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Dealing with picky eaters that are not yours

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely hate food battles and I absolutely refuse to fight, bribe, coerce any child when it comes to food. I'm very, very fortunate in that both my kids will eat just about anything (I honestly cannot really think of any foods that they don't like). We cook everything from scratch, and if they don't feel like eating what's on the table, they are welcome to a banana and a piece of cheese. This approach has always worked.

 

Now the problem: I take care of a little girl who lives in my neighbourhood. She's 9, and usually spends 2-3 hours a day here after school. Sometimes full days. This child has to be the pickiest eater ever. She eats cheese sticks (only one kind), crackers and juice. That's it. The mom alluded to the fact that she was at her wits' ends trying to feed her, but I didn't get the impression it was this bad. She starts complaining that she's hungry the minute she walks in (probably from not eating at school), and then not only refuses everything offered her, but complains and whines that it's gross, stinky, not to her taste... you get the idea. I've offered every kind of cheese, yogurt, nuts, crackers, dips... you name it. Forget any veggie or fruit. The mom has offered to send her a snack, and has a few times, but it's usually the highly processed crappy orange cheese stick with Ritz crackers. She eats that and demands more.

And this is where I run into trouble: my kids have now started clamouring for that junk. And why wouldn't they? The crackers come in brightly coloured bags, the cheese can be stringed into animal shapes... our unprocessed cheese and multigrain crackers look pretty boring compared to that. I don't mind them having it once in a while, but every day? Also, the mom has suggested I try to gently force her to eat other kinds of cheese, but I do not want to wage a food war, especially not in front of my kids. My 4 year old is already starting to repeat some of the stuff he hears her say about food (this morning he said his eggs were ``disgusting`` - the little girl's favourite word to describe the foods I offer her.)

 

Sorry this is long, but I don't know what to do. I should also say that I am not being paid for this - I volunteered to take her after school for the winter because my kids love playing with her and I'm toying with the idea of taking in 1-2 kids next year (and charging!!). I can definitely see myself having fun, but if I have to fight with kids over food, I'll go crazy.

 

Thanks for reading!

post #2 of 38

We dealt with a kind of similar situation with a (albeit much more polite) 3 year old friend of DD's.  He's adopted and started his life in a very different culture and is also being raised vegetarian by vegan parents.  I cooked vegetarian meals for him but our (raw) milk tastes really different than his soy milk, our cheese is different, and he wasn't used to eating eggs.  He was never demanding or rude and I quickly realized what he would eat in our house (beans and rice, tofu sticks and nuts, and some fruit and veggies) and offered those things instead of what I was feeding him.  I also asked his mother for suggestions about what he would eat.  It ended well and my DD, who will eat anything, didn't leave the experience thinking that our food was gross or anything like that.    

 

The situation that you're describing is so different because it sounds like you've attempted to find something in your house that she will eat and she's refusing.  That would drive me batty!  I'm kind of a hard a$$ because I think I would just tell her, this is what we have, if you're hungry you'll eat it.  I would probably talk to her mom about her attitude (demanding and complaining are not okay) and dis-invite her if she continued to be so negative about the food that was being offered.  Unless she has a feeding disorder, 9 is way too old to be acting like that. 

 

We also have a rule where we don't talk negatively about food, so her talking smack about what was being offered in front of my kid would probably be a deal breaker for me.  Kids are so easily influenced about food and it breaks my heart.  We were at a potluck recently and my kiddo, who will eat anything that's not spicy was happily eating something but stopped when an older child made a big production about how "gross" it was.  I was so upset that this child's mother let her go on (in front of the people who prepared it and in front of my daughter) that I have no desire to share meals with them anymore.  I want my child's tastes to be determined on her own and I want her to be an adventurous eater.   

post #3 of 38
Wow, what a tough situation! On the one hand, if you were a paid daycare provider it would seem clear to me that you should feed this girl whatever her mom wants her to eat, even if you personally think it's junk. I mean, you'd probably be irritated if someone wanted to feed your kid the junk in their house and not the healthy stuff you sent, because maybe the healthy stuff is more expensive and now their kids are clamoring for it, etc. etc.

But you aren't paid. And I, too, have no patience with picky eaters and tend to come from the school of thought that if you don't like what's served, then you can have a healthy standby that's always available (in our house that would be yogurt or kefir, peanut or almond butter on my homemade bread, fruit, or cheese) or go hungry. I think part of our job as parents is to teach our children to be gracious and polite, both at home and away. Complaining about the food being offered is very rude and I wouldn't tolerate it in my own child, not at my table or anyone else's.

How okay is this other mom with you gently disciplining her child? I don't mean punitive discipline or anything, but gently telling her DD something like, "In our house, we don't complain about the food on the table. You may have this, or this, or this, or you can eat when you get home."

