Vomiting is the body’s natural way of purging itself, but what happens when your kid refuses to eat because of the fear of throwing up afterwards? Find out what Dr. Leman has to say on today’s “Ask Dr. Leman”.
Learn more about Dr. Leman at BirthOrderGuy.com.
NEW: The Intimate Connection –Dr. Kevin Leman
Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing
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Doug: Today, I would have a new kid with Doctor Leman. Do you have that child who just won’t change? Who seems to have gotten stuck in a rut that can’t get out of it? Well, today, we answer Megan’s question about a kid who threw up one time and now has a ton of phobias to food. How do you help when a kid won’t touch food because they threw up? That’s the question you asked that we get to ask Doctor Leman. Hi, I’m Doug [Terpening 00:00:35].
Andrea: And I’m Andrea.
Doug: And we are so, so, so, so super glad that you are with us today. If this is your first time with us, we want to let you know this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a professional for help. Well, as always if you are listening to the podcast, you get the first insight into the ebook special that BiggerBook is putting out by Doctor Leman’s Books and the ebook today or this week is Stopping Stress Before It Stops You. April 16th through 22 for a buck 99 I’ll give you that title again; “Stopping Stress Before It Stops You.” April 16th to 22 for a buck 99. Hey, Andrea.
Doug: Maybe I should get that book for you for our anniversary because Doctor Leman-
Doug: Well, just because stress-
Dr. Leman: Yeah, that’ll be real nice. You can spend a buck 99.
Andrea: Because I’m married to me?
Dr. Leman: Like real nice. You’re going to be Mr. Happy is not going to be happy. I’ll tell you three months you’d give her a dollar 99 ebook.
Andrea: A book about stress.
Dr. Leman: Haven’t I taught you better than that really? I’m going to slap you on the side of the head pretty soon.
Doug: I’m sorry. So-
Dr. Leman: Its a [mystery 00:01:45]. What’s the plan? What are you doing today? Is there a handwritten note somewhere already in your home?
Dr. Leman: Okay. You’re a failure. Let’s start with you’re a failure. Let’s start on an encouraging note. You’re a failure. You’ve got to write her a nice note.
Andrea: He gave me a nice note last week. A very nice note.
Dr. Leman: All right. Because that’s sweet, Andrea, what does she do? I got my foot right across your throat and she comes in as only Andrew can say and say, well, he wrote me a really sweet note last week. So now my foot off your throat.
Andrea: Should we tell our listeners what time it is?
Doug: That it’s 5:30 in the morning.
Andrea: 5:30 in the morning at our house.
Dr. Leman: It’s 5:30 in the morning. Andrea is a champ. Everybody needs to know that. She’s the better part of the [Terpenings 00:02:31]. She’s the mother of five, including her husband. Did you get that one?
Doug: Yeah, we got that.
Andrea: I got that one.
Doug: So here’s a hot date. We’re running a 4H meeting tonight. There’s our hot anniversary get together.
Dr. Leman: And you’re having macaroni and cheese for dinner. I know. I can never go … But I tell you, you’re a lover. You got it right, [Tarp 00:02:53]. I’m going to start listening to every word you tell me.
Doug: Okay. Maybe I’ve got issues. Maybe I’ve got issues.
Dr. Leman: I’m older than dirt and I write my wife little love notes.
Doug: Okay. I’m sufficiently shamed.
Dr. Leman: You got to do that.
Doug: I’m sufficiently shamed.
Dr. Leman: I’ve gilded you up this morning. We better get to the program.
Andrea: Well, [Doug 00:03:08].
Doug: Yeah, well, but Doctor Leman, I do want to talk about something that’s coming. So helping poor schmucks like me. Do you have a great new book coming out? Intimate Connections.
Dr. Leman: Yes, I do.
Doug: The Intimate Connection. Not many couples have the Intimate Connection.
Andrea: Maybe I should buy that one for Doug for our anniversary.
Dr. Leman: If you’re still with us on this podcast, it’s beat up Doug [Terpenings 00:03:34] day on this anniversary. But yeah, it’s a book about intimacy in marriage. It’s a very helpful book. It’s the kind of book that I think people will go back and sort of take a peek at more than a couple of times because we live in a sort of an arms’ length society and most of us are not very good at communication, to begin with.
