or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › 7yo boys: issues with food/eating/control. Please advise!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

7yo boys: issues with food/eating/control. Please advise! - Page 2

post #21 of 125
This is such a hard and confusing issue. I have daily food struggles with my kids also, but interestingly enough, they don't sneak food. In fact, that's kind of the problem, if they just ate the food they had access to, I'd be OK with that. There is plenty of food here they could eat, but instead they tell me how they hate all the foods I make and all the foods I have in the house, and ask for things we don't have, like potato chips. And when they tell me they are hungry, it kind of sets me off a bit, I have to say. I walk in the door at 9 o'clock at night and get the "I'm hungryyyyyyyyy" thing, and know they very well could be hungry since they didn't eat the dinner I made, yet I know there is food here they could have eaten and didn't. I also know that when I offer it they won't eat it, because they want some fantastical delicious thing they think I might somehow have, or they'll even think I'll take them to a restaurant. For a long time if they wanted something to eat that we didn't have, they'd insist I go to the store, or bug me for days to buy it.

But when I get home and they say they are hungry, I go through the motions, offering them a banana, an apple, a piece of cheese and they reject it all. So many times they've gone to bed crying they are hungry, but not wanting any food we have, or they'd finally settle and eat a bowl of cereal. And then sometimes they'll want to eat bananas or apples, but they insist on coming to me and asking me first, even my 10 year old. It's kind of odd.

So, I don't know, I know that children are different. I think eating food from the fridge, like apples and cheese when they don't like the dinner, is typical behavior although frustrating because you are making them healthy meals they are rejecting. I think eating food off the floor and sneaking food from the homes of other people could be indicative of a hungry child, but could also very well be something else. Are there other issues with them that might make you think this is indicative of a larger problem?
post #22 of 125
I know we will be semi strict with our LO when the time comes and we hit that stage just because I know how I am and how DH is.

I think having a shelf in the fridge with snacks that they can grab at free will is ok unless they eat it all up right away. Its important to teach food control but doing it in a healthy manner. Making things like junk foods and food of that nature taboo can end up being dangerous in the long run.
When I had kids over whether babysitting or they were here with their parents. I always had a spot that was full of string cheese and such and they were able to go in there to grab them as they pleased.

There is a difference between boredom hunger and real hunger and its harder to determine with kids but it is something to address. Are they saying they are hungry due to being bored and so on.

As for the eating off the floor no clue how to address that one. That one could be a boy/kid issue so no clue on that.

I don't think you are all that strict when it comes to the food, I would suggest maybe experimenting with spices and such and see how that works.
post #23 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by new2this View Post
Its important to teach food control but doing it in a healthy manner.
This.is.just.wrong.

People who think they need to control someone else's food intake are just asking for problems/conflict. Kids need to learn to listen to their own bodies' signals. They do this through trial and error and it's your job as the parent to provide healthy food for this learning.

I have an eating disorder because my mother tried to teach me "food control". Don't do this to your children.
post #24 of 125
Quote:
There is a difference between boredom hunger and real hunger and its harder to determine with kids but it is something to address. Are they saying they are hungry due to being bored and so on.
When a child is getting in trouble for "sneaking" an apple there is way more going on than boredom hunger. The OP needs to look at her own motivations because I think it is directly responsible for how her sons are behaving.

Kids should have healthy food available to them. To control food to this point-where the kids aren't allowed to get food from the fridge? Not healthy.
post #25 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by elisheva View Post
This.is.just.wrong.

People who think they need to control someone else's food intake are just asking for problems/conflict. Kids need to learn to listen to their own bodies' signals. They do this through trial and error and it's your job as the parent to provide healthy food for this learning.

I have an eating disorder because my mother tried to teach me "food control". Don't do this to your children.
You might think its wrong but like I said doing so in a healthy manner. My job as a parent when that time comes is not letting my kid eat whatever they want healthy or not or whenever they want.

I have had my own issues with food as well.
post #26 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by new2this View Post
You might think its wrong but like I said doing so in a healthy manner. My job as a parent when that time comes is not letting my kid eat whatever they want healthy or not or whenever they want.

