My Daughter I Thinkk Has a Eating Disorder

Updated on October 02, 2010
J.G. asks from Pharr, TX
12 answers

my daughter is 8 years old and i always have problems with her eating she;s very picky of what she eats but sometimes even with the food she does like she sees food like if i would be given her a rat or something very gross she eats like it a punishment or something she doesnt really like her food to be all together she separates them she weights like 46 pounds she very skinny and im very worried about her i told the doctor and she told to try diffrent things like vitamins , or healthy shakes but i also have problems with that too she doesnt like that i just bought her some vitamins that she likes but she already finished one bottle and still have problems with her eating please ,, can somebody help me to see what i can do ???

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answers from San Antonio on

This does not sound like an eating disorder. An eating disorder is driven by not wanting to gain weight. This sounds like a food aversion issue. This may be a sensory issue, like another mom said. Find a doctor familiar with this disorder for advice.

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answers from Houston on

She sounds exactly just like me. Very picky, couldn't handle foods touching, if something hung off the fork the wrong way I couldn't touch it... (I'm still like that to a degree) I only ate a few bites of food a day. I had problems with textures, sauces, liked my hamburgers dry and no sauce of any kind on pastas... I drank milk and ate wheat bread slices and that was about it. I was often so weak from hunger that Iiteraly couldn't eat, or it would make me feel sick if I ate, I never really realized that was due to not eating in the first place. I was very tiny, rail thin, never on the growth charts. Even as an infant, I would only eat maybe one or two baby spoonfuls of food a meal, sometimes the whole day. My mother tried everything too with me.

I didn't have an eating disorder, but by the age of 11, my parents got fed up and took me to an endocrinologist. I had the bone scan of an 8 year old.

The Dr. told me if I didn't start eating I would not get any bigger and that I would have to be hospitalized and fed through an iv... and they were serious too. That pretty much terrified me and I began eating, slowly but surely. The Dr 'prescribed' my parents give me the Carnation shakes and bars, more healthy fatty foods to at least help, encouraged me to snack throughout the day on things (like a deviled egg, handful of peanuts) no milk before meals b/c that would just fill me up so I wouldn't eat, and to help get me involved in meal planning and food preparation, so that helped a little. Once I started eating, my bone scan increased in years in a rather short period of time.

Now, I am just under 5'... right where my Dr predicted I would be. Even to this day, I have to remind myself to eat, having kids who get hungry helps, so I eat when I feed them, but if I didn't have kids I would still have a difficult time, because I usually work right through that hunger until I get weak again and crash.

Also, you have to worry about her developing hypoglycemia, which could turn into diabetes, or at least those symptoms of weakness, dizziness from blood sugar crashing.

Anyways, let her know about the iv and the potential damage to her health she is doing and take baby steps with her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Our seven-year-old son also is extremely picky and hates to eat. He sees a behavioral therapist and psychiatrist for ADHD and we've asked about a potential eating disorder but they say no, so far. He's only 50 lbs., so not much better than your daughter. His psychiatrist and pediatrician have urged us to give him fatty foods to put on the weight. We started up with whole milk with low-sugar Nesquick in a huge water bottle each day and he's drinking that. It's put on a couple of pounds, so it's helping to supplement his often very small meals. He won't drink smoothies or eat fruit or vegetables of any kind. He will drink apple juice but now that he can read, won't drink the ones with "hidden" vegetables because he can read the labels.

I was also a picky eater as a child, but to the 1% degree compared to our son. I understand the pickiness on a certain level, but can't relate at all to not wanting to eat. I just did Weight Watchers to better manage my love of food.

I share your frustration and concern. Just do the best you can and let's hope that this is a phase that will at least end when they become teens and have rapid growth spurts.

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answers from Asheville on

I have twin girls and one is so picky Im afraid shes going to end up with my diabetes! She only eats bread, crackers, cookies. Anything bready. The only other things she eats are soy yogurt and raw onions. My girls are only two and a half, but she has been like this since she was about 7mo. I'll be watching and remembering the answers you get. I feel that I will probably need the same advice!
Oh, the vitamins dont help with appetite, they are to give her the nutrition that she is missing by eating so little. Mine is on one too. Good Luck.


answers from San Antonio on

Hi J. G,

My son was a picky eater when he was younger. Some kids and adults seem to have a more delicate sense of taste, smell and texture. Your daughter sounds as if she might be like that. Because of it, she may shy away from new smells, textures and tastes. She may also hesitate to try something she has eaten in the past because it just doesn't taste or smell exactly the same to her.

Be aware that it is easy to get into a food power struggle with a child who is a picky eater. If you feel you are already there, try toning it down a bit. Your daughter may feel this is an area she can control and win, though that may seem a bit strange to you. She needs to feel she cares about her health and her eating more than you do. It does not mean you shouldn't care as a loving parent - just that she THINKS she cares more than you about this.

Your pediatrician can be a great ally in helping your daughter develop a healthier attitude towards food and healthy eating. Visit your pedi and try to involve your daughter in a conversation about good health and healthy eating habits. That way, you can remind her, "the doctor wants you to ... for good health" It is no longer Mom or Dad saying she has to eat something.

