GREETINGS, F.E.A.S.T. Community. As of July 1, 2018 you can access this forum directly without logging in at the main site. If this is your first login since that date please reset your password by using the "lost password" option. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are preparing a new website and services for the parent community to be rolled out soon! If you have questions or concerns, or trouble resetting your password, please contact us at admin@feast-ed.org



Custom Search of F.E.A.S.T. and Forum Content:
F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum
Register Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
nottheparent

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 5
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.
tina72

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,204
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi nottheparent,
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

Foodsupport_AUS

Avatar / Picture

Lead Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 3,649
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.
mjkz

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,526
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.
tina72

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,204
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi,
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
nottheparent

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi,

Thank you all so much for replying...it’s been a month since my initial post and a lot of things have changed. Although it took me a long time to reply, I came on the forum and read your posts a few times for encouragement. I am still upset by many of the methods that have been used, and I am still concerned, but he is more stable and the eating disorder has less of a grip. Throughout this experience, there are so many things (even unrelated to the ED) that I am learning about the parents, and many questions have arisen in my mind.

I spoke to both parents recently, and realized many things. I have repeatedly been told how wonderful the therapist is, and when I brought up things like veganism, his mom clarified for me that the therapist was completely opposed to veganism from the start, and that she and the doctor were also opposed to the exercising. I haven’t met the therapist, but I am starting to get the idea that her coaching methods are ignored.

Throughout the past several months, I have communicated with his mother mostly, and she informed me that his father has been a major issue (as I suspected), but I set up a meeting to talk with him since I needed to hear his opinions at least once. This meeting just made me hate him on a whole new level...I know that usually you are not supposed to blame the parents for an eating disorder, but I blame him for many things, and I can honestly say that I hate him. I do not understand why he has so much power in parenting decisions, but every single thing that’s put this child in a worse way has been because of him. During that meeting, I was also deemed as a bad influence (in many ways), and he seemed to want to push me out completely. So, after talking to him I decided to pull the trigger and set an end date for my employment. This end date is months away, but knowing there will be an end has made me less depressed.

I’d love to share more, but I will leave that for now, since I have to go. Thank you all, and I hope to be more active on the forum as I go through with this, get support, and also help those who need support.
Foodsupport_AUS

Avatar / Picture

Lead Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 3,649
Reply with quote  #7 
Sorry that it came to you having to resign, but good that it has helped you to feel better. All the best. 
__________________
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.
tina72

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,204
Reply with quote  #8 
You have done the right thing, also it is hard.
I hope you don´t forget to care for yourself. Try to get some support for yourself, I think this has broken up old wounds.
Great that you tried to talk to them. Maybe some of your words stick in their minds and fall on better ground another time.
I wish you a good start in a new family!
Tina72

nottheparent

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #9 
Hey, I just want to respond a bit more to answer some questions. Because my end date is still about 5 months away, I will probably want to come here and read about other peoples' experiences, and things that have helped them. 

tina72 - Thank you for your thoughtful responses. I am not considering making nannying a career, so I will not be looking to start with a different family; I took this job originally because I was in school (college/university) and needed to go part time at my other job. I was not supposed to stay with these children for five years, but my own plans changed, and I decided to stay with the family longer so that I could take more time to come up with a new plan. I have had a very rough year (much tragedy) but I am secure in my own recovery and over the years I have discovered what I need to manage my stresses healthily. To answer your questions, their dad made it clear to me that he doesn't want opinions on his son's treatment from anyone, including any of his family members (he mentioned that he and his wife's parents both tried to talk to them, and so did his siblings). He said it is not helpful and that he doesn't want to hear other peoples' input. I considered approaching the child's doctors, but my friend (who is a pediatrician herself) told me that doctors do not have an obligation to protect my anonymity; this is how it is in New York (where I am from). This ordeal has been stressful for me, and it has gotten in the way of my fully processing some of my own losses so, ultimately, my leaving will be good for me. Five months seems too far away now, but I think it will be best for him, so I'll stick it out.

