What about when there is NO treat involved and instead of not answering, they say ‘no, I’m not hungry.’ when they are actually hungry? My nine year old step-daughter would rather go all day without eating, telling us no, she’s not hungry, while sitting around and either playing video games, or waiting for someone to do something for her. She doesn’t even have to be distracted, she just says ‘no, I’m not hungry’. I look at her and I say her name in a stern voice and ask her if she is telling the truth, and she’ll concede “Okay, I’m a liiiiiiittle hungry” and then she’ll eat four or five waffles when she normally eats one, two tops, and drink two full glasses of milk, showing that she was in fact VERY hungry, she just kept saying ‘no’.
This sounds like there is something more behaviorally going on. Have you taken her to see a psychologist? It may be a way she gets to exert control over her circumstances or get back at parents. It also sounds like there could be some disordered eating going on. There are psychotherapists and Registered Dietitians who specialize in the treatment of individuals with eating disorders, so be sure to enlist the services of someone with this specialty who is skilled at identifying any covert disorder. But this sounds like the best advice I could give you at this point is to find a specialist in your area who can assess the situation and help you come up with some behaviorally-oriented strategies that will help both of you!
Lisa Lanzano, MS RDN