View Full Version : my daughter seems to have gotten all the wrong stuff from me.

06-26-14, 05:46 AM
I love my oldest daughter Becca. I cant explain how much I love her which is why I blame myself both for possibly sh*tty genes and for not parenting her better(if thats the case).
My brief history that refers to this post:

I had issues that are were related to undiagnosed bipolar even as a child. I WAS diagnosed with adhd as a child although the treatment options just werent there, it was much easier to blame me for being lazy and also the times were different. I am not sure my mother even knew what ritalin was.
I diagnosed with bipolar 10+ years ago. I used to have a major issue with food. I sought comfort in it and had a bit of a weight issue in school. I always was just bigger or 'curvy' but after my first child I zoomed up to obese.
I had gastric bypass in '09 and have been extremely lucky because you see no traces of the old me, I dont appear like I used to have a weight issue and take excellent care of myself.
I was had a sh*tty childhood full of abuse,chaos and confusion.
My Becca, does not have a childhood like mine. She has a loving home and we try to be the best parents we can which is my I think its my bad genes at work.
She has an unheathy relationship to food. Very disordered eating. She has a weight problem now, and I only stress the importance of a healthy lifestyle not being thin. I am fit (size 6) but I dont consider myself skinny.

I am almost afraid to address this with her. She has been on meds for depression and possible bipolar for almost 2 years now. She was briefly hospitalized last summer due to suicidal ideation but we dont think she actually wanted to kill herself and view it as a cry for help; she has a therapist.
She has engaged in self harm although only a few times and this seems to have been an issue of getting her meds sorted out.

She is GORGEOUS. I know all parents think their kids are great but she is a beautiful young woman!
She over eats, and has a real propensity towards sweets and carbs. I have very little junk food in the house, with exception to what I would consider dessert (icecream and water ice)
I try and serve whole grain, complex carbs, so no white stuff (white bread, rice etc)
She only eats chicken or fish, she recently (as of 6 months ago) told us she was a semi-vegetarian because she never really like red meant or pork. I dont serve a lot of either but if I do I always make something for her.

We have our own garden so in the summer we have a nice little harvest going on.
She is not afraid of hard work and activity when it comes to getting something done, she will help cook and wash, cut the grass,etc. She helps more than the other 2 combined. It seems like she doesnt mind work when there is an easily reached obvious goal in sight (cutting the grass is extremely satisfying to her because you can see immediately the results of your hard work.)

She needs more physical activity. I played sports so although I had the exact same issues growing up, I didnt have as much of the weight issue as I would have had. She is on the high school color guard which is awesome and she loves it but in the dead of winter that takes a hiatis until spring)
What in God's name can I do with out hurting her or breaking her heart. She knows she has a problem and I dont want her hating herself. My father tried to give me diet advice (ie you are fat, stop eating so much) and due to that I indulged in bulimia. I then stopped the vomiting part of that but the overeating part continued for years.

Therapy was magic for these issues but this took years and years for me and I did have gastric bypass and losing the weight did wonders for my self esteem.
Many people see the GB surgery as my easy solution but it was and is a tool. I workout just about everyday and about a year and a half ago before I stopped drinking, I had packed on a good 20lbs due to wine and it took many many months of hard work to lose it.

I dont know what to do. I love her and will always love her no matter what size she is, or what she looks like( she's a knock out!) but I know the dangers of being overweight and the toll it can take on yourself esteem. She is adhd, and suffering from depression but the doctor thinks (as do I) that as she matures we will be able to see that its most likely bipolar.

What have I done to my sweet girl? Have I done anything at all? Is it my bad genes to blame?
How can I help her without crushing her self esteem?
It really is about health to me;I dont care if she weighs 100lbs or 200lbs just as long as she is healthy.
I am not 100% sure of her weight. We dont weigh around her because I will obssess over a number and I know she will too.

