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Help Please? 13 Year Old Son Sneaking Wheat!
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Hi

I am new to this forum but 13 year old son is "supposed" to have been gluten free since last April.

To cut a long story short he was really well all over xmas holdiays then got sick as soon as back at school. Luckily for me I can get a print out from the canteen and he has been having wheat products. I had asked him directly before the print out of he had been doing this and he said no!!!!

Obviously I have screamed and shouted but am at a loss to know how to get through to him!

I spend ages cooking for him and buying expensive gluten-free goodies, he really doesnt miss out, but clearly feels he is.

How should I continue with this. 13 is such a tricky age but I feel he should take some responsibility for what he eats, Is that not reasonable? I feel like sayong oh just eat what you want!!!!

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He's at a difficult age. His wanting to fit in is clouding his judgement. I think I can safely say that during those teen years most, if not all of us, did something that might not have been very smart just to "fit in" and be accepted?

In this case, it really is a life or death decision..much worse than many things kids come up against.

When my boys were growing up we had the usual "don't follow the crowd" talks, but we didn't have health issues thrown into the mix. I hope others that have kids can weigh in on this one and give you some advice.

Maybe take him to a Nursing Home/hospital oncology unit for a visit to see the effects of arthritis/other illnesses and ask him if he wants that for himself at a young age? Sometimes the mental image sticks enough to get through to them.

The Celiac version of "scared straight?"

Good luck Mom..stay on top of it.

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Could he bring a lunch from home? One that looks like everyone else's?

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This will not be the popular post. I believe in the "crime" fitting the punishment.

Make sure he really knows what he is doing. If he does, he probably should be bringing his food from home to be safe. Cut off that lunch account.

You will need to talk to the school about this. I would tell him that if he continues to make bad choices, I will eat lunch with him everyday to make sure he makes good choices. Either in the lunch room or the counselors office. If he was going into the restroom at lunch and drinking alcohol, he would be either kicked out or have to eat lunch in the office.

I know this is a "hardship" for you. But if you don't stop this now, it will get worse later.

Yes, I know this makes it hard to "fit in" if mom is eating lunch with him. I'm hoping that you would only have to do it once to show him you are serious.

Obviously, if he can't be trusted at school, he can't be trusted at friend's houses, the movies, etc. He needs to earn those privelidges back by showing you he can be trusted.

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My daughter is 14, and is feeling the pressure/need/desire to fit in as well. When kids ask her why she doesn't want pizza or cake, she has found it more socially acceptable to say she's on a diet than to say she has to be gluten free or has celiac. It's tough enough at this age, but add the celiac to it and it's harder. I understand your frustration.

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Thanks for your replies, he does take packed lunch prob 3/5 days a week but has been buying "snacks" on those days too.

I think you are right in that the reason I am upset is it is a trust problem rather than just a food problem. We are always told to trust our kids and give them responsibility but when they blatantly lie then yes we should take away their privileges.

The only reason this came up is because he had run out of money on his account very quickly so I asked for a print out to see what he had spent, I did believe him when he said he hadnt eaten wheat :angry:

So yes packed lunches for quite a while even if only to save me money!!!!!

He is a bright kid but doesnt seem to quite seem to get the balance of rights and responsibilties.

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Thanks for your replies, he does take packed lunch prob 3/5 days a week but has been buying "snacks" on those days too.

I think you are right in that the reason I am upset is it is a trust problem rather than just a food problem. We are always told to trust our kids and give them responsibility but when they blatantly lie then yes we should take away their privileges.

The only reason this came up is because he had run out of money on his account very quickly so I asked for a print out to see what he had spent, I did believe him when he said he hadnt eaten wheat :angry:

So yes packed lunches for quite a while even if only to save me money!!!!!

He is a bright kid but doesnt seem to quite seem to get the balance of rights and responsibilties.

Does he get sick from eating it? That may be your only hope.

I bet $ he'll start trading for gluten snacks with his homemade gluten-free food. Just to prove he can, if nothing else.

