It has been 2 1/2 weeks since we met with Dr. R. Yesterday we met with him at the end of the day (instead of our typical early morning time). It was a good visit. We talked about the negative messages vs. positive messages. Dr. R stated that he hadn't realized that N was doing that or he would have given us some instruction. He confirmed that I should continue what I've been doing (making positive messages out of negative ones).
I also asked about my concerns about my pushing N and not allowing him to have all of his own consequences. Interstingly, he said the parenting styles usually associated with anorexia are very different from binging -- and are usually a more controlling parenting style. However, he had not perceived me as particularly controlling and hadn't been concerned. I was wondering if I should continue changing my approach (letting the boys have more ownership over completing their own school work and/or assignments) or if N was too fragile right now. Dr. R suggested it was like a chicken/egg relationship. It could help and it could hurt. My best parent instincts right now tell me to continue giving the boys the ownership. I felt strongly at the beginning of this school year that I had never allowed to boys to fail. And until they had that experience they wouldn't decide to take care of their problems themselves. So, I had been making these sorts of changes even before reading Gary Gahl's book. I think we've had a few bumps -- but in the end N and even J are taking more responsibility.
T & I determined that N needed to get more sleep. He has been doing this cyclical thing where he stays up late (usually with much drama and crying), finally goes to bed when we do, is too tired to get up in the morning, goes to school 30 minutes late, is tired at the end of the day -- and the drama starts all over. So, we're trying to have him go to bed by 9:00 every night (we were trying to do this before, but we'd start at 8:30). We'll start the process at 7:00 pm if we have to. We almost have to plan on an hour of talking before N will go to bed.
Last night as we talked (for the typical hour), N was rehashing all the calorie/weight/good-bad food stuff. All of a sudden I realized that we were supposed to be distracting him from all those topics -- not enabling him or being sucked into his obsession. So, I informed him that we would talk about anything he wanted, but that we weren't going to help him obsess over calories and foods by talking about it. T said it really well -- that it is our job to worry about the calories and such (and N doesn't need to worry about it).
So, he was in bed by 9:00 -- but didn't stop talking/obsessing until 9:40. However, he did get to school on time this morning (the first time in a long time). He told me that he wasn't going to go to school because he was too self-conscious. But I drew the line and said that staying home was not an option. Eventually he relented. We did positive messages all the way to school.
A friend this morning read the lyrics of a song that her daughter wrote for a competition. J & N have been friends since before they started kindergarten. The lyrics really seem to talk about all the changes in N -- though J insists that they aren't about him at all. They talk about someone who used to be happy being sad and pulling away. J doesn't know about N's condition -- but she must see the changes happening and feel sad for him.