Q: My eight-year-old daughter has lied about finishing the lunch I send to school with her. She has thrown it away and given it to a friend to take home (the friend’s parents told me). We have denied her TV and games for a weekend, but it doesn’t seem to work and she keeps finding different ways to cover up.
A: The goal here is to discover why your daughter is not finishing her lunch and why she is lying about it. Removing privileges brings you no closer to the answers.
Rather than focus on the lie, try focusing on the problem. Say, “I notice you’re not eating your lunch. Let’s talk about it.” Then listen to your daughter’s response. Maybe the food you send is so different from the other kids’ lunches that they tease her and she throws it away to avoid the ridicule. Or maybe she doesn’t like the food you send. If so, it would be helpful to have her start to prepare her own lunches; that way, she is sure to like the food she brings to school.
If you sense she has an eating disorder, then you need to talk to your family doctor about getting professional help as soon as possible.