I have had my own issues with food as well.
Why shouldn't they eat whenever they want? If I want an apple and someone tells me 'no' because I must be eating out of boredom, you better believe I'm going to find a way to eat that apple anyway - most likely while hiding from the other person.
post #27 of 125
We had problems with hoarding and hiding food wrappers about a year ago. In our house, we HAD to restrict some items and could not just buy items that are only OK. For instance, there are some foods for the 18 month old that are expensive, but we had to have them on hand for his food issues and we could not buy enough for us all to have at will. We also have many outside activities where the kids are required to have non-refridgerated lunches, so we would have shelf-stable milk boxes and other convenience items for the lunches that we simply could not afford to eat all day while we were home. This led DIRECTLY to the elder kids sneaking these items and then hiding the wrappers or hoarding them for later. We decided we HAD to change our approach and these are some of the things that worked for us...it's just not an issue anymore:

1) We let the kids pick out their own pack of sugarless gum, which they can have AT WILL through the day (as long as they put it in the trash when done). They know they only get a new one when we go to the store, so at first they would chew all of it in like a day and then go without. Now they carefully ration their gum all on their own...they taught themselves to chew in moderation while killing some of the boredom eating.

2) We explained (honestly) that we don't have the money for tons of milk boxes, and if they kept sneaking them then we wouldn't have any for their lunches on music school day. We also stopped saying "No, you can't have a milk box." and started saying "Those are only for music school day, remember? But I can help you get a cup of milk from the fridge if you want."

3) We tell them what's off limits and why. They generally understand why now that we explain it.

4) Sometimes we re-direct the kids to carrots or apples or rice snacks or yogurt when they ask if we can make something like brownies or whatever. They will walk off happy with their yogurt, whereas a flat out "no" would have them sneaking the brownie mix into their room so they can eat the powder as soon as I was out of the kitchen for a second.

5) The kids are now free to eat freely from most of the food in the house. At first they ate ALARMINGLY weirdly...like my 5 year old had (no joke) 7 apples in one day, between all the regular food he ate. Apples are available all day, at all times and I just kept re-stocking. It never hurt him at all, he is super healthy and things have normalised now. There will still be days where he seems to be snacking ALL DAY LONG, but it's not every day, and he is on the low end of healthy weight for his height so I don't stress over it. If anything it has shown me that his body must actually need all the food he eats since he's obviousely not storing it anywhere

Anyway, good luck, and I TOTALLY understand the frustration, but I agree with most of the PPs that relaxing the rules might work better than coming up with new ones. It did for us at least.
post #28 of 125
My oldest will be 7 in a couple weeks and is like this ....however I do not control his food intake ...if he wants food he gets it ....its healthy but I refuse to make my kid go hungry and control his food .....I just don't see the advantage to scheduling a growing kid to a food schedule
post #29 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by elisheva View Post
This.is.just.wrong.

People who think they need to control someone else's food intake are just asking for problems/conflict. Kids need to learn to listen to their own bodies' signals. They do this through trial and error and it's your job as the parent to provide healthy food for this learning.

I have an eating disorder because my mother tried to teach me "food control". Don't do this to your children.
I so agree with this ...you can't know how much food a child needs ...especially if they are so hungry they start sneaking healthy food
post #30 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoomaYula View Post
3. They are clearly hungry. Today my boys did not eat breakfast (by their choice; it was oatmeal with honey and brown sugar, and bacon). We went for lunch at Chick-Fil-A and one of them was actually eating food off the floor when he was finished with his lunch.

4. I am at my wits' end over this. I am tired of fighting over food, but I think it's important that they eat a variety of foods, incorporating lots of colors and textures. I realize I cannot force them to eat, but neither can I have them eating off the floor, or begging people for food -- they also did that at Chick-Fil-A, when they were done eating and one of their friends was still eating his lunch.

