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

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parker12
Hello all!  I have been posting a lot lately.  I appreciate the support and guidance I receive from all of you! Quick back story: My son is 13, he has anorexia.  He is WR.  Personality traits: perfectionism, high anxiety, rule follower. So here is what is going on.  My son is acting out in school. He is being disruptive and disrespectful to teachers and the principal.  When I ask my son why he is acting this way, he does not provide any insight.  His typical response is "I don't know." We have taken away privileges, had phone conversations and meetings with teachers, and re-set expectations with my son, and encouraged him to talk to us-tell us what is going on so we can help. His psychologist said it is typically a sign of some internal struggle or anxiety causing the behavior shift.  I feel like this is not the norm and I am not sure how to handle.  I am afraid if I only take away privileges it could lead to depression or self hate.  

Have any of you experienced anything like this?
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ValentinaGermania
Hi parker12,
sorry, no experiences with that, but maybe I have an idea:
As you might already know many AN kids are gifted and highly intelligent. Could it be possible that he is bored in school? Would it be worth a try to let him try to go to an upper class (skip a year)? I know many gifted kids, especially boys, have shown such behaviour because of feeling bored.
Just an idea.
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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teecee
That’s a really good thought Tina....Parker12 I would consider that as a possibility. Giving him extra work to challenge may assist. My D is gifted and talented (100 in most tests the norm - oh how I could only wish for those results!) and she regularly reads outside her subjects as she completes the courses quickly.
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parker12
Hi tina72 and Teecee,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! I don’t think that is the case though. He is smart but I still have to help him with his homework because he doesn’t understand how to do it. I don’t think he is bored, maybe overwhelmed instead?
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debra18
I got a new book about sleeptalk. Talking to your kids when they are sleeping to improve behaviors and transitions. Maybe it will help? I will let you know if I see any improvements with my kids.
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atdt31_US
You ask if we've seen anything like this.  Well, my situation is a bit different in terms of diagnoses and maybe wr (we don't really know what wr would be) -- but, here are a few thoughts in general and based on my experience:

a.  Your son is 13 -- you do not say where he is in terms of puberty.  If he is pre-pubertal, you should know that fueling puberty takes A LOT of energy and thus calories.  If he is through puberty, he still needs a ton of calories to support his new body.  All I can say is, reading around here and medical journals, etc, on refeeding and eating disorders, it seems like everyone agrees puberty takes more calories than you think.  So ... perhaps although wr on a scale, he may need more calories to support the background changes his body is undergoing.  So try more calories, imo.

b.  You said he is wr but even if he is at the highest weight of his life (and presumably he is if he is wr), he still needs to be gaining.  And again, once puberty hits, the gaining might be in step form instead of a smooth gradual arc.  So ... once you got him to whatever number (and hopefully state) you deemed wr, be sure he has continued to gain at a minimum to stay on his arc and with puberty in the mix, maybe even a little above. 

c.  Speaking of state, I can see in my daughter that even a day under her minimum intake requirement can result in an attitude/behavior shift that I am tuned into.  I think I have seen it enough now that I am getting pretty confident it is not coincidence and that there really is a pattern.  Her state change is to become less patient and much more quick to become defensive or find fault with her sister and is short-tempered and digs in on issues that she then can't extricate herself from with grace unless we all script it so she can back out and be normal again.  Typically I re-focus on snacks and be sure that a small meal or late meal, or whatever, gets made up with extra calories for the next day or so and that has always righted the ship.  So ... I still say try more calories to see if he is just a little deficient in calories to maintain what you know of his normal state.  For us, I now refer back to episodes where she was "not herself" and suggest that was my fault, for example, for letting her go to bed without her late night snack, or whatever way lets her be blameless.  The more I do it, the more she seems to accept that lack of good nutrition is impacting her actions and she sometimes does not argue and takes the next meal/snack with a purpose to get her body back on track (for her we always need to allow the grace that her body did something not that "she" did it).  

Good luck!
 
Mom of either pre-diagnosis or non-ed underweight 12 yoa (as of March 2018) kid here to learn how to achieve weight gain.  BMI steadily in the mid 12's for nearly her entire life.  Born 2006. UPDATE:  April 2018 diagnosed ARFID, based solely on weight being less than 75% of Ideal Body Weight.  Mildly picky, but mostly the problem is a volume/early satiety issue, along with abdominal discomfort and chronic constipation, all present since birth.  UPDATE:  July 2019 diagnosed with PANS. Dr. said likely started first PANS episode at less than 1 or 2 years of age.  On long-term daily prophylactic antibiotics. BMI now about 16 after period of intense refeeding prior to PANS dx,  followed by stagnation as we sort out what is next. FWIW ED-D is a fraternal twin and we have no other kids.
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Foodsupport_AUS
  I think the suggestions of feeding him more and perhaps getting some more weight on him may be of help. 

I think it is common for our kids to struggle in other areas. Unfortunately your son is unable to say where the concerns are or what is troubling him.  Either way he does need to know that his behaviour is unacceptable and as such it is reasonable for their to be consequences for those behaviours. I don't think you should worry that having consequences is going to affect his self esteem if the ground rules are clearly set before hand. 

It may or may not bring about the changes you are looking for. 

