Good points, Potpourri. We are all so different, and different things work for different people. For that matter, there is so much I would do differently if I could go back in time 12 years or so! I am so thankful that I don’t HAVE to feed my kids stuff that makes them sick, that we have other food choices available here. I, too, was much pickier as a child than I am as an adult; it gives me hope that with gentle guidance, my kids too will learn to love healthy food! 🙂 –Tara2flowerboysParticipant
I agree potpourri! I feel bad that we are picky! I was somewhat picky as a child but grew out of it. And dh was waaay pickier than I was, and he grew out of it..there are some things we still don’t like too!
My ds has sensory issues. And when forced to eat food he didn’t like..such as texture..he also wanted hot instead of cold…he would literally gag and had vomited once! So yes I did and still do cater to him. It was a constant battle! We did taking away until next time. We thought if he was hungry he would eat that food, nope! He has gotten much much better over the yrs, he is 10 now. But still prefers raw veggies instead of cooked. Good for him! He has gotten over the temp thing..but still does not like mixed foods or some textures.
I saw that it was really putting stress on our relationship. And I was not going to battle over food anymore! It is terrible to witness! It took a while to just let go and let him eat what he liked. He eats a wide range of healthy foods. Just another opinion. I do agree that we are spoiled though. But, I choose my battles!BookwormParticipant
I don’t believe in catering, either, and I serve what I serve, but I have had kids with some pretty interesting problems, and I’m NOT willing to watch one die or damage his health over it. I do have one who vomits if he eats bread. I have one who manages to choke if he eats corn. Are they “doing” it consciously? I have no idea. All I know is I HATE to throw up, and I see no need to make anyone do it. So. One doesn’t eat bread when I serve it. It’s no biggie to have a tortilla. Maybe even healthier. The other one? I just serve corn on the side. There is always another vegetable. As long as he eats, what difference does it make?
THEN I had a child with a bona fide food aversion. He had severe reflux when a baby, and he just would. Not. Eat. Period. We tried I don’t even know how many things. Had a therapist. The kid survived on expensive prescription formula for almost two years. Finally we got him eating bananas. That took literally months of therapy! When he was four, he would eat three foods. If I withheld them to get him to try something else, he just quit eating. Four days, once. Does he get different treatment? Yeah. He’s a lot better now, but still probably throws up six or seven times a week if he runs into a taste or a texture he can’t handle. He may ALWAYS be like this. And the food-aversion therapist said it is NOT just because he’s picky and coddled. He’d have DIED in a severe food restriction situation. Now, that’s sad. It’s terrible some kids do die. But I wasn’t going to let mine, not when I could give him a banana!!! I just always fix something I know he’ll eat. We eat very differently anyway, lots of dishes because my dh is on a diet, but eats meat, I am a vegan, and on a diet, and we have a kid with special cardiac needs (he actually needs lots of salt) and then our aversion boy (who is at the moment a little chubby, actually, partly because he still likes bananas! And I think he is getting ready for the Great Thirteen Growth Spurt.)
I”ve learned that I can’t just say to another mom “Well, eventually he’ll HAVE to eat!” “He’s like that because you MADE him like that!” Noah isn’t the only kid out there with food aversion. We aren’t the only messed up family. LOL Now, my dh, he’s just picky. LOL
@Bookworm and others – I would never feed my child a food that would intentionally make him sick, nor did I state anyone should do so. I simply made the point that the majority of picky eating is a result of how we cater to our children’s and our own taste buds. I stand by that fact. Where there is plenty, there is pickiness. Where there is want, pickiness most often disappears. I was speaking about people without specific difficulties like allergies or specific problems dealing with food. I thought I was fairly clear on that fact, but if I wasn’t, my apologies on that point.
@potpourri – re the “hot-button” issues as you call them, you are quick to take offense when others hold strong opinions that differ from yours. I will not apologize for my opinion as it is borne out of my experience same as yours. You don’t like my opinion, fine. Ignore it. It matters not to me.
“I understand the thinking behind “Well, starving kids in Haiti will eat it, so you should, too”…. but honestly? We DON’T live in Haiti, we do have options, praise God we do not have that eat or die mentality, so we can’t expect our children to to meet those same expectations. It’s just wrong to even begin to expect to, and truthfully, is not a pattern of thinking any parent should be using.”
