to hear about your breakthrough last night. I am sure that with practice this will become your default communication method. 

Another very similar on is Motivational Interviewing - this website has detailed descriptions on the techniques which may provide addional techniques to add to your toolkit.

Wishing you continued success,

2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
It sounds like you had a great conversation!  Yay, you!

Does this involve a plan to get to full weight restoration?

As our kids reach the age of legal adulthood, it seems they often want to have it both ways - all of the perks of adulthood (phone, car, house, making their own rules, etc.) while not yet ready or willing to accept adult responsibilities. 

One of the most basic adult responsibilities is self-care.   Personally, I think it is entirely reasonable to tie the perks of adulthood to some of the responsibilities.  Someone who is unwilling or unable to manage full nutrition (the most basic of adult responsibilities) cannot be too surprised if all the perks of adulthood are not forthcoming.

I hope the kind and gentle approach will work for your d - that would be awesome.  But for those who opt to use a "heavier hand," well, that is fine, too.  Whatever works. xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
thank you so much - onward and upward every day. xox