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Message Replying To
From Alice, child's age 15
Hey, I'm very worried about my 15 year old son Jack's weight.
Up until around two years ago Jack was fairly slender. Not a stick figure, but certainly not overweight.
But over the past two years he has put on a considerable amount of weight and is now, as of the doctor's check up yesterday, obese.
He is fairly tall for a 15 year old - 5 foot 10, but weighs 203 pounds. While it was obvious he was overweight this was a shock to me.
I've been worried for his health definitely for the past year. He used to be very active - playing on his school's baseball, soccer, and swim teams since he was little - but as he has gotten larger the physical effort has taken its toll and he quit soccer around six months ago. While he is still on the swim team, technically, he very rarely goes to practice and has only gone to one meet in the past eight months, because having to wear a tight speedo makes him very self-conscious of his large belly and beginning manboobs.
While he is still active on the baseball team, two months ago he requested to start playing as catcher rather then outfielder like he used to love. When I pressed him on why he quit soccer and wanted to play catcher he told me that all the running makes him too winded.
Part of the problem is that me and his dad divorced when he was two, and we split custody. He goes to his dad's every weekend, and me and my new Husband (and his half siblings) for the week. I've always wanted to make sure his dad was a part of his life, and overall we are on good terms with my ex - he has his problems which caused our seporation, but he loves his son and is still a lovely human being.
But, the biggest problem is that my ex has fairly severe depression and a mild alcohol problem. He's not a classic drink as soon as he wakes up alcoholic, but he's not always 100% there. He has gained a not-insignificant amount of weight himself putting him over-300lbs, and when Jack (our son) is there I know that he eats just like his father - very poorly and lots of high calorie fast food. So as much as I try to cook healthy, well-planned meals, a lot of the time it feels like an uphill battle.
For instance, a couple weekends ago Jack and his father apparently had a pizza eating contest in which they each got a large meatlovers pizza. Jack ate his full large pizza and then finished the two slices his father couldn't. This was around an hour before I picked him back up, drove him home, and fed him a full dinner. I didn't even hear about the contest until his father told me a few days later when talking on the phone.
Jack just doesn't seem to have an off switch. He will complain that I didn't make enough dinner when he had seconds and me and my husband could barely finish our first helping. If we don't lock down any snacks, we will wake up and find that he snuck to the kitchen overnight and ate a full bag of chips. We pack him healthy, good lunches for school, but I found out a couple weeks ago from one of his teachers that he has been eating both that lunch, as well as spending his allowance on the school lunch.
And he is very selectively aware of his weight problem. When it embarrasses him, like when six months ago he put on a suit he hadnt worn for a few months before for a wedding and split the pants in front of his cousins or when he is in a bathing suit next to a girl he has a crush on, but outside of those situations he is very dismissive and casual about his weight gain. That suit incident happened a few days after I politely suggested we should go find a new suit for the wedding and he insisted that his current suit fit perfectly and he had even 'just tried it on.'
I really want to help him, and I'm willing to go back to court and cut off visits to his dad if I have to, but I just don't think thats the answer. I think he needs to learn to accept his flaws and his size in order to live a healthier lifestyle.