I doubt seriously that you could travel to a place like Haiti and Africa, and watch children dying of malnourishment and come away and make such a statement. It’s not wrong to expect my children (who have no allergies or problems with eating) to eat what is served them at all times. What’s wrong is to assume that because we live in the land of plenty, we get to be so particular as to turn our noses up at something based on nothing more than a dislike. Be thankful that you live in the land of plenty, make healthy choices for your family, but be honest when what you see is not a sensitivity or food issue, but simply poor manners.
“Picky eaters have been around since the beginning of time, I’m sure. Let’s face it, we all have foods we don’t like, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Why is it okay for you, an adult to say, “I don’t like cauliflower, so I’m not going to buy it, or eat it,”, yet so horrible for a child to have a food (or foods) that they don’t like? It’s hypocritical, honestly.”
I’m sure they have, but that doesn’t make it ok. Many things have been around since the beginning of time, but that’s a terrible argument. Why do I get to expect my kids to try things that I serve them? Because i’m their mother whom God has given the authority and responsibility to raise them to the best of my ability and that includes teaching them to do what’s hard or unpopular, how to weather life’s variety of storms, and yes, how to eat things they don’t particularly care for. Of course I have preferences like everyone else. I don’t care for cabbage, but I’ll eat it. I don’t care for liver, but I’ve eaten it. The only thing I will flat out refuse is beets and that’s because they make me vomit. I have one daughter who HATED corn, but after having a small no thank-you bite every time it was served for a while it became a favorite. I have one son for whom tomato pieces (stewed, sun dried, cut up chunks) makes him gag and vomit. It isn’t a sensitivity as he’s fine with pureed tomato. I simply chop his up super fine or occasionally let him skip it as it’s the only thing he dislikes. If however, we were served it at another’s home, then I would chop it up fine and expect him to eat a little bit. Pickiness is not an excuse for rudeness.
And you make another mistake when you assume that “perfect” mothers like me who have such expectations of their children “take feeding their child for granted, it’s such a simple thing – you nurse them or you give them a bottle, you spoon some food into their mouths, they feed themselves. They have NO idea what it can be like.” I had one son with severe reflux as an infant who could projectile vomit like you wouldn’t believe. Everyone has different experiences which color their perspective, but it’s a stretch to make an assumption like this.
Most of us don’t know one another and how we feed our families is of no consequence to each other. The point was to share our experience with the OP re. handling picky eating (in what I assumed from the OP was a child without special dietary or health needs). I did that.Rachel WhiteParticipant
“One of the mom’s earlier said her child has sensory issues, but she still forced her to eat her food. And that’s great for her, but that doesn’t work for everyone – and the danger is in that Mom (and I’m sure you, that Mom doesn’t, lol, but we both know there are those that would) thinking, “Well that worked for my sensory child, it should work for all.”
I assume this is me you’re referring to about my dd. First of all, the word “force” is a little dramatic. Forcing her sounds like shoving it down her throat or threatening her to create a fear if she didn’t eat it. First of all, she came from foster-care and was used to eating junk. Secondly, she had/has oral sensory dysfunction; she literally had to learn how to chew as she would just swallow things whole; learn how to use her tongue properly, etc.
Also, I never intimated that I think everyone should do it my way or that since it worked in my situation it should work wonders for another sensory child; I gave another way of doing things, that’s all. Besides, even if I did think that way, so what? A person has to decide for themselves and that’d be my problem if I did think that way. It’s not really a “danger” unless you allow it to be by your reaction to it or I came to your home with the food police to enforce my methods.
She had choices to eat or not to eat, but there were consequences. This is what we have to eat in this house, hemmed in by nutritional considerations and finances; so we must work within those boundaries. So by working together, we figured out how she could eat certain foods without throwing them up. I consider that a success story and am very proud of her for persevering through what it took to figure these adjustments out as it gives her a wider palate to choose from and she’s not “afraid” of food – food is an adventure for her.
