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11 year old stealing food

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Laughton.papworth, May 28, 2014.

  1. mamattorney

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    I agree that this sounds definitely like a control issue. You say there is plenty of foods in the house that he "doesn't have to do insulin for." Honestly, there are so few things in our cabinet that my daughter doesn't need insulin for (not just sweet things - she's more of a "salt" person anyway), that I think she would be behaving in the same way if I restricted her to only 0 carb snacks. There's only so much meat and cheese that a person can eat before you want something else -- anything else. Everyone wants what they can't have; I think it's human nature.

    Do you practice these same habits - only eat 0 carb foods outside of meal time? If you don't, I suggest you try it for a month both as a way of supporting your child and to see what a life like that is like and what cravings you might or might not have.
     
  2. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    It's idiotic to withhold access to a medical device that could assist in curbing an unwanted behaviour because that behaviour hasn't yet been curbed. (rollie)
     
  3. virgo39

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    Honestly, I think the situation you are facing is a bit complicated.

    As you can tell from the pp's, there is a lot of concern about labeling food as "good", "bad", "safe", "dangerous", etc., and many have good reasons for taking issue with terms like "stealing" and "sneaking" food.

    If it was me, I think I would try to break this down a bit. If my child was taking food or anything from a home where she was a guest, I would view that as an issue of bad manners/bad behavior and would come up with some consequences for that. I think I would view that differently from eating at home without my knowledge or permission. That is more complicated. I think every family needs to come up with its own rules and approach which are likely to be influenced by a variety of factors--income, whether there are other kids (and their ages), etc.

    Our DD is an only child, but I think even if she were not, we would still have some rules about food. She generally has a snack every day after school--we encourage her to have fruit or veggies, but don't always require that she do so--I try to keep the whole day more or less in balance and not worry about each individual meal or snack. She is being more proactive about calculating the carbs in her snack, but her sitter or I usually do this or at least supervise her.

    She asks permission to eat at other times and we (actually, I noticed that she does this) differentiate a bit between "snacks" and "treats". I am comfortable saying "no", depending on how close we are to dinner, what else she has eaten during the day, etc. I am generally fairly generous with my permission. However, if her after school BG is really high, I will make her wait 15-30 minutes after a correction bolus for a faster carb snack.

    I would encourage you to at least consider approaches other than the one your endo is advocating. I do agree that withholding a pump because your child is eating seems punitive to me. I would also consider counseling if it were my child.
     
  4. faithfaery7

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    I think it's more about the stealing and not about the food. Yes, it's a problem if he's eating and not dosing for it. But it's more of an issue if he is taking food from friends/family's houses and stores.

    Honestly, I don't know what to do in this situation. Short of extreme measures. I'm talking like ask a police officer to talk to him about the kind of trouble he could get into for shoplifting.

    Maybe you could make him pay back what he's taken? Take him to the stores where he's shoplifted and have him use allowance money to pay for what he stole. Same with the friends and family's houses. Either replace the food he's taken or pay them the equivalent of the food. If he doesn't get an allowance, perhaps you could have him do chores around the house to earn the money.

    Yes, the eating and not dosing is an issue that needs to be confronted. But, imo, the stealing is a bit more of a problem.
     
  5. rgcainmd

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    While I wholeheartedly agree with the consequences you've suggested if this behavior continues after reasonable changes are made, I believe the heart of the issue is WHY the OP's son is stealing sweets. I reiterate that it's likely a control issue because his endo has instructed the OP to institute a ridiculously stringent set of food rules (no sweets before a slow-carb meal) in addition to the illogical insistence on withholding access to a pump until the unwanted behavior stops. Sarah hit the nail on the head in her post #21 above.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  6. badshoe

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    There is precious little child can control in their live. Eating is one. Often childhood emotional issues surface as eating issues.

    In the non D community often emotional issues surface as kids eating less than they need. We saw that and man was it hard. I am not suggesting this is a clinical emotional issue as I am not a doctor. I am suggesting that conversations with a professional early may help in the long term. The long run is where we as parents of CWDs need to keep an eye, it is hard to do with all the day to day issues we deal with.

