From Jess, Child's Age 15 - 06/17/20 - IP#:  Click here to reply  
I am very worried about my 15 year old son. Two years ago he was pretty skinny, 13 and 5 foot 1 (160lbs).Around this point he started visiting with his father (who I separated with when he was young).
His father was always chubby, and at this point must be over 400lbs. Now he has custody on the weekends.
Over those two years my boy has just gotten bigger and bigger, and I am very worried for him. His health has gotten really bad, he struggles to go up more then one flight of stairs, getting winded, and has complained of back pain and leg pain.
I have always tried to cook healthily and keep my kids active, though he never was big on athletics, when he is with me I try to get him out on his bike or at least walking, but it is getting harder and harder because of his size. Last fall, at his pediatrician appointment, he was five foot five and a scary 262lbs, I knew he was overweight but I didn’t think he was that big. His younger brother, who also visits his dad on the weekends is also getting rather chubby, as at 14 he is 5 foot 3 and 208lbs as of the fall.
My ex doesn’t eat a healthy diet and his whole family is sedentary, but some of what I have heard is scary. Apparently, when over there, their diet mainly consists of pizza and other takeout, and apparently they will be given whole large pizzas for dinner. I’ve tried talking to my ex but he doesn’t seem to be worried and says I am over reacting, and that he has never noticed either of them struggling or have any health complications.
I’m at my wit’s end. My son is just huge, he has basically transitioned to sports shorts and oversized t-shirts as any form of jeans (or other butteN ups) are uncomfortable to him.
Reply from Justin, Child's Age 17 - 07/06/20  - IP#:
Jess, have you tried getting him to move more when he is with you? Maybe go for a bike ride? Also fall is a long time, your son could very well be nearing 300 pounds at this rate. Do you know how heavy he is currently?
Reply from Jess, Child's Age 15 - 06/25/20  - IP#:
Tessa - I completely agree with you that my ex has an unhealthy relationship with food. He also suffers from severe depression, which I think is one of the causes and I try to be conscious of.
We haven’t really had a sit down with him and his family for dinner, though I have met him for lunch to discuss co-parenting, so he has seen how I eat, but him (and his family) coming over to have dinner might be a good idea. I know they all live rather sedentary live and are obese themselves, so maybe it would light a fire for change for them.
I wish it was as simple as only allowing him custody those two days, but my son is old enough that a lot of the time he just goes on his own, and I don’t think I could restrict him from going over voluntarily without risking a huge fight with him. He is also good friends with his younger half-brother, so I wouldn’t want to have to hurt that friendship.
I know my younger son is a bit chubbier then he should be, but I definitely see my older one as being the bigger issue, and because I think most of the troubles come from my ex’ visitation, I think if we can work that out it would be a net benefit for both their long-term health.
Reply from Seong Hwa, Child's Age 18 - 06/24/20  - IP#:
It seems for your situation you have two people to deal with. If you want your son to change his dad also have to change. I wish I could say something better but for me it is completely different. My son is the only one who is obese in our family, which he and me both find hard to deal with. i think maybe your son would think he is not that bad if his dad is like that too, for my son no one in his family eat like him or look like him but somehow he still does not think he is that bad. maybe they are both like this because they are boys I wish there was an easy way to make kid see how serious it is like how parent sees it. Most people say you have to wait, which we all know is true but it is too hard to watch. I hope for you, you can work it out with him and his dad and that he wants to change sooner and not later.
Reply from Tessa, Child's Age 14 - 06/21/20  - IP#:
I feel for you. My son is also obes (14 and 220ish pounds) and I know how hard it is. He wants to be cool and wear the best clothes but finding anything that fits is a struggle. Sadly, like your son he has become reliant on oversized t-shirts and sweats. I am happy you have a good relationship with yoyr ex, but it may be time to set limits. If he isnt willing to adhere to your standards it might be time to retreat to the legal bare minimum. It doesnt sound like he is co-parenting, it sounds like he is just putting through the motions.
You say your ex is obese himself. My husband is also massively obese (though working on it and losing weight through diet and activity) and I will say a lot of people are simply putting through the motions in life. When my older son was huge it was a wake up call for us and my husband had to deal with the fact he wasnt in good shape himself.
