Boy's eating may be disordered

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  November 3, 2011 06:00 AM

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My 9 year old son has been a picky eater since he was 2 yrs old. I have been worried but no one else has [been]. They said to feed him what he wanted. Now there is a problem -- he won't even eat that or if he does it's very little and he says he is hungry but can't eat. I don't know what to do. He only grew an inch in one whole year and that's not good. What should I do? If I say to eat what I fix or go to bed hungry, he will go hungry.

From: Froggy, Wichita, KS

Dear Froggy,

It seems like there's a lot of history here and, at this point, trying to figure out what has gone wrong and why is not going to be productive. What matters most is that you wrote he "can't" eat. That sounds like what might once have been a behavioral issue has grown into something medical or psychological, or perhaps was all along. Get professional advice, and get it now. Start with your pediatrician and see where he thinks you need to go: a nutritionist? a stomach specialist? Disordered eating turns into eating disorders and it's a myth to think they only happen to girls.

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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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