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Do kids emotionally eat too?

Posted Sep 16 2009 10:12pm
Over the weekend, I spent a little more time with Rascal's 12 year old son. We'll call him Carbon Copy (CC) because he is just like his dad.

I adore this kid. He cheered me on during my triathlon and was totally inspired. He's a sweet, affectionate, little gentleman who does really well in school and treats me very respectfully. Rascal has done a great job.

This sweet boy doesn't really have a mother.

She doesn't have anything to do with him at all. She shows up randomly, will spend a few hours with him and then disappear for months at a time. Every time she does show up, he's affectionate, loving and forgiving. Then she's off again.

Makes me so sad.

The only consistent women in CC's life are Rascal's mother (who was also a single mom) and Rascal's ex-wife (who has a child of her own - Rascal's 4 year old son). CC is able to spend time with these two but again, randomly. Mostly it's just CC and his dad and for a few days a week, his little brother.

Since Rascal was at a fishing tournament over the weekend, CC and I went to breakfast together on Saturday morning. I have noticed, from time to time, that Rascal will get on to CC for eating too much. He's the typical pre-teen boy that wants to play video games or read books. When he's bored, he eats. And that boy can eat!

So, we're at breakfast and I'm marveling about how much he can eat.

"Please don't pick on me about how much I eat," he pleads with me, "My daddy does that enough already. I'm fat. I know it. I don't care."

Now for the record, this kid is not fat AT ALL. And the only reason Rascal says these things is because CC doesn't get out and do any form of exercise to balance out his food intake.

Then again, Rascal has also told me that he thinks CC may be feeling a deep sense of pain about his mother. Rascal wonders where this pain will manifest.

Food perhaps?


I worry enough with having two daughters.

I am a label reader. I try to put healthy foods in our bodies at least most of the time.

I don't pick on my girls about food. I try to get them to balance though. Did they have a vegetable with lunch? If they've eaten nothing but fruit, then no juice til tomorrow. How much water have you consumed today?

I try to teach them to eat like it took me YEARS to learn. One simple word:


I eat whatever I want but I try to maintain balance. I try to eat smaller portions. I try to exercise.

I had a horrible metabolism for many years from yo-yo dieting so I feel fortunate, at nearly 40, to have a great metabolism.

But most often, people and children eat for emotional problems. My concern also, as a parent, is that if I focus too much on food, will it become an issue later on?

I also think, though the focus is mostly on girls, that boys can emotionally eat as well. Or have problems with body issues and eating disorders. If that is true, this is the perfect case for it to happen. CC is so sensitive... I could imagine him falling into this.


"I'm not going to pick on you about how much you eat," I told CC, "You can eat whatever you want. And you ARE NOT FAT. The only reason your dad says anything to you is not because he's worried about you being fat. He's worried about you being healthy. Exercise will help you to stay strong so you don't get sick so much."

"I am not doing a triathlon," he grumbles.

"Ha! Sweetie, you do whatever you want to do that will keep you active. Your dad says you're good at all kinds of sports!"

I dropped it at that.

Later that night, CC talked my ear off about how he went to the basketball court and shot hoops for an hour. He was so proud that he would challenge himself to certain goals of how many he could shoot or from how far. He is exceptional at whatever sport he puts his mind too. Rascal was the same way.

As he followed me around the house excitedly talking, I high-fived him and encouraged him to keep it up.

Rascal was glowing.

"I'm so glad he opened up to you," Rascal said, "He just needs encouragement from someone other than me, I guess."

I hope the little I gave helped. I really dig that kid.
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