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Old 10-24-2012, 09:19 AM   #31
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Re: Picky Eater- am I being too hard on her?

I think this is very child specific and would be cautious about the 'go to bed without supper' philosophy as a blanket for all kids. My DD is very picky, but she has gotten much better as she has gotten older. When she was 2 or 3 there were few foods she consistently ate, and it was very challenging. Now the other challenge is that she is very tiny, off the growth chart tiny and every calorie is important to her. She NEEDS to eat. Had we taken the go to bed hungry stance, we could have been in big trouble with her weight, because she would have chosen to go to bed hungry every single time. As an adult, I can't imagine someone telling me I had to eat what was on my plate or go to bed hungry-imagine being in a foreign country and not knowing or understanding what was on your plate. Would you choke it down?

We do our best to always serve something that the kids will like, and some new stuff (kind of like the food chaining idea) and ask that they try each thing, but I don't force the issue if they don't care for it (no one says they hate or don't like something in our house, I prefer they say they don't care for it). We make a huge deal when we discover a new food item that they like and try to be really positive about those wins, rather than focusing on the things that were misses. When they try something and didn't care for it, we say, well at least you tried it.

I think it is important to offer variety, encourage new things and celebrate the successes, but for some kids, food is just tough. I don't want meal time to be dreaded in our house. There are totally times when I lose my mind after cooking an awesome dinner and think it will be a winner and it totally isn't, but then there are also times when they totally surprise me and love something (potatoes au gratin for instance-so much sauce, so much mixing, but she loved it).


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Old 10-24-2012, 05:49 PM   #32
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Re: Picky Eater- am I being too hard on her?

I think all of my kids have something they do not like. We've dealt with picky eating off and on with my older two that are almost 8 and 4, and have found one food the baby hates (cottage cheese, weirdest thing to me). My third child was diagnosed with a food aversion at 22 months, after never being able to get her to eat (to the point I couldn't breastfeed kind of refusal to eat-she did not grow until she was put on PediaSure at 19 months, her sister that is 13 months younger was barely smaller than her at this point).

With my first, I made the mistake of having the battles with her. She refused to eat protein foods, even one bite. I have learned those battles are just not helpful to anybody, and truly regret ever doing that.

I have some pretty strong opinions on food and kids. All have stemmed from a combination of my hatred of wasting food and my experiences thus far as a parent.

Before I go into that, I want to say something regarding snacking-I was a nutrition major before stopping school to be with my second child. I plan to eventually go back and get my degree in nutrition, as it is my passion, but for now my babies need me. Coming from that knowledge, I flat out do NOT agree with children not getting snacks. It is FAR better for children (and adults, for that matter!) to eat 4-5 smaller meals a day. My family eats five times a day, 8:30 is breakfast, 11:00 is snack, 1:00 is lunch, 3:00 is snack, and 6:00 is dinner. We obviously space things out enough that our children are not snacking right before a main meal, but on days they do not get snacks they have far more behavioral issues and whining. They need to eat that often. I have yet to meet a child this is not true for.

First things first, you need to know if this is a case of true picky behavior, or an aversion. If it is a food you have seen your child eat with no issues what so ever before, it is not an aversion, it is just being picky. If the child consistently refuses it, gags, throws up, etc., it is likely an aversion. I have a few aversions myself, and man, if somebody tried to force me to eat those foods, I wouldn't be able to handle it. If your child has an aversion, either avoid that food if it is reasonable (for example, DD3 does not like cottage cheese, she has always rejected it, so we just do not offer it anymore), or avoid it for a while and try again in a no pressure, you don't have to eat it if you do not want to kind of way. A lot of aversions are outgrown, but not all. A nice trick is to eat it yourself and talk about how good it is to somebody else in their presence, waiting until they are curious, and asking if they want to try a bite. This worked with a couple foods we had harder times getting DD2 (food aversion child) to try.

As much as I believe in not forcing the issue on food aversions, I feel equally that not catering to picky eating is important. First let me clarify that I do not make meals I know my kids will not eat. I just don't go down that road. None of the older three like soup of any kind except tomato (baby loves most soups), so we don't eat soup. Sometimes I make it for DH and I, but then we either eat it for lunch (we rarely eat the same thing at lunch as the kids) or on the very rare occasion make the kids something else for dinner-I don't believe in making two dinners, so this is usually the kind of night where we do something fun and special. Anyway, rambling. While I do not make things I know my kids won't like, I do expect them to eat what I make them, at least a "no thank you" bite. We also make a point of only making 2-3 new meals a month, and always make it with something we know they like, even if that is a favorite veggie and bread. When they are being especially picky, and I know it is a meal they like, I save it and they can either eat it later when they decide they are hungry, or the next day for lunch. I also don't force them to eat more than one bite of everything, because if they truly aren't hungry, I don't want them to learn to force food down when they don't feel hungry, as this can contribute to over eating later in life.

