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

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debra18
An eight year old I know stopped eating dairy products, including pizza. Is this normal behavior? She does not have any allergy to it. Is there any information I can give to the mother? An article or website I can send her?
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tammy
I would definitely be worried as this is how it started for my eight year old son. Started with chocolate, crisps and then escalated to avoiding pizza, burgers etc. Toothfairy has posted a lot of good articles on eating disorders in the very young.
Tammy
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ValentinaGermania
This is really alarming, at that age really not normal. Try to have a sensitive talk with the mother. Be careful with already diagnosing an AN but give her some information about the dangers of restrictive eating at any age.
Maybe the warning signs on FEAST homepage can help? https://www.feast-ed.org/page/WarningSigns
If the mother thinks there is no problem, ask her to give it a try to serve a pizza and see what is happening. If the kid will freak out and not eat it at all, her mum might see that different.
It is always a problem to talk to the parents in that early state because this disease has something included that makes parents blind and they do not want to see the facts. It took us 6 months to realise what is going on in our house.
It would be great if you can give them some help and maybe save this child in a very early state.
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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debra18
I agree and I understand that many people had the experience where their child started by eliminating certain food groups. But all of the checklists have many more categories than just eliminating certain food groups. And I don't think any pediatrician would recognize this as developing an eating disorder. Yes the child refuses to eat pizza, but the mother thinks it's normal for a kid to stop eating all dairy products.
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ValentinaGermania
Maybe you can ask her how she will add all the stuff that is missing when she eats no diary any more and wether she is aware that excluding diary at that age can lead to osteoporosis for example later. What did she say is the reason for this? If she said she loves animals and do not want to eat them, is she refusing meat already, too? Or did she explain it because she thinks diary will make her fat?
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Enn
8 years old
restricting a food group????
is this from an outside influence.

8 years old should not be caring about food groups. 
They just eat.
Pizza is a typical favourite for all kids, birthday parties, sleep overs, etc...
And DAIRY!!! Ice cream, whipped cream and berries chocolate milk, milk shakes - you get it?! Yup, something does not make sense
Good luck.
Maybe peds won't get it yet...
Is mother understanding that it is odd?? Until the parents see an issue, I don't think they would understand.
XXX
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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debra18
No the parents don't see an issue because the girl still eats other foods including candies. Everyone thinks of eating disorders as 15 year old girls who think they are fat.
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Enn

"No the parents don't see an issue because the girl still eats other foods including candies. Everyone thinks of eating disorders as 15 year old girls who think they are fat." 

So true and so sad.
[frown]

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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Frazzled
My 10 year old did the same thing. She would take the cheese off of her pizza and gave up all dairy. It then led to other foods being restricted down the road. She complained that dairy made her sick. She is not lactose intolerant of course.
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debra18
Frazzled, if someone would have told you when she stopped eating pizza and than dairy that she was developing an eating disorder you would have believed them?
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Frazzled
Debra18
I would have kept it in the back of my mind and been more vigilant to further changes. It would have made this a lot easier to fix if someone would have pointed it out to me. It wasn’t until significant weight loss occurred that I knew what it was. We all have those “i wish we could have gone back and recognized this earlier” moments. It’s not going to hurt your friend to try to turn this around now before it gets out of hand and her child’s health is compromised. Maybe show her this article! It is increasingly becoming more common for very young children to get eating disorders, unfortunately.

http://www.blog.drsarahravin.com/eating-disorders/defeating-the-monster-helping-little-girls-overcome-anorexia-nervosa/
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Torie
Debra, I think we can agree it is usually hard to realize our kid has an eating disorder.  Unfortunately, it takes time to wrap our heads around the concept.  I would urge you - above all else - to maintain a friendly relationship with this mom, as it will very likely take sustained concern on your part for her to realize her d may have a problem.   I speak from experience on this, as my d's friends were the first to recognize that there was a problem and sound the alarm.  It is entirely possible that they saved my d's life, and a certainty that they shortened the period of suffering.

It is so tricky to find the sweet spot between intrusive/unwelcome "meddling" and beating around the bush in a way that doesn't result in action.  No one ever said to me that they thought my d might have anorexia, but they DID tell me they were worried about my d, that their d was worried about my d, and they told me specifics of what concerned them (straight observations - not theories about whys or whats).  Crucially, they did this REPEATEDLY because honestly, I just wasn't getting it that this was a really serious issue - I thought it was just "normal" youthful folly to skip lunch, etc. 

I think maybe the first step is just to let her know (in a friendly way) that you are concerned about the lack of dairy.  And then let her process that for a while.  

We hear so many cases of trained professionals missing AN in pretty obvious / advanced cases.  Pretty much all of us wish we had clued in sooner.  It's just so freaking hard to tune in to the right things early on, before full blown AN is in evidence.   Personally, I found it difficult to impossible to realize that was even a realistic possibility.

And kids DO develop strange food habits.  I have a relative who pretty much lived on popcorn as a toddler and never developed ED.  My non-ED d's whole friend group essentially pretended they never ate, and would only nibble on carrot sticks whenever there were witnesses.  That type of thing muddies the water considerably.  On top of that, I think most of us would agree that we have received more than enough critical judgement in our role as mom/mum over the years.

So, you are in a tricky position, I think.  The only advice I feel confident offering is to try to keep the communication channels open in a friendly way.   I'm glad you are keeping an eye on this. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Mamaroo
D's sister told me months before we suspected anything that she had an eating disorder, since "what normal child stops eating ice cream?". So true. If only we had acted then, stopping all dancing and gymnastics, LSUYE and close monitoring, we could've prevented this hell. But no use thinking "what ifs". These days parents are accommodating their children's food preferences more, so it makes ED easier to take hold in those predisposed to it. As Torie said, most children who restrict some food groups never develop an eating disorder. 

I didn't drink milk when I was younger and x-rays at 16 showed some bone density loss. Now in the last 10 years or so, I've shrunk 3cm! So maybe recommend to your friend that they could add some calcium tablets to their diet.

Here is a good article for young children: 

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/anorexia-nervosa-strike-kill-early-kindergarten/story?id=18581747
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
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debra18
Thanks everyone for the advice. I passed on my concerns. No, people can't look back and say they should have seen, and nobody can predict who will get an eating disorder. But the public and pediatricians should be better informed.
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