picky eaters


#1

Well, we rang in the holidays yesterday with our 51/2 year old son refusing to eat ANYTHING at Grandma’s. After 10 min. or so of figiting, going to BR, etc. my wife told him to go to the bedroom so as to not ruin everyone’s dinner.

Well, we are now approaching 24 hrs. and the kid has not eaten. We is whiny and miserable. I boxed up his dinner (very sm. portion of turkey and potato) and told him when he ate it he could have other food (dessert, etc…). This kid is stubborn! We have been thru this before, but never to this extreme. I am now feeling alittle bad, but I am not caving. (no, he is not sick, he is very picky about his eating habits- and we are not big meat/potato people).

This child is a real trial to my patience. I can’t believe he has not eaten- it is only 4-5 forkfuls. Anyone with similiar experience or willing to share ideas.

Iam already dreading Christmas dinner. …we all have our crosses to bear I guess. Thanks for letting me vent!


#2

[font=Verdana]I had a similar experience with a mother and her 1 1/2 year old. I got tired of the fighting and said “knock it off” meaning the mother knock it off. The kid picked up her fork, started eating, and there were no more problems with either of them.
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Parents who fight with their kids at other people’s dinner tables, should not be sitting at the dinner table. They and not the child should be sent to their room

Confining a child to his room for 24 hours because he wouldn’t eat is ridiculous. This is especially true if the parents are the ones who started the fight at the dinner table.

If the kid doesn’t want to eat, he should be left alone. As long as the kid is quiet and polite, he is doing what he is suppose to do.


#3

My child is a picky eater. He is picky for a reason - he has a highly sensitive stomach. Instead of fighting and arguing at places, I work with him on it. If he does not want to eat, he can be excused from the table to read or play quietly. Or he can sit at the table and have a drink and join in conversation.

If my son does not enjoy any of the food served at the hosts table, then I will either bring something small for him to eat that I know he likes (apple or cheese) or I will let him eat a simple roll and butter.

At restaurants? I still do the same thing, by either bringing something small or ordering just a bowl of applesauce or even a dish of ice cream - then feeding him a proper meal when we get home. Who cares if the meal order is mixed up?

As Chris mentioned, fighting only disturbes the other guests and makes the situation uncomfortable for all.

I’ll probably get blasted for this -but I do work with my son on his eating habits. I do not argue with him and am very sensitive to his pickiness. Why? I stopped eating all meat when I was about 6. I did not like the taste of meat ( I have NEVER to this day, had a hamburger from a fast food place and I am 40.) My mother was kind to me and never forced this issue - it was not a passing phase. Forcing me would have not changed things but probably made her prematurely gray.

Pick your battles.


#4

My son is three, used to eat nearly anything, and now his 17 month-old sister out-eats him nearly every meal. He will eat his weight in dessert though. I simply say, eat this much and you can have a dessert. Or, he doesn’t have to eat another bite, but he certainly doesn’t get a dessert. It is food I know he likes and used to eat and has recently eaten, so my request is not out of line. I don’t fight about it, I simply give him the choice. It’s his body, even though I worry about it, he is the only one who can chew the food and swallow it.


#5

I haave raised 4 of my own kids. Three ate like horses since they were born, they ate everything (except the eggs had to be scrambled- not fried)
The last one is now 6’ 3" and 240 lbs. When he was 3 to 4, he’d get thaat idea that he didn’t want to eat. My wife and I knew he was healthy…so we just ignored him, the only stipulaation was that he would sit at thge tablle until the rest were through. If he just ate the vegetables aand noo meat -----no sweat! That kid will eat when he is hungry! Dont ever force them.


#6

I also think that forcing a child to eat borders on abuse, but that’s just me. I’m a person, who when I say I can’t eat anymore, or am not hungry, then I have to stop eating or it will make me physically ill.