In fact, at her last physical I pulled the doctor aside and told him to keep the number to himself and that discussing a healthy lifestyle was all that would be tolerated.
of course kids are cruel especially little b**chy girls and I worry about her starting HS because she will be in school with seniors as well as freshman.

God, I adore her. I just dont know what to do?
I dont want to destroy her spirit but I also dont want her to have diabetes or high BP.
If I had a sh*tty homelife and she doesnt wouldnt it make sense to look towards genetics? If thats the case, I dont even know what that falls under. its more than behavior, or addiction, or genetics, I just dont know what it is.

Please advise. I love this girl of mine and I dont want her to feel she has to change her personality or be someone who she is not.
I dont want a single shred of what makes her who she is to dissappear.

Thanks you guys

06-26-14, 06:54 AM
It sounds like you are a close loving family. So she will know whatever you have to say, is from love, not judgment. Can you maybe print your post out, or condense it a bit and write it to her as a letter? Sit with her while she reads it if you think that's best or leave her with it to consider it?
Once mentioned though - then drop it or it will turn into 'nagging' and there may be no further discussions and you don't want that.

06-26-14, 07:14 AM
Don't think this is because of you! You have a loving, happy home;
You serve healthy foods and set a good example yourself!
In what setting does she overeat?
Maybe you could bring her to the gym with you?
Or "suggest" walking and hiking (as if it were something you really want to do and would like some company).

06-26-14, 08:54 AM
Everytime you post I like you more and more! You are a sweet special person sarasweets! don't ever forget that!

Okay, where to start. first of all don't waste you enrgy on why she is or how she became this way. It doesn't matter at this point.

You can't assume that the way you felt and how it was handled with you will be the same way for your daughter. Your not your parents and she is not you.
You provided the best home life you could and from what I have read over the last year and a half you and you hubby have a done an outstanding job! So no guilt or blame because again, at this point it doesn't matter or help.

Yes, when the opportunity is there talk to her and tell her your story. In the order of priority in life, health comes before heartbreak. So it may hurt her, but sometimes that has to happen to generate change. I'm confident with your wisdom and caring nature you will handle it well. after all, who knows your daughter better than you!

I would think the fact that you went through it will be helpful in talking to her because she has something to relate to. I like that you focus on being healthy and not necessarily on being fat or thin.

These issues are never easy and unfortuantely you won't find it in her owner's manual they gave you when she was born. What, you didn't get a manual! I think you can order it online! haha..

The beauty of raising children, no one said it would be easy! The best tool you have is being a wonderful parent who loves her daughter unconditionally. Use this to talk to your daughter and work with her through this journey just like you have with all the other situations that have risen.
I think you know what to do but may be afraid to take that leap. You know better than most of us sarah so go talk to your dughter, support her love her, it may get worse before it gets better but I have a good feeling it will get better!

Your a good parent, don't blame yourself or feel guilty. Focus all your energy on postive thinking and being there to support your children in whatever they go through in life.

as always, I wish good things for you!

06-26-14, 09:35 AM
Read the book Rethinking Thin. It makes a compelling case that weight issues are primarily caused by physical, not psychological, problems in the body. There are 3 redundant systems the body uses to regulate hunger, and if any of these is out of whack, it's going to be exceedingly difficult to maintain a healthy weight. If she's having weight problems, especially since the food environment in your house sounds very healthy, I'd blame the genes.

06-26-14, 11:58 AM
Tmoney hit it right on the head are always the best answer for your kids.....I have never met a mom who does a better job ....( prolly a few, as good a job, but none better) ....

....and leave us face it will have problems ....they are human, and humans have problems ....the way you guide your kids in dealing with theirs is one of the reasons you are such a good mom .....

...sometimes hard truths must be faced, and teaching how to meet and overcome those truths is your job can't make reality go away ....but you can teach them how to deal with it ...

....and I'd look into what zette is saying .....

06-26-14, 01:10 PM
You're an amazing mom, sarah. You've nurtured and loved them well and have created a solid loving foundation for them to grow from. Anything that helps her love herself is the answer to everything, in my personal experience and opinion, mainly from a daughter's point of view who had an overly critical and judgmental mom.