Please advise. Every meal is becoming a battleground and I hate it.
Maybe they need more for a snack than just some fruit or crackers. Why is the fridge so strictly off limits? I am happy that my son (3) can go to the fridge and get himself a yogurt or some fruit....I stock only healthy food so I know if he is going to grab something it will be a healthy choice.

I would trust their opinion of hunger (they aren't allowed to eat without permission??) I'm sorry I find it very, very sad that they have to hide an apple from you....if they are hungry they may need more food and you may need to ease up a bit on the rules.

They may need more variety....I know that most "kid friendly" foods my son dislikes. Chicken fingers-he would rather roasted/grilled chicken, Sloppy Joes -ick, Grilled cheese with processed cheese-he asks for the other cheese (meaning real cheddar)

Macaroni -he loves it when I make a modified boxed version with a jar of butternut squash and a handful of shredded cheddar
If they love tacos (assuming you make them from scratch) add a jr baby food jar of carrots and squash to bulk up the veggies and let it simmer a bit longer to thicken.
I make Pad-Thai and Indian foods, Italian, Greek, Pappadums, Hummus...all things you wouldn't find on a typical kid menu....and he loves it.

They are 7 ask them what they would like to eat, let them help plan the menu. I ask my son....if it is something reasonable I will try and make it.

I wish you luck.
post #31 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by new2this View Post
You might think its wrong but like I said doing so in a healthy manner. My job as a parent when that time comes is not letting my kid eat whatever they want healthy or not or whenever they want.

I have had my own issues with food as well.
I understand part of your point being that routine is important, including meal times. I don't get the issue though with food in general???? How do you know that your child truly isn't hungry? There's a big difference between setting up a schedule and setting yourself up for some major drama when it comes to eating habits.
OP, I think one PP said it best when she said that what you are doing clearly isn't working. I agree with a lot of the suggestions you've been given, especially the go to shelves in the fridge and pantry. I feel sad that your son had to sneak an apple. Does that really seem right to you? Consider putting yourself in their shoes for a second. How would that feel if you had no control over what you could eat and when you could eat it. You were at the mercy of a governing figure who decided what your meals would be and when you would get them...oh and you're hungry? Too bad. You'll wait until I give you your next meal or snack. Your children are probably feeling really powerless right now, and when children feel powerless they act out ( like eating food off the floor and begging from other people). You need to take a look at your own policies and see where you can institute some compromises. Seeking the aid of a counselor might be adviseable at this point as well.
post #32 of 125
well said
post #33 of 125
I am a little surprised by the responses to the OP. She is making her kids kid friendly meals that (I am assuming) they LIKE but are refusing to eat and then gorging themselves on snacks, and everyone thinks she's being uptight? I would have a real issue with my kids refusing to eat breakfast or other meals and then expecting to gorge on snacks - even healthy ones - an hour later. It's a waste of food and snack foods like cheese sticks are expensive. I would be appalled by my kids refusing to eat meals that I have prepared and then eating off the floor in a restaurant. It doesn't sound to me that the OP is being controlling of food - she is offering three healthy meals and 2 snacks per day that her kids are refusing to eat and then raiding the fridge when she's not around. In her position I, too, would tell them the fridge and pantry are off limits. I'd have a bowl of fruit that they could help themselves to at any time, but that would be it. I don't go to the effort of making meals only to thrown them away. Not hungry when I make you lunch? Fine. Your grill cheese sandwich/bowl of soup/mac&cheese will be right here waiting for you when you are hungry.
post #34 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3*is*magic View Post
I am a little surprised by the responses to the OP. She is making her kids kid friendly meals that (I am assuming) they LIKE but are refusing to eat and then gorging themselves on snacks, and everyone thinks she's being uptight? I would have a real issue with my kids refusing to eat breakfast or other meals and then expecting to gorge on snacks - even healthy ones - an hour later. It's a waste of food and snack foods like cheese sticks are expensive. I would be appalled by my kids refusing to eat meals that I have prepared and then eating off the floor in a restaurant. It doesn't sound to me that the OP is being controlling of food - she is offering three healthy meals and 2 snacks per day that her kids are refusing to eat and then raiding the fridge when she's not around. In her position I, too, would tell them the fridge and pantry are off limits. I'd have a bowl of fruit that they could help themselves to at any time, but that would be it. I don't go to the effort of making meals only to thrown them away. Not hungry when I make you lunch? Fine. Your grill cheese sandwich/bowl of soup/mac&cheese will be right here waiting for you when you are hungry.

