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

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mbsmom
I haven't been on in over a year.  I'm incredibly frustrated as I write this because we followed all the rules.  We got my son weight restored quickly at age 16.  He was resistant to everything but complied.  He still has rigidness with food but overall doing okay.  He turned 18 last month and ever since he is refusing to get his usual weigh ins although still eating his normal amount of food.  He announced he will never get weighed again and we can't control him so we took the car away and said once he follows our rules he can have the keys back.  He took the school bus this morning as a senior in High School.   He doesn't care that he doesn't have a car and now plans to move out.  So here I sit.  I'm angry. I'm scared and most of all I'm tired of this battle.  It's so much like an addict and if an addict isn't ready to get well - what the hell am I supposed to do?  He is stubborn and smart so I can see him move out and maybe that's what needs to happen??  When they are young you have more control over their lives but he is 18.  He can leave.  He can do what he wants and there is nothing I can do besides take away any money he has and not pay for his college.  
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tina72
Yes, that is exactly the only thing you can do.
I am thinking about if he was really WR. His rigid behaviour should have stopped slowly in the last 2 years. Are you sure he was really WR and did not grow any more? Normally a boy of 16 has no fixed target weight...
You can only stop him to move out by limiting his financial possibilities. You pay the bill so you set the rules. Great step that you took the car keys. Now you need to tell him that you will not pay for college when he does not get help for his ED. He is not recovered.

It is way harder when they turn 18 but the old rabbits here told me to get my d WR before that date and to have a contract and up to now (she will be 20 soon) it works. They may be "adult" by law at that age but as long as they are finacially dependend you have some power left.
And they are all soooo stubborn and smart....we should print it on their shirts....😂
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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mbsmom
Thanks for your response.  I should have clarified he restored the weight he lost plus 5 lbs and then grew an inch over the summer.  So I agree his ED is still there. If it wasn't he wouldn't care about the weigh ins, his food choices or the weight.  We have been working so hard with him over the last two years, chasing the weight gain and using the leverage we have - as it's worked in the past.  My husband and I are prepared to do what we can and we also need to be prepared to let him fail on his own and be there when he needs us as difficult as that is.   
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tina72
I fear that is the only thing you can do. Think about making a contract and offer him incentives. Does he still eat with you so you can add to his meals?
5 lbs might not be enough, some need to go over their historical weight chart. It is crazy but every body seems to have a weight comfort zone where he can get better. In our case this was only 2 kg more than the professionals had set as target. It was magical but with these 2 kg more we saw slow but steady progress.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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mbsmom
Yes, we have a few ideas that we can use as incentives.  I've already thought about a contract but not sure how that will go over as he's determined to have "total control over his life".  He does still eat with us and yes, I add to everything.  The interesting thing is he is refusing to go on the scale but still eating his extra snacks. One of the incentives we are willing to try is offering to pay him to gain more/do weigh ins.  I'm sure there are a lot of opinions about this on the forum but all we can do is try.  Thanks again for your support and advice.  My brain was freaking out this morning and now I'm feeling much more logical. 
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tina72
That is great that he still eats the extra snacks. So maybe refusing the weighings is only a blackmail. What about other GP appointments? Blood and heart check? This is also on the list of the to dos for our d.
We have that contract written down but we did not ask her to sign it. Maybe an important information because this way she could not refuse to sign it 🙂.
It might be needed to tell him that nobody has total control about his life. That you need to speak with hubby and negotiate what to do. That your boss controls what you can do or not and the law. That you also need to do things you do not like to (like paying taxes) and you must do that. That this is part of being adult to show that you can care for yourself and make healthy decisions and that you expect him to act like an adult when he wants to be treated as one.
Another thing that opened the eyes of my d was that our GP told her in the first appointment after she went 18 that the law in Germany allows the court to put someone into treatment against his will of his health is in danger and that he will not wait a minute to do that if needed. I could kiss him at that moment you can imagine...I am not sure how the law is in your country but maybe it helps to ask the GP in a 4 eyes talk to tell him something similiar...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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mbsmom
Oh we've had plenty of discussions about control, being an adult and caring for yourself...  Now that he is 18 I can't make him see a doctor, make an appointment for him or even be in the room unless he wants me to.  Honestly, we had zero help with medical professionals in the last two years where we live.  I've been very disappointed in the lack of attention in my area for male teenagers.  We've tried several programs and all of them had no idea how to deal with a resistant 16 year old male.   So we've basically been on our own since day one.  I'm not giving up though and I refuse to enable him so we will do what we can with the incentives and leverage we have.  
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tina72
That is sad that you had so less help. Here it was the same at the start, but we were glad to find that GP 10 months after diagnose (I had emailed 20 GPs around us and only 2 replied).