He's 13.....

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Make him go grocery shopping with you, and have him pick out his snacks for the week.

Also, from now on, at least one to two nights a week, he helps you prepare his gluten free family dinner, where everybody eats the same gluten free meal, such as Rice Pasta Night or gluten-free Pizza Night or whatever.

Send extra non-perishable food with him to school and tell him to bring it home or stash it in his locker for later, if he doesn't eat it that day.

Don't suppose that he is into any sports, it is sometimes easier to get that type to be more concerned about what goes in, affects performance.

Does this school canteen stock ANYTHING that is gluten free that he could purchase, just out of curiosity? Can they be persuaded to do so ?

Teenaged boys are ravenous food consuming machines.

Oh, and be sure to tell him gluten is going to give him horrible acne. ;)

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Hi,

I just joined this group today also. I posted about my 12 year old daughter and all her gluten battles including surgery on her intestines.

She had been cheating and caused her to have intussusception (bowel obstruction). Tell him if he cheats it is doing him more harm than he realizes inside his intestines. We can't see inflammatory damage.

My 14 yr old son should be eating better foods. He was allergic to wheat, eggs, and every other thing when he was younger and outgrew a lot of it. But now he is having intestinal problems - running to the bathroom with urgency after eating certain foods, primarily greasy foods. (even if made with olive oil) I just had a blood test for him with a celiac panel. Seems boys are even worse than girls with complying with the diet. It is a full time job but just keep educating him about the disease and the harm it can do if he cheats "even a little bit".

I agree with the other post - shut off the lunch account. That's one less worry. Not to say there won't be more (like if he goes to a friends house.

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First of all, I would initially shut off the lunch account until he earned some trust/privileges back.

In the meantime, I would (like someone else suggested) take a look at what the canteen sold to determine what (if any) safe options there would be. Then if he does earn back canteen priviliges, he knows what he can get there.

Does he do much label reading? If not, he's going to need to eventually, so have him start now. Have him do some research on the internet (with your help) to find the mainstream acceptable teenage boy foods that won't look different from his friends. Assuming there are no other intolerances . . . he can get himself fritos or ice cream or microwave popcorn . . . stuff like that.

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You have got a lot of great advice. Some that I will be taking to heart too.

I have an almost 11 year old(not celiac), who after doing a three month gluten free trial, decided to stay gluten free. He is in 5th grade and right now and doesn't seem bothered by being on the diet and different. I'm hoping when he gets to middle school he will have the same attitude. He has always been happy doing his own thing when he chooses.

It's really my 7 year old(celiac) that I worry about this happening to. He has been gluten free now 14 months and is doing so well. He is the one that likes to "fit" in. Right now it isn't an issue, but down the road I wonder...

Good luck with sorting it out.

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Wow that's tough! My daughter is 13. Her case is different in that she doesn't have celiac but an IgG allergy which she is hoping to outgrow. She keeps begging me to get her tested. She has outgrown dairy, soy and egg. But I don't feel hopeful about the wheat. I say this because she has been tested twice already.

She does not buy lunch. Not ever. Luckily she doesn't want to. Her school doesn't have a lot of options and none of their lunches are ever wheat free. They do sell chips and fruit, milk, and one some days popcorn. I have insisted that she keep some money in her backpack on the off chance that she forgets her lunch. That hasn't happened yet but it did to someone I know and even though the mom brought the lunch to the school, the boy didn't get it. So he had to go without.

I would simply insist that he bring food from home.

I do have separate issues with my daughter. She has a variety of medical problems and she does seem to revel in her sick days because she doesn't want to go to school. Yes she had whooping cough and that made up most of the 15 days she has missed so far this year. But I have a heck of a time getting her to take her probiotics and vitamins. She seems to catch anything and everything nthat is going around. And I could be offbase here but I feel if she keeps the vitamins in her she is less likely to catch something. And if she keeps the probiotics in her, her tummy is less likely to give her trouble.