She pegged her son because he wanted an apple. I understand the wanting your kid to eat thir meal,but obviously some part of their routine and household rules are NOT working. If you have things clamped so tight that a child has to try to hide an apple down their pants, I see that as a problem. If your kids are eating food off the floor and begging others for their food, I see that as a problem as well. If the OP doesn't want to have a free shelf for healthy snacks, then she at least needs to make some compromise as far as food being served at meals. Just because we all consider the food to be kid friendly doesn't mean the kids like it. I had a friend whose son insisted on eating sardines for breakfast every morning. She could have insisted on oatmeal and bacon and the child would have been very hungry by lunch time.At some point you have to deicde which hill you're going to die on as a parent, mine certainly wouldn't be over an apple, and if the OP wants to halt the undesireable behavior of "food stealing" and begging, then she needs to change her reactions and behaviors and really find out what the cause of their behavior is. That means she's going to have to have some open communication with them and display a willingness to compromise a bit.
post #35 of 125
I agree with many of the posts....too much control over food is going to lead to trouble. Wytchywoman made a lot of sense. It would be frustrating and infuriating to have someone standing between me and food if I were hungry. And it would feel nonsensical and arbitrary.

We have a solution when we want our soon-to-be 7 yr old to not eat all of something (thus leaving none for the rest of us)....we divide them up and give him his own supply of whatever (like, a batch of muffins we just baked) and he can "budget" them out on his own. He can eat them all within the first five minutes if he wants, or he can save them and enjoy some later, like DH and I do with ours. It's up to him. We did that with gum, too, because he discovered that he likes it, and yet we have never just bought candy on the fly like that...so I got the brilliant idea to say on Wednesdays we buy him a pack of gum; how fast he eats it is up to him. And it's funny because it's sort of like teaching him about budgeting, delayed gratification, all that stuff. And since he is in charge of it, he enjoys it.

But those are the only big controlly things we do, and I think they are both very helpful. He enjoys being in charge of his own treats. And we don't keep junk in the house so he's really free to grab anything he wants whenever he's hungry. Though it's usually just bread or PB&J. We go through a lot of that in this house! :-)
post #36 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by wytchywoman View Post
I understand part of your point being that routine is important, including meal times. I don't get the issue though with food in general???? How do you know that your child truly isn't hungry? There's a big difference between setting up a schedule and setting yourself up for some major drama when it comes to eating habits.
OP, I think one PP said it best when she said that what you are doing clearly isn't working. I agree with a lot of the suggestions you've been given, especially the go to shelves in the fridge and pantry. I feel sad that your son had to sneak an apple. Does that really seem right to you? Consider putting yourself in their shoes for a second. How would that feel if you had no control over what you could eat and when you could eat it. You were at the mercy of a governing figure who decided what your meals would be and when you would get them...oh and you're hungry? Too bad. You'll wait until I give you your next meal or snack. Your children are probably feeling really powerless right now, and when children feel powerless they act out ( like eating food off the floor and begging from other people). You need to take a look at your own policies and see where you can institute some compromises. Seeking the aid of a counselor might be adviseable at this point as well.
Well if you would have read the rest of my thread you could see where I said having a shelf in the fridge or wherever that they can have at free will is a good idea. However I also believe in the mentality you eat what I cook I am not a short order cook, I wouldn't make them eat anything they truly don't like. I also go with the thinking that if you don't want to eat when we eat then so be it, it will be there when you are ready to eat.