    Diabetes is highly stressful, for everyone. Families live with diabetes not just family members, we all get stressed.

    Many people with diabetes have difficult relationships with food their whole lives. (here is a post by a few: http://diabetesadvocates.org/eating-disorders-and-diabetes/)

    Like others suggest, I too hope that seeking help for the family is a positive step.

    I think one of the hardest things in parenting diabetes is avoiding judgment. As parents we need to not judge our kids, or each others struggles. Diabetes is hard and your may vary.

    Best wishes for steps to success, each step counts, be proud of the ones you take and open to the next.
     
  7. nanhsot

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    While I won't disagree that the stealing is an issue, I believe the OP is best served getting to the WHY of the behavior and fixing that, then dealing with the stealing itself. Is the child stealing other things or just sweets? Is this a pattern of behavior or directly related to feeling restricted and angry and frustrated? I personally would work with why my child feels the need to steal first...is there a negative connection going on with food, does the child feel angry that he's diabetic, etc.

    Once I worked through the reasoning behind it, I'd address the consequences and I'd make them natural to the subject. Yes, I would make my kid go pay for whatever was stolen and apologize to everyone involved, store owner and family members alike. But not until after I understood better why it was happening. I believe that it's happening because of the ridiculous stipulation the endo has on sweets only after meals. I'd stop that policy immediately and bake a cake and let him eat it before lunch! But I'm a rebel that way.:pirate:

    I'd be very surprised if the lifting of food from places doesn't go away if he's allowed to eat them at will, with proper boluses of course. And I bet he'll eat less of them overall if he's given permission. And I'd work on getting a pump yesterday, if my endo said no, I'd find a new endo.
     
  8. mamort

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    I totally agree
     
  9. caspi

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    No one is attacking you. I guess most of us are confused because you originally stated...

    As others have said, he's probably eating the food (I refuse to say "stealing" or "sneaking") because that's all he wanted, not an entire meal first. And while you seem very happy with your endo's advice, it clearly isn't working. If your son wants something sweet, prebolus for it and let him have it. We have never let food become an issue in our house. If my son is hungry (and believe me a 15 year old is ALWAYS hungry) he eats and boluses. End of story.
     
  10. rgcainmd

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    OP, the quote is yours but the bolding of the two words are mine. I believe these two words resulted in some parents cautioning you about labeling foods as "good" or "bad". Speaking for myself, "safe" = "good" while "dangerous" = "bad". Whether you intend to or not, you are in reality labeling sweets as "bad" when you describe sweets as "dangerous food". Sweets or any foods high in sugar are not "dangerous" in and of themselves. Even a balanced meal containing absolutely no refined sugars but high in carbs is technically "dangerous" for someone with T1D to eat unless they bolus for it. This is the point everyone has been trying to make. You say that you let your son eat whatever he wants, but you actually do not (on the advice of your endo) let your son eat whatever he wants whenever he wants; I firmly believe that this is where the problem lies. Whenever my daughter wants a snack, whether it be a Twinkie dipped in chocolate or a cucumber, she would most definitely NOT be a happy camper if she had to eat an entire "slow carb" meal first before her desired snack. Has your son stolen any zero carb foods? Any beef jerky or string cheese or hard-boiled eggs? Probably not, because he doesn't have to. But if he wants a sweet snack without eating an entire meal beforehand what option does he have other than to sneak or steal it? If he asked you for an ice cream cone as an afternoon snack after school, would you give it to him? Or would he have to wait to have it as dessert at the end of a meal? This rigid scheduling is what is causing a "bad and good food mentality" for your son and any pediatric endocrinologist worth her/his salt should know better than to incorporate such restrictions into a growing child's diet.

    I was a "new newbie" here on this Forum not that long ago. (I'm currently an "old newbie", not just because I'm old but because my daughter was diagnosed not that long ago, 01/24/2014 to be exact.) Some of the advice given to me by some of the parents on this Forum struck me as harsh, judgmental, and/or accusing at that time so I hear where you are coming from. But if you stick around here (and I hope that you do), you will find that everyone truly is looking out for one another. But just like the real world, not everyone here agrees with what everyone else has to say or with the way they sometimes say it. But we all mean well and wish the best for you and your son.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  11. faithfaery7

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    It seems like the pump is the best way to handle this. If it's the insulin doses that he doesn't want to deal with (hence the "stealing" food and not checking his levels, etc), then being able to pump and have a CGM just seems like the optimal choice. So that way he doesn't have to worry about testing or pre-blousing with an extra shot.