Dr. Leman: So I think it was me that said marriage is simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. There’s a simple paradigm. And so I tried to get couples in that book to really understand who they’re made is by getting behind their eyes and seeing how they see life. Because I think we assume a lot of things about our mate. We assume that we’re in agreement on a lot of things emotionally, psychologically that I think most couples find out we’re not on the same plane. It’s a journey. It’s a journey.
Doug: I can testify that when we have invested in our marriage and stuff like that, it’s way paid off especially for me. Okay. Moving on. Moving on. Moving on. All right. So, Doctor Leman, let us get to Megan’s question here. The kid with the phobia, here we go.
Megan: Hi Doctor Leman. My husband and I have two daughters, a nine-year-old and a five-year-old. My question is regarding my nine-year-old. She threw up a while back when we were on a trip somewhere and all of a sudden, in the past couple of weeks, she’s had this huge phobia of throwing up. She will not eat past about 3:00 PM. Absolutely refuses to touch any food at all. Doesn’t want to do take a shower or anything having to do with the experience of throwing up.
Megan: And we did listen to your podcast on anxiety. So we’ve told her that she can worry about it, but it’s not going to change a thing and that we’re not too worried about it. But I don’t know if it’s very worrisome that she’s not eating at all at night. And if this too shall pass or if it’s something that we need to kind of worry about a little bit more. Thanks for your time.
Dr. Leman: Well, Megan. You certainly don’t need more things to worry about. Do you? As a parent, there’s nothing worse than feeling like there’s something wrong with your child. Anxiety, it can be very free floating. By that I mean sometimes you can’t even tie a knot around what your child is anxious about. Sometimes it’s just an extreme cautiousness and many times, phobias developed based upon real experiences.
Dr. Leman: I have a buddy who’s my age older than dirt on social security and he still is determined never to throw up again in his life. And the last time he threw up was when he was 11 years of age. So it’s not uncommon for a phobia, a food phobia to develop from an experience or throwing up. When you think about it, it’s not a good topic. Who wants to talk about hurling, vomiting? It’s not pleasant, but you can imagine, it can be very frightful to a young kid. Many times it’s not what mom or dad did in reaction to or response to the throwing up.
Dr. Leman: Many times it’s just the kids internal interpretation of what’s just happened. And it’s so horrific in their mind they just don’t want to ever throw up again. Being pragmatic again. I think if you listened to my podcast on anxiety. I’ll underline that. You can worry about this parents all you want and you’re worrying isn’t going to help. In fact, straight talk sometimes helps.
Dr. Leman: The fact is that if you’re a nine-year-old daughter gets the stomach flu, I got news for you, she’s going to throw up again. The body has a way of purging itself when it needs to. We all know that feeling of relief when you have the flu and finally, you throw up, you actually do feel better. It’s part of the healing process that the body goes through to bring us back to that point of homeostasis where the body is functioning evenly. I think how you’re approaching it, Megan is really commendable. You’re certainly not overreacting to it in any way.
Dr. Leman: I would be real careful especially at 9:00 about making sure that instead of fruit loops for breakfast or some cereal full of sugar that she gets a protein drink. You might concoct something yourself. I was recently on a cruise and one of the things they had was a little protein breakfast drink and it had strawberries and it had bananas in it. They were pretty good.
Dr. Leman: So what I’m saying is as a mom, you’re concerned about the kind of nutrition your kid is getting and since they have this automatic time clock where I’m not eating anything past 3:00 in the afternoon which makes no sense whatsoever to you, I, your husband or the [Terpenings 00:08:14]. But in her mind, it’s a huge thing. I’d make sure that what she has in the morning and at noon is not only nutritious but good tasting to her, so she’ll want to eat during those times.
Doug: So Doctor Leman, how as a parent, do we really believe she’ll get over this or will she get over this?
Dr. Leman: Well, some phobics continue phobias for a long, long time. I had a talk with a young guy just a couple of weeks ago. He’s only 15 years of age, but I said to him, I said, “You know, you’re going to have fears in your life. Obviously, you do. If you want to ask me what I would do, I would run toward the fear.” And the kid says, “Why would I run towards the fear?” Well, do you want the fear to control you or do you want to control the fear? If you want the fear to control you then just let it overtake you and let it be the firepower that drives everything that you do or you can run toward it.