They do think they know everything at this age. That's the problem. Good luck!

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Even shutting off the canteen account won't stop him being able to get things from friends. If he wants to cheat, he will find a way, since he is starting to assert his independence and he wants things like to fit in.

I think the four things most people need in order to stick to a diet are:

  • Belief that their diet will keep them healthy or has the potential to make them feel better
  • Knowledge of they need to do to stay safe and stick to the diet
  • Control over what, when, and how they eat
  • Bonus: Food they like to eat!

So... my question to you is, which of these areas is lacking?

I'd press reset on the relationship between you and him and food, and confront it head on.

  • Apologize and take responsibility for having gone ballistic.
  • Explain that you fear for his health, but he's growing up now and it's not your responsibility but HIS to stay safe at school.
  • Ask him about the four areas above - what he cares about and doesn't care about, what he understands and doesn't understand.
  • Offer him your help in coming up with solutions that will work for him.

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I'm going to have to go with domesticactivist here and her nonpunitive suggestions. (Thank you for offering them!)

I'm worried that any attempts to punish and/or control your son will naturally be met with resistance or rebellion. It is human nature; children are no different. His health will not be improved, and your relationship with him will be damaged. He will be angry with you and he may even continue to eat gluten just to spite you. I am not chastising or judging, just sad and concerned because I have made these mistakes myself. I believe that you have to talk to him and explain how deeply concerned you are and how it makes you feel (scared to death!), and then truly listen to how he feels, with empathy and without judgment, so that you might reach a mutually agreeable solution. Think of how you would approach your best friend in the same situation perhaps.

I would recommend that anyone who is interested in influencing your children to choose to be more responsible and self-disciplined (rather than in attempting to control them with parental power/authority and the punishment-reward model) please read the works of the reknowned Dr. Thomas Gordon, especially P.E.T. (Parent Effectiveness Training). This book, and the related program Family Effectivenes Training, literally changed my life and gave me a loving, understanding, compassionate relationship with my child and stepchildren (and fiance!)that I never dreamed possible. He has proven over and over since the 1960s that punishment doesn't work and that it, in fact, produces the opposite of intended results, destroys parent-child relationships, and causes children to grow up emotionally damaged. It may sound crazy to us because hardly any of us were raised this way (and are largely unaware of the consequences of such in our own lives), but the science is sound and in practice it is undeniable.

I hope this helps! Best of luck to all. :)

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I'm going to have to go with domesticactivist here and her nonpunitive suggestions. (Thank you for offering them!)

I'm worried that any attempts to punish and/or control your son will naturally be met with resistance or rebellion. It is human nature; children are no different. His health will not be improved, and your relationship with him will be damaged. He will be angry with you and he may even continue to eat gluten just to spite you. I am not chastising or judging, just sad and concerned because I have made these mistakes myself. I believe that you have to talk to him and explain how deeply concerned you are and how it makes you feel (scared to death!), and then truly listen to how he feels, with empathy and without judgment, so that you might reach a mutually agreeable solution. Think of how you would approach your best friend in the same situation perhaps.

I would recommend that anyone who is interested in influencing your children to choose to be more responsible and self-disciplined (rather than in attempting to control them with parental power/authority and the punishment-reward model) please read the works of the reknowned Dr. Thomas Gordon, especially P.E.T. (Parent Effectiveness Training). This book, and the related program Family Effectivenes Training, literally changed my life and gave me a loving, understanding, compassionate relationship with my child and stepchildren (and fiance!)that I never dreamed possible. He has proven over and over since the 1960s that punishment doesn't work and that it, in fact, produces the opposite of intended results, destroys parent-child relationships, and causes children to grow up emotionally damaged. It may sound crazy to us because hardly any of us were raised this way (and are largely unaware of the consequences of such in our own lives), but the science is sound and in practice it is undeniable.

I hope this helps! Best of luck to all. :)

Thanks everybody, who knew parenting would be so tricky!!!! Especially as they get older!!!!

