March 15, 2011

7 going on 13

I always thought that when the kids were old enough to do things for themselves that I could relax for a while, just sit back and enjoy them until they hit the awkward tween years.  Boy, was I wrong.  Taking care of preschoolers, toddlers and babies seems so easy, so clear cut compared to older kids. 

Corrina  is 7 (I'm not sure if she's a typical 7 year old) and our relationship seems to be deteriorating very quickly.  We have reached this point where everything I say is wrong.  I only have to ask a simple question about her day and it usually turns into a big deal.  She spends most of her time in her room listening to music.  She lies to me.  She is always playing her dad against me.  She does her best to avoid spending time alone with me and when we are alone, she spends our time arguing with everything I say. 

I can't help but have the feeling that we are failing miserably as her parents.  I'm not sure where to begin with her.  These are issues I didn't think I'd have to deal with for at least another 4 years.  I don't know if I am making something bigger out of the situation or if Steve downplays the problem too much.  For example, she spends an enormous amount of time in her room staring at herself in the mirror.  I told Steve that I think we should probably do something about it.  I don't see anyway that it can be a positive thing.  He said he thought it was probably normal and didn't know what we could do about it anyway.  That's when I told him that this is how eating disorders are developed...and bitches are made. 

This brings us to our bigger problem-weight.  She has put on quite a bit of weight lately.  It has gotten to the point where clothes that she just got 2 or 3 months ago will not fit at all.  I've also realized how much food she eats.  I've caught her sneaking to the kitchen while Steve and I are putting the other girls in bed and eating.  She comes downstairs after we've gone to sleep and eats.  I've tried to talk to her about it, but of course, it ends in a fight.  I'm just mean mom who doesn't want her to have any enjoyment in life.  I'm trying not to harp on her about it because I don't want her to feel self conscious about weight at the age of 7.  I don't want her obsessing over it.  I want her to feel good about herself and love everything about herself.  But sneaking food?  I can't really ignore that, can I? 

I know that I haven't always been a great role model when it comes to making wise choices about food.  I've been trying to change this.  I make 3 meals a day, we avoid convenience food and usually only eat out maybe once every 2 weeks.  I don't buy sweets or chips.  We limit the amount of sugar we have.  I have even joined the gym and exercise on a daily basis.  I realize that the choices I make and my actions have a huge impact on the way my children view things.  What else can I change?  What is the best way to address the changes in my daughter?  Is this behavior typical of a 7 year old?  Right now, I just don't know, but I will find the answers to my questions.


  1. maybe talk to her doctor about it and see if what shes experiencing is normal? with the way the world is SO fast paced today it might make sense that girls especially are experiencing their angsty stages earlier. but if definitely seems like there are a lot of feelings going on inside of her that shes working on getting out. someone posted this link to my blog. it made me feel very relieved to watch!

  2. Have you tried exercising together or making healthy snacks together? Maybe stage a healthy recipe hunt with her and use the internet. Go to a site like There they will ask you to type in some ingredients and, based on those ingredients, various recipes will pop up. Talk about the healthy ingredients (chosen by Corrina) and which of the recipes suggested are healthy and which are not and highlight reasons why... too much fat, sugar, not enough protein, "empty" foods that like enough fiber to keep one full.

    That may be a lot to take in at 7, but you get the idea.

    When my younger sister was 4 my mom didn't work and she was concerned about her own diet. As a role model (and probably the main role model at this point) she had Marissa help her create healthy lunch every day. Marissa got to cut up bananas with a plastic knife and count out baby carrots and cherry tomatoes. Stuff like that may be good for the little ones to do so they can get in on the fun.

    May I also suggest a badminton set for the summertime? Even the little one can get in on the fun just bouncing the birdie off the racket.

