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7yo boys: issues with food/eating/control. Please advise! - Page 5

post #81 of 125
Quote:
Most adults can't even tell the difference when they are really hungry or not so why would I expect a child to know.
Right. And how exactly will we help our kids learn these cues if we rigidly control every morsel of food they eat, and even more detrimental rigidly enforce when they will eat?

We don't know our hunger cues because we have learned to ignore them (watching TV while we eat, driving, using the computer etc), or because we were never allowed to learn our own cues and decide when we were hungry.
post #82 of 125
Exactly. It's an instinct we've lost. The ideal IMO is to help my kids retain that instinct.
post #83 of 125
In our home, my daughter spent years taking control of food. She has some additional challenges that make new tates and textures a HUGE issue.

My rule is that I make one meal- if I know it's something she will not eat, I will sometimes alter it to make a dish just for her (plain chicken strips instead of the stirfry etc) but generally, if she won't eat it, she has to come up with an acceptable alternative. Sometimes that is peanut butter and jelly, sometimes it's fruit and cheese cubes- we go with whatever works.

She is free to grab a healthy snack whenever she wants unless we are just about to eat.

I get budgeting, but if your kids are going hungry because you want to make your budget work, it's time to adjust the budget.
post #84 of 125
Okay, I just have to say, time will remedy a lot of what is going on in this thread. Ds is going on 14 and grew 7 inches last year. If I tried to be the one who fixed every meal and snack he needs I would literally live in the kitchen.

Puberty makes boys bottomless food pits. I do NOT know where it goes ladies. Really, I don't. Not that long ago ds was full after one slice of pizza, or half a Chick Fil A Nugget meal.

I recently saw him nearly polish off an entire Little Caesars $5 pizza by himself. As a snack. I only go to Chick Fil A on college night, when sandwiches are 2-for-1. Otherwise, I couldn't afford to feed him there.

A box of Annie's Mac and Cheese is a snack between meals. Not cheese and crackers, or fruit. An entire pot of Annie's Mac.

All I'm saying is...the best time to make sure your kids can 'do for themselves' in the kitchen is probably well before the raving hunger of the adolescent years. Otherwise you will never get a moment's peace.
post #85 of 125
I agree that as puberty begins to hit everything changes. My daughter is 8, and as the hormone shifts begin, she's suddenly eating things that even a year ago I would not have imagined her eating, and in such HUGE amounts!
post #86 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniellebluetoo View Post
Don't take it personally, really this is online chat, I don't
Oh I didn't. Not to worry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daniellebluetoo View Post
BUT, if the kid isn't eating their meals OF COURSE they ARE going to be hungry between meals!!!!!!!
That's true, but in this case the OP says this in her original post:

Quote:
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.
I think it's entirely appropriate to suggest that the OP evaluate whether her ideas about how much food her kids should be eating at a meal given that the child had already finished his lunch. The fact that the child chose to eat food off the floor rather than simply ask for more food tells me the same thing that the apple incident did...that the child probably feels that he would not be allowed to have more food.

I know you've mentioned money issues, but even if I could not afford more Chickfila, I'd tell my son that we would be home soon and he could have something then. I guess I'm just confused about what you took issue with in that paragraph considering the OP clearly states that he finsihed his lunch and was still clearly hungry
post #87 of 125
I can sort of understand not wanting one's kids to use snacks, even ones like string cheese and apples to fill up on after refusing meals...I don't know about the OP (sorry I havent read the whole thread) but we have a pretty tight budget to live on and those special snacks are for DS's lunch box and family outings when prepackaged food to take on the go is more practical. I simply can't afford to make those the main staples of my child's diet.

My 4 year old knows better than to go into the fridge behind my back, but who knows, at 7 he may defy me more in which case I may wind up doing what my parents did which was put a padlock and chain on the fridge door at night.

I used to cater to ds but recently, with a new baby I haven't got the energy to cook two or three meals (dh and ds eat meat and I don't) especially when I know darn well my food is AWESOME. About two weeks ago I just started saying "sorry, honey that's what's for dinner tonight. Don't want to try it, well you probably aren't that hungry. You're excused." Not surprisingly he has started eating what his dad and I eat.