He may already be depressed. He may be acting out of anxiety - a way to get away from a situation he doesn't want to be in. He may be struggling with his concentration because of ED thoughts and that is affecting his school work. My D could not read a novel for more than two years when she was at her sickest because of poor concentration- her ED thoughts were far too loud.
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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ValentinaGermania
"He is smart but I still have to help him with his homework because he doesn’t understand how to do it. I don’t think he is bored, maybe overwhelmed instead?"

Both is possible. Maybe you can get him tested?
To need help with homework does not exclude high intelligence. My d has a very high IQ and has often problems to understand questions because her brain works very different from ours. So she often thinks about very difficult solutions and does not see the easy ones lying ahead. Or she does not see the wood because she can only focus on single trees, do you know what I mean?
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Warrior1
I’m wondering if anyone on here has additional support for their ‘gifted’ children at school. I have been looking into this a bit and I am starting to connect the dots. In Scotland I have found out that they are entitled to additional support as it is recognised that gifted or highly able children have unique and exceptional needs. This would certainly explain why my D has a dislike for a lot of her subjects in school and explain a lot of her behaviour. I put a lot of it down to her perfectionism which of course is a sign of a highly able child. Does anyone know how you would get your child assessed etc? Xx
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KLB
Warrior1 wrote:
I’m wondering if anyone on here has additional support for their ‘gifted’ children at school. I have been looking into this a bit and I am starting to connect the dots. In Scotland I have found out that they are entitled to additional support as it is recognised that gifted or highly able children have unique and exceptional needs. This would certainly explain why my D has a dislike for a lot of her subjects in school and explain a lot of her behaviour. I put a lot of it down to her perfectionism which of course is a sign of a highly able child. Does anyone know how you would get your child assessed etc? Xx


You would probably need to get your d assessed by an educational psychologist with experience of assessing/dealing with gifted children. This can sometimes be done through the school (usually for learning disabilities/difficulties though) or you can do it privately at a cost.
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ValentinaGermania
I would like to mention that those tests are made for healthy children and that you might not see realistic results as long as she is malnurished. My d was not able to speak sentences with more than 5 words in her bad days and had terrible results in school after coming back (which were not counted). 4-6 months after WR she started brain recovery and 9 months after WR her brain was working normal again (which was by incident time of A-level tests here).

So this might not be the right time to have her tested.
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Warrior1
So this might not be the right time to have her tested.
Tina72

Totally agree Tina, I was just wondering if anyone had been through this process and if it had any benefit for their child for example if the were given an individual education plan or the like. I think it’s pretty clear that my D has no interest in traditional school work but still does well in school at the moment (this precedes AN by a number of years) and now I’m reading that a number of very able children do not thrive in school because of this and associated personality traits.

My D’s dad was exceptionally intelligent although very troubled and did not pass any school exams. He did excel at University once he got there but he had an alternative and difficult academic road. I’m just trying to educate myself on all these things so I can nurture D in the best possible way. Xx
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ValentinaGermania
In Germany we do not have special education for gifted kids besides some rare special schools which are mostly boarding schools and we did not want to send our d there. In elementary school we were lucky and the teachers there were very cool and let her do whatever she wants in those first 4 years which was great (she mostly wrote storys there and helped other kids with their homework and had a lot of fun in school then).

So we did something like Montessori school at home. That means we did not force d to anything and we did not learn with her or gave her extra lessons but we had a lot of different "materials" everywhere around at home. So if she wanted to read Tolstoi she could go to the book shelf or if she wanted to learn something about metal she could go outside and do something in the workshop with her grandpa. If she was interested in WW1 we drove to Verdun with her and if she read Schiller we drove to Weimar to see where he lived. Something like that.

My d did well at school and was not bored there because she had something additional to do at home and she was overwelmed with all the social contacts at school anyway so that was enough for her. But I know some kids had problems and felt bored and mostly boys did not cope with that and disturbed the lessons.
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Torie
It really depends on the national / local laws and traditions. In the US, we have a lot of laws governing gifted education, but they are mostly ineffectual in reality.  It is sometimes possible to advocate for a more challenging math class, for example, but that tends to be more based on achievement than on aptitude.  (Here, anyway.)   It can also depend greatly on the particular teacher.

Best of luck.  xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Warrior1
Thank you Torie and Tina,

I find it so very difficult to know what to do for the best most of the time when it come to my D. She is definitely unique to most of her peers, as I’m sure so many other children with eating disorder brains are! Xx
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debra18
Yes I agree it is hard to know what to do. My daughter is also extremely intelligent and I was fighting in school since she is small that she needed to be more stimulated. It never happened. In the US I didn't find that there are any programs. I read a book about standing up for your gifted child but I didn't see that there were any real solutions . I learned my lesson now and my younger daughter I skipped two grades. I should have done that for my AN daughter a long time ago when I wanted to and the school didn't let me.
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Torie
debra18 wrote:
I should have done that for my AN daughter a long time ago when I wanted to and the school didn't let me.


Maybe so, but you KNOW "they" would tell you that is why ED moved in.  xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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ValentinaGermania
That is SO TRUE Torie!
In IP they told us our d has an ED because we asked too much from her and always expected A grades and that is too much pressure (we did never ask for A grades).
After IP back in school my d was crying one day because she said we were NEVER interested in her grades and we were never happy about her A grades (because we tried NOT to ask "what result did you have in maths?").
So what you do is false: if you celebrate them for A grades you expect too much. If you do not celebrate A grades you are not interested in them.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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