This is also a great area to use the power of limited choices. You might want your daughter to take vitamins and drink healthy shakes, etc. but you can empower her by letting her choose from one of several vitamins and from one of several healthy shakes. Encourage her to make the shakes if she can and help with the preparation of meals.. When it comes to food, try to offer limited healthy choices with each meal.

Notice without over-reacting when she tries something new. Thank her for not over-reacting when she tries something she does not like. Have you heard that kids often have to try something many times to learn to like it?

My picky eater is now an awesome eater. He has learned to try new things without prompting. He still seems to be more sensitive to taste, smell and texture, but it is no longer that big of a deal.

Finally, if you and your pedi don't see improvement in her attitudes and eating habits in time, it may be time to see a specialist. This is not something to ignore, but it may not be that serious. Your trusted pediatrician is the best guide on this journey.

Best of luck,
Parent Coach J. B.



answers from Houston on

The vitamins are only going to give her the minimum vitamins she needs, they are not going to make her put on weight or suddenly want to eat. If I were you I would consult a child psychologist about her "view" of the food she is eating.

Her weight does seem a little low for an 8 year old. My son is 8 also and is 74 pounds. He's always been long and lean, but this summer did "fluff" up a bit. I never worry about his weight though because he is a great eater and is active.

Good luck! And please try to nip this in the bud now when she's young. Don't want to wait until she a teenager with an eating disorder and knows everything and won't listen to anyone.


answers from Austin on

My son is 8 and weighs 48 pounds. He is picky, especially about textures, but is at least willing to try new foods. He'd rather eat a bug than a hamburger! We went to a nutritionist when he was one, but the suggestions did not take into account the texture issues. They said to add peanut butter, mayo, and powdered milk to his food to increase the calories.
When I make meals, I make a different version for him that's more plain and separated. We have fajitas, he gets a cheese quesadilla and cherry tomatoes. We have sandwiches, he gets a salad, chopped lunch meat, and bread and butter. We have lasagna, he gets plain noodles with parmesan cheese and black olives. We have pork chops with mashed potatoes, he has pork chop and spaghetti dipped in soy sauce.
I try to get my son to sit with us at the dinner table even if he's not eating. He will actually ask if we are trying to punish him by offering him dinner. We just tell him that the ADHD medicine he takes is tricking his brain into thinking he's not hungry. At breakfast I let him watch tv and he will eat more without realizing it. We let him watch shows about cooking, and grow food in the garden to get him more interested.



answers from Houston on

This sounds more like a very picky eater or a sensory issue than an eating disorder. I was just like her. I STILL to this day do NOT like my food touching. I separate my food almost all the time. I was also very picky about what I would eat. I would choke and gag and sometimes even vomit if the food had a texture I couldn't tolerate. (Even as an adult I can't stand oranges, although they taste delicious. The "strings" make me gag.) As a child, I was a little small for my age, but I can assure you I am a perfectly healthy adult. (In fact, I could stand to lose a few pounds!) And I do have a wider variety of foods that I now eat. If she likes the shakes, let her continue the shakes and don't force foods on her. Forcing the issue will only make her miserable and could actually CAUSE an eating disorder as she gets older!


answers from Cumberland on

If she is 8, shes too young to have a disorder. Sorry, she is just picky and doesnt like to eat.



answers from Victoria on

am i understanding this correctly whe you said "...i also have problems with that too" that you have an eating disorder also? if so you need to fix your habbits and issues with food before teaching your child how to handle food. blind leading the blind.

will she eat for others? i am shocked at the foods my son will eat at daycare but not at home. even at a buffet restraunt he will eat lots of foods he would never try at home. we encourage our son to lick it first. if he is totally discusted we wont make him and were really nice and almost silly with our tone. he usually will at least poke the tip of his toung to the food. if its a sauce (or simular) we encourage him to dip his finger in it and taste it that way. I wonder since she is older than him if she could dip her fork in the food and taste the little bit on the tips of the fork. there are more recipes out there for sneaking food into other foods. like spinach into brownies, we make pancakes with no sugar but with sweet potatoes. desperately delishious by jessica seinfeld (jerry seinfelds wife) is one that i own. also getting her in the kitchen to cook...start with things she likes....helps her to appericiate her food and look at it in a different way.



answers from Austin on

Well I read the other responses and not sure I agree with all. My 9 yr old son just now weighs around 55+lbs. He's tall and linky and very active. He can be a picky eater as well but on certain foods eats more than I do. It may be as serious as a disorder or it may just be that the foods she's eating just don't excite her. If I make my spaghetti or other dish he really likes he'll eat 2 plates. If I make a large majority of other things (Chicken, steak, hamburger helper, etc) I can barely get him to eat a serving. Before taking her for a psych evaluation ask her what her favorite food is and make it for dinner. See how much of it she eats. I think that will tell you your answer. Hopefully it's nothing serious but if so I hope it all works out.


answers from Chicago on

my 7 year old has had the same prob since he was 3 and i freaked out about it but i beleave its a phaze since he has started school and eats lunches there he really has no choice but to try new things and it helps when there are other children around eating the same foods it then makes your kid want to try it make eating fun and maybe even offer something like fun time if she eats everything but honestly i wouldnt worry about it as long as she is eating something and getting her daily vitamens and having fluids her health should be fine. i would just continue making her what she likes so she eats at least though it may be a pain. my son really likes nutiberries its like a really tasty chewy vitamen ive even had them and they are delicious!!

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