This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Magical thinking

Bear thinks he's normal.

When kids are little, they call it Magical Thinking. Could be positive thinking I guess. All I know is that whenever we discuss a diagnosis, medication or issue, Bear gets mad - at us.

We've talked to him about this repeatedly. We are not labeling him. We are not doing this to him. We are trying to identify triggers, symptoms and issues so we can help him deal with them.

Today the argument was about food.

Bear is a Midnight Muncher. He has always had difficulty sleeping and he is a sugar addict. I'm always finding evidence of his food raids in his room (usually moldy remains). I've found cans of icing, candy wrappers from bags of candy, empty coke cans, plates smeared with pie filling, pizza or spaghetti sauce, melted ice cream, apple cores.... I rarely buy sweets, so some of this must be coming from school.

Last night he took several pieces of Kitty's candy in his nightly food raid. When she came to me I asked her why she'd left her candy where he could get it. To be honest, all the children know he steals so I have a lot less sympathy. She'd thought he wouldn't find her candy bag because she'd put it in the freezer. However everyone had heard me tell her that wasn't a good place to put it. In fact I'm guessing that Bear heard this as permission to take it since she was warned not to leave it there.

I asked Bear to give me his candy bag, because I was thinking of giving her his candy, but of course he had eaten all his candy. Not sure what consequence to give him instead.

I mentioned that his eating in the middle of the night is probably related to the trauma of his childhood. That it is common for kids who grew up when there wasn't enough food to hoard food. This ticked him off. He said we always blame things on his issues, but that it isn't true. He's just a teenage boy who is hungry all the time. I let it drop.

Hubby and I talked about it later, and it occured to me that Bear takes Seroquel, which is a mood stabilizer that can cause weight gain. He's been on it for awhile. Plus, Bear is not like most starving teenage boys in that he is done growing. His growth plates are closed.

Bear is always talking about being fat. He is not fat, but of course he doesn't believe me when I say so. He is an active kid.

Bear and I were alone on a trip to the video store, and I brought up the food thing again. He immediately got defensive and kept raising his voice (not yelling but intending to intimidate). I told him to quiet his voice several times.

I mentioned that most people do not eat in the middle of the night. He rebutted with, he's a teenage boy and he's hungry all the time.

I mentioned he's done growing. He claimed it was going to muscle. I told him that HE was the one always saying he was fat, not me, but it was not healthy. He said he could eat what he wanted because he was active, unlike other members of the family (I let that go).

I did talk about med causing the hunger, but he disagreed.

We stopped talking for a bit. Then moved on to how we were going to solve the problem.

Telling him to quit eating in the night hasn't worked. Telling him to eat more during the day just got him saying he's always hungry and it doesn't matter how much he eats during the day, and we don't provide enough food at meals. Of course he never asks for more.

We'll talk to the psychiatrist about possibly changing his meds.

So I suggested Bear eat peanut butter sandwiches at night - ONLY. He then said that he can't eat generic peanut butter. So I told him fine, but he needs something with protein or he'll crave more (and I don't want to wake up to no bread in the house). He hates cheese so that's not an option. He couldn't think of anything else, so now he's agreed to only eat two pieces of bread and nothing else. We'll see what happens.


Mom 4 Kids said...

Does he like yogurt? There are a million different flavors now a days and I find that eating a yogurt serving sticks with me longer than other things.

My 6-year-old son was on Risperdal for a few months, he gained 12 pounds from April to July. He was eating 3 pounds of apples a week, bunches and bunches of bananas, pounds of grapes and he literally asked to eat every 15 to 30 minutes. In the end that med wasn't what he needed and thankfully we did find what works. My daughter is on that same med plus and she has never experienced the weight gain or eating issues.

Anyway, thanks for sharing - it encourages!

Anonymous said...

1. Read up about high-fructose corn syrup -- your body does not recognize it as food / calories so you remain hungry. Lots of "non-junk" food has high fructose corn syrup ...

2. He seems to be eating mostly carbs at night? Is it all just easy-to-eat-with-hands stuff? Pretzels can be a good choice (the salt is nothing compared to what he's been eating!)

3. The concept of "sugar addict" is real. Could be a sign of his trying to control his ups and downs via sugar (an up) and more sugar (to counteract the down that comes with a crash). His mood instabilities are made worse by his diet. You are right to stress protien, but as with all addictions, he won't give up sugar easily.

Bear may really feel he is being unfairly picked on because he really gets hungry "all the time" but he doesn't see that eating sugar pretty much guarantees he'll be hungry within a few hours. (Apples are sugar).

Does he eat hot dogs? Will he warm up a frozen hamburger?