Dr. Leman: And with little successes. It’s the baby steps theory for people who are phobic about a lot of different things. Again, I’m an old guy, I’m taking a flight to Europe this summer and I going to tell you, I spent a lot of time thinking about what it’s going to be like in that airplane. Because I get claustrophobic and I worry a little bit about the seat. I’ve done a lot of research on the seat and I’ve convinced myself I’m going to be okay.
Dr. Leman: On other hand, I paid a visit to my doctor. I said, “Doc, I got this nine-hour flight over to London. You got anything I can take if I want to just knock myself out?” So again, I think you have to be pragmatic as you can be as a parent. I’m commending Megan for the way she and her husband are handling this. They’re not freaking out over it. Anxiety is a very common thing and more common today with kids than it used to be for sure.
Dr. Leman: And so sometimes kids need to talk to somebody and if you followed my career, I’m the last guy to say, “Hey, send your kid to somebody.” But sometimes you put the opinion to the nine-year-old and say, “Honey, I’d like your opinion on something. Do you think it would ever help for you to just talk to somebody?” It could be an aunt or an uncle. It could be a cousin or an older cousin. It doesn’t have to be somebody who’s got a Ph.D., or an MD behind their name and just to verbalize some of the things that they’re fearful about. There’s some relief in that, believe it or not.
Andrea: So I have a question, Doctor Leman. If I’m buying her a special protein drinks or giving her special food so that she gets the protein she needs and the energy and likes what she’s getting. Am I not just kind of pandering to her? And maybe the younger daughter, the two-year-old is watching and thinking, “Oh look, she gets special attention because you know she’s afraid to eat after 3:00,” and it feels like-
Dr. Leman: Well, I don’t think Megan is going to make a big deal about this. I think Megan is going to be smart. She’s not going to say anything to her about how protein filled this little shake is that you’re having in the morning or anything else. She’s just going to make sure it tastes good.
Andrea: And just let the afternoon go. Don’t make an issue about trying to eat after 3:00 but?
Dr. Leman: And there is dietary supplements that people could use. Talk with a nutritionist. Talk with your pediatrician and see what they have to say about what would be a unique way to heighten up the proteins that she needs in a given day. Because that’s the reality. You don’t want your kid not to be nourished properly.
Doug: Well, we’re going to be right back to finish the rest of this episode. But right now, straight talk with Doctor Kevin Leman.
Dr. Leman: Let’s talk about men and women and their shoes. Do you have a shoe problem in your home? I do. I own one pair of shoes. Well, I might not even sure what color they are because I’m colorblind. They’re either black or burgundy loafers. But Mrs. [Uppington 00:12:02] that is a woman I’ve shared life with for over 50 years now has to use one of my favorite words in life a plethora. Would you say have a plethora of Pinatas? Well, she has a plethora of shoes?
Dr. Leman: You know the reality is that men and women are different and keep in mind, your kids are watching. The differences allow you to be a couple and viva la difference, my wife’s a five forker. She loves restaurants with five forks. She loves him with four forks. I’m a one forker. I get up early, I go to bed early. She’s part raccoon. She’s up till 2:00 AM reading. Goes out in the neighborhood. Tips over a few of garbage cans comes back the bed with me.
Dr. Leman: You know, the differences are what make you a couple and it’s really important that kids look up and see parents that are night and day different with one exception that they’re on the same page when it comes to bringing up those little ankle biters or those teenagers. So there’s building differences between men and women. Ladies, I’m just a man, so why would you listen to me?
Dr. Leman: But it seems to me that many of you try to put a skirt on your husband. You try to turn them into your girlfriend. He’s not your girlfriend. He has no interest in splitting a chicken salad sandwich with you. It’s his food. Please don’t meander into his plate. He might have a fork in his hand. We’re men. We’re not wordsmiths like you. We do things differently, but the reality is we do want to please you. Believe it or not.
Dr. Leman: Put it this way, ladies. Think of your husband as a four-year-old to [chase 00:13:30]. He’s a simple creature. You’re the complex one, but you could be a great emotional teacher to your husband by sharing your heart with him. Move toward intimacy. And by the way, a brand new book just released; The Intimate Connection. It’s a five-star wonder.
Doug: So Doctor Leman, I’m kind of surprised that you didn’t think of doing the bread and water treatment to this girl. That it’s like, fine, if you don’t want to eat after 3:00. We’re just going to make you do this or not make you, but we’re just going to kind of do the same, the same. Why is a phobia different in this regard?