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I'm going to have to go with domesticactivist here and her nonpunitive suggestions. (Thank you for offering them!)

I'm worried that any attempts to punish and/or control your son will naturally be met with resistance or rebellion. It is human nature; children are no different. His health will not be improved, and your relationship with him will be damaged. He will be angry with you and he may even continue to eat gluten just to spite you. I am not chastising or judging, just sad and concerned because I have made these mistakes myself. I believe that you have to talk to him and explain how deeply concerned you are and how it makes you feel (scared to death!), and then truly listen to how he feels, with empathy and without judgment, so that you might reach a mutually agreeable solution. Think of how you would approach your best friend in the same situation perhaps.

Oh geez...looks like it's another cranky day for me......if you wish to raise decent kids that everyone else will want to be around, then stop treating them like your friend. Your kids are not your friend, they are your kids and need strong discipline at times like these. You can be empathetic but you're still in charge and call the rules. Your kids will have a boss someday and if they don't get used to following what's expected of them now, then they'll never be able to deal with real life and having to follow rules set by employers. I see on a daily basis what this type of parenting does and it ain't pretty. They don't fit in and no one wants to be around these people. They have to learn they cannot always have things their way, there will be bumps in the road of life and you have to deal with it or suffer the consequences.

I would recommend that anyone who is interested in influencing your children to choose to be more responsible and self-disciplined (rather than in attempting to control them with parental power/authority and the punishment-reward model) please read the works of the reknowned Dr. Thomas Gordon, especially P.E.T. (Parent Effectiveness Training). This book, and the related program Family Effectivenes Training, literally changed my life and gave me a loving, understanding, compassionate relationship with my child and stepchildren (and fiance!)that I never dreamed possible. He has proven over and over since the 1960s that punishment doesn't work and that it, in fact, produces the opposite of intended results, destroys parent-child relationships, and causes children to grow up emotionally damaged. It may sound crazy to us because hardly any of us were raised this way (and are largely unaware of the consequences of such in our own lives), but the science is sound and in practice it is undeniable.

Emotionally damaged from discipline? :blink: I would say this is true of anyone who is abused by their parents but abuse is entirely different than discipline. Kids need discipline and if done correctly, no damage is done. It's the kids that are treated like their parents best friend who have more problems accepting any authority later in life...and there will be authority.

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I had asked him directly before the print out of he had been doing this and he said no!!!!

I spend ages cooking for him and buying expensive gluten-free goodies, he really doesnt miss out, but clearly feels he is.

How should I continue with this. 13 is such a tricky age but I feel he should take some responsibility for what he eats, Is that not reasonable?

Kiddos almost always say "No I didn't!" <_< when asked if they did something they shouldn't. (heck, some adults do, too!)

In time, they almost always "fess up". I spent over 25 years working with teenagers and college kids and for a time, with teens who had been arrested and needed placement services in lieu of incarceration and believe me, he probably felt like crap after he told you the lie.

One poster said you should apologize for in her words "going ballistic." I have to say that I do not necessarily agree. You can say you are sorry you yelled at him if you want to, but you had every right to be mad. Expressing anger is as valid an emotion as any other. (It won't scar him for life, I promise you. My Mom yelled at us and we are best buds now :) )

First, he LIED to your face and I think, more importantly, he is not taking his celiac DX seriously.

Some people gave you great advice here including no canteen privileges for a bit, but I am wondering if he KNOWS which snacks are okay? There are many that he could have.

Give him a list maybe?

Also, can you take him shopping with you and teach him to read labels? Takes the burden off you and puts it on his shoulders --where it belongs.

I know parents want to be their kids' friends, but in truth, they need --and actually WANT--guidance and discipline and rules--and when they are older, that friendship will blossom in time. There is no evidence to suggest that providing discipline is harmful (unless you are talking about bizarre gestapo-like cruelty and abuse) As someone who had to deal with other people's children for the better part of the day, I promise you they turn out well when they are given some leeway to make mistakes. They do not "automatically forget" everything good you taught them. They are kids and they do stupid things. I did my share. :lol:

He needs to be in charge of his diet because he has to control the disease and keep it in remission. You've done a great job, Mom--now, it is time to give him more control.