You say your ex is on good terms, bur has he been to your place for dinner to see what you (not him) sees as a reasonable dinner? I say this because in his weight loss journey my husband has had to make the realization that what he saw as a reasonable dinner was 2-3 times what most people ate in a normal meal. Maybe if your ex sees what you see as a good meal he can recoginse his own issues and be a partner in encouraging healthy lifestyles for both your kids, because both clearly have major weight issues, (I put their height/weight/age in a BMI calculator and your oldest was obese even two years ago when you said he was skinny) and your oldest literally brought up a message asking if I was sure the measurements were right because it was so far from normal.
Reply from Jess, Child's Age 15 - 06/21/20  - IP#:
Yep, this is basically where we are with my son. Deep down, I know he realizes he is far bigger then is healthy, he is double the weight of some of his friends and will even joke about that, but he doesn’t seem to want to lose weight or get healthier. The closest thing is that he will complain about secondary issues - like that he struggles to keep up with his friends, or his back hurts, or that it is getting hard to find fitting clothes, and nearly impossible to find ‘cool’ clothing that fits. He has basically settled on wearing sweatpants which I can cut off the bottom of the legs and restitch them, oversized gym shorts, and baggy t-shirts. Whenever he has to wear anything with a button (jeans, slacks, dress shirts, etc) it is always hard because anything that fits around the waist and Thigh area is likely too long for him, or the thigh/butt area is too tight.
The only good thing is that his doctor thinks he is a ‘late bloomer’ and has yet to really have his growth spurt, but even so I worry that if things don’t change he could be over 300lbs in the next year and as an adult could be at least as big as his father (currently around 430ishlbs according to him).
Reply from Jess, Child's Age 15 - 06/21/20  - IP#:
Jesse -
My husband (their stepfather) used to be a chef, so he does most of the cooking (trust me, they don’t want to eat what I call cooking... Something I’ve never quite gotten the hang of!) He is also a fitness buff (the irony, I know) so he tries to cook healthy and balanced meals, lots of veggies, lean meat, etc. We go by the rule of cooking what we need, with maybe extras of the healthier parts of the meal for seconds. Occasionally we will go out - mostly to nicer local restaurants, not McDonalds) for special occasions and the rare night out as a treat, though every once and a while we will be driving for vacation and are guilty of stopping for the quick bite to eat at a fast food spot, but normally only a handful of times a year.
Legally, my ex has custody two days a week, though we are on animable terms and some weeks he might have them three or four days a week for a special event or just because they want to hang out a bit more over there. We (Me and step-father) want them to have a good relationship with their father and that side of the family for their own benefit (they have two half brothers, their father, and step mother), so the reality is that they do tend to spend more time over there then just those two days. There are also days where they will go to my ex’s house for a few hours after school before coming home - they are close with their 13 year old half brother and again we don’t feel depriving them of a relationship with their father is the right thing to do.
Reply from Jess, Child's Age 15 - 06/20/20  - IP#:
Thanks for all the replies, I will try to reply to each individually.
Marge - We (me and my husband, his step father) have tried to talk to him about it, as has his doctor. We are trying to be respectful and not freak him out over it. He does complain about the issues, notably that he can’t keep up with his skinnier friends, and struggles more then other kids with basic physical activity. He also has been embarrassed out in public when clothes that used to fit were clearly too small on him (he had to do a presentation in class in early July and right before the class a button of his dress shirt popped off and he had to do his presentation in his undershirt), but he doesn’t seem to connect those issues with his weight. In terms of his weight, he doesn’t really seem to mind - he is a funny and sociable kid so he doesn’t get much grief about it from his peers, other then the occasional ‘fat’ joke.
We don’t want to make a big deal about it because we don’t want him to label himself as the fat kid, we just want to encourage him to lose 10-20lbs and be more active.
Reply from Seong Hwa, Child's Age 18 - 06/20/20  - IP#:
It is very hard to be a parent of someone like this, I understand your feelings of worry. I had such hard time talking to my son but I found best way is to ask how they feel about their weights. This could be different for you but I talk to my son Jeongguk and he said for first time that he knows his weights is a problem but he does not feel like he is ready to fix it yet. It is hard for me to hear but I realize he will make change when he's ready. Your son is so young, maybe try talking about how he feels rather then his health or how his weights is a problem.
Reply from Jesse, Child's Age 11 - 06/18/20  - IP#:
What do your boys eat when they're with you? You have them 5 days of the week, their father on 2 days, right? Do they eat healthy food with you?
Reply from marge, Child's Age 15 - 06/18/20  - IP#:
Hey jess, i feel your pain. Have you confronted your son about his weight gain and if so any tips on how too. Im just another mom struggling to help their obese child.