Find Your Fit: Your Family’s Feeding Therapy Partner

We recently wrote about how different the feeding therapy experience can be and how confusing it is for parents who may be simply handed a referral. One mom who described the eight months her son was in a behavioral feeding therapy program as “traumatic for us both,” was furious to learn that she had options. Her son thrived after a tongue-tie release procedure and responsive therapies that worked on healing his reluctance (worsened by coercive feeding and therapy), supporting appetite and decreasing anxiety. Most of our clients have “failed” months or years of various feeding therapies. Jenny was the 6th feeding therapist for a 3 year old client she worked with recently who made more progress in six weeks than he had in the three previous years. When you don’t know much about a program, and the website uses language that is confusing, or you don’t get a clear idea of what kinds of therapies they offer, you may need to dig further to find out if a therapist or program is a good fit for your family. Here are some questions you can ask and discussion points (link here: Finding Your Feeding Therapy Partner PDF) Of note, these are complex issues, and we go into this in depth in chapter eight in our book, Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating. Sometimes, even if you are contemplating formal therapies, you can make progress at home. We practice Responsive Feeding and Therapies  with our STEPs+ approach (including links if you’d like to learn more). If this is what you are looking for, here are some suggested questions to see if a potential therapist...

My Child Choked and Won’t Eat! Help!

We recently got a question from a mother whose daughter had a choking episode and is refusing to eat. “Our six year old had a choking episode two weeks ago, but the food popped out pretty quickly. She is now only drinking Pediasure. Our pediatrician is not concerned since she is drinking Pediasure (“Total nutrition” he said!), but our daughter is panicked about choking again and seems to be getting worse. We called the local eating disorder treatment center, and they can see her- in three months! We don’t know what to do!” (Assuming her weight is stable or minimal decline, and that her development and eating were typical before the aversive event, and assuming the pediatrician has ruled out any reason behind the choking event…) A few general thoughts for this mom and others with the same concern: You are right not to wait three months! Most children in this situation don’t need inpatient or intensive Eating Disorder treatment, but things can get worse quickly. This is not an uncommon event, but scary all around. EARLY support leads to best the outcome. Your doctor isn’t too worried, but you are seeing a dramatic difference and your gut says you need help. The phobia can become more entrenched the longer it goes on. (See case study below we wrote for doctors on Medscape for more. Part of why we are sharing this is for parents to have it to show to the child’s doctor if they need help finding resources, or having concerns taken seriously.) This is a traumatic event, and can take time to heal, but you should see steady progress with support. Find a therapist...

Picky Eating Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely

Picky Eating and Social Isolation One of the main reasons parents and teens seek out help for persistent or “extreme” picky eating has less to do with what they are or aren’t putting in their mouths, and more to do with the very human drive for social connection; the child who misses out on parties or sleepovers because he is anxious he won’t find anything to eat, the tween who skips the block party because of comments from neighbors, the teen who won’t eat in front of others and dreads dating. Selective teens and adults tend to have more anxiety around eating with others, and social anxiety in general. It makes sense; most of our social gatherings and celebrations revolve around food and meals, and people seem to love to talk about what others are or aren’t eating. The following are some tips on helping children and teens who are selective eaters avoid isolation and stay connected. Stay connected... it's what's important now. CHILDRENStaying connected to parents: It’s not worth damaging your relationship with your child for short term goals. Meals ending in tears, mealtime “hostage negotiations” and conflict over getting your child to eat will likely make her eating worse, and can push a wedge between you and your child. Focus on pleasant mealtimes and routine meals and snacks. Our book Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating tells you how, step by step.Protecting your child from outside pressure: Comments, teasing, shaming from family, friends and teachers can make your child self-conscious about eating with others. You may have to talk for your young child to fend off pressure....

conquer picky eating for teens and adults, what “conquer” means to you

When we were mulling over the title of our book for teens and adults, we hit on the word  “conquer.” Conquer Picky Eating for Teens and AdultsConquer is a bold word, and one that we invite you to define in a way that works for you.  conquer: to overcome, get the better of, control, master, get a grip on, deal with, cope with, surmount, rise above, get over; quell, quash, beat, triumph over As we write in the book: “Success” with eating looks different for different people. Some of you may turn into “foodies” down the road, and others will learn to enjoy enough foods to eat out comfortably, or you might add a handful of foods to round out basic nutritional needs. Why not reach for the stars? You might not have to settle for slogging through meals, or having to chase every bite with a slurp of soda or a piece of candy as you may have been told. For some, taking eating from a negative experience to at least neutral (or not unpleasant) may be enough.” What does “conquer” mean to you? What do you hope to rise above, triumph over, or deal with in terms of your relationship with food?    order now Share this...

Giving Your Teen a Self-help Book About Picky/Selective Eating

Maybe you’ve given up hope. Maybe you decided fighting over every bite wasn’t worth it so your teen fixes a bowl of cereal or you pick up a plain burger and fries on the way home from work most nights. Maybe you are still trying the bribes, rewards, nagging, punishment tactics you’ve been doing for years.Maybe you eat dinner alone and your teen eats and texts in their room.Now there’s a new book, Conquer Picky Eating for Teens and Adults. We want your teen to have this book, that’s why we wrote it after all. We’ve heard from parents who are planning to buy this book for their teen. We’re glad… but we advise caution. For those of you who have read our first book (Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating,  geared towards parents of younger children) you’ll know we review that for most selective eaters, pressure to eat, even rewards and praise, doesn’t work.So, how can you approach this topic of picky eating without your teen feeling it as pressure?  “It is normal for teens to seek independence from parents and this may include rejecting parental suggestions.”Erin VandenLangenberg PhD Ideally, we want teens to come to this work with their own motivations, to feel ready to take control of the process; to explore their past around eating, why they might have had picky eating that persisted beyond what is common for half of their peers. Turns out, temperament can play a big part. We’ve worked with countless families who shared how wonderfully independent and strong-willed their children could be (okay, they didn’t always say “wonderfully”) but you get the...

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