What I said was she took smaller bites to get her food down. It was unpleasant, but not torture, it was a learning experience and now she is a try-anything, eat-anything girl who monitors her own bite-sizes. Does she have preferences? Sure, but she knows that if something isn’t feeling quite right in her mouth, that she has other options besides rejecting out right. If she has oatmeal, she knows to have it a certain texture; with dryer bread, she adds more condiment or smaller slices, etc. By not allowing her to simply NOT eat, but finding a solution so she could eat was given to her was the way to go about it and it worked. The only thing that – no matter what we did to it, no good – was celery. So she doesn’t eat fresh celery and when I cook with it, it’s cut small; if it’s big, she can take them out. This world is not going to cater to her sensitivities and whims, so she has to figure out how to make things work for her; how to make choices to take what’s given to her and make it work as best she can. We don’t know what the future holds re: food supplies, so they need to be able to eat what’s available, in a way that’s enjoyable if possible, but without a doubt, sustenance is necessary and thankfulness to the Maker is absolute.
I don’t think anyone offering the advice requested by the OP is judging anyone else or acting as if they are better moms. They are answering the question presented. If someone takes it personally or reads into it more than what is there, then let’s clarify, but let’s not misrepresent each other.BookwormParticipant
Christie, I’m so sorry you felt like I was disagreeing or arguing with you. I actually wasn’t at all. Just sort of randomly sharing my very weird experiences, and how I used to feel like telling moms what they “ought” to do, but now I don’t, because I know that there are some children with very unusual things going on that are outside the norm. NORMALLY I would feel the same—kid either eats the food, or doesn’t. Except we had some weird stuff. Plus now I’m a vegan and they aren’t. (They are too old for me to make that decision for them.) So *I* don’t eat everything I put on the table! So we put out a bunch of stuff and people eat what they eat and I don’t worry about it. Teens are a different ballgame I think. Actually, one thing I did find over time was that if I wasn’t pushing them or arguing with them or forcing them, then over time they tried more and more stuff–we kept enjoying things so much–and oldest one eats everything (but bread) and next one eats everything (but corn) and youngest one–well, he EATS. LOL Actually, I agree that rudeness is not excusable, but I also think we are all responsible for what we put into our bodies, for how we feel based on that, and as *I* intend to politely decline a pork chop at a friend’s house, I don’t mind if ds 1 politely declines the bread. I’ve spent too much time learning to listen to what my body needs to force anyone to eat something that doesn’t make them feel good. True, this IS a situation that would only occur in the affluence that we have, but we HAVE it. In fact, our very affluence and myriad choices are making some of us very sick. We all need to learn to DECLINE some food, I think. It doesn’t seem fair to me to allow myself to make a decision not to eat a hamburger at a cookout, and insist that my son eat the hamburger bun with his when it makes him gag and vomit. I guess that was all I was trying to say, and I must have done a poor job. I wasn’t disagreeing wiith anything you said (not something I do often, I must admit—since I’m your fan!) 🙂jmac17Participant
One family I know dealt with the picky eater problem by allowing each child one “hate food”. They were not served food containing the food that they hated, but had to eat at least a small portion of everything else before they had seconds of everything. They were allowed to change their ‘hate food’, but not once the food was cooked. So if spagetti was being served, you couldn’t suddenly change your hate food to tomato sauce. No alternative foods were prepared.
Michele – I know you weren’t argumentative. I just wanted to make sure it was clear that I was not speaking to special circumstances, but just your average “Ew, it’s green, so it must be icky.” kind of picky kid.
I understand politely refusing something that makes one ill. I do that quite often with all things gluten, but again, that’s not the issue I was speaking to. I agree that we all need to decline some food, as well. We don’t need a mondo-size slice of cake, 2 scoops of ice-cream and a giant lemonade at a birthday party. Saying no thank you to that is much different than a wrinkled nose refusing to try pasta with pesto sauce just because it’s green.
me too… didn’t want to upset anyone! I just wanted to give my side of our lives w/ a picky eater! For my other son, he eats about mostly anything! And if he refused to eat something, I would just make him “try” it. He doesn’t have sensory issues! And that would be just a preference thing! And just as Bookworm said, by not forcing my other son to eat foods he does not like, he has come around to some of them by himself. If he didn’t eat anything but mac and cheese and hot dogs, then I would be concerned! As a matter of fact, he hates the looks of hot dogs! LOL! And I believe he could be a vegetarian if I would let him, except he LOVES eggs! 🙂
I also don’t think that turning down hot dogs at a friends house because he doesn’t like them is wrong!
