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Forum -> Parenting our children -> Our Challenging Children (gifted, ADHD, sensitive, defiant)
Help for son who is extremely picky eater
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amother
OP


 

Post Fri, Jun 14 2024, 12:58 pm
My 12 year old son barely eats any normal food. The only foods he eats is turkey and hotdogs (no bun) and this is only at suppertime. Other than that, he lives on snacks (popcorn, pretzels, bissli, nosh - he is picky with snacks as well). He will also eat some fruits but it depends on his mood (bananas, clementines, watermelon, mango, apples) He will also eat whole wheat matza on shabbos but in very small amounts. He also will eat cherry tomatoes and cucumbers on shabbos from time to time. He eats all different textures so I don't think that's the issue. As you can imagine, this is very challenging and we have tried bribing him with amazing trips and gifts and nothing seems to work. He genuinely is afraid to try new foods and doesn't mind waiting for the foods he likes even if he is extremely hungry so it's not because he is just being picky. I was thinking of sending him to a hypnotist to help him get over his fear of trying new foods. He has told me he has a fear of choking when trying new foods and he truly dislikes the smells of certain foods and will avoid being around us when we're eating cholent and potato kugel for example. He is the only one in his class that doesn't eat cholent and kugel so when his class had a siyum and served those foods, he wasn't looking forward to the siyum to say the least but he still went to school and managed his feelings. He just drank soda and had a snack but he felt bad that he was the only one that wasn't eating and enjoying with his class. Has anyone ever tried a hypnotist for this kind of issue and if yes, did you see good results? My son is open to seeing a hypnotist since deep down, he wants to overcome his fear but it's so debilitating that he can break down in tears when talking about trying new foods since it induces so much anxiety.

I also want to point out that he used to eat yogurt and string cheese and cream cheese on corn cakes but over the years, he stopped eating these foods and says he doesn't really like them anymore. He would even eat a little chicken on the bone if I cut it up for him but it was extremely hard for him and he didn't enjoy it and he has stopped that as well. I would appreciate any help or input since I don't know what to do at this point and I really want to help him.
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amother
OP


 

Post Fri, Jun 14 2024, 1:00 pm
I want to add that he is a healthy well adjusted, confident kid in general BH. He has friends and is great at sports so this food issue is not majorly impacting his life at this point but when I think about him in yeshiva and getting married some day, I don't know what will be with him only eating turkey and hotdogs.
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amother
Chicory


 

Post Fri, Jun 14 2024, 1:07 pm
I'm struggling with dd13 as well. She is going to camp for the first time and I'm so nervous about what she will eat besides noshing. She is not pretty chubby for her age. She is afraid to try new foods and won't touch vegetables other than plain potatoes, kugel, latkes, or french fries. It was hard for her to eat maror at the Seder.
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amother
Wheat


 

Post Fri, Jun 14 2024, 1:28 pm
Have you ever tried feeding therapy?
There are therapists trained for exactly this situation. They work with children to introduce new foods into their diets. It's a long process including looking at the food, touching food, licking food...all at the child's pace.
I know some kids who have been really successful getting over some food anxiety with this method.
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amother
Burgundy


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 10:53 am
Look into ARFID
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amother
Razzmatazz


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 7:04 pm
Sounds like Arfid.
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amother
Ghostwhite


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 7:25 pm
My child (toddler aged) had feeding therapy and it helped. It is a long process but I got him to experiment 2 very common foods that he didn't eat in 6 months and he started eating them regularly. He also had fear of choking on certain foods. Nowadays I can also get him to try certain foods with incentives.
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amother
Rose


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 8:21 pm
This sounds like ARFID. I am having this same exact issue with my DD11yrs.
You should look into an eating disorder specialist, not a hypnotist.
We started treatment about 2 months ago with EQUIP. It's a great treatment program. They accept most insurance and the whole program is virtual. Better to take care of this issue now at this age, it doesn't go away on it's own and the longer you wait the harder it gets to treat. Good luck!
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amother
OP


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 8:57 pm
amother Rose wrote:
This sounds like ARFID. I am having this same exact issue with my DD11yrs.
You should look into an eating disorder specialist, not a hypnotist.
We started treatment about 2 months ago with EQUIP. It's a great treatment program. They accept most insurance and the whole program is virtual. Better to take care of this issue now at this age, it doesn't go away on it's own and the longer you wait the harder it gets to treat. Good luck!


