Struggling Mom Says Her Picky 9-Year-Old Is Destroying Her Finances Because Her Taste In Food Is So Expensive

Is this more than your basic picky eater?

little girl looking at food with disdain soumen82hazra / Shutterstock

A struggling mother took to Reddit to get her feelings out about her child’s picky eating habits. 

Picky eaters are hard, but she is worried that her daughter may have ARFID, a condition that can seriously limit one’s food intake.



The mom said her daughter's picky eating is destroying her finances.

Frustrated and worried, the mom wrote, "My daughter hates food." Turning to doctors for help left her spinning in circles. "I think she has ARFID, but I've been ignored by countless doctors."


The daughter's reluctance to eat isn't just an occasional occurrence either. Her mom sadly shared, "She's always hungry but won't eat."

little girl happily eating fast food nuggets Inna_Kandybka / Shutterstock

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Here's where things get tricky for the family. There are some foods she will eat, but sustaining her dietary needs is putting them in a financial pickle. "If you give her food she likes, she'll eat until it hurts — but the food she likes is so expensive. I'm living on plain rice this week just to afford her food."

Mom updated in the comments that her daughter's "safe foods" mostly include name-brand sugary treats, such as McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets, Pop-Tarts, and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. 

Her teenage son is also being impacted by his sister's eating issues.

As a single mother of two, she is struggling to make ends meet while trying to ensure her daughter is eating. Unfortunately, the financial constraints combined with the focus on her 9-year-old daughter's health have left her 17-year-old son feeling left out and angry.

Heartbreakingly, she wrote, “My son hates her because of the food.” She continued, "My son [expletive] hates his life, and he's told me so many times how much he wishes we could just let her starve."


mom trying to console frustrated teen son BearFotos / Shutterstock

Obviously, the teen was just venting, but his frustration is understandable.

At her wit's end, she confessed, "I am so tired. I'm hungry ... What did I do to deserve this?"

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Most commenters empathized with the mom and suggested her daughter's condition is medical in nature and likely ARFID.

Cleveland Clinic defines ARFID (avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder) as a condition that limits your food intake but is not related to self-image. Usually, factors like fear of choking or becoming ill drive the reluctance to eat, but it's not known what the actual cause of the condition is. Often linked to trauma and genetics, the recommended treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy.

Signs of ARFID usually manifest in younger children, as was the case with this 9-year-old girl who started showing symptoms at just 2. Still a fairly new mental health diagnosis, data suggests that only 0.5% - 5% of children and adults are diagnosed with the disorder. Those small numbers and a lack of general understanding could be why finding a doctor to help diagnose and treat the condition is difficult.

Across multiple blog posts by real people who struggle with ARFID, it seems the variation of safe foods is different from person to person. Some people have issues with certain colors, others with types of meat, and some with texture issues.




While her frustration with her finances is understandable, she is still a mother whose first concern should be the welfare of her child. 

As a single parent, there are already struggles to support your children, but a child with a mental health condition that has serious physical side effects does require professional help. 

While getting an ARFID diagnosis or just finding a doctor willing to do a deeper dive into this young girl's obvious condition has been difficult, it's imperative that the mom continue to advocate for her child — even though it can sometimes feel hopeless.


There are many resources available for children or parents of children with eating disorders. Eating Disorder Hope offers a 24/7 helpline to offer information and support to individuals in need. Eating Recovery Center offers both in-person and online treatment plans and recommends them based on insurance. 

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Madison Piering is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team, specializing in human interest and pop culture topics.