Here’s an article that talks about picky eaters–pretty good advice:
keepkidshealthy.com/parenting_tips/picky_eaters.html
there are other links at the end of the article, too.
an excerpt:
<<Other ways to prevent feeding problems are to not use food as a bribe or reward for desired behaviors, avoid punishing your child for not eating well, limit mealtime conversation to positive and pleasant topics, avoid discussing or commenting on your child’s poor eating habits while at the table, limit eating and drinking to the table or high chair, and limit snacks to two nutritious snacks each day.>>

Here’s another good article and an excerpt:
babycenter.com/refcap/toddler/toddlerfeeding/9199.html
<<<Try to remember that your child’s choice to eat only a few foods is just that — his choice, and it’s important that you let him learn to make his own decisions. “A child needs to be in control of what he eats,” says Hudson. If you force a child to eat a food he doesn’t like (“You’ll sit at the table until you finish your peas”) or a quantity he doesn’t want, you could be setting your child up for problems later: Children who are never allowed to make food decisions for themselves, such as deciding when they are full, are at a greater risk for developing eating disorders or becoming obese later in life. What’s more, your strategy will almost always backfire because forcing your child to try new foods will only make him more stubborn and less open to trying new things in the future.>>>

If you need more ideas try a Google search under picky eaters and you’ll get a ton of info.
Jennifer


#7

He’ll eat when he gets too hungry!


#8

My son is now six, and started being picky very early. At first I would make him something different, or let him have a bowl of cereal. But as he got older, right when he turned six. I stopped doing it for numerous reasons. One, if I always made him something special, he had no reason to even attempt different foods. Second, I got tired of making two dinners every night. Third, his younger siblings who would eat what I made, started to complain that they would prefer Cocoa Pebbles or grilled cheese, instead of the healthier dinner that I cooked.

I would like to point out that we had our share of dinnertime battles. I hated them. What was supposed to be a time of fellowship and communion was nothing more than guaranteed tears and indigestion. Dinnertime became a dreaded event. We did the whole, “you can’t get up until you’ve eaten.” “Then you must spend the rest of the evening in your room.” “Then I will continue to serve this same plate for every meal until you have eaten it.”

I brought this to prayer. I was reminded that discipline was to teach. That it was to primarily be for the good of the child, not for authoritarian reasons or for my convenience, but for his genuine good. It changed my perspective and really changed how I approached things with my son. The first dramatic change was that my attitude allowed the situation to change from “me vs. him” to “us vs. this challenge”. We became a team and he definitely sensed that I was on “his side”.

I began to look with compassion on his situation, and truly did feel sorry for him that he was missing out on such yummy foods by his limitation. As well as better nutrition. So, I looked for ways to encourage and help, instead of fighting and used natural consequences instead of punitive means.

I gently explained to him that it wasn’t fair to me to have to make two meals, nor to his siblings that he got special privelidges. That it would be stopping now. I told him how sympathetic I was to his plight and that I would try to help him any way that I could. He said “Yeah, my tastebuds are messed up.” So, I said well do you think God wants your taste buds to be messed up? I bet He would help if you asked." From that moment on, asking God to help his tastebuds became part of my son’s nightly prayers.

cont.


#9

On my end, I informed him that he would never be punished for not eating again. That it was his decision to eat or not eat, but that I would not be making anything different. I did try to include in the meal at least some things he would like. For instance, if I knew he didn’t like the meat, I would make french fries for a side, and I almost always made rolls, because he liked bread and butter. He was encouraged to “taste” with lot’s of praise if he did. He really did have a sensitive stomach, because certain textures of food made him gag and sometimes even vomit. I would just clean it and praise him for trying. As he relaxed and became more trusting that he wouldn’t get in trouble, the gag reflex disappeared.
I let him use as much ketchup as he wanted, and he would follow each bite with a huge swallow of milk (like he was taking medicine). We took it meal by meal, and it was he who first noticed and said victoriously " Hey mom!! I have eaten dinner four times this week!!" It was true! He had! He then followed with awe in his voice … " God answered my prayer!!!"
This whole process took about three months, and sometimes it seemed we were making little if any progress. We were working so hard we almost didn’t notice that we had overcome our struggle.
I am thankful to say, there is no more gagging, and vomiting, no more tears, no more indigestion. And I have a little boy who saw first hand that God does hear the prayers of His children, and that He will help.

I do believe him being old enough to assume in active role in the struggle, by praying, by trying was an important part.

God bless!

PS I just wanted to add the new foods that has been added to his repertoire!

meatloaf
any type of chicken (as long as it’s cut up with ketchup)
spaghetti
manicotti
pork chops
steak
chicken noodle soup
turkey (granted he thought it was chicken … shhhhh!)
This was the first Thanksgiving, he didn’t eat Cheerios!
Thank you, Jesus.