And I am pretty sure most parents can tell when their kid is really hungry or not. And telling a child to wait even an hour is not going to kill them or deprive them of anything. More so if the parent knows the child will be filled up on the snack prior to supper so saying no hunny we are eating in an hour you have to wait is not a bad thing.
post #37 of 125
Op, in the interest of your boys eating at served meals, have you tried monkey platters? I didn't know that term until I saw it linked here on MDC, but that is essentially how I feed my little kids breakfast and lunch. I put out a platter of lots of yummy, nutritious goodies, and it is pretty irresistable. They can serve themselves from the platter, giving them lots of choice and control.

For family dinners, I also include small plates of yummy sides that might otherwise be on a "monkey platter" (olives, cut fruit or tomatoes/cucumbers, cheese cubes, etc). Again, everything is served family style, and the children serve themselves as they grow able. I determine what goes on the table, but they determine what goes on their plate.

Also, I'm going to speak up in defense of salt You mentioned cooking low-salt, but some of the foods they are "sneaking" are salty (like cheese sticks). Kids are moving and sweating out salt, and salt makes food taste better!!!. Maybe you should try adding more salt to their meals?

If you believe your boys are turning to food out of boredom sometimes, that isn't really a food issue at all. That's a boredom issue.

Finally, yes, have some "free range" food available. A fruit bowl is a great choice. Please don't ration apples, unless it is out of financial need.

Oh, and one more thing....sit with them, but don't comment on what they eat at meals. Make meals interesting in other ways--take turns telling what you are each thankful for, or naming the best and worst part of the day, making plans, etc, but don't talk about what people are/are not eating. If they make noises about the food, change the subject: "Take what you'd like. What is your favorite Winter olympics event so far?" Make mealtime appealing for spending time together, and food secondary.
post #38 of 125
Thanks for that link Sunnmama!! My little guy fell off the chart weight wise (he is still wearing his 9 mo winter coat and he is 21 mos) so I am always looking for fun ways to encourage healthy eating without hovering over him and fretting that he is not eating enough.

I have lots of little figner foods but never considered doing a plate like that-I will try it tonight.
post #39 of 125
When my youngest DS started to exibit eating issues I contacted a friend who used to work for the National Eating Disorder Clinic for help. Both my DH and I grew up with issues and are very conscious that parents can, although well-meaning, create life-long problems for kids with food.
My friend told me that Ellyn Satter (www.ellynsatter.com ) is considered the go-to women for how to feed kids. I noticed that a pp recommended a book of her's, but then offered some advice which, I believe is in condradiction to what Ellyn Satter would advise.
My DS's issues are not the same as your's, so I won't speak to it, but my understanding, in a nutshell of what ES believes is that parents are responsible for the *what, where and when* of eating and kids are responsible for the *how much and whether*. Parents should provide meals and sitdown snacks for kids every 2-3 hours (and sitdown with them- no eating while doing other things), allow kids to eat as much as they desire of what is being served - although only one serving of dessert, if being offered(no emotion or comment on what or whether they eat) and when eating is done there should be no food until the next meal/snack time except water.
This is my understanding, so far of what she recommends, though like I said my DS's issues are not the same, so the book I am currently reading of Ellyn Satter's would not be the one for you. Definitely you should go to her website, though.
Good luck, and I personally go to the professionals for help, rather than take advise from well-meaning people who lack any real knowledge of a very delicate issue.
post #40 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama2cal&darby View Post
ES believes is that parents are responsible for the *what, where and when* of eating and kids are responsible for the *how much and whether*. Parents should provide meals and sitdown snacks for kids every 2-3 hours (and sitdown with them- no eating while doing other things), allow kids to eat as much as they desire of what is being served - although only one serving of dessert, if being offered(no emotion or comment on what or whether they eat) and when eating is done there should be no food until the next meal/snack time except water.
.
yeah thats what my mum did and boy did it cause me issues. Some of the what you so condesendingly call well meaning people might have a heck of a lot more expirience than you realise. And just because someone has a fancy label like dokter or what not that does not allways make them a better person to turn to when issues arrise. I mean how many dr would recomend a circ or formula.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gentle Discipline
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › 7yo boys: issues with food/eating/control. Please advise!