Children who suffered from severe neglect sometimes hoard food. They sometimes fear not having enough food. They sometimes just fear not having enough........There is a hole there, you know. It is sad. When my kids hoard food I know they are hurting. I fight my own battles with emotional eating and they are no where as severe, but I get it.
Now my boys are teens. They eat from sun up to sun down. Maybe during the night. This is not always emotional eating but is sometimes they are growing about an inch a minute. Well, maybe not quite that much. It is very hard to separate teen boy eating from emotional eating.
I have found the best way to handle food hoarding is to give them as much food as they want. "I know you need more food, so I made a lot. Please keep eating." I make more deserts than I used too just so I can give them something sweet and yummy from me.
I have heard of people who give their kids goodie bags to keep in their room. They do this only for the hoarder and state clearly "This is because you are afraid you will not get enough. I'll know when you are learning to trust because you won't need it any more." I have heard of successes, but have not tried it personally.
I try not to get emotional when I find empty packages in their rooms. There is already enough emotion tied into that food.
We used to have times when they would eat at the dinner table until I thought they would be sick. I'd simply say "That is all for now. Now you are doing emotional eating. Listen to your body." There were times when they would refuse to eat. "Fine. Let me know when you are hungry."
No emotion tied to food. Tough one.
Notice I say used too because the teen years changed everything. I can no longer tell. Maybe all teen boys have RAD : ) (humor arh arh)
Have a healing weekend