We have been struggling with our 2nd daughter for some time. Maybe struggling is not the right word. Maybe I am using the wrong word to describe our often…difficult…relationship.
gerund or present participle: struggling
1) make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction
2) strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance
3) have difficulty handling or coping with
4) engage in conflict
5) make one’s way with difficulty
Nope. We have definitely been struggling with her. We just cannot seem to understand her; nor she us. She fights everything we try to do. If we are ‘up her butt like a ham sandwich’ (good imagery there right?)…or we are giving her space…it never seems to be the ‘right’ thing.
And it breaks my heart. Because I want for my child to be happy. I understand she is going through a lot of changes right now. We are homeschooling for the first time. Her best friend left this past summer. (Mine too!) She is going through hormonal changes. And now…we have discovered an unsettling trend. She seems (and I am not a clinician, but all signs point to this) to have a slight eating disorder. I mean, it either is or isn’t…close enough only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Image courtesy of Simon Howden ‘Message’ / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I found this online and thought it was brilliant!
This really helped us put things in perspective with regard to her and we trying to make it work. She is not exactly a complete introvert, but there are a lot of similarities for her and it was a good talking point with her. I showed her this chart and asked her if she thought that any of these applied to her and she nodded her head and said yes. Okay. We can and will work with this.
Now before you think I have left the eating disorder issue, I have not. It’s just one more cog in the wheel of how this child ticks.
Through some research and observing her behaviors, my hubby and I think she has what is known as ‘Avoidance/Restrictive Eating Disorder’. (The link it to a site we stumbled upon about Restrictive Eating Disorder) She has been limiting things she eats and then avoids situations where she has to eat at all, particularly at a family friends house. This has come about in the last month or so. She has been cranky. Lacks focus. She has gotten skinnier than she already is. When I hug her, I can feel her rib cage and her spine. Mind you, she has always been on the thin side…so this is not normal. Dark circles under the eyes. Just a whole lot of things, that when taken separately might not mean anything, but when put all together…they produce a bigger picture that is not healthy.
Image courtesy of Idea Go ‘Corda Strappata’ / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I know, I have been there. Oh believe, me…I have been there.
I was a figure skater in my tween/teen years and I know about restrictive eating disorders, but because I ate, I didn’t think I had an issue. Boy, was I wrong! Counting every calorie, limiting my intake and avoiding certain foods are all part of this cycle…but because I still ate food…I thought there was nothing wrong with me. I exercised, ran, swam…did aerobics and skated on top of that! All while probably only eating enough calories to get me by…but because (in my mind) I was still eating meals, there was nothing wrong. I didn’t binge. I didn’t purge. I didn’t even starve myself. But if a package said, 5 crackers was 120 calories, I would only eat 5 crackers. It wasn’t until I was older and had my 1st child that I realized the problem I truly had with food. And I still struggle with my weight. (There’s that word again!)
The point is: We are watching, monitoring and hopefully, making the best choices when it comes to her well-being. We don’t want her to get to a breaking point. We don’t want to get to a breaking point either. We are trying to teach all our children that food is good for you. That everything needs to be done in moderation. Sigh. Parenting is hard.
Today was a better day. We monitored what she ate, but didn’t do it in a way that called attention to her. Made sure she ate foods that were rich in protein and not just junk. She ate a healthy lunch. So it’s going to take a while, but as with everything else, I know it will be worth it. And a light…a glimmer of good…when we prayed over our food today for lunch, she actually grabbed my hand and joined in! Lately, she has also been rejecting prayer too. Sigh. I know. Lots going on with this one. BUT…we are prayerful and thankful that we have our Lord to guide us through this.