I made this dialogue up, pieced it together from things that have been said to mothers and fathers seeking our care for their eating disordered children many times over the years.  

“Doctor, I am really worried about Simon.  He seems thin to me and recently all he does is study and exercise, he rarely goes out with his friends any more and he used to be such a social kid.”

“Don’t worry, Mom.  Kids go through all kinds of stages.  They have to experience who they are and often try on all kinds of social personas.”

“But he’s so thin…..”

“Hmmm… let’s look at his record.  He turned thirteen and is now about five pounds less than he was last year at this time.  Doesn’t seem too extreme to me.”

“Yes, but he’s three inches taller!  And he weighed at least five pounds more than you have in your record, or at least he did when they weighed him for PE six months ago.”

“So you think he’s lost ten pounds?”


“Have his grades slipped?  Any reason to think he might be interested in drugs?  Hanging out with the wrong kids?”

“He’s not hanging out with any kids….like I said, he seems more withdrawn.  And no, his grades aren’t slipping.  All he does is study.”

“It’s natural for a smart kid to be worried about college.”

“He’s thirteen!  I think there’s something wrong. Weight loss can’t be right.”

“Well…. Let’s not overreact.  Try making a few of the foods he really likes and I’ll weigh him again in three months.”


“Growing boys hate it when their mothers try to micromanage their lives.  They feel smothered.  Let’s, above all, not overreact and see problems where there may be none.  I’ll see him again in three months…… and I’ll bet his weight will catch up to  his height.”

The last two comments below, however, were reported to us recently by one of our families. Believe it or not, this was a real pediatrician speaking  to a mom and her boy:

“When you get down to 100 pounds we’ll do something.”  And (to the Mom) “you and your anxiety are the reason he’s not eating.”