Foodsupport_AUS - This entire experience has made me wonder about the dynamic between the parents. I have been aware for some time that the mother is very unhappy in the marriage, but has chosen not to leave the father because of the kids. She has also stated that she couldn't leave the kids behind, which is confusing to me because, according to my friend (who is a lawyer) children are almost always placed with the mother after a divorce--apparently the mother must be very unfit for the father to gain custody. Since the beginning, the father has been a major obstacle in the start of treatment (he was opposed to any sort of professional help because he didn't want it to "become" a problem), and he seems to be the one who enabled the veganism and the exercising--I was just informed by his mother that neither of these things were supported by the therapist and doctor. I am confused about why the father has the final say in nearly every major decision, and the amount of power he has makes me worry about the mother as well. 

mjkz - I also considered it a form of neglect to ignore the child's illness until he was very sick, but social services could not have done anything in this situation--teachers and doctors are mandated reporters, too, so if that would have been helpful one of them would have taken action. Unfortunately, even if I had requested a meeting with his doctors, I would not have been protected. I had considered these things when I first posted this thread, but I don't think he is in physical danger anymore and, although I do not agree with their methods, he is making progress--he's gained weight, he can focus on things that aren't food or exercise-related, and he has more control over his emotions...he smiles more. 

Some things I want to mention:
**I do want to note, in regards to the veganism, that I partially understand why I have been targeted as a "bad" influence with eating habits, because I am a vegetarian, and I suppose they feel he got this idea from me; however, I am not restrictive at all. I am very non-vocal about it, and a year passed without the family even noticing (I ended up telling them because I felt bad taking leftovers that I wouldn't eat). My own decision to become a vegetarian was influenced by working in the vet industry, and I decided to do it after years of solid recovery. I am very flexible and non-restrictive. I have also expressed more than once that I do not support veganism in children, especially if the parents are not vegan. I even expressed this to the child.

2) I truly believe that his parents want him to get better, and not everything has been bad. I mention his parents as a unit, because they are united in what they are practicing, but I think that if his mother had more power this would have played out very differently. I have been angry with her (and she with me) several times, but we are often on the same page when we finally do get together and talk.

3) I have made mistakes, of course; not everything I've said and done has been beneficial. I really do believe I've done a lot of good, especially as an advocate for treatment, and then a support when he was upset about what was going on in his recovery. But there have been times when my anger has trickled out, and there was one particular incident when I hated myself for letting my own emotions get the better of me. I expressed my disagreement with his treatment/therapist (after which he twisted my words and used them as fuel to not follow his treatment plan). I did talk to him about it the day after, and enforce the importance of following the instructions from his treatment team, but I was disgusted with myself for slipping. I just don't want to give the impression that everything I do is right and everything they do is wrong. 
tina72

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,204
Reply with quote  #10 
We all make mistakes and we all learn through that.
But I still take off my hat because you explained that all and tried to correct our picture of his parents.

I wish you all the best!
Tina72
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.

GREETINGS, F.E.A.S.T. Community! As of July 1, 2018 you can access this forum directly without logging in at the main site. If this is your first login since that date please reset your password by using the "lost password" option. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are preparing a new website and services for the parent community to be rolled out soon! If you have questions or concerns, or trouble resetting your password, please contact us at Admin@FEAST-ed.org

F.E.A.S.T. Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders
is a 501(c)3 charitable organization committed to maintaining the Around the Dinner Table forum as a FREE service for any caregiver of a loved-one with an eating disorder.

P.O. Box 1281 | Warrenton, VA 20188 USA

US +1 855-50-FEAST | Canada +1 647-247-1339 | Australia +61 731886675 | UK +443308280031 

This forum is sponsored by F.E.A.S.T., an organization of parents serving parents and caregivers of patients of all ages with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. Information and advice given on this forum does not necessarily represent the policy or opinion of F.E.A.S.T. or its volunteers and is meant to support, not replace, professional consultation.

F.E.A.S.T. is registered as a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Community Rules | | F.E.A.S.T. Principles | YMadmin | WTadmin
Custom Search of F.E.A.S.T. and Forum Content: