Part Three: Don’t Look in My Lunchbox! An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch conludes her important letter from a mother’s perspective in this week’s blog post. Cherie continues with an “open letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere”.  

10 Things you need to know before you speak (read 1-4 HERE and 5-7 HERE).

8. Even if your words do not trigger my child to have an eating disorder or disordered eating, they may haunt them for the rest of their life. They may burden my child with thoughts every time they take a bite … they may question every food choice. They may analyze  every bite they take, every meal they choose, for the rest of their life. Your instruction may make my child afraid to eat wheat, chips, cookies, ice cream, or other foods they used to love and were celebratory. Please consider your words carefully. Please don’t make my child afraid of birthday cupcakes!  

9. As my child’s mother, I know best what to pack in my child’s lunchbox. There are reasons my child’s lunchbox contains the foods it does. My choices may be driven by medical, mental, or financial needs. If you have questions regarding the food in my child’s lunchbox please contact me directly. Please do not discuss this with my child or shame them.

10. It is important that my child eat the lunch I have packed. If you notice my child is consistently not eating their lunch, is giving their lunch to other students, or is throwing it away or you have concerns regarding the amount of food my child is eating, please contact me directly. There may be a serious health concern. Please do not address this with my child. Please do not comment on the amount of food they are/are not eating. I count on you to be my eyes and ears when my child is at school.

I encourage you in the future to NOT monitor any child’s lunch or food choice. To reconsider and re-examine any school-based, anti-obesity, healthy living campaigns. To consider the fact that there is little research on the effectiveness of these programs. Is the potential risk of harmful effects on children’s physical and mental health and adoption of unhealthy behaviors worth the potential gain?

So, before you speak, please think carefully about your words. You see, my child respects you. They look up to you as their teacher. Imposing your beliefs and your nutritional needs on my child may compromise their health and mental state. Please teach them that all foods fill a need – always nutritional, sometimes celebratory and always nurturing.

Please understand, I know your intentions are pure and good. For that I will be forever grateful. But in the future I would appreciate it if you do not monitor my child’s lunchbox. Please leave that to me, their mother. I know their nutritional and emotional needs better than anyone.

Warm regards,

Mothers Everywhere

P.S. This article is not about monitoring lunch boxes because a child in the class may have an inadequate food supply in their lunch box or may have life-threatening food allergies. It is about the negative food talk happening in classrooms and lunchrooms, and how it affects our children. It is about food judgments and how programs that are intended to promote health sometimes have big unintended consequences.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Part Two: Don’t Look in My Lunchbox! An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch shares an important letter from a mother’s perspective in this week’s blog post. Cherie continues with an “open letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere”.  

10 Things you need to know before you speak (read 1-4 HERE)

5. It is estimated that at least 10 to 15 percent of children and up to 80 percent of all special needs children struggle with some form of feeding disorder or challenges. Some children have complex food challenges, allergies, or anxieties – they can be physical or mental. Many of these challenges are not obvious. My child may have severe anxiety in social situations or loud environments (like a lunchroom) and become overwhelmed and distracted. Therefore, they must consume calorically dense, safe foods – foods you may not consider nutritious – in an effort to meet their energy requirement for the remainder of the school day. My child may have ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and may avoid foods based on certain qualities – such as texture, color, taste, or temperature. As such, my child may only have 3-4 foods total that he/she will eat. If you shame my child about what is in their lunchbox, they may eat nothing. Your words may have just eliminated one of my child’s “safe” foods – therefore harming them and erasing a source of energy.  

6. There is little research on the effectiveness of healthy eating and weight initiatives in schools. In fact, there have been studies that have indicated that a potential unintended consequence of these programs and schools monitoring lunches was the development of an eating disorder in children who were susceptible or genetically predisposed. The children who are negatively impacted by these programs are typically students who excel in academics and extra-curricular activities and view the healthy weight initiatives as another measure of their success. So, please be careful with your words. They may compel to my perfectionistic child, my rule follower, to embark on a competition to be the “healthiest” kid. I know you would not want to be the trigger that caused a child to develop a life-threatening eating disorder or unhealthy food and exercise behaviors.