I also do have a snack shelf I have set up for him with cereal, fruit, and other nibbles he can choose from throughout the day if he is hungry. If he fills up on those things instead of dinner, I don't really mind, but they are portioned out for a DAY, ONE day at a time! If he went and BINGED on a bunch of stuff not on his shelf, our special treats and his school snacks, I would be livid! Food is expensive and we simply can't afford to have a week of FAMILY snacks eaten in one afternoon by one child. I would LOSE it seriously. I bet the bigger the family, the more annoyed this would make me.


ETA: For example, I just bought a big bag of dried apricots for about 15 dollars at PriceSmart. If ds went into the pantry and gorged on apricots without asking, I would be furious. They are supposed to last a MONTH and I have three special meals planned that include the use of them. We can't afford dried apricots other than at PriceSmart (they are imported here and VERY expensive!) so replacing them would mean waiting a month until we got paid again...and it would SO be coming out of his pocket money!

FWIW, if my kids were not eating at home, I just do not think I would not take them out to eat, and if they ever begged a stranger for food or ate off the floor I would not take them out to eat for a long long time.
post #88 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by wytchywoman View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

Grains in particular are horrible for this. I would not be surprised at all at a kid having 4-5 helpings of pasta even with a bulging stomach. A better solution than "don't eat anymore" would be to get a fat or protein into them.
You did make a good point in the type of food involved. I read somewhere that studies have shown that anything containing HFCS, alcohol or processed flour have a tendency to increase hunger cues inapporpriately. So yes, what you eat can mess with your hunger cues a bit. Good point.
Yep! MSG is a horrible culprit for this...and it is a REALLY sneaky ingredient! I would be surprised if Chik-Fil-A and their ilk din't have MSG in 90% of their menu offerings.
post #89 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

ETA: For example, I just bought a big bag of dried apricots for about 15 dollars at PriceSmart. If ds went into the pantry and gorged on apricots without asking, I would be furious.
On the plus side, gorging on dried apricots is quite the learning experience
post #90 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
Yep! MSG is a horrible culprit for this...and it is a REALLY sneaky ingredient! I would be surprised if Chik-Fil-A and their ilk din't have MSG in 90% of their menu offerings.
It's listed in their ingredients for the breaded chicken sandwich. I didn't look up anything else. Amazingly, the lemonade is made with actual sugar rather than HFCS. http://www.dietfacts.com/list.asp?brand=Chick-Fil-A
post #91 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
My 4 year old knows better than to go into the fridge behind my back, but who knows, at 7 he may defy me more in which case I may wind up doing what my parents did which was put a padlock and chain on the fridge door at night.
I don't normally post here but this thread caught my attention for a couple of reasons. The above quotation is one of them, as is the idea that children cannot self-regulate what they eat. As a Certified Member of the Clean Plate Club, I am ADAMANT that my son learn to recognize and respect his hunger cues which mostly entails my respecting them. He knows when he is hungry or full; I am the one who needs to respect his knowledge.

Every family is different; I totally "get" that but...I could not imagine having to padlock my refrigerator to keep my child from eating. My son learned how to open the refrigerator and get an appropriate snack at the age of eighteen months. At the age of four, he is able to make an appropriate snack which usually includes fruit, leftovers such as steamed broccoli, or yogurt though he has started branching out to toast and sandwiches now. He usually does this without my permission; in fact, he will often offer to make me a snack while he's getting his.

I keep a fair amount of unhealthy foods (ice cream, cookies, chocolate) in my house at any given time. My DS does ask permission to eat these "treats" because I have taught him that "treats" are good in moderation. We've never had problems with him eating something I needed later as an ingredient. If I ever did, I would probably modify the recipe rather than be furious with my child for eating healthy foods.

Minxie
post #92 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kreeblim View Post
That's true, but in this case the OP says this in her original post:
I think it's entirely appropriate to suggest that the OP evaluate whether her ideas about how much food her kids should be eating at a meal given that the child had already finished his lunch. The fact that the child chose to eat food off the floor rather than simply ask for more food tells me the same thing that the apple incident did...that the child probably feels that he would not be allowed to have more food.