Just last week, we were at someone’s home for the first time, and they offered a dessert w/ nuts. My ds said, no thank you I don’t like nuts inside things. That was a polite thing to do. Should he have eaten it anyway? I wouldn’t if I didn’t like it. And that is okay. Like someone said, we all raise our families differently and that is okay!! I don’t think anyone is wrong in their choices!QueenMamaMember
As a formerly very, very picky child, I have to say that I am extremely grateful to my parents for never forcing me to eat any particular food. The list of foods I would eat was very short, though at least it was reasonably healthy. On my own timeline, I grew to be an adult who will eat just about anything from any world cuisine, including the spiciest of foods, provided that it’s vegetarian (though I will eat some fish).
As a parent, I feel pretty strongly that while my job is to purchase and prepare a variety of healthy foods each day, it is the job of each of my children to decide what and how much of it actually goes into their mouths. My kids are not required to eat any particular food at any meal. I don’t prepare special meals, but I’ll often leave small portions of ingredients that are intended to be mixed together, unmixed. So if I make baked burritos, I’ll leave out some plain beans, cheese, and tortillas for kids to assemble themselves if they don’t like the main dish. (I strongly encourage them to take an “adventure bite”, but there’s no “or else”).
Leftovers are just leftovers, eaten up by my husband or put into the refrigerator. No big deal. When the next meal or snack time comes around, we start fresh.
I have visited and worked and lived in a variety of countries on multiple continents, including some of the very poorest (e.g. Laos). I have stayed with families under tin roofs, over dirt floors, eating tortillas or rice or fried bananas made by hand over a wood fire under a monsoon rain. It has not changed my opinion that every individual has the right to decide what food enters his or her mouth.teaching2Member
I, too, was only trying to answer the op question of what I do when a child refuses to eat because he or she doesn’t like it. I was referring to a child without medical, sensory, or major aversion issues. With my first child still in a high chair, I remember him eating all things I gave him then refused a food one meal. I got up and got something different. After that, I kept making something different if he didn’t like it and he stopped liking more things. For a while I made him a separate meal. When I finally realized I had created a picky eater, I backtracked and it took a while to get my son to eat a variety and realize I was through making separate meals. My second child loves all things food regardless of texture, temperature, and taste so that has not been an issue. Dinner time is so much easier since my son knows dinner is the same for everyone and he can eat all of it or however much he wants. We don’t serve meals he doesn’t like over and over, but in our case my refusal to continue to cater to his pickiness has made it so there are few meals he doesn’t care for. I didn’t mean that all children should eat what is served or else. I was just stating what works in our situation being that we have no medical or sensory food issues. If I don’t care for a meal served elsewhere, I just take and eat a small portion so I can be thankful for the meal and not go hungry until the next meal. I hope this helps you, specifically potpouri, understand I’m not judging or saying all moms should do as I do. I was just answering the original question for how I handle the situation.pangitParticipant
Thank you for taking the time to reply. There are many different opinions and reasons for those opinions. I don’t think anyone’s opinion or reason’s for dealing with this situation are wrong. As long as a child isn’t put into harms way, then their are a myraid of parenting choices and opinions that are all “right.” Yes, a child with special needs warrants different rules than a child with no special needs.
I have chosen to give our kids the rule that if you refuse a meal because you don’t like it, then you will see it at your next meal. This is because I think that we need to appreciate what God and our families have provided for us and the work that someone has put into preparing a meal for us. If there is something that I know my child doesn’t like, then I will only give them a very small portion. When they have seconds, they can have it however they want. For example, when we have stir-fry, they will each have a serving of the rice with the veggies on top. When they have seconds, they generally have plain rice. There are times that they have a little more choice, like when building burrito’s one DD doesn’t like avacado’s and that is okay. Neither of them want onions. But they still have lettuce or spinach and some tomatos and olives on it.