7. Research suggests that up to 50% of the population demonstrate problematic or disordered relationships with food, body and exercise. In our culture, there is an obsession with size and weight (thinness), diet and exercise. In fact, research has indicated that 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fatYour words may result in my child having disordered eating which could include chronic yo-yo dieting, frequent weight fluctuations, rigid and unhealthy food and exercise regime, feelings of guilt and shame every time my child eats a food you have instructed is “unhealthy” or they gain weight or they are unable to maintain exercise habits. Your instruction could potentially cause my child to be preoccupied with food, body and exercise that causes them distress and has a negative impact on their quality-of-life. It could result in my child using compensatory measures such as exercise, food restriction, fasting, purging, laxative use, etc., in an effort to “offset” any food consumed. It is estimated 35-57% of adolescent girls and 20-30% of adolescent boys engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives. You likely do you not realize the impact your words can have on my child’s mental and physical health – for the rest of their life. It is important you understand disordered eating is a serious health concern. Detrimental consequences could include a greater risk of obesity (the very thing you’re trying to prevent), eating disorders, bone loss, gastrointestinal disturbances, electrolyte imbalances, low heart rate and blood pressure, increased anxiety and depression, and social isolation.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 


Don’t Look in My Lunchbox! An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch shares an important letter from a mother’s perspective in this week’s blog post. Check out the first of two posts written by Cherie…

10 Things you need to know before you speak

An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

Dear Teacher,

I can’t thank you enough for your dedication and inspiring my child to love learning. You truly are a hero to me and my child.  I want to thank you for your concern for my child’s nutritional wellbeing and wanting my child to be healthy. It is greatly appreciated. But with all due respect, it is important for you to know that I am my child’s mother and I know their nutritional needs better than anyone.

Here are a few things you likely don’t know:

  1. My child may have a sibling who has struggled with an eating disorder. As a result of the genetic link, my child is 10 times more susceptible to developing an eating disorder than the average population. It is important that my child eats ALL foods. I do not want my child being encouraged, instructed, or told that he should not eat certain foods. Your words could potentially be the catalyst for food restriction and negative energy balance which could trigger an eating disorder for those prone.
  2. Foods do not have moral value. I do not want my child being taught that some foods are good and some foods are bad. Yes, some foods may offer more nutritional value than others, but all foods have purpose. Some may offer more vitamins, but others may offer comfort, celebration and nurture their spirit. Nutrition is about balance. I want my child to eat all foods and learn all foods are good in moderation. Balance is key.
  3. You do not know a child’s medical history, needs and conditions. Therefore, I encourage you to not instruct any child on their food choice or monitor their lunch boxes for content. A student could have a hematologic condition where their blood clots faster than normal. Ingesting vegetables, which are loaded with vitamin K, could actually harm them by creating a blood clot. A child with this condition needs to have a limited amount of vitamin K. The child could also be suffering from an eating disorder or a brain condition, you can’t tell by looking at them. They may need additional fats in their diet.
  4. Are you aware that the average person needs 30% fat in their diet for normal brain function? You telling my child not to eat NO fat or low-fat may cause their brain to atrophy and may cause them to have memory problems. Having fat in my child’s diet can actually make them smarter. You see, their brain is comprised of 60% fat. So, their brain needs fat in order to function correctly.
  5. It is estimated that at least 10 to 15 percent of children and up to 80 percent of all special needschildren struggle with some form of feeding disorder or challenges. Some children have complex food challenges, allergies, or anxieties – they can be physical or mental. Many of these challenges are not obvious. My child may have severe anxiety in social situations or loud environments (like a lunchroom) and become overwhelmed and distracted. Therefore, they must consume calorically dense, safe foods – foods you may not consider nutritious – in an effort to meet their energy requirement for the remainder of the school day. My child may have ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and may avoid foods based on certain qualities – such as texture, color, taste, or temperature. As such, my child may only have 3-4 foods total that he/she will eat. If you shame my child about what is in their lunchbox, they may eat nothing. Your words may have just eliminated one of my child’s “safe” foods – therefore harming them and erasing a source of energy.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Our Clementine Family: Megan Hamann