I know you've mentioned money issues, but even if I could not afford more Chickfila, I'd tell my son that we would be home soon and he could have something then. I guess I'm just confused about what you took issue with in that paragraph considering the OP clearly states that he finsihed his lunch and was still clearly hungry
Yeah, see, I can TOTALLY see this happening, in some strange Carol Burnet skit type of way....moms all over the place trying to manage a few kids, she's a bit flustered, and the oldest boys decide to "mess" with mom, instead of waiting or asking, they decide to start acting up and doing things like eating off the floor or asking strangers, things they KNOW will get moms attention...... I guess I just have a hard imagining that a mom actually limits her kids over all food intake, and that chicFila thing was more of a manors issue, with the boys either not wanting to be patient to wait for mom to get more food or maybe they just didn't like the answer they got which could have been wait til we get home, or no jhonny this food isn't the best food for you, you can have a salad off the menu if your still hungry...or what not. HOpe that made sense, I was up late working on my paper....


Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
Yep! MSG is a horrible culprit for this...and it is a REALLY sneaky ingredient! I would be surprised if Chik-Fil-A and their ilk din't have MSG in 90% of their menu offerings.
I know isn't it awful, I am a big time label reader! We DO NOT have MSG or HFCS or anything even remotely close, our pasta is even whole grain... so when my son does over indulge in things like pasta, which are ALWAYS served with lots of vegg, and some protein.... it makes me wonder.. JUST what is it about that pasta that makes it SO irresistable???? i've even tried things like mungbean pasta's from the asian market, and still, mom can I have MORE!?!?!??!?!...hmmmm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minxie View Post
he has started branching out to toast and sandwiches now.
Minxie
I thought this was cute Do you have a toaster oven?
post #93 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minxie View Post
I don't normally post here but this thread caught my attention for a couple of reasons. The above quotation is one of them, as is the idea that children cannot self-regulate what they eat. As a Certified Member of the Clean Plate Club, I am ADAMANT that my son learn to recognize and respect his hunger cues which mostly entails my respecting them. He knows when he is hungry or full; I am the one who needs to respect his knowledge.

Every family is different; I totally "get" that but...I could not imagine having to padlock my refrigerator to keep my child from eating. My son learned how to open the refrigerator and get an appropriate snack at the age of eighteen months. At the age of four, he is able to make an appropriate snack which usually includes fruit, leftovers such as steamed broccoli, or yogurt though he has started branching out to toast and sandwiches now. He usually does this without my permission; in fact, he will often offer to make me a snack while he's getting his.

I keep a fair amount of unhealthy foods (ice cream, cookies, chocolate) in my house at any given time. My DS does ask permission to eat these "treats" because I have taught him that "treats" are good in moderation. We've never had problems with him eating something I needed later as an ingredient. If I ever did, I would probably modify the recipe rather than be furious with my child for eating healthy foods.

Minxie
but you did see that my son does self regulate, and I was simply saying that IF he started to suddenly just eat all those treats behind my back I MIGHT resort to that? If my child suddenly started raiding the fridge as my brother and sisters and I did, I cannot really say what I would do. We teach them everything we can, but at some point they may just do what they WANT instead of what you have taught them, and I don't know about you, but I think it's important to respect the rights and needs of the rest of the family, too.
post #94 of 125
If a child is raiding the fridge, I'd ask why, not lock up the fridge. Is the child hungry? Is the child always wanting the same thing? Is it healthy food?

If it's about sweets, I just wouldn't have sweets in the house. And we really don't very often as dh and I have trouble not giving into the temptation of sweets as well. Actually dd is better about that than we are.

But if it's healthy food, I'd let my dd have what she wants. If one healthy food were too expensive, I'd buy a different one. But I wouldn't limit amount. If she's hungry, she gets to eat.
post #95 of 125
You say they are clearly hungry, yet you can't understand why they are going into the fridge and getting food?

Really children should not need your permission to eat.

My 5 and 3 year old can get a piece of fruit, yogurt, sandwich, etc on their own. A cheese string is not a sufficient snack for either of them.

If someone doesn't feel like eating something (including my husband and I), we get ourselves something else.

I don't understand being so controlling about food. and then to be shocked that your kids sneak and beg food?
post #96 of 125
I agree there's a lot going on here. OP I really respect you for recognizing that things are going off the rails and looking to fix it. I think your boys are giving you clear signals that this is not working for them.

I personally believe that there is a reasonably wide variety of ways to deal with food and family that mostly come out okay in the end. I think our culture is overall pretty sick about food, and sometimes in our quest to be great parents we get equally sick in trying to compensate for all the ills of the fast-food nation by controlling every bite in some other way, creating only the perfect feeding patterns or else we kind of give up.

