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Old 10-07-2013, 04:58 PM
3,072 posts, read 4,061,589 times
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I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and oh my goodness they love to slobber and squish bread because it's fun.

Thing is, why is this all going on without anyone knowing? Is your wife actually supervising them during the day?

How on earth does a 3 year old eat 6 cinnabuns, also without anyone seeing it happen?
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:06 PM
47,576 posts, read 58,731,841 times
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My kids never steal food and I never had to punish them. People at work think it's strange that they call me up to ask if they can have orange juice or an apple. They can help themselves to peanut butter and bread, milk and cereal, carrots, but anything else they have to ask and they always do ask.

Maybe it would work for the OP to always have some food they can take without asking, but make it clear that everything else is not for helping themselves and they must ask first.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:07 PM
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I don't understand how a 20-month-old sneaks crackers into their room or an older child steals a chicken and eats it. Who is watching these kids? Why is your wife sleeping when the baby is awake? The food stealing is one issue, and one that others have suggested reasons for, but there's also a basic supervision issue if kids are downing whole loaves of bread before anyone notices.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:08 PM
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It's not uncommon from children adopted or fostered from less-than-ideal conditions to hoard food, cram food in as if they're afraid they'll never get another bite, and hide food once they are in more stable situations. These behaviors have their sad roots in institutional settings in which too few adults care for too many children, with frequent changes of caretakers, limited time for children to eat, a limited variety of food, which may be filling without being adequately nutritious, along with situations where the strongest, oldest, most aggressive children take food from weaker, younger, less outgoing children.These behaviors are also linked to attachment disorder. Food takes the place of a loving, secure attachment to one consistent caregiver, who is not present in these children's lives.

An aside: if an institutionalized child has special needs and requires more time to eat or specially prepared food for ideal health, this may not have been provided and eating disorders may result, along with malnutrition. I've known of situations in which rows of prone bedfast kids have thin soup poured down their throats from old beer bottles equipped with lamb nipples with the openings cut wider in the interests of speed. Many such children develop pneumonia from such tactics, along with malnutrition...those who survive either fear food or crave it, once in a healthier situation such as an loving adoptive family.

I am not saying that such conditions exist in your family, but your children's eating patterns are similar to children coming from these very difficult backgrounds. So - if anything resonates, read on.

One answer is to slow down during mealtimes and to make meals pleasant, full-family occasions. Make sure parents or other caring adults are with the children at mealtime, have a consistent meal schedule, allow healthy snacks at midmorning, midafternoon, and before bed in addition to three regular meals each day, involve children in food preparation and food shopping, have a supply of nutritious snacks available at all times but encourage the children to snack at regular times (as previously suggested), and generally stabilize the children's lives so that trust and consistency can take the place of insecurity.

Do not punish your children - talk with them, assure them that they are safe and loved and will always have enough to eat, and tell them they don't have to hide food or take it without permission (use this phrase rather than "stealing food").

And take a close look at what else is going on in your children's lives, particularly in your home life and relationships with your children.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:23 PM
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
2,533 posts, read 2,697,160 times
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Okay....since tons of people are just insulting us and calling us bad parents, let me make a long post elaborating further.

My wife and I work 50 hours a week, alternating shifts at the same job and go to school full time - sorry but unfortunately we do not always have the time to sit down with them and eat dinner with them. First, we only have a 4 person dinner table with a 6 person family. 2nd, no we do not get food stamps or WIC because apparently we do not qualify. We have applied and been denied. We have been visited by DSS, and they informed us that we NEEDED a 3 bedroom house, so we got one and it happens to be slightly out of our range (considering we both only have sh*tty jobs as management at fast food). Along with all the other bills including food. Before, we were living in the low income housing projects and a dead body ended up on our doorstep - so not only did DSS say we had to move, we decided yeah this is no way for kids to grow up. Also, since many people are asking, I am assuming my wife was asleep because she worked from 3PM-3AM and got up at 6AM to get the girls on the bus, while I was up getting the 3 year old and myself ready for school. She is at work again tonight, another 3P-3A shift.

I am incredibly offended that people are saying "those poor children" they must be being starved or famished or what the hell ever, we do the best we can with the hand we were dealt. They are happy children, they do well in school, they get free lunches at school, and they are overall very very well behaved children. Except when it comes to food. They indeed have 3 meals a day, 2 of which are at school. 1 at home. When they get home, they always have a snack. Usually cereal, or crackers, or goldfish, or fruit, or sandwich. It depends entirely on the money situation. How on earth does a 3 year old eat 6 cinnabons? It's not difficult. I am not even entirely sure he actually ate them all - I just know when I got home they were missing.