    I know you posted a bit about it before, but why is your endo so hesitant when it seems like this could fix a big problem for you and your son?
     
  12. Snowflake

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    So, this is your problem. Your child does not want to get a shot when he consumes carbs. I would say you need to have a conversation and find out the "why" behind the behavior. Is he scared of shots? Does he know how to draw up and administer a shot? Is it too much of a hassle to get his kit out? Is he scared the adults are going to say no if he asks for a particular food? And -- this is a big one -- how does he feel when he spikes because he didn't take his insulin? If you really don't restrict food, as your third post said, then I think you need to have an ongoing conversation with him to understand where he's coming from, so that you and he can ultimately be sure he's covered everytime he eats.

    Also, I'm focusing on this as a D problem, not really a "stealing" issue. In my extended family, it's really not that unusual for us to help ourselves to food in each other's homes without asking, but maybe that's a cultural attitude that differs among types of families. At the most, I think it's an issue of bad manners, not really even a petty crime. The real issue here (again, from my perspective) is good diabetes management. I would say that if you do consider any instance of "stealing" to be a violation of your house rules, you need to separate your disciplinary response to that out from how you deal with your child's resistance to getting shots.
     
  13. rgcainmd

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    Even though the OP's son would not need to have another shot in order to bolus insulin if he were pumping, it is still advisable to check BG level via fingerstick in order to calculate insulin dose (in addition to counting carbs). Not everyone gets exactly accurate BG readings with a CGM, as it does NOT actually measure serum glucose levels; it measures glucose levels in interstitial fluid, which may or may not be the same as the actual blood glucose level at a particular moment in time.
     
  14. TheLegoRef

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    Ditto. Same here. My d teen has a huge history of sneaking food. I just posted a thread asking for healthy school snack choices not that long ago. And a several people seemed to think it was about diabetes, and that I was trying to keep him on a low carb diet, restricting food, etc. I see the same thing here in this thread. I want my family to eat healthy. I don't want them eating 15 twinkies or candy bars a day. That's not healthy for anyone, so I don't see why that would be allowed for a d kid, like many people say here. They just dose and go about their day. So if your kid, once an hour, asked for a candy bar, that'd be okay? No! Healthy food choices. We don't eat snacks half an hour before dinner. So if the kid is sneaking food 20 minutes before dinner, I see that as a problem. I don't say no to particular foods, I say no to eating badly or eating too close to a meal. Our endo doesn't like to see food eaten 2 hours before a meal's test. That's fine with us, I don't think you should be eating snack that close to a meal anyway.

    At my house, we don't pick snacks or food because of diabetes, we do it based on normal nutrition. Have you tried to talk to your kiddo about how "this is how it would be, d or no d, this is the healthy rule, and because you broke this rule, there will be a consequence".
     
  15. caspi

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    With all due respect, I think you're kind of blowing this out of proportion a bit. I don't see where ANYONE here has said that it's OK to eat 15 twinkies or candy bars a day and to dose and move on, nor did the OP say her kid was "sneaking" food all day long either.

    My son is also 15. He's 6' 2" and 144 lbs and he eats. A LOT. Teenage boys are hungry creatures. And no, he doesn't eat twinkies and chocolate bars (well, not all the time ;) ) but real food. There's no way I could tell him he couldn't eat 2 hours before meal time. And you know what? He's never snuck food. There's no need to because when he's hungry he eats. And his A1C's are just fine. Just some food for thought. ;)
     
  16. rgcainmd

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    I, too, fail to see where anyone said it's OK to eat candy or Twinkies or other "sweets" multiple times a day or just before dinner. If you don't want your son to indulge in the "guilty pleasure" of having the occasional junk food, then by all means stop him from doing so. Your house, your rules. (Maybe that's why he "has a huge history of sneaking food"). But don't pass judgement on me because I choose to allow my daughter to have treats. BTW, my daughter is above the 50th percentile in height and below the 50th percentile in weight and her A1C is just dandy; outside of having T1D, my daughter is very healthy. So don't even go there.
     
