Eating problems – 6 year old

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  • Eating problems – 6 year old
  • Premier Icon speaker2animals
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    Can anyone point me towards suitable sites please? I know in the past similar subject has been raised. My godson is a real problem. 6 years old and eats very little both by range and volume. His parents (and me) are very concerned. He’ll basically eat cooked pasta with garlic oil, plain pizza, a bit of fruit, toast/teacakes etc. No meat or veg. He is now even getting upset at them smell of food around him. It is pretty distressing for everyone. I personally feel that it is a psychological problem and a physiological one. He says he’s full very quickly, which to be fair to him, from how little he does eat his stomach is probably tiny but I also think there is a mental element too. Twice over weekend we have been out and ordered a teacake for him which in both cases were BIG ones and effectively he ate a quarter of each one. If he sees something bigger than he is used to, even if it’s something from the very limited range he will eat I think he mentally believes he can’t eat it all.

    I’m going to have a look on NHS Direct but wonder if there is anywhere else to look?

    Thanks for any guidance.

    johndoh
    Member

    Is this recent or has he always been like that? Was he pressured into eating when he was younger?

    Premier Icon speaker2animals
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    No he has always been a problem eater from starting on solids. He’s never been “forced”, various times he has been asked to try better and he has been threatened with TV/DS sanctions etc if he won’t try but never carried out (or at least not for long as he gets VERY upset as does everyone else). I don’t think he has ever eaten any meat or veg other than a little raw carrot/pepper/onion. Won’t even eat supuds other than a couple and a do mean a couple of wedges, but not chips. He’s always been good with fruit but what he’ll eat changes regularly.

    I personally don’t think that he has been traumatized by eating pressure at home. As previously mentioned when his parents have tried coercion they generally give up as it doesn’t work.

    The smell thing is quite recent but is slowly getting worse from starting by saying a smell was horrible to now wanting to be in another room and saying he feels sick.

    tried searching Forum as I know this subject has been raised over the years, but no luck so far.

    Miffy
    Member

    What a horrible situatiuon for you all to be in.

    I think he is picking up on the concern from his parents and you and this is making him stressed at around meals.
    Does he eat b’fast ? What does he eat at school? Does he eat a packed lunch or a school dinner ok as he is left alone to get on with it.

    My suggestion (as a mum with a 6 year old) would be to take the stress out of meals. For the next 2 weeks serve him whatever you know he will eat.
    But no snacks what so ever between meal times.
    Serve it at the same time that the family is also eating their ‘normal’ meal and make no reference to his dinner or what he is eating. (brothers and sisters if applicable will need to be on board too). Just let him get on with it in his own time and his own way.

    Regardless of what he does and does not eat make no comment. Just clear the plates away and get on with whatever you do afterwards.
    Don’t force or make an issues or ask him for ‘one more mouthfull for mummy’ just clear away with a smile and say nothing.

    After this period he will begin to feel calmer around meal times and feel happier about eating and hopefully will start to eat more may even ask for a bit of yours or try.
    If this happens, pass him over a spoonful or a piece with a smile. Don’t try to force him or even encourage him with pleads to try.

    Hope this helps, sorry I don’t know any groups apart from what google advises.

    He may likes food ‘squeeshy’ as his teeth might also be sore so crunchy stuff hurts his gums.

    irelanst
    Member

    One of my daughters friends (also 6) has hypersensitivity of taste and smell which means that she can’t stand strong flavours. When she comes over she will eat plain spaghetti or pancakes with nothing on. You should have seen her when she tried to feed the cat!

    I don’t know a huge amount about it to be honest, but it may be worth looking into?

    johndoh
    Member

    Molgrips might have some advice on this – I recall he suffered like this as a kid himself.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    I was like that as a kid. I grew out of it, only took me 30 years.

    I’d concur with not making a big deal of it, as it’ll only make things worse. If he’ll eat ‘a couple’ of some things, try and make this a regular thing so he becomes acclimatised to it. Smaller portions too, perhaps, so he doesn’t feel over-faced?

    Premier Icon speaker2animals
    Subscriber

    Thanks Miffy – I have found a few links through NHS Direct will have to look properly tonight. I suspect some are aimed more at teenagers with image/food issues.

    To be fair – it isn’t that he fills up with snacks/sweets etc. Over X-mas hol he was prevented from eating the few snacks he asked for and that still didn’t affect how much he ate.

    I take your point on reducing stress. I do think his mum and dad do give up reasonably quickly (and not in a bad way I don’t think) so as to minimise stress. Could be worth your idea of just making no comment. TBF though often if asked what he wants he’ll just ask someone to decide for him. He is pretty good with breakfast – cereals or a bread type product (bagel/waffle/toast/teacake).

    He takes a packed lunch to school but with almost nothing in – a wrap with carrots/peppers. He started on school dinners but as it was thought eating with children same age might encourage him but it was found that didn’t work and he hardly ate anything.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    My daughter was very similar, albeit at a slightly younger age (she’s nearly 7 now). Is he a first child? Parents do overstress this point and by the second / third are much more laissez faire.

    For advice – as said above. Particularly, give him small portions, don’t overstack his plate, let him clear it and ask for more as he wants.

    No child of that age with access to food will starve themselves. Are his energy levels good – that alone will tell you if he’s getting enough intake. Quality can come later.

    johndoh
    Member

    Yeah, portion size is important.

    We are just redeploying tactics with our 3 yr olds – smaller portions, let them decide when they have finished, no snacks or dessert if they haven’t eaten, making them excuse themselves when they have finished etc – just trying to make them feel they are in control of their own eating. It seems to be working at the moment.

    As someone once said, a kid won’t starve so try to make the experience as stress-free as possible.

    djglover
    Member

    Twin 1 is like this for us (perhaps not as extreem) some of the foods we eat make her wretch. Twin 2 eats anything, I am a more picky eater than her….

    Anyway with twin 1 we just make sure we fit a healthy balance within the constraints, we only make an issue if the agreed core fruit and veg are not eaten, and then its only by removal of a reward. Its fine to leave stuff in our house, but you don’t get a treat.

    Normal dinner time would be plain pasta, plus some sweetcorn and brocolli. The brocolli is eaten last when the withdrawal of a treat is evident, but if she wants to leave carbs or protein thats fine.

    Premier Icon speaker2animals
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    Not first child. His sister was fussy and still is but to me only typical of any child. His problems have really run all the way though from going to solids though definitely getting worse.

    Energy levels are good – but then most of the things he does eat are carbs. My main concern is lack of protein and fat. I don’t think any of us care about quality as much as wanting him to eat a little more and more range. As said he does eat fruit but not everyday.

    Thanks for input folks.

    rocketman
    Member

    My niece had problems with constipation when she was very little and her brain made the connection food = pain hence no food = no pain

    Shes now in her early teens and basically only eats soft bland food anything of volume or substance and she wont eat it.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
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    Erm, just coming at this from another direction – enlarged tonsils? Throat dilatation needed? Could be physical so not easy to tell.

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