I've also noticed people saying it is unusual for children to be stealing food - a quick google search proves this to be untrue. I don't know what the hell you guys are searching, but everything I type in comes up with tons of results of people in similar situations. However, I suppose it is *possible* that every single one of these cases that I am reading about in my google searches are totally famished and deprived children, but somehow I doubt it.

We do not "reward" the children with food, and the only time we punish them about it is when they take it without asking. You members saying no limit on food - really? With a 4 kids all under the age of 8, you would just let them raid the fridge whenever they please? Well, I want whatever job you have to be able to afford that kind of nonsense - because that it nonsense. Kids that age should not be in control of the fridge. These kids would eat literally all day if we let them. So you know what? Who knows. Maybe they do have a disease where they never feel full.

I do like some of thee responses in here, telling the 7 yr old to be the food police, a shelf, etc. However, some people, like "Hopes", do not post in my thread again.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:36 PM
Location: Las Vegas
5,473 posts, read 4,670,748 times
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My daughter is constantly stealing food. From age 5 until here current age 9.

But she would steal it and NOT eat it. For example, she took a half gallon of ice cream and just put it in her closet.
No clue why she did it. She eats maybe a quarter of what she takes. She hides the wrappers under her bed, under her pillow, in her closet. She even takes stuff we TELL her to take and she hides it as if we forbade it. She now has to eat in the middle of the room, on a wooden chair as she will stuff food down the sides if she's along the wall, or there's a cushion on the chair. Food she likes at that. It's the damndest things.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:37 PM
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I would think it could only be 1 of 2 things going on. The kids are hungry or they all have some kind on issue and need help. If you leave the kids to eat dinner alone while you guys are doing homework in another room and the eat your piece of chicken I would say they are just hungry. Could you tell us how much the are eating besides school food. Have you talked to the school to see how they are eating while they are at school? I find it odd that you say they are stealing food if they get something out of the fridge on their own to eat. I am sorry that you both work 12 hr shifts but someone has to stay awake to watch and feed the kids. Maybe try more protein and fiber and not so much junk/high carb foods. Kids eat a lot, they are growing. If you need more food for them please check some food banks too.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:38 PM
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Well, I can only go by what you tell us And yes 6 cinnabons at 3 is insane (I have a 3 year old who is 45lbs, and there is no way he could get through them, I suspect other kids must have partaken).

I guess I just don't understand how a 3 year old (let alone 1.5 year old) can be doing these things without causing immediate parental attention? I get that your family is struggling financially and you have long/swinging work hours, but there is still a supervision problem here.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:41 PM
43,012 posts, read 89,018,139 times
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Telling the 7 year old to be food police is a bad idea. It falls right into CraigCreek's description of older, stronger children taking advantage of younger weaker children.

Now that you describe your lifestyle, it matches very well with what CraigCreek shared about institutionalized kids. With you BOTH working 50 hours per week AND going to school, your children aren't receiving appropriate time for parenting and supervision. The disarray of their lives is being acted out in their food stealing.

If you want to do what's best for your children, you should take CraigCreek's advice. Have set meal times. Have sit down meals with whichever parent is home for the meal. Get two extra chairs to put around that table for four. Etc.

Right now, with two of you working 50 hours and both of you going to school, there is not enough attention being paid to your children and they are showing it in their stealing of food. While it's great both of you are trying to better your lives via going to school, one of you should take a break from school to make time for the children. When one of you finishes school, the other can continue. Both of you going to school at once is not working out for your children.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:41 PM
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Reputation: 33954
It sounds like you and your wife have a lot on your plates (pun NOT intended). It is possible that the kids are eating out of boredom, but it is not at all unusual for kids to come home from school starving. Those school lunches are not terribly filling, even if they eat everything they are given.

It might be worthwhile to set up snacks the night before, labeled for each child. One inexpensive, filling snack option is to pop some popcorn. It isn't recommended for the younger ones, as it can be a choking hazard, but the two older ones can snack away for pennies. I'd do something like pretzels for the little ones. Baggies, with their names on them, to be eaten when they are hungry gives them some control.
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