#10

[quote=IMAbeliever]. …we all have our crosses to bear I guess.
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Yeah … poor kids.:wink:


#11

My wife and I had a simple policy: If you eat your meal, you can have something else to eat, but not if you don’t eat your meal. We never had to resort to punishment (thankfully) beyond that policy. If one didn’t eat the meal, the next chance at food was the next meal, or if it could be kept available, the previous meal.

We never had any problems figuring out when our kids were bothered by particular foods. The reaction was very different from pickiness, and the offer of a substitute (of our choosing) for the offending food was quickly accepted.

Food taste is a funny thing. I love asparagus (with hollandaise, of course), but my wife literally gags on it. I really think it’s one of Murphy’s Laws that asparagus lovers marry asparagus haters. :smiley:

Blessings,

Gerry


#12

As far as I am concerned, my kids had (they are both in their 30’s now) had a choice - eat what I cooked or go hungry. I was not running a restaurant.

One time only, my eldest son decided he was not going to eat the meal I had cooked (lunch). I said, fine. But remember, you will not get anything else to eat until dinner time. By about one hour before the normal dinner time he was crying from hunger, so I went, took the untouched lunch from the fridge, heated it up and served it to him. He ate every scrap! And never tried that trick again!

Far too many parents cater to whiny kids, thereby making them into picky tyrants!

No kid will starve himself to death. Hunger is the best sauce!


#13

Hooray to Gerry Hunter, Ana, and Joan–good parents practicing intelligent parenting! Read their posts carefully and learn! :thumbsup:


#14

[quote=IMAbeliever]Well, we rang in the holidays yesterday with our 51/2 year old son refusing to eat ANYTHING at Grandma’s. After 10 min. or so of figiting, going to BR, etc. my wife told him to go to the bedroom so as to not ruin everyone’s dinner.

Well, we are now approaching 24 hrs. and the kid has not eaten. We is whiny and miserable. I boxed up his dinner (very sm. portion of turkey and potato) and told him when he ate it he could have other food (dessert, etc…). This kid is stubborn! We have been thru this before, but never to this extreme. I am now feeling alittle bad, but I am not caving. (no, he is not sick, he is very picky about his eating habits- and we are not big meat/potato people).

This child is a real trial to my patience. I can’t believe he has not eaten- it is only 4-5 forkfuls. Anyone with similiar experience or willing to share ideas.

Iam already dreading Christmas dinner. …we all have our crosses to bear I guess. Thanks for letting me vent!
[/quote]

I was a picky eater as a child, and I am still a picky eater as an adult. Forcing, punishing, etc, is ineffective and can actually be damaging. That’s my opinion, but I lived it. It didn’t make me less picky, or make these foods taste good to me.


#15

I too have a fussy eater. He has just turned 6 and wont eat much at all. When he was a baby i used to make all his baby food and he would eat anything, any meat or veg or fruit it didnt matter down the hatch it would go. As he has got older it has become so hard to get him to eat. He has a good breakfast each morning consisting of yoghurt and banana or a healthy cereal- not the sugary stuff, at school for recess/morning tea is usually a museli bar or some crackers something like that, so far so good. Then the trouble starts, he has a sandwich for lunch, he will eat approx. a quarter of it the rest comes home for the dog. Tea i always cook a good healthy meal meat and veg or pasta or whatever, he takes one look at it and screws up his face at me and to use a phrase of his says “im not eating that **** mum”, then the battle begins i wont physically make him eat but i have told him to stay at the table until he has made some kind of effort to eat, he will sit and sit and sit and will not touch his dinner, one night he sat at the table and fell asleep 3 hours later. This has been going on for about 3 years now. I rarely hear him say he is hungry, i think i could not feed him for a week and he wouldnt bother. That said give him junk food and he will scoff into it. I give up.


#16

Thank you for the replies. No I am not the ogre that peope have made me out to be…

  1. There was no “fighting”- it was all handling very calmly and with love.

  2. He did not stay in his room for 24 hrs. This was only for the meal. He has been out and about all day.

  3. I do not see my actions as punishment, but rather natural consequences. If you do not eat, you will get hungry.

  4. We are very sensitive to his tastebuds. YOu will note I mentioned turkey and potatoes. He was not expected to eat squash, cranberry sauce, califlower, etc… I think this is very fair.

Ana, I did really appreciate your perspective. I will re-read it again and take it to heart. Thank you for taking the time to post it.

