Anyone else have a teen that sneaks food into their bedroom?

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Casual scribe

Anyone else have a teen that sneaks food into their bedroom?

I am so worried. I have a 17yo teen who dislikes physical activity & sneaks food into his room. He is sensitive about his weight, which is increasing, yet makes poor food choices. I am also aware that if I harp on too much I could make him overly body conscious. Obviously my concern is primarily from a health point of view, secondly I don’t want him to be put down by his peers. Any suggestions?

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Anyone else have a teen that sneaks food into their bedroom?

Hi @Worried_1967, I can imagine how concerning this must be for you, and also how difficult it must be for your son struggling with his weight and the guilt he must feel sneaking food into his room to eat in private. I really feel for you both. 


My daughter still comes out after I've gone to bed to search the cupboards. I've gotten into the habit of not having junk foods in the house but I do still buy ice cream which goes way too fast!! When my daughter's weight was at it's highest we spoke about it as it was something that caused her shame. She was on a rollercoaster, flipping from "I'm not going to eat junk food" to "I don't care, I need junk food". It was like a comfort for her so was hard to stick to her healthier outlook when she wasn't feeling great. 


There's a fabulous organisation called the Butterfly Foundation who help with eating disorders and negative  body image issues. They offer more specialised support for young people and their parents and they might be a really helpful service for you guys. Their number is 1300 33 46 73 or you can find them online here. Do you think that might be something you'd feel comfortable trying? 


It's great that you're conscious of not wanting to make your son feel ashamed of his eating and weight. It's so hard though isn't finding that balance between raising your concerns but not making them feel like we're judging them.

I remember we had a family stay at an in house facility a few years ago. I did a role play with the counsellors there about how I communicated with my daughter about one of the issues we were facing at the time. When it came to the counsellor role playing me and the tone of voice I used and the frequency at which I offered what I thought were helpful reminders, had me in tears! I felt belittled, harrassed, judged and pressured - it was a real eye opener for me! I had it so wrong!!


It's not easy being a parent! We're all just doing the best we can with what we have. But it's why I love supporting parents, because with learning, and new tools, what we have can bring us much better results for our kids Smiley Happy

Frequent scribe

Re: Anyone else have a teen that sneaks food into their bedroom?

 My 13 year old daughter sneaks food into her room. With all of her other issues this is a minor concern only. I do stress with her that she cannot eat only salty snacks and soft drinks. She has to eat fruit and vegetables too. Luckily she has identified herself that she feels like carp when she does not eat well.  I also limit the volume of unhealthy food in the house as it disappears as soon as I buy it

Casual scribe

Re: Anyone else have a teen that sneaks food into their bedroom?

Thanks for your helpful advice. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. There are no rule books when it comes to parenting & sometimes I feel like I’m floundering. I will do as suggested & limit the amount of unhealthy food options in the house (being Xmas there is an abundance of unhealthy food here!) & perhaps getting him involved in making up some healthy snacks between meals will keep him so full he won’t be searching for more food.
I will certainly look at the Butterfly Foundation website.
I know I sound so incriminating when I catch him out with food in his room - I had a Dad who went on & on about “getting fat” & being sporty & every time I speak to my teen about weight I feel like my Dad’s words are coming out of my mouth!
Thanks again for your help. :-)
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Anyone else have a teen that sneaks food into their bedroom?

You're certainly not alone @Worried_1967! It's so reassuring learning that isn't it?! Just hearing from other parents gives us hope. 


This time of the year is the time of year for unhealthy food isn't it! I'll admit our house is the same at the moment Smiley Embarassed 1st of January is clean up day for us! 


I'm so sorry to hear your Dad was so vocal about weight. It sounds like you're very aware of the impact of words and that's a fantastic start to being able to communicate effectively. While I was getting used to using different language and changing my tone of voice, I'd feel the emotion building and the thoughts, and take a moment before I spoke. If I needed to walk away for a bit to get myself together, I'd do that. Many of those conversations don't need to happen in that instant, so better to wait until I can talk calmly and without a judgemental tone I thought! 


Let us know how you get on Smiley Happy

Community Manager

Re: Anyone else have a teen that sneaks food into their bedroom?

Hi @Worried_1967 - thought I would check in and see how you were getting on with this.  I really love @taokat's post above which talks about stepping away and not having these conversations in the moment but rather talking about them from a calmer, more general place.


Some of the things being discussed here really struck a chord with me like the fact that the conversations we have with our teenagers are so linked with  how our parents dealt with these issues with us when we were younger!  I have to constantly remind myself of how some of the less-than-helpful attitudes my parents had towards food shaped my own relationship with eating throughout my life and keep that foremost in my mind when I talk to my son about his health.


In saying that, I am constantly amazed at my teenage boy's ability to eat - especially during growth spurts!