  3. First let me say this -- I am not an expert on anything -- just a fellow Mom and woman. :D

    I would be concerned too.
    You know your child best and if you feel like something is going on -- I am willing to bet it is. Do not second guess yourself and regret it later. The worse thing that could happen is that you find out it's nothing major and you were wrong.
    I don't know how the school system is where you live -- but here we have a Nutritionist that works with the school nurse and the guidence department. Check and see what sort of support your school system offers for this type of behavior.
    I hope it all works out -- I have had a similiar situation but with my teenagers. But they are boys and girls mature SO much faster!

    Good luck!

  4. I think you should definitely talk to her. Children sneaking food is usually a sign of something...mischief, boredom or even depression. I've read that a good way to combat sneaking food is to make her her own jar and fill it up with snacks that aren't too bad for her, such as fruit, granola bars, etc. Fill the jar up once a day (such as before bed time) and explain that is her daily allotment of snacks. Decide how many snacks she gets at your discretion.

    As I'm sure you do, constantly remind her of how pretty she is. Compliment her at every chance and if need be, explain to her that beauty isn't everything. I've noticed that with girls anymore, the attitude starts way earlier than it used to. They're already feeling the pressure of having a certain image at younger ages. But look at society. WalMart carries padded bras for girls who are just budding and clothes that I don't think are even appropriate for an adult! It's going to happen but just always be patient with her. Remember this is new for her too.

    Good luck with everything!

  5. You guys are great! I feel so much better and better equipped to deal with the situation just after writing about it. I have found so much wonderful information that I'll share at some point. I have a plan in place and I'll share that too at some point. Thanks for positive attitudes and suggestions.
    Sarah, thank you for the link. I really enjoyed it. I love that the guy couldn't pick out his baby! We sit around with pictures of our kids and can never tell who is who. It's pretty awful!

  6. I just read this and it was so weird for me to read. Not because I am experiencing this with my own kids (YET), but because what you described with your daughter reminds me so much of myself at that age. I don't want to scare you - I am not her, and I am sure she won't grow up to be me. But I am 30-y/o who struggles with RECOVERING from an eating disorder every day, and my dysfunctional relationship with food started at about that age. What might be happening (and again, I use MIGHT very loosely), is that your daughter is using food for comfort that she is not getting elsewhere. If your daughter isn't opening up to you, then she isn't opening up to anyone (which is SCARY). She needs to be talking to someone - my suggestion - get her to counseling ASAP. And, please as difficult (and impossible)as a parent as this might be, don't take it personal and try and "fix-it". My mother thought my issues were due to her failures as a parent (i.e., diet and exercise) when in actuality is was my relationship with food from a very young age that set my disorder spiraling. The only thing she could have done earlier to have helped me was to have gotten me professional help. The truth of the matter is this world is just AWEFUL for young girls, and the messages they get from society far outweigh any messages you give her at home. I urge you to take her to a counseling/mental health professional - if for nothing else, they can ease your mind that this is NOT the issue and then help you move forward from there.

    Good luck~ Michelle

  7. michelle, i want to apologize for my slow response. what you had to say is a lot to take in. thank you for sharing. As a mother, it's hard not to blame yourself or try to fix things. I think it's hard wired in the brain. That being said, I had to implement some changes in our house. I HAD to, for the collective good of our family.
    This is something I will be discussing with the doctor very soon, among other things.
    Thanks again for sharing and know that what you had to say has not fallen on deaf ears.

  8. I know this may sound odd, but maybe she's seeking seclusion because she's discovered something she wants to keep secret. A certain tool of pleasure that she feels guilty about... If she is "pleasuring herself" then maybe she feels insecure about it all and wants to hide away with it. I know a lot of little kids do discover masturbation at that young age and if she is more mature and understands its something that generally stays hidden or one of her friends told her something about it then she may start lying about it to keep it secret. I did then and i got into a bad habit of lying at a young age just trying to hide things from my parents. Also she may be an introvert and just want to have her own private time frequently to feel good and just relax. She's at the age also when they become stronger individuals in their personalities and if she's an introvert then most likely she has a few, very close friends but is somewhat shy and doesn't have problem with being around people she's known for a long time but is fairly uncomfortable around new people. Just my perspective on this whole situation.


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