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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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worried about my cousin(s) - May 2nd 2013, 04:57 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Hope this is not triggering, but I put the prefix just in case

So I'm not close with any of my cousins at the moment. Mostly because my parents intermarried and both sides have issues with that. My siblings and I are often treated as outcasts, but that's a separate story. Back to the point...I do have chances to spend time with my cousins because the issues with relatives usually stay at the adult level, and there are times when I'm invited to see them once in a while.

Now in this family there are 5 children. The 3 youngest ones are triplets and are 6 years old. Last time I saw them was when they were 5. The youngest one, Jo has a wild imagination and brights up the whole room with his humor. But last few times I saw him he started behaving a lot more serious. I said to him come sit on my lap. At first he hesitated. He told me that his parents won't carry him anymore because he's too heavy but they would carry the other two. He also told me he was bullied for having red hair () among other things. He said he's a fatso. His doctor said he weighs the most (but still in healthy range) compared to the other two. He was upset because he's the youngest of the three and wanted to be the smallest one. I told him he's beautiful. It did strike me because he's thinking about this at such a young age.
Then one time I was at their house, they're still 5 years old at that time. We were eating at the table. Then Jo left the table, barely finished his food and ran to the bathroom. His mom ran after him. Ja and El the other two told me he makes himself throw up after he eats.
His mother does know, as she went inside the bathroom to make him stop. But I'm not sure she's fully aware of what's going on. Another time I went to help the older girl with her homework (she has low attention span and procrastinates) as asked by the parents. Both parents weren't home, there was no supervision. Only downstairs the housekeeper was there I think. They had a dog at the time (had to give it away) and Jo let the dog eat his sandwich (so he basically didn't have dinner that evening?). They sit in front of the tv a lot and are free to eat as much snack as they want to. Then when the dad comes home he brings even more (unhealthy) snack. Just feel like these are habits that only hurt recovery and self esteem.

They have a backyard but they don't go outside like they used to, they prefer watching tv or playing computer/ipad/video games. (I miss catching fireflies with them) For me at least, these are the things that make me feel sluggish and feel worse about my self. I know some tv is okay, I know. But it's a lot they're watching. I feel like the adults play double standard. On one hand they may want the best and they go to a summer house every summer but so many times the triplets would be simply being kids and the parents would tell them to be quiet and turn on the tv for them. They also don't go to the park as often as they used to. I know because when I took them to the park and they told me they wish they can go more often.

In general, all three of them don't eat much of what is healthy food. But Jo. seems to eat a lot less than the others. Their parents may or may not notice these behaviors but let it slip either way.

It must be difficult being a triplet, and constantly being compared to your sister and brother who are the same age as you. For all three of them it's tough. They might feel they have to compete for love and attention and things like that. I know that when I read a story to them, they all wanted to sit next to me. I ended up letting them all sit on my lap at the same time, so I don't make any of them feel left out.

The other two children of the five are older than the triplets. One is 13 and the other is either 10 or 11. The 13 year old one has a past of lashing out at adults as well as picking scabs ( I know because I do the same thing, so I noticed and he told me)
The nature of the parents is that they give them a lot of materialistic things but don't spend time with them like they used to. The father goes to China a lot more (for business reasons). The mother might spend time but eh. She also called them names, maybe as playful? but it was still like fatso, and she may not realize it's impact.

Okay I'm not saying this to bash anyone, it's just my observations. I respect all of them and only want the best for them. It's been on my mind a lot lately. I think I had a dream about this a few times.

I'm worried, especially for Jo. I want to be a positive influence to each of them and let them know that they can talk to me if they need something. I don't want any of them to get an ED. Addictive behaviors do run in the family. I want them to live happy, healthy lives. I'm more afraid of the parents because they give me cold shoulders a lot of the time. Any advice would help.
   
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Re: worried about my cousin(s) - May 4th 2013, 08:01 AM

I would bring up these concerns that you have to the parents, or if you feel more comfortable, your parents. These behaviors seem like the type of behaviors that many people with eating disorders had at that young age, and it's good to take care of it early. They may not take you seriously, but I'd at least try. Tell them that you wouldn't be expressing the concern if you did not think this is having a serious impact. I'd also continue to shower all three of them with love-they NEED that support from somebody, especially if their parental support is limited.
   
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Re: worried about my cousin(s) - May 6th 2013, 12:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanford View Post
I would bring up these concerns that you have to the parents, or if you feel more comfortable, your parents. These behaviors seem like the type of behaviors that many people with eating disorders had at that young age, and it's good to take care of it early. They may not take you seriously, but I'd at least try. Tell them that you wouldn't be expressing the concern if you did not think this is having a serious impact. I'd also continue to shower all three of them with love-they NEED that support from somebody, especially if their parental support is limited.
If I have to choose between my dad and their parents, I guess it's best to speak to them instead. Only because my dad never even saw the triplets in real life before. He's not invited to events anymore and isn't in contact with them. Their parents used to make events like barbecue and invite my dad also but now they don't anymore. I guess it's best to keep it between me and the parents of the children.

When I first learned about these behaviors I confided in my sister but she brushed it off and said it's not a big deal. She didn't take me seriously. What if the parents are like that too? Do you think I should write a letter to them instead?
   
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