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My step son wont eat food
DaisyBreeze posted:
I have a step son. He really is a very sweet boy but my instincts are telling me that there is a problem

He is 8 but will only eat three things in the world, these are plain american cheese style mac and cheese, plain cheese pizza and grilled cheese (only american cheese)
He only drinks two things, these are strawberry yogurt horizon drink, and apple juice
He literally for the most party lives on this yogurt drink, when he is hungry, he will drink a yogurt, for breakfast lunch and dinner he mostly drinks this yogurt. And when he can't get this specific yogurt brand/flavor he gets cranky and bawls his eyes out

He goes into melt down everytime I even suggest he try something new, but it's not an anger sort of melt down, it's one of fear

He is genuinely scared of trying new food. He's been like this since he was 2

I just worry that he can't live on yogurt
Now that he's 8 he is still scared to death of and has never tried stuff like soda, ice cream, milk, any other cheese aside mac and cheese, meat, sea food, mexican food, italian food, vegetables, fruit or really anything. He is afraid of sauce, he is afraid when there are other objects in his food like if you added sweet corn into the mac and cheese or something it would freak him out

His parents are vegetarians, and have made him vegetarian too which I can understand, but that doesn't explain why he can't eat other vegetarian foods or vegetables/fruits or even candy!

If I say offer him a piece of chocolate cake, he will say "I hate chocolate cake" then I will ask him if he has ever tried chocolate cake and he will say "no"
The one time that I did get him to try chocolate cake, he worked himself up so much about it, that when he did try it (the smallest nibble) he actually physically started gagging like he was going to throw up so we abandoned that plan

When I try to get him to try stuff he will shout and say "my mum gives me the same thing every night, why are you making me do this!?"
Or when we take him to a restaurant he can't eat anything on the menu and will cry the entire time until we can take him elsewhere to get a grilled cheese

Beyond this he is even phobic about the stuff he can eat, for example, when making a grilled cheese, he will demand to know what the brand is, because he's got it in his head that he can only eat horizon brand american cheese, because that is the only kind his mum buys. And if you show him the cheese and it's not horizon he flips and and refuses to eat it

I've tried the method of when he is at our house, we sit down and should all have the same meal, but he will refuse to eat it, and my husband thinks it's cruel to try and force him to eat it and so usually gives in and makes a grilled cheese. Also to enforce this idea his ex wife would have to be onboard with it so that she could do it at her house also

I've tried having my husband talk to his ex, but she thinks it isn't a problem, she never eats out at restaurants herself, so this is why her son has no exposure to it, and she fed him the same food with the same brands his entire life.

Am I the one whos being too anxious about this? I'm just worried that he will be an adult and not be able to enjoy food at a restaurant or with friends. He's very short and very thin, which i suppose is normal for some kids, but it does worry me just how serious he is about not eating foods he considers strange
I think the problem came from two places When he was a toddler apparently his dad offered him food from a chop stick that was very spicy and made him cry for hours, he told me he's scared that the food he puts in his mouth will physically hurt him, which even though i have deeply assured him will not doesn't seem to rid this fear. Secondly his mum had fed him the same stuff for so long that I think he just doesn't know anything else or want to know anything else.
I'm really fighting this battle alone, should I just give up and not interfere?
momuv4girls responded:
I am not a professional, just a mom who has learned a lot over the past 25-years, and my best guess here is this isn't really about the food its about anxiety.

With divorce and step-parents involved, treatment needs to be consistent and collaborative. You mention the Mom doesn't think anything is wrong - it might take educating her about anxiety / ocd stuff in children to have her realize she is not doing her son any favors by not acknowledging he has an issue.

You can do some research online, talk to a knowledgeable Child Psychologist and decide how would be the best way to proceed.

This website has a lot of interesting info. - here is page about anxiety:

Take care, and I hope you are able to convince the parents to get him some help.
sarahogan responded:
Another thing that I have seen as a teacher is a sensory perception disorder (SPD), it's not really about the food or how it tastes, it's how it feels. There is a little girl at the school where I used to work that has it so severely that she gags every time she eats anything that is not what she's used to. In her case, she can only tolerate crunchy foods, and like your stepson, cake makes her gag, the spongy feeling of the cake feels so off on her tongue that even the smallest bit is too much to handle. She sees an occupational therapist to help her with this issue, and since she began seeing her, she has been able to integrate a few more foods into her diet.
Now I'll give you the example of my son. We found out when my son was 4 that he has celiac disease (gluten intolerance), and he could only eat a small amount of any food, (we're talking one or two bites here), but some foods caused him to have severe anxiety when presented. It turns out, those foods were the ones that caused severe gastrointestinal distress (heavy in gluten) that he was afraid of. If your stepson has a food allergy, it is possible he has developed a fear of foods he's not used to eating because in the past, new foods caused some sort of allergic reaction and discomfort for him (most likely an internal reaction that was not visible to onlookers), and therefore has developed a fear of trying any new foods.
These are just a few more suggestions to look into in addition to what the PP said.
Good Luck.
kikki replied to sarahogan's response:
maybe try a eating clinic. my nephew was doing the same thing and small for his age (my sister is little too) he is doing alot better & somtimes will ask for a hotdog in the am she does what ever makes him eat.alsoa verry pickyperson too. his has to be from the same place lol. he is even ocd with what he wears. he is 5 yrs old.hope this helps.oh also was told not to stress him out about or his weight somedays he will eat his same things like a adult size portion. i think your first stop is the eating clinic

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