Anyways I'm seeing that you like a lot of structure and that is ok. But your boys are giving you signals that your current structure is really, really not working for them. The first thing I would do would be sit down together and discuss the issue. You may not get any good info out of them but you might. I would say "I'm really worried about this behaviour because it is unacceptable to eat off the floor, but it's also really important to me that your needs are respected too."

The thing is, if your boys are into a power struggle with you, they're not really learning to regulate their eating or anything about health. You want them to learn that. They're learning how long they can hold out before they have to give in (or you do, by taking them out somewhere), and then gorging at that point.

This is not healthy eating. Your teaching and their learning are just way far apart. IME, you pretty much have to break the cycle before you can all get on the same page again.

I would suggest for your family that you consider letting your boys make a choice at breakfast, setting the tone for the day that they have had some control and responsibility. I'd also personally be much more comfortable, given kids' varying activity levels and growth spurts and everything with some freely available snacks, but I recognize it doesn't work for everyone. However I'm not sure that restricting snack time works well once it becomes a big issue.

In exchange, I think your boys need to work a bit on their restaurant manners and participate in the other meals in a reasonably civilized way.
post #97 of 125
OP, we have milder versions of these same issues periodically (not eating meals that I know are acceptable tastewise, gorging on $$ prepared snack foods that are not mealtime foods in this house, sneaking into the fridge and cupboards to take food items that they KNOW are not allowed as snacks, such a chocolate chips). My kids are three and five.

Here's what works for us:

1. Have eating guidelines that EVERYBODY respects. If kids are expected to eat oatmeal for breakfast or else fast until lunch, then any adults who are home at breakfast time should also be sitting down eating. If kids can't snack in the hour or two before dinner, neither can adults. If postdinner snacking is not allowed for kids, then it's not allowed for adults. You aren't trying to impose arbitrary rules for the kids. You are trying to create a healthy food culture for all members of the household.

2. Don't stock the objects of their current fixations. For example, in your shoes I would not be buying any cheese sticks, and I'd TELL THEM WHY - "You guys have been sneaking into the fridge and gorging on those things instead of eating your meals." Then buy them again in a month or so and see what happens.

3. Manners, manners, manners. My kids didn't eat things off the floor in restaurants, but they told both me and any other adult who served them, in detail, exactly what they didn't like about the food. That was a big struggle for a long time and SO INFURIATING. But on the plus side, my husband and I have developed some lovely table manners while modeling the correct social response to being served food. A rallying cry around here is "nobody will force you to eat Item X. But you are not allowed to tell your dining companions that you don't like Item X. Talk about something else."

4. Others have mentioned this, but the free-eating zone is just a lifesaver for us. A basket of apples, a loaf of bread, a box of raisins, whatever works for you. For my kids, this has cut down HUGELY on the sneaking - it's not like I was REFUSING them apples when they asked for one out of the cupboard, but they prefer to get them on their own without consulting me, so I put a basket on a table that they can reach. As they are so young, I have to take it up a couple of hours before dinner if I want them to come to the table hungry (and that's huge for me, if a person is sitting down to the evening meal and they are NOT hungry, something is seriously messed up with how they ate that day).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Having seen all these bad habits - fixating on specific foods and eating multiple portions per day to the exclusion of other kinds of nourishment, in-depth criticism of meals served in a social context, gorging on processed foods outside of meal hours - going on amongst adults in my husband's family, I realize what the consequences are going to be if I don't teach my kids healthy food habits and instill in them good food manners. So I totally sympathize with you on this. As Americans, we don't have a workable set of healthy eating rules that are enforced by our entire culture. So you have to create a mini-culture inside your own home. It's a huge and ongoing task.
post #98 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
If a child is raiding the fridge, I'd ask why, not lock up the fridge. Is the child hungry? Is the child always wanting the same thing? Is it healthy food?

If it's about sweets, I just wouldn't have sweets in the house. And we really don't very often as dh and I have trouble not giving into the temptation of sweets as well. Actually dd is better about that than we are.