Helping her tap into her healthier passions and loves in life may help sort out many struggles along the way before they become roadblocks. Focusing on things as problems that need to be fixed tends to create more problems around trying to recognize and resolve what is being perceived as problems. ( gets just as confusing as it sounds when I try that route)

06-26-14, 01:19 PM
hey sarah,

i think one thing that can be really great, if the kid is into it, is to be involved in a regular sporting activity. group or individual. something that emphasizes what your body can do rather than shaping it into an ideal, though. what i mean is, i don't know that something like gymnastics would be a great plan for someone prone to overeating, because that sounds like a self loathing in the making. but, and, granted, i've not struggled with being overweight, i ran cross country for years and because it's an individual activity, and one that has a team aspect for comraderie at the same time, it definitely contributes to my developing a lifelong "fitness" situation. it destresses me to run. it makes me feel better overall.

and i can eat whatever the **** i want, though, i'm not suggesting i stared shoveling in mac d, because that's not my scene, but putting the emphasis on what a body can do instead of what it looks like might help? another possibility, because i know a lot of people dislike running: martial arts? or maybe dance? or whatever she finds, soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc, etc, etc.

as far as how to "sell" it, maybe think in terms of you want her to take advantage of social opportunities, to enjoy activities, and you and her father have decided she needs to have a well rounded approach and so you want her to select an activity. or, ****, say it'll look good on college applications. whatever works :)

just my thought of the day. hope it helps. much love to you super mum :) x

06-26-14, 02:23 PM
Reading your post, I'm *so* glad that you're sensitive to the sensitive nature of the topic of weight. My mom still pokes, prods, cajoles me about my weight (even though I am actively trying to lose and have started a sport again).

Thing is, when I was at my heaviest, I *knew* that it wasn't necessarily great, but I didn't have the wherewithal to change it, and constant poking didn't help; it just made me feel like crap. So kudos for being able to take that kind of prodding and *not* pass it onto the next generation.

I would second the suggestion of getting her into something active and organized. cross-country suggestion, *if* she doesn't hate running, and there are some supportive/friendly people around. I only did track my freshman year, but I've found that there are a fair number of very supportive and enthusiastic runners who aren't necessarily the fastest people out there.

My sport in high school was swimming, but having a coach as inclusive and laid-back (no cuts) on a swim team is pretty rare, I think. But just something to get her out of the house and active, among friends or like-minded folks would help.

06-26-14, 05:46 PM
It's not you.. deep down I know you must know that. I tell myself the same things about my daughter .. and she's 6.. Imagine when she has REAL challenges.

They would have struggles no matter who their parents are. It's not you, .. it's life. It's reality and in this regard we are all equal to all other parents. You can just be there for them -not all parents are equal in this regard.

As far as sports, .. my $0.02 from my own experience. Team sports were hard but I always liked solo sports: hiking, climbing, biking, working out, .. But you don't really discover those in school - at least I used to think physical activity meant team activity.

06-30-14, 10:57 AM
Sarah, my son has what I would describe as an inability to regulate his food consumption. It's not so much that he overeats at meal times, but he eats when he's bored, and will want something to eat within an hour of eating lunch or dinner. (eta: I don't think this is something he can control at this point)

Due to a change in our summer plans, he's been home by himself for the past 2 weeks, and he can't seem to stop himself from raiding whatever is on hand. I left it up to him to fix his own breakfast and lunch. He's 12, btw...

I've tried to stress healthy choices (fruit for snacks, smaller portions, getting outside more, etc) and tried to stay away from nagging him, but I don't think it's had an impact. I know that I've made him feel bad about himself at times. (and I know how damaging that can be...)