Finally, my son ate his leftovers late this afternoon. He then followed it up dinner iwth the family eating every scrap off his plate and thanking his mom and me several times for the good dinner. Did he learn a lesson? I don’t know, but I stand by my decision.

IMHO many of the posts above cater and coddle children. I am no expert and I certainly have my challenges as a parent, but one of the big problems in our society is that we have become very child-centered. In my era ( I am 37), families were parent-centered. In my grandparent’s era, families were Christ-centered. And we all know how the quality of life and the family were in a much better state than today. We need to get back to putting the parents in charge of the family- and Christ in charge of all.

Again, I thank all the posters for their insights. I will read them again.


#17

[quote=IMAbeliever]Thank you for the replies. No I am not the ogre that peope have made me out to be…
[/quote]

I did not get the impression you are an ogre. You sound like a very caring parent. You said yourself you were venting and at the very most I sensed a “very slight” impatience in your post. I’m not proud to say it, but I have been a lot more impatient than that at times!:o

[quote=IMAbeliever]He did not stay in his room for 24 hrs. This was only for the meal. He has been out and about all day.
[/quote]

I didn’t remember that part, but when I reread your post, I see how it could have been read that way.

[quote=IMAbeliever]We are very sensitive to his tastebuds. YOu will note I mentioned turkey and potatoes. He was not expected to eat squash, cranberry sauce, califlower, etc… I think this is very fair…
[/quote]

If you think it is fair, don’t sweat what anyone else says. You asked for opinions of those who had been in similar situations. Since different opinions on child rearing are so numerous, I wasn’t surprised to see so many differing responses.

[quote=IMAbeliever]Ana, I did really appreciate your perspective. I will re-read it again and take it to heart. Thank you for taking the time to post it.
[/quote]

SIGH…I know it was long.

[quote=IMAbeliever]Finally, my son ate his leftovers late this afternoon. He then followed it up dinner iwth the family eating every scrap off his plate and thanking his mom and me several times for the good dinner. Did he learn a lesson? I don’t know, but I stand by my decision.
[/quote]

Sounds like a happy ending!!:clapping: … and a happy child!!:dancing:

[quote=IMAbeliever]IMHO many of the posts above cater and coddle children. I am no expert and I certainly have my challenges as a parent, but one of the big problems in our society is that we have become very child-centered. In my era ( I am 37), families were parent-centered. In my grandparent’s era, families were Christ-centered. And we all know how the quality of life and the family were in a much better state than today. We need to get back to putting the parents in charge of the family- and Christ in charge of all.
[/quote]

I think I know what it is that you are saying, though I am not sure if I could tell by any of the posts if they are guilty to the degree that is harmful to society. I think we all miss the mark at one time or another, and in the area of how to deal with a picky eater there is probably a large “grace area”.

But on that same note, I have seen unique to my generation (32 yrs old) a seemingly “acceptable” form of child-dominated families. I am not speaking of attachment parenting, but the children who speak disrespectfully to their parents and the parents cower in seeming helplessness. The parents who seem to be afraid of their children and give in to their every whim and desire.
I probably will get flak for this, so before we start shooting bullets, I would like to say that I do not mean to generalize or imply that"all" two parent working families are as follows. But it seems I have noticed in my limited experience, that SOME parent’s who both work, with their children in long hours in daycare or aftercare over indulge out of a sense of guilt. Also, that they have less time to establish a proper parent-child authority, seeing how they are limited to the hours of six to nine, and all parties involved are by this time weary and have exhausted their energies throughout the day. Leaving a tired and frazzled parent and a overstimulated and cranky child. As an ex daycare provider and very good friends with the parents, it was something they willingly shared and seemed to all have in common. Okay … running for cover!


#18

We must remember that as adults we get to CHOOSE what we make to eat and what we eat and even how much we eat. When you are served something, say at a party/get together, do you force yourself to eat it ALL or a PORTION or just push it around your plate and eat the things you like (and eat again when you get home)? A child often has little choice in what is made or served and therefore exerts the little control they have by NOT eating what they don’t like (or think they don’t like). Making it a battle of wills will not necessarily get them to eat, but mostly make everyone miserable.