But if it's healthy food, I'd let my dd have what she wants. If one healthy food were too expensive, I'd buy a different one. But I wouldn't limit amount. If she's hungry, she gets to eat.
Yep, that's what my parents did first, they just stopped buying treats for anyone, (which was pretty unfair on those in the family that weren't raiding the fridge and pantry out at night and who liked having fruit roll ups for their lunches, and yogurt for a snack, or ice cream occassionally), but then there were raids of milk, a whole gallon of milk GONE, whole boxes of cereal disappearing, entire blocks of cheese POOF! A whole bag of apples or an entire bunch of grapes and this was AFTER having eaten a huge plate of lasagna and garlic bread and drinking a gallon of milk between the four of us at dinner.

Were we hungry? Maybe. Didn't help that some of us were smoking giant amounts of pot after my parents went to bed. Mostly though it was boredom, and accessibility. Sometimes my brother and I would have eating competitions, not because we were hungry but because we were competitive. We'd literally sit down on a Saturday morning with a bowl and a gallon jug of milk each and a box of cereal and see who could eat the most. Our parents thought they had raised us to have enough sense not to do something like that. I too was making myself snacks at the age of four. Heck I was making dinner for me and my sister at the age of 7. We knew about food and hunger cues, but then we did it anyway. For fun, and for my one sister it seemed more often than not that it was just plain to get a rise out of them.

If you have talked, and lectured, and just not bought those things, and tried everything else?

I guess I just don't like to say that my parents must have been monsters for resorting to desperate measures, when I simply do not know what I would do if I were their shoes. At some point you have to draw a line in the sand and protect the rights of the other people in the family to have nice things once in a while, (eta: or any food full stop) don't you?
post #99 of 125
I'm seeing a shocking lack of respect for children here.

Maybe the OP's children didn't eat their oatmeal because they weren't hungry at that hour. Does that mean they are not allowed to be hungry later? Not everyone is hungry at the conventional breakfast time. You cannot control another person's hunger.

Or maybe they just don't like oatmeal. Are children not allowed to have likes and dislikes? I hate oatmeal, and would not eat it. Is this a "privilege" that only adults have? The right to NOT eat food you don't like?

Unless a parent is prepared to restrain her child and force the food down his throat, a parent will never win a battle over food. Never. You make think you have it under your control, but as is seen the in OP, the child will find a way to assert themselves.

And they should. It's their body.

I would no more try to control what my child eats than I would try to control when they breathe, urinate, or any other body function. It is their little body, not mine.

There is no food in my home that my children cannot eat. I buy food that is healthy for all of us. My children are free to eat as much as they want, whenever they want.

Who cares if their "appetite is spoiled" for dinner? Then their dinner was whatever they ate previously. I'm not going to tell my kids "you are only allowed to be hungry at 5pm, because someone, somewhere, arbitrarily decided that dinner should be 5 or 6pm.

We eat when we are hungry. None of my children have any weight problems and are all very healthy.
post #100 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
Yep, that's what my parents did first, they just stopped buying treats for anyone, (which was pretty unfair on those in the family that weren't raiding the fridge and pantry out at night and who liked having fruit roll ups for their lunches, and yogurt for a snack, or ice cream occassionally), but then there were raids of milk, a whole gallon of milk GONE, whole boxes of cereal disappearing, entire blocks of cheese POOF! A whole bag of apples or an entire bunch of grapes and this was AFTER having eaten a huge plate of lasagna and garlic bread and drinking a gallon of milk between the four of us at dinner.

Were we hungry? Maybe. Didn't help that some of us were smoking giant amounts of pot after my parents went to bed. Mostly though it was boredom, and accessibility. Sometimes my brother and I would have eating competitions, not because we were hungry but because we were competitive. We'd literally sit down on a Saturday morning with a bowl and a gallon jug of milk each and a box of cereal and see who could eat the most. Our parents thought they had raised us to have enough sense not to do something like that. I too was making myself snacks at the age of four. Heck I was making dinner for me and my sister at the age of 7. We knew about food and hunger cues, but then we did it anyway. For fun, and for my one sister it seemed more often than not that it was just plain to get a rise out of them.

If you have talked, and lectured, and just not bought those things, and tried everything else?

I guess I just don't like to say that my parents must have been monsters for resorting to desperate measures, when I simply do not know what I would do if I were their shoes. At some point you have to draw a line in the sand and protect the rights of the other people in the family to have nice things once in a while, (eta: or any food full stop) don't you?
Yes but that is not happening here/
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