I know that you cannot make appointments for him or be there with him against his will but I imagine you already have a GP where he has been for blood and heart check up to now and often that is the family GP and you can make an appointment for yourself and talk that through and in case you get him to see a GP again with a contract and incentives it is quite possible that he will go there again and not want to talk all the historical stuff through at a new GP. So maybe worth a try.

I think you pay for all, living, insurances, phone, school, everything. Maybe you even pay the doctors bills. So you can set rules. It is a very boring adult life to have all control but no phone, no money, no car, no nothing. We wrote down that we will pay for all that (and had sums behind so she could see how much that is in a year) and that we will pay the driving licens at WR and buy a car when she maintains her weight for 6 months (we did) and that we will pay for every single semester at university and every book and every other item she needs or wants to have when she follows the rules. All that she has to do for that is maintain her weight, eat 3 meals and 2 snacks, go to weighings and see the GP regularly and keep talking to us and let us talk to the doctors.

Adult life is not for free. The sooner he learns that the better. They need a strong saftey net to avoid relapses for a very long time. We see no ED behaviour left at the moment but I am not sure what would happen if she skips a meal. She did last October (she did not want to do it but a lecture was delayed) and we saw ED coming back within a few hours...it was very frightening for her and I am quite sure she will take out her lunch WITHIN the lecture this time if needed 🙂.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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teecee

It’s great that he’s still continuing to eat despite refusing the weighing. 

Apart from that is his state of mind good? We stopped weighing our D a while ago (she’s 17) as we didn’t want her to be focused on numbers. We didn’t weigh or even use scales before ED so this felt normal for us. 


we’ve had a couple of blips but have got back on track fairly quickly. We only weighed when the state deteriorated and I can’t remember the last time we did it to be fair. It’s difficult to differentiate between ED and normal teenage pushbacks sometimes. Our D wants to be independent and grown up but the blips show her she still needs our support and fortunately she comes to us when she needs it. 

you've done so so well. Don’t see this as a backwards step...it could lead to another bigger spring forward. 

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scaredmom
mbsmom,
I find this statement very telling:"He turned 18 last month and ever since he is refusing to get his usual weigh ins although still eating his normal amount of food."

IF he is eating well and if his state is good, I think that is great. To reframe a bit: He could start to refuse to eat and then we all know where that leads.
I wonder if you took the focus away from the weight and just pushed food and more food and calories if that may help you and him. No matter what his weight is you will need to feed him to fuel for growth and his mental state would be telling. 
I say just feeding him and not get into discussions about weighing for a few weeks to one month and see how it goes. . If he starts restriction / or he really has a lot of ED behaviours/ thoughts like before, you need to up the food no matter what the weight is up or down. It may shock him a bit if you turn the tables on him and do not seem to care about the weight. Teenagers want to get a rise out of us. If we make it such a big deal then I think they would push more. I think this may be a time to rethink how you will deal with him overall. Incentive etc, yes they can work but there may be more to what he needs right now than that. 

I don't think everyone has to be weighed all the time. I know it helps ME with my anxiety, but it does not stop me from feeding , feeding, feeding. No matter what the weight is, it does not stop YOU from feeding. Keeping an eye or two out for ED behaviours will be helpful. 
Sending my best,

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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Foodsupport_AUS
It must be so frustrating for you seeing this behaviour. There are a number of positives as has been noted above. He continues to eat and is keen to continue with school. His concerns about "control" are hard to work out, are they part of a teen not wanting to have their parents tell them what to do or all part of the eating disorder or a combination of both. 