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megan-hamann-20171Clementine Academic Liaison Megan Hamann has been working in the education field for over ten years. In her role, Megan ensures that the adolescents are able to stay on track with their school work while on their journey to full recovery. Learn more about Megan and her work at Clementine in this week’s “Our Clementine Family”…

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Megan Hamann. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky and I also have my Master’s degree in Special Education from Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers, Florida. I am looking forward to beginning my Specialist degree in Education leadership in the Fall here in Miami.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

Surprisingly, teaching was something I never thought I would do! School definitely was not my favorite thing growing up. However, after a decade of being an educator, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I decided to pursue education, to make it a fun and enjoyable experience for my students.

I have had the privilege to teach in amazing schools, focusing on grades 1st – 6th. I hold certifications in ESOL, Elementary K-6, English 6-12, and Special Education. Having taught in Georgia, Naples, Florida, and Miami, I have had a wide experience in different public school systems, as well as Charter Schools. However, one of the best experiences was teaching at Ada Merritt in Miami – one of the top International Bachelorette schools in the country! I love all the experiences I have had, especially the wonderful students & administrators I have worked with, which has thoroughly helped in the position I hold today!

I began working for Oliver Pyatt Center in 2015 after I was looking to step back from the public school system to spend more time with my children. I started OPC as the English teacher and after a few months of working with the clients, I was asked to fulfill the role as the Educational Liaison. I love to work with the adolescents, parents, school counselors and principals on a daily basis to ensure the adolescents are able to stay on track with their education while they focus on their recovery.

What does a typical day look like for you at Clementine?

Typically, my day begins by checking my email to make sure I can connect the adolescents with the teachers or counselors who have emailed assignments or tasks. On the days I am in the classroom with the adolescents, I check in with them to see how their work load is. We aim to maintain a healthy balance of school work with their treatment. If adolescents are overwhelmed, we cut back, if they can handle more work, we add more. When adolescents first admit, we create a personal plan for each. We look at their work load, course requirement for graduation and the reality of what can be attained during our school hours at Clementine to find the best fit for each adolescent in treatment.

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of Clementine.

Education, as well as recovery, is something that effects the adolescents for the rest of their lives. While their recovery and focus on treatment is the number 1 priority, education is also an important part of their lives as well. Our goal is to maintain the appropriate balance to keep the adolescents on track for graduation, while they focus on recovery. However, this is different for each adolescent that comes in, which is why communication is a key factor in the success.

How does your team work together? How do your roles overlap and differ?

Teamwork is key at Clementine! Education is just a piece of the puzzle that we all bring to the table. Without that piece, there would be a big hole in the picture! As our team brings together information, it is amazing to see how certain parts of the Eating Disorder can affect school, learning capabilities and also social aspects as well. As an educator, I aim to bring my knowledge together with the doctors and therapists to help understand why the school situation is impacting the clients positively or negatively.

What is your favorite thing about Clementine?

My favorite aspect of Clementine has been working with schools and adolescents all over the country! I have learned a lot about the school systems and medical leaves, school & state requirements, and have met so many wonderful people who are also focused on wanting the best for our adolescents. Guidance Counselors and principals play a key role in helping the girls attain success as well, it has been such a joy to work with such caring people!

What are three facts about you that people do not know?

When I was in college, I was a nanny for a family who had four kids under the age of three in SoHo, NYC! That was an experience! I also backpacked Europe after I graduated college with only a couple hundred dollars! My biggest secret is – When I was in college I had a major intestinal surgery that took a year to fully recover from, I know that is odd to share here, but I have seen that it has helped me connect with the girls in a very intimate way. I had to take a semester off my college classes and felt it was the end of the world, however, to get better and recover was actually what I needed. I was able to continue to finish school, I finished just a little later than I first anticipated. However, that ended up being the best thing for me. I love to share this with the clients, so they know I completely understand how hard it is to stop their ‘plan’ for school and focus on the quality & health of their own life. I understand it is hard, but we will work together to get them to a place where they can be successful!

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

To visit or tour a Clementine location with one of our clinical leaders, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.