Thank you for responding! How is the program going so far? I wish we could dm each other about this because I don't know anyone else who is dealing with this personally but we're both posting anonymously so I can't dm you.
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amother
Chambray


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 9:05 pm
I usually would say to look into Lyme or PANS but you say your child is otherwise well adjusted and typically developing, which is surprising. No anxiety of any sort? Difficulty sleeping? Outbursts, tantrums, meltdowns? Other signs of sensory processing issues?

If no, then I'd possibly look into myofunctional issues and gut issues.

People have had success improving very restrictive eating by using a humic-fulvic supplement
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amother
Sage


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 9:06 pm
amother Rose wrote:
This sounds like ARFID. I am having this same exact issue with my DD11yrs.
You should look into an eating disorder specialist, not a hypnotist.
We started treatment about 2 months ago with EQUIP. It's a great treatment program. They accept most insurance and the whole program is virtual. Better to take care of this issue now at this age, it doesn't go away on its own and the longer you wait the harder it gets to treat. Good luck!

Hugs to all the fellow ARFID moms out there, definitely not easy!!
Can you please give more info about this program?
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amother
Lightgray


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 9:26 pm
You might want to look up ARFID on clinicaltrials.gov.
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amother
Linen


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 9:47 pm
I relate to ehat you say about looking for a hypnotist. Even with treating for arfid, it’s practically impossible for these children to progress at a normal pace and live like their friends. I am having a hard time with it. Hypnotism would be much more helpful
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amother
Melon


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 10:31 pm
I have a child that’s like this except the food is much more limited to what you’re saying your son can eat. This child was a very happy and healthy child especially food wise - (ate everything in moderation and was at the 50th percentile for height and weight) but at 8-9 years old started to drop food that was never an issue one after the other. And is now down to eating about 7-8 foods total.

I’m pretty chilled in general , parenting and otherwise , and I kept telling myself I don’t want to hyper focus on this issue, since this child is doing extremely well academically, social, and in all areas - and keep saying to myself that if I address this I’d be making an issue when there is none. I didn’t want this to develop into an eating disorder by making a big deal over it but now I’m hesitating since it’s getting worse.
I can’t even picture thus child married and having meals with a spouse or cooking - the feeling of being “grossed out” by so many different foods is very strong.
At the pediatrician I was always told not to worry, specifically since this child is not off the chart in either direction, and is doing great medically in every other way.
But as the years go by I’m definitely seeing that theres more to this problem than not being “off the charts” and I’m not sure I shouldn’t be concerned.
This child like the one a poster mentioned above is also going to camp this summer for the first time. Should I be worried ?
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amother
Powderblue


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 11:22 pm
Recommend OT or SLP who is a feeding specialist. (We didn’t do it yet, but really should).

Please tell us more about EQUIP?
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amother
Camellia


 

Post Sat, Jun 15 2024, 11:37 pm
Thank you for posting . I feel like I can post exactly this … Just that my son eats even less .
Following this … hoping for new direction!
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amother
Arcticblue


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 4:34 am
SLP here. I do feeding therapy but with younger kids than your son.

BH your son actually has a fairly decent range of foods he eats!

I would not recommend a hypnotist.

Since your son is motivated, you could try reading books together and implementing the books’ strategies. A couple of options are The Picky Eater’s Recovery Book, and Conquer Picky Eating for Teens and Adults.

If that doesn’t work, you should ask your pediatrician for a referral for a comprehensive feeding evaluation, ideally from a multidisciplinary feeding disorders clinic. Where I live, the feeding disorders program at a big hospital has psychologists, nutritionists, OTs, SLPs, and nurses.
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mummiedearest




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 5:24 am
I was more picky than that. Here’s what I do with my own kids to prevent these issues:

We have rules around new foods. They are required to try one new food if it is on the table. I define trying something as putting something of visible size in their mouths and chewing three times. After that, they are welcome to spit it out in a napkin or the garbage can, no expectation of them liking it. It can take a number of tries to acquire a new taste, so repeat the same food sometimes. They can absolutely play with the food in question. Make it an easygoing atmosphere, positive talk about the food and trying it. If your son doesn’t love the food but is ok with it, keep it in rotation and have him eat a certain amount of it.
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smiley21




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 8:46 am
Hi, fellow ARFID Mom here. There is an ARFID support group for frum parents. Email arfidparents@gmail.com to join.
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amother
Sage


 

Post Sun, Jun 16 2024, 11:10 am
smiley21 wrote:
Hi, fellow ARFID Mom here. There is an ARFID support group for frum parents. Email arfidparents@gmail.com to join.

What kind of support group is it? (Zoom, WhatsApp, FB, in person….)
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