We do not offer anything to eat after dinner. We don't even do dessert 99% of the time. So in our house, if you choose not to eat dinner, that's it for the night. My kids understand this and often tell me "I'm done for tonight". So to answer your question, since you made something special for your daughter that she would normally eat (ruling out an aversion issue), no, I do not think you are being too hard on her. It won't kill her to go to bed without dinner once in a while.

With all of that said, there was a good long while that for DD2, every rule for food went completely out the window. She was allowed to eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, and was never told no. (We don't keep junk food in the house, so this was never a concern) I remember one time I had been in the bathroom for a few minutes, and heard one of the kids into something in the kitchen, and found myself annoyed because they had JUST been told that snack was in 20 minutes and they could wait (I really just wanted to use the bathroom, LOL), so I walk in there ready to send somebody to their room for a time out for not listening, and I walk in and see DD2 sitting at the table eating cereal straight out of the box (a BIG no-no in my house, I have issues with people touching food that is not going in THEIR mouth, so no sticking hands in boxes like that), said "oh, you were hungry?" and turned around and left her chowing down on the dry cereal. I then had to laugh at myself, because had that been one of the older two kids, I would have been rather displeased, and it just reminded me of how I've had to relearn how to be a parent to parent this special little girl I've been given.

Now that her eating issues are much closer to being behind us, we've slowly started to implement basic rules with her. She now eats when the rest of us eat (plus a PediaSure around 6:30am before anybody actually gets up), we've cut back on the number of PediaSure she gets during the day, and we have very slowly started to show her that we expect her to eat what I prepare for meals. We still give her more wiggle room than the others, and if we are not satisfied with her calorie intake for the day, she'll get an extra PediaSure about 30 minutes before bed. This is after a lot of intense therapy and working with her to like various foods.

So, this extremely long reply in short says that I think there is more to this than a black and white answer, and I feel there are better ways to go about things to make meal time a pleasant experience, but I do not believe in catering to picky eating, and have no issues with sending a child that is a healthy weight that normally eats plenty to bed without food once in a while.
Wife to Rich , SAHM to Elliana 12/04, Tobiah 09/08, Naomi 02/10, Ruth 03/11, Jeanette 12/12 , and our new bean due 07/14.
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:20 PM   #33
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Re: Picky Eater- am I being too hard on her?

Originally Posted by lensesforeyes View Post
and have found one food the baby hates (cottage cheese, weirdest thing to me).
DD HATES cottage cheese.

other than that, she's a really good eater.
SAHM to Magnolia May (09/10), Luke Russett (04/13) and expecting 11/16. Wife and best friend to my airman.
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:24 PM   #34
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Re: Picky Eater- am I being too hard on her?

Nope, my super picky eldest often gets to forego dinner and go to bed with nothing else to eat. I don't even prepare the same food for him as we eat, he generally gets one of the few foods he'll eat, special made just for him. If he refuses to eat that, I tell him he won't get any snacks or treats and that's that. Sometimes he doesn't eat and is sorry. Sometimes he doesn't eat and doesn't care. Sometimes he eats so that he can have whatever treat he wants.
Veann - Libertarian, atheist, bookworm, heavy metal Mommy to all boys: Lucius (2-13-09), Orion (4-22-11), and Castiel (3-4-13), wife to Matthew - Anti-circumcision, babywearing, somewhat AP, natural birthing/ homebirthing, don't care about being "green", doing things my own way...
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:35 PM   #35
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Re: Picky Eater- am I being too hard on her?

I do not engage in food battles with my children. I do not believe in forcing a child to eat any particular thing or to sit at the table until all of the food is gone.

That being said, under no circumstances do I offer any other food option or snacks later if they decide they don't like what is served. They also will not be offered desserts on the occasion that we have them if they have not eaten a reasonable portion of their food. If they do not like what is served, I encourage them to keep their comments on the matter to themselves, sit and visit at the table until everyone is finished and then politely excuse themselves.

My kids all have different things that they do not like, there is no way I am going to please everybody and there is no way that I am going to make specialized meals for each kid. I am not set up to operate like a restaurant, I don't have the time or the energy to alter the daily menu due to food preferences.

Also, I do believe that hungry children will eat. I think it is highly unlikely the people in the world that are truly suffering from starvation turn away perfectly edible items. I want my children to have some understanding of how lucky they are to have plenty of healthy food to eat and not take it for granted. I want them to be wary of food waste and attempt to eat things even if it isn't their most favorite.

My job is to feed them a balanced diet that will help them to be healthy and strong, not to feed them the most delicious item at every meal. My oldest has a very long list of things he doesn't like, and a very short list of things he loves. The list of things he doesn't like includes most vegetables, many fruits and soup of all kinds. The list of things he does like includes PB and J, cheese, sweets, bread, french fries, pizza (without any vegetable toppings) and things of that nature. Unfortunately for him, I feel veggies should make up a large portion of the diet, dairy and grains should be limited and sweets only occasionally. I make the food the way I make it, I don't comment when he chooses to forego it.
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