Offered IMHO. Best wishes!

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Just to be clear, I was not trying to suggest raising children with no discipline. I was attempting to suggest that simply revoking canteen privileges and yelling does not solve the underlying problems.

I agree that the child needs to *know how* to eat safely, needs to know the consequences (both intrinsic and external) of cheating/lying/whatever else in life he does wrong.

I don't think that apologizing for "going ballistic" invalidates the rightful anger and frustration that may have been experienced. It is about taking responsibility for your own actions and getting a fresh start.

I do think it is reasonable to shut off the canteen account, pack lunches, and not send pocket money. But I wanted to point out that an action such as that is not *in itself* a full solution to the problem. IME, most teens (most people of all ages in fact), are much more compliant with a diet if they understand what's in it for them and have some say of how to go about it for themselves. What that control looks like will depend on developmental level, demonstrated responsibility, and practical constraints. Gaining more control can even be a reward for demonstrated compliance.

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I'm really feeling your problem right now. My 14 y.o. was just diagnosed last Friday and she's really fighting it!

But as for your situation, I have been down your path with the trust issue. It has been a long-standing rule in my house that if you misbehave in school, I go to school with you. If I can't trust you, I need to babysit you. It worked for my two older ones who are in 9th and 7th grades, but my 4th grader had a little problem with doing homework. So for two straight weeks, I walked her into class, put her homework in the slots, got her all set up for school and left. At the end of the day I was there, gathering her books and papers and getting her ready to go home. She went from having b's, c's, and two e's, to straight a's!! And I don't fight her after school anymore to get her to do something.

Point is, a little humiliation goes a long way. Show up twice a week at lunch for a few weeks (not on the same days) - unannounced - and he might start listening. No one wants their mom to come and sit with them at school. It sucks that you would have to threaten to embarrass him to get him to listen to you, but it's for his health. There's no better reason.

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My 13 yo & 17 yo always text me if they are unsure if something has gluten when they are out with friends or something. I am lucky in that respect. It's a non embarrassing way for them to make sure they don't eat something they shouldn't even tho they have no gastro symptoms. If ur son is unsure he cld text u & his friends would nvr know. Also he can keep a short list of gluten-free snacks/foods in his phone or ipod (if he has one).

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My 13 yo & 17 yo always text me if they are unsure if something has gluten when they are out with friends or something. I am lucky in that respect. It's a non embarrassing way for them to make sure they don't eat something they shouldn't even tho they have no gastro symptoms. If ur son is unsure he cld text u & his friends would nvr know. Also he can keep a short list of gluten-free snacks/foods in his phone or ipod (if he has one).

Ahhhh . . . that's an excellent idea and one that I will keep for future reference . . . my daughter will be getting her first phone this summer (and really?, is the countdown necessary? . . . yeah, she's excited.)

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@darn210 of course the countdown is necessary!! just like counting down to a big holiday or other big event!

no other reasons to countdown in the mind of a child. B) B)

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When my 12 yrs old first was diagnosed he was getting a lot of attention. If he is allowing you to find out that he is sneaking food, even after

you buy him the gluten-free equivalent...I would think it is an attention getting ploy and not a deprivation. I had my son list all the foods he

would miss being gluten free and we replace them with the gluten-free equivalent to show him he will not be deprived. I make sure he packs snacks in his backpack that he would like for the day. Even if those snacks are just cookies to help with a sweet tooth. It is important to have them included in their eating plan. Have him make a list of foods he wants. It really helps to give them some of the power back in the decision making process. Help him to be proactive in his own health.

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Candygurl, this is a hard one.

I think it

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Second story: My son was 15, not in puberty, 96 pounds and 5

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