Dealing with an older child is definitely frustrating. Some have just told their child and have had moderate compliance, this was never going to work with my D either. At 22 we have worked towards her doing normal and proper "adulting".  I am much more concerned about the eating behaviours and seeing that she is genuinely caring for herself. I have had to work hard at not telling her what to do. Rather I try to offer feedback on choices that may have an impact on her health, and self caring. It is that balance between nudging her to make the choices I want her to make rather than making the choices for her. 

I think a number of our kids have that streak that rails against being told what to do and how to do it. As they reach adulthood they feel they should be able to do things themselves. Society supports that too, so we have to find a way around getting them to do what we want whilst letting them make the choices. 
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.
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mommiful
I wonder if our experience might be relevant. We stopped weighing our daughter for a while shortly after she turned 18. She said that the numbers stick in her head and this is unhelpful. She was in a place where she wanted to take responsibility for her recovery and we felt this was the best thing for her. So it was really important to her not to feel like a passive patient being subjected to treatment, which meant no blind weights. I would have felt more comfortable if she had continued with the weights, but I didn't think it was worth the fight in her particular circumstances at the time. A few months later we were concerned about her, and I told her we were going to need her to go back to weights if we weren't able to tell that she was gaining weight by looking at her over the next few weeks. She did not appear to be gaining weight, so we had another conversation. At this point she was able to agree that we still have a moral responsibility, if not a legal one, not to stand by while her condition deteriorates, and that she owed it to us to agree to the weights. She also realized that she hadn't been able to keep her weight up without checking it, and she needed the checks to help her stay on track.

Since your leverage is pretty limited, you might also want to think about what your non-negotiables might be. That can you avoid escalating conflicts over minor issues to the point where you're using your big guns (like withholding funds for college) that you want to save for the big issues. Depending on your situation, you might decide that getting weekly weights needs to be non-negotiable; in others you might decide you feel comfortable assessing how your son is doing based on his eating, other behaviors, mood, and appearance. Continuing to see a therapist might be a non-negotiable if you believe the therapist has been helpful and continues to be important for your son to stay on track; if therapy appointments have seemed marginally helpful at best, then they might not be non-negotiable. Signing a release for providers to share all information with you might be a non-negotiable, or maybe you would be willing to settle for a limited release, giving the provider permission to contact you if any appointments have been missed and to discuss any concerns about a need for a higher level of care. Having a conversation where you reach an understanding with your son over what is non-negotiable to you can demonstrate that you are treating him respectfully, as an adult, and you are willing to negotiate on a lot, just not everything. This has been very helpful in our family.

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tina72
I wonder if you can find out why he fights the weighings so hard. Is he afraid of them? Is he weighed blind or open? Or is it "just" opposition?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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hardwork
I am not in your position, d is just 15. But i agree that maybe he is pushing boundaries, normal teens push boundaries as they develop, ED teens dont really get this normal teenage development and they have no chance to gain independence or slow control over their lives. In many ways when they develop their ED we return to the toddler stage with parents making all  decisions and no negotiations allowed.
if he is eating willingly with you , i would try taking the wind out of his sails by agreeing to no weigh ins with no argument..he is a teen, he wants an argument with his parents 🙂 its what they do...he is expecting you to make a huge fuss, so he can then kick back with 'i am 18 you have no control'.
I wonder what would happen if you said ' i think no weigh ins are a good idea '
Do you feel you can eyeball his weight and see if it is dropping ?
I would say trading no weigh ins for keeping him on side and at home would be worth it.
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Torie
mbsmom wrote:
He still has rigidness with food 

That's the line that really stands out to me - unless he was rigid about food well before ED, it sounds like you - and especially he - have some work to do on this.

As Tina said, you still have a lot of power - the power of the purse string can be pretty formidable.   And as you have seen, it takes years to well and truly vanquish ED.  

My guess is that your son needs more weight.  Please keep us posted.

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