Dr. Leman: Well, because of the phobia is simply a manifestation of the anxiety that the child has. Although the anxiety to you or to Andrea or Megan or myself might be nonsensical. It’s a reality for that nine-year-old girl. And so you have to deal from a high net kid’s eyes. That might be the best way to say that. You have to get behind the kids’ eyes and the kid sees this is a huge thing in their life and you don’t want the fear to overtake them so you don’t want to pay it off too much.
Dr. Leman: So honey, you know eat you want to eat. Hunger is a great motivator. The kid is going to eat. My fear would be that the kid develops such perfectionistic tendencies that she ends up being bulimic that she overeats in the morning and then purges in the afternoon and then eats dinner to satisfy mom and dad. And then purge dinner after when she’s by herself.
Doug: Why would she purge if she’s so afraid of throwing up?
Dr. Leman: Well, that’s a great question. But you know what, I’ve seen it as crazy as that sounds. Because remember what I said if the kid develops more perfectionist tendencies that’s what connects the dots between that statement we just had that didn’t make much sense. Why would a kid purge themselves if they fear throwing up? Because the perfectionism becomes so important and then the kid is fearful all of a sudden of gaining weight. It generates into a whole another disorder, so to speak.
Dr. Leman: And that’s why I think Megan is playing or carriage extremely well by not overreacting to this. And so statements like, honey, I know you fear throwing up. No one, I don’t know anybody. In fact, I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to call some of my girlfriends. I’m just asked them if any of them enjoy throwing up and I think I know what they’re going to tell me, but I’ll tell you tonight around dinnertime if that’s okay. I would play it like that. I’d say, honey, I talked to four of my girlfriends. None of them like throwing up. In fact, they all really don’t like it.
Dr. Leman: So the fact that you fear throwing out is as well for a lot of people, honey. I don’t know anybody that likes to throw up. So in other words, you approach it rather pragmatically, very matter of factly and you’re not pouring kerosene on the fire at that point. I think you’re riding it out. With maturity and time, I think those things can change.
Doug: Great. So your advice is think about the protein shakes so you know she’s getting enough to eat, identify it, acknowledge it, and then also get a third party, someone outside of the house to possibly talk to her about her phobia as well. An aunt, an uncle, or a friend to help her through that. Did I highlight those right?
Dr. Leman: I’m going to add to your credits. So you’re a great summarizer.
Doug: You’re just trying to make up for what you said earlier, Doctor Leman.
Dr. Leman: No, I’m not.
Doug: Just be honest.
Dr. Leman: No, no.
Doug: Yeah, you are.
Dr. Leman: No. That was really good. So again, parents just remember this, the kids are always watching you and they’re making notes on how you react to things or how you respond to things. In my estimation, Megan has done a great job in what responding to the situation. So the less you make a big deal about it, the better off everybody is going to be.
Doug: Which as we close out this episode, which is why I think reading these books are so helpful for parents. I just think have a new kid by Friday, dealing with your powerful child. This is where you learn to not wind up when they try and poke us.
Dr. Leman: And remind me we’re giving away, I say giving away a buck 99 Stopping Stress Before it Stops You, right?
Dr. Leman: All right, let me remind everybody of one thing. There are people who believe that we create our own stress. Okay. We’re the creator of it. We’re the manufacturer of it. We’re the distributor of it, and we can become addictive to our own stress that we create. Now, the visual I have is a little hamster on a wheel in a cage and that little sucker is moving. He’s running, he’s panting, he’s tired, but he ain’t going anywhere. You know, that’s how some people live their life. So that’s a good little book. For those of you who are stressed, you take a look at that book, it’d be very helpful. And at a buck 99, I’d tell the neighborhood to get that one.
Doug: Yeah. A buck 99. It’s only April 16th through the 20 seconds. So you have to get it this week. BiggerBooks has been gracious to keep giving us one a week which is unbelievable to me. Well, thank you for being with us. And Megan, we love your question. If you want to leave a question for us, you can go to birthorderguy.com/podcastquestion and leave us a question right there. And we love answering those that we can on this podcast and we look forward to the next time we get to be with you and help add to that parenting toolbox.
Andrea: Have a great week.
Doug: Take care. Bye-bye.