He's on his own for the next 4 days and I started this morning by making him a PB&J and leaving it in the fridge for him for breakfast, with a yogurt and a glass of milk (we don't really do cereal at our house). I made up a list for him that had choices on it for what he could have for lunch, and as snacks, etc... I didn't skimp; I think if he picks stuff off the list he'll feel satiated but
I am hoping that he won't overeat. I bought individual serving packs of cookies and pretzels, which I never do. Part of the problem when he's been on his own is that he'll crack open a full pack of cookies and eat 1/3 of them in one sitting.

The following week he's heading to summer camp, which he is not thrilled about, but it will get him moving around and interacting with kids. Plus he'll have only what is packed din his lunch and not be able to snack at will.

I am at a loss as to how to encourage him to have a healthier relationship with food, though. I want him to be able to self-regulate, but I have no clue how to get him to that point... :(

07-01-14, 10:29 AM
Yeah. Forgot about the mindless eating; that's an absolute killer, and I can imagine that it must be worse for a really impulsive person, esp. a child or teenager who by definition lacks some of the self-awareness and maturity that comes with advancing age.

I'm shocked that for me just the mere act of writing down what I'm eating, or needing to write down what I want to eat, makes me pause just that little bit and consider. That and pouring out individual portions of stuff into bowls instead of eating out of boxes/bags. That limits serving size.

Again, I would *not* have had the wherewithal to do that as a teen, especially. I was too busy on surviving the vagaries of high school.

07-01-14, 07:33 PM
That and pouring out individual portions of stuff into bowls instead of eating out of boxes/bags. That limits serving size.

Again, I would *not* have had the wherewithal to do that as a teen, especially. I was too busy on surviving the vagaries of high school.
The individual serving sizes seems to be working pretty well with my DS, too. He's done way better over the past 2 days with me doing a little prep in advance...
I don't really think he thinks about it too much; if a sandwich is already made for him in the fridge, he grabs it and a little bag of pretzels and a piece of fruit and has a reasonably decent lunch. It's when he has to do all the steps that seems to really get him (like decide what to eat, get all the stuff out of the fridge, then make it himself), and he ends up eating out of boxes and just keeps eating until it's gone...

07-01-14, 08:45 PM
The individual serving sizes seems to be working pretty well with my DS, too. He's done way better over the past 2 days with me doing a little prep in advance...
I don't really think he thinks about it too much; if a sandwich is already made for him in the fridge, he grabs it and a little bag of pretzels and a piece of fruit and has a reasonably decent lunch. It's when he has to do all the steps that seems to really get him (like decide what to eat, get all the stuff out of the fridge, then make it himself), and he ends up eating out of boxes and just keeps eating until it's gone...

This is exactly how my 15 year old is. He doesn't want to take the time to prepare food so he'll eat whatever is handy, usually junk. I also think they tend to eat more junk n the summer because they are bored during the day if they're sitting around at home playing video games or watching TV.

08-15-14, 07:20 PM
I think there has been lots of great things said here. All I want to say is you are setting a good example and have done what you could for her. She still has to make these decisions. I am having similar problems with my oldest except I am obese at the moment and have not been a good example.
We can do all the right things as parents and kids can still go off the deep end but it seems like she has the tools she needs she just has to use them.(not implying your kid is a troublemaker, just that any kid can have troubles)

08-20-14, 02:25 AM
Sarah, have you spoken with her therapist and psychiatrist? Has she had neuropsych testing?
Print out that post, bring it to your next sessions and ask for advice.
I've found that being as honest and clear with the counselor/Dr about your concerns is very helpful.
I've also struggled with similar feelings as a mom with ADHD, of a son with ADHD & Aspergers. I often worry that I am not helping my son enough, have passed on genetic traits that are going to make his life difficult, and my poor organizational skills are causing problems for all of us.
I try to go back to telling myself I am doing a great job, evidenced by his positive traits and the complements I receive from people about what a great kid he is.
Anyways, what about a change in meds? My son's meds were changed due to his suppressed appetite. Mine were changed due to the opposite problem.
Family weekly therapy for a few months helped us immensely during stressful times, now my boys and I are going bi-weekly.
I hope some of that is helpful for you :-)