  17. hawkeyegirl

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    Show me ONE place where someone personally attacked you. Just one.

    Look, you don't like our advice. Fine. But I don't know what you expected. You do not allow your son any sweet food, except with a low-carb meal. That is bad, outdated advice from your endo, and completely unnecessary in order to maintain good BGs. We have no such rule in our house, and in almost 7 years, we've never had an A1c above 7.

    Your son feels like he doesn't have control over his food choices (which he doesn't), and so he is "stealing food." It's really that simple. Ditch your stupid pump-witholding endo, find an endo who actually understands kids with diabetes, and let your son have a Snickers between meals occasionally.
     
  18. nanhsot

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    Can you clarify your stance of snacks, because quite frankly I'm now confused. Your more recent post sounds like you DO allow mid day/non meal snacks, but your prior post stated your endo did not allow sweets until AFTER a meal. My advice will vary depending on your answer. My earlier advice was centered on the fact that you stated you did not allow snacks until AFTER a meal, and quite honestly that could be the root of your problem, if that's how you handle food.

    If in fact you allow snacking (within reason) at any time of day, perhaps an iport would be helpful? http://www.i-port.com/

    I think a pump will solve all if not most of your problems. I'd be focusing my energy on that.

    Teens and preteens can eat. A LOT. In fact my son can snack half an hour before a meal, but to counter another poster, we have no twinkies and no candy bars in our home and we do encourage healthy options. Limiting food at any age can lead to rebellion, so if indeed you are limiting sweets until after meals, I maintain that as the root of the problem. If I misunderstood and snacks are allowed any time of the day, I'd push for a pump and talk to my child about how important not hiding food is. If he persisted I would quite frankly tell him that until he made better choices that I'd have to be at his side 24hours a day.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  19. TheLegoRef

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    Again, this. Why are you saying it like that? I never said my son doesn't eat occasional junk food. I never said he doesn't get one or two sweets a day. This was my point. My son actually has a bucket of sweets that are still from Halloween, that he doesn't even think to eat. He'll sneak carrots and string cheese. I've never said no to string cheese (well, I have said "it'd be cheaper to have shredded cheese, can you have that") He doesn't have a sweet tooth, and never has. It has nothing to do with the type of food. Again, nothing to do with diabetes. None of anyone's business, but it's a physiological issue stuck from another house hold which he no longer goes to, but he's still stuck with some issues we're trying to work through. I "chimed in" because I'm seeing similar comments in here as I've received in the past. They make the OP feel defensive, like I again feel now. I'm not a bad mom, don't tell me I'm messing up! Healthy nutrition is not wrong, and I shouldn't feel defensive for not allowing my kids (d and non-d) to not eat before a meal, and have a balanced diet. My son had a cupcake for snack today - all I'm asking is that he tell me about it. I need to know if there is insulin on board, that would change my decision about how much insulin to give for the next meal. And I thought it was obvious that I was exaggerating when I said 15 twinkies...

    It just seems as though advice can be given with a little less finger pointing or snark. We're all stressed and tired d parents, and that can lower people's "thick skin" or self-esteem or guard, and a lot of comments can be taken as "you're doing it wrong" or "you're a bad parent". You can say "you're wrong" as "perhaps this might be a way to try that might give better results". I agree with the OP that there is too much negativity and strong, harsher than needed words. How many people have come here for advice and said "I will not come back because you were mean."
     
  20. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    I'm not sure how this got so weird. I don't think there is anyone here who even keeps twinkies in the house as a normal thing. Other than having D kids what we all have most in common is that we are actively involved in our kids health. Let's just all cool down and stop making slights when there were none.

    To the OP - it looks like it's the shots that is driving the behavior about which you initially posted. I have to agree with hawkeyegirl, your endo is the problem, not your kid. What I said earlier about this pump withholding I still believe, it's idiotic.

    Find a new endo, yours is in the dark ages.

    Best of luck.
     

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