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Old 10-02-17, 08:15 PM
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Talking Re: Impulse control and sweets

Originally Posted by Mcosta21980 View Post
Good Afternoon,

My son is 8. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and Anxiety. He is
A very sweet and well mannered child, the only issues we
Have ever had with him is with sitting still and attention.

He has started sneaking food that he knows he shouldnít be eating without permission, especially in the middle of the night. For example he ate 6 ice cream sandwiches. He is only 52 pounds eating to that extent should mke him sick, I would think. We have discussed making better choices if he wakes up hungry, like making a sandwich or something with sustenance but he always reverts to junk. Always. I started punishing him for the poor choices and to be honest he doesnít seem phased by it. Itís like he has zero impulse control. Has anyone else experienced this? Iím at my witts end.
I'm an adult with ADHD and anxiety, and I have history of this sort of comfort/binge/boredom/I-waited-too-long-to-make-something-and-now-I'm- starving eating. Unfortunately, logic absolutely does not work for this; impulse control issues in ADHD have zero to do with what you know you "should" do, so you have to approach the problem differently.

The solutions I've found are as follows:

-Do not keep any of the "problem" foods in your house, period! Having them around, and easy/free to access, is just setting him up to fail. Ice cream, chips, soda, candy, etc. - nope, nope, nope!!! If it's there, I will eat it, no matter how much I "know" I shouldn't, and I'm 35!!

-Or, if you MUST keep junk around, keep them strictly under lock and key, like seriously in a padlocked pantry, so that he has no access to them without your help/permission. Simply telling him not to eat something that is both highly tasty/rewarding AND readily available is all but useless, especially so for those with demonstrated impulsivity problems (kid or adult).

-Offer your son a snack with some protein in it just before bedtime: a handful of nuts or peanut butter, warm milk or hot cocoa are good choices. This should help lessen him feeling hungry in the middle of the night, because the protein helps you feel fuller for longer.

-Plan for the possibility he'll still get up and eat anyway, even with rhe bedtime snack, by stocking your fridge with *pre-made* healthy snacks that are easy to eat: baby carrots with hummus or ranch dip, nuts, rice crackers, fresh or dried fruit, sliced salami or cheeses, etc. Maybe even let him keep a stash of trail mix in his room, so he doesn't even have to go rooting around in the kitchen at night to begin with.

The problem with asking him to make the better choice of something like a sandwich, when he's hungry RIGHT NOW and likely not even fully awake, is that it requires a bunch of involved, ordered steps to accomplish (find bread, find ingredients, find condiments, find kinfe + cutting board, slice ingredients, assemble) which can be very aggravating/challenging when you have ADHD even at the best of times. Compare that to the 1-step, easy instant gratification of "open freezer, grab ice cream sandwich" and there is no conest... None... Even for me as an adult!

So your best bet is to just not even have the problem foods around, keep them as a rare treat outside the house (example: have soda only when out to eat, or go out to an ice cream shop on occasion to have a scoop, DON'T keep a 24 pack of sodas or a gallon of ice cream in your freezer) and make sure thete are always premade, healthy foods available for him (and the rest of the family) to snack on instead. The easier you make it for him to make good choices, the easier it will be for him to succeed. Hope this helps; good luck!
"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."
--Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"
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