I do eat things that I don’t like because it is something that someone else in the family likes and so it is made for a meal. I don’t like peas, but my girls love them, so we have them as our vegetable fairly often . . . and I eat them. I don’t really care for lentils, but DH really likes them, so I make them and eat them. I am finding that I am starting to like them more. That is the same with the kids, the more they continue to eat something (even in small portions) the more likely they are to start liking it. I have seen that happen with my kids, too.
I was just wondering today how everyone else dealt with the situation. Normally my kids eat what they are given but this week DD decided she didn’t want what she was given and was refusing meal after meal. She did finally eat it this afternoon and has been very cheerful since. It had turned more into an issue of choosing to do what she knew was the right thing to do instead of insisting on her own stubborness.
@pangit – I’m glad seeing the responses was helpful.
As a parent, I feel pretty strongly that while my job is to purchase and prepare a variety of healthy foods each day, it is the job of each of my children to decide what and how much of it actually goes into their mouths. …
It has not changed my opinion that every individual has the right to decide what food enters his or her mouth.
I agree completely. I never force my children to eat anything. i offer them a meal and it’s up to them to decide if they wish to eat it. If they choose not to, then it’s there for them at the next meal time. When I say I expect my children to eat what is served, I mean to convey that it is my choice what is served, but theirs to decide when to eat with grateful hearts.QueenMamaMember
I hope you don’t mind if I continue to discuss this a bit. I don’t mean any offense by it. Again, much of what I am saying comes from the perspective of a formerly picky eater who was essentially allowed to be picky until I grew out of it, which I did by my mid-teens. As an adult, I am now one of the most adventurous eaters I know.
In my home, if a food or meal is refused, I don’t serve it again at the next meal.
I have trouble getting behind the idea that a “grateful heart” is demonstrated by eating what is in front of you. By my definition, “grateful” is a feeling, and one either feels it or one doesn’t. While eating what is served you may be one way to express gratefulness — for the production of the food, the labor behind the meal, the employment that made it possible, God’s gifts that helped to grow it, etc — it also may be an action that is completely removed from any feeling of gratefulness. One could choke down food in submission to authority without feeling grateful at all (in fact, possibly feeling resentment). I even worry that one could become LESS grateful for food when said food becomes part of a power struggle — “You will eat this because I made it for you, you get nothing else until you do, and you have no REAL choice in the matter.”
I think that there are many, many ways to teach children to be grateful. We talk a lot about where food comes from and how it is produced, how their father works at a job all day (and many nights) so that we have money to buy what we need, how God provides us with blessings and gifts, how we work together to make our household function, etc. We also keep a garden, much of which was started by seed this year, after lots of soil preparation, so that they can see what it takes to grow food up close. (I am sure most CM families are doing many of these same things.)
So … Is it a grateful *heart* that matters most, or just the outward expression of gratefulness, whether or not it is inwardly felt? I tend to believe that the first is fundamental, and that the expression comes later. Therefore, I would not assume that a child who eventually eats a meal (having no other food offered) actually *feels* grateful … rather, she is just figuring out what she needs to do to survive. Don’t get me wrong … I expect my kids to be polite. Screaming “I don’t like casserole!” is not ok. But just saying, “No thank you” is fine, at our house. I don’t get my feelings hurt, I don’t worry that they will grow up to be rude boorish creatures. I just trust that eventually, with ever growing maturity, they will grow to enjoy a broader palette, and that by doing all the things we do to teach about the labor that makes our life possible, they will eventually have those truly grateful hearts that will desire to labor for the good of others as well.Rachel WhiteParticipant
Hi; the full quote is thus:
One of the mom’s earlier said her child has sensory issues, but she still forced her to eat her food. And that’s great for her, but that doesn’t work for everyone – and the danger is in that Mom (and I’m sure you, that Mom doesn’t, lol, but we both know there are those that would) thinking, “Well that worked for my sensory child, it should work for all.”
I know that you made a caveat in the latter half of your statement that “I’m sure you, that Mom, doesn’t…” and I appreciate that;, however, I was responding to the earlier segment just previous to that caveat: ” and that’s great for her, but that doesn’t work for everyone…”. Just wanted to clarify to which part I was referring.
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