I am very worried about my daughter who is thirteen. Last year, when she was in the seventh grade, I noticed her eating habits began to change. All of a sudden it seemed she went from eating whatever she wanted — hamburgers, french fries, ice cream, bread, cookies, etc — to a more restricted diet, no desserts, sweets, carbs. She claimed she was turning into a vegetarian and at first I believed her. Then I realized she was eating less and less period. I began questioning her, but she became very defensive, told me to leave her alone. My daughter was slightly plump, a residual from babyhood, but by no means heavy or fat. Now she was getting really skinny and obviously liked appearing that way. She has grown secretive and guarded about her food intake which I’m pretty sure she obsesses about all the time. And it seems she actually thinks she’s fat though now she’s thin as a rail. Please tell me what to do. I have no doubt that my girl is becoming anorexic.
Thanks in advance,
Mother of an Eating Disordered Kid
I will be very blunt: it sounds as if you’re right to be worried. For sure your daughter has some form of body dysmorphia, viewing herself as fat instead of rail thin when she looks in the mirror. From what I know, it’s best to nip this self-perception disorder in the bud and not let it undermine your daughter’s life, as will no doubt happen if left unchecked. How to do this? I frequently talk about therapy in this column and for a reason: it’s not only the best, but frequently the only way of dealing with psychological problems and confusions that crop up in a person’s life. In the case of your daughter, she needs to work with a specialist in eating disorders, full stop. She probably needs to be in group therapy as well, but your practitioner will apprise you. I cannot stress the importance of getting help for her. If you’re unsure about how to go about this, consult your school guidance counselor or nurse and be careful not to downplay your daughter’s behavior. I hope this helps.
REACTIONS TO FED UP WIFE
Dear Fed Up,
I think Knowles is right. Instead of arguing, just let shit happen. You’ll get your way in the end. Best,
Stuart J., Abilene,TX
Dear Fed Up,
I’d be much more into the diamonds than the home repair. Maybe you need therapy. I live in a big house in Houston too and I’d rather have great trips and jewelry than fix my pool or the leak in my ceiling (though I could see wanting new front windows). Pick your priorities, that’s usually how it is.
Betty B., Houston, TX
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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.