I know I used the word abuse in my original post, and I appologize. I didn’t necessarily mean you. I’ve seen teachers at schools I work at TERRORIZE children into eating food. It’s just wrong to do that. The child knows when they are hungry and if they are not eating because they’d rather play at recess, then by afternoon they will be starving and have no one to blame but themselves. That’s the logical consequence. They probably won’t make that mistake again. And personally, I get terribly nervous around food and eating out, because I was forced to finish my food. I can get physically sick when this happens and I’m 32 years old. You’d think I’d be over it, but I still associate being forced with certain situations. Go figure…

Anyway, sorry you think everyone was being hypercritial of you, but you asked for advice and you got various responses. Use what works for you and leave the rest…
Jennifer J


#19

My own personal opinion? When I was a kid I was a picky eater. I wouldn’t eat something because “it looked weird.” The times my dad would try to make it eat (or at least try it) I was also very stubborn. I was the quiet strong willed type. No screaming, crying, kicking. Just sat quietly for hours, and I watched my dad turn red. The times I would get around to trying to it I would say it was gross even if I liked it because they made me eat it. I’m glad you child wasn’t like me.

I’m not a picky eater now (ofcourse there are still things I don’t care for.) My daughter is generally not a picky eater but I have never made food a battle. Most of the time she will at least try it (she’s braver than I was) but if not she gets a bowl of cereal or something easy like an apple and a sandwich. This irks my in-laws but I find it funny because my father in law is one of the pickiest eaters I know. My parents, being doting grandparents now, will cook her spaghetti at midnight if she wants it.

It may have been your child was over stimulated by all the excitement of the day.Sometimes kids only like food the “way mom makes it.”

I’m glad it worked out for you. I think as parents we usually know our kids best. You just have to pick what battles are most important to you.


#20

I know I am a couple of days late on this thread, but I read it a couple of days ago and didn’t find time to post until now.

I was/am a picky eater. Always have been. My parents did the same type of thing you did, I am still a picky eater, and no- I don’t hate my parents, but I do think that the way they handled that was wrong. Even my mom wonders what purpose all of that fighting served.

As I read through the thread, I can see that the OP is resistant to the idea of letting the child eat what they want, maybe in part to it being presented as “permissive” or feeling like he was made out to be some huge meanie ;).

OK, I’ll let you know what we have decided on for our house. NO forcing bodily functions. No forced eating, sleeping, pottying. Our kids eat, sleep and potty very well despite us not forcing any of these issues (or maybe because we don’t force them).

Let me just state right now that we are FAR from “permissive parents” we have just worked (and work every day) very hard to choose our battles carefully. Our kids are not allowed to be disrespectful, rude, etc. They are not allowed their every whim.

I’ll try to stick to the food topic. We keep healthy foods in the house, we just don’t have junk here, so— our kids can eat anything here and I can be sure they are getting “good” foods. For breakfast, we each have what we want most days, a healthy cereal (which the kids can get for themselves), wheat toast with peanut butter (which I have almost everyday), fresh fruit from the fridge, etc. I pour them cups of milk and they decide from there. No big deal. Dh and I rarely want the same thing every morning, so why should the kids?

Lunch time, I usually ask what kind of sandwhich they want- meat and cheese, or PBJ, and I set out a bowl of fruit or fresh veggies, unless we are eating leftovers from the night before. But- sandwhich is always an option for them.

Dinner- I make a meal that dh and I like, the kids usually choose to have that, but if they don’t want that, they can just eat some of the fresh veggies and have a bowl of yogurt, or a PBJ on wheat.

For snacks thoughout the day, they can have fruit or veggies which they can grab for themselves from the fridge or crackers or cheerios from the cupboard.

All in all, they eat pretty healthfully, and we never have to battle over something as futile as food issues. It is really great, I must say.

I choose to make issues of things like kindness, manners, respect, that kind of thing. We just made a choice to not force certain things, and take issue only with what is truly important.

If you do this, your kids won’t be spoiled brats, I promise, parents are “spoiling” when they allow children to be rude/ disrespectful, etc. not when they allow them to eat what they want when they want it.

You do need to teach your children what to do at other people’s homes. So- at Nana’s house on Thanksgiving, my kids ate Carrots and rolls(they didn’t whine about not liking Turkey). Nana didn’t even notice I don’t think (or didn’t care more likely), but I have been to family meals where my niece and nephew were “forced” to eat and boy were those uncomfortable meals with little family joy involved. I want family meals to be happy times of togetherness, not battle ground, yk?

~Continued~~~


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