I knew a guy in college who had never had a salad in his life. Seriously. He lived on junk food and candy and explained to me that his parents never let him go hungry or offered him new foods that they thought he might not like. We ended up rooming together for a short time and the very ordinary salad I made for dinner one night completely blew his mind. lol.gif

I don't want my kids to be like that. I doubt this other mom wants her daughter to be like that, but if she doesn't want you saying anything to her DD about food, then I'd reconsider watching her. It's a really sweet thing to do but if it's starting to affect your own children's eating habits then maybe it's not a good arrangement for you.
post #4 of 38

I am in a little different situation from you in that I have 6-10 kids a day that aren't mine to feed. I went through these same struggles you are describing with a few of them. When I first started I tried to cater to everyone because I was so worried that they wouldn't be getting enough or that I would be "mean". What I have learned over the years though is that it is impossible to do it that way.

 

I will clarify that I am part of a state nutrition program where I report foods served and I am required to serve the same thing to everyone, aside from special needs/allergies/etc. So I don't know if I would have done this without these regulations, but they have led to very positive changes at our table.

 

At my house you are served a healthy meal/snack that I have prepared from scratch. If you don't like it, that is just fine, there will be another meal/snack soon. What I have found is all of my picky eaters continue to be so for their parents, but they eat just fine for me. There are days that a child won't eat one of the snacks or part of a meal, but that is their choice. If it is not part of a special diet, I don't allow food from home for the same reason you stated. I offer healthy, whole foods, and we have great eaters. I don't need a bunch of junk coming in and making everyone else have a hard time. Just yesterday, I had a 2 year show up at 7 AM with a klondike bar for breakfast! I told mom he can eat it in her car or she can take it home, and he is welcome to join us in the kitchen for waffles and berries when it's gone. It just isn't fair to the other children. No matter how much they are enjoying what you are serving, ice cream (or orange "cheese") is going to look better.

 

I would also make a rule about words when you don't like something. The favorites here are, "I don't care for that today" "This isn't my taste" or a simple "No thank you". There is no reason to be insulted when you have prepared something, and those words are influential on the other kids as well. A 9 year old is very capable of using good manners at the table.

post #5 of 38

I am also blessed with adventurous eaters who will eat anything as well, and find picky eating so frustrating as well.

 

I used to be a daycare provider and had several very picky eaters. Including a set of sisters who at home would eat chicken nuggets with ketsup, popcorn, apples (with no skins) and that was about it. I had the kids help with lunch/snack preparation and kept it light and  nonchalant.

 

I simply made lunch. Put it in front of them and that was it. If they didn't eat, they didn't eat. If later they were hungry, I would either offer the upcoming snack, the leftovers from the meal, or let them know it was x minutes until snack would they like a glass of water/milk. I just didn't make it an issue. If they fussed about the food, they were excused from the table. "Susie, if you don't like what's offered, you can leave the table and eat later." or "Susie, we don't talk like that about food. We need it to nourish our bodies to grow. If you don't like this, you don't have to eat it and can be excused."  

 

I also tried to make some things they liked or incorporate parts of what they like (ketsup) into another meal so at least there was something familiar.

 

The amazing thing was...within a few weeks, the girls were eating a lot more at my house and they even ate fish sticks for lunch one day when their mom said NO WAY they'd ever touch them. But, they did and liked them. They didn't become wonderful, non-picky eaters, but they did expand their repetoire of foods.

 

I'm of the camp that if someone trusts you to watch their child, then they are trusting your judgement as well. So, use your judgement on the food stuff and see if you can't come up with something that will work at your house for foods for the daughter. She can always eat at home if there isn't anything she wants at your house. She will not starve in the 2-3 hours she's there.

post #6 of 38

Annie, glad to see your experiences with food were the same as mine with daycare kiddos!

post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyClark View Post

I am also blessed with adventurous eaters who will eat anything as well, and find picky eating so frustrating as well.

 

I used to be a daycare provider and had several very picky eaters. Including a set of sisters who at home would eat chicken nuggets with ketsup, popcorn, apples (with no skins) and that was about it. I had the kids help with lunch/snack preparation and kept it light and  nonchalant.

 

I simply made lunch. Put it in front of them and that was it. If they didn't eat, they didn't eat. If later they were hungry, I would either offer the upcoming snack, the leftovers from the meal, or let them know it was x minutes until snack would they like a glass of water/milk. I just didn't make it an issue. If they fussed about the food, they were excused from the table. "Susie, if you don't like what's offered, you can leave the table and eat later." or "Susie, we don't talk like that about food. We need it to nourish our bodies to grow. If you don't like this, you don't have to eat it and can be excused."  

 

I also tried to make some things they liked or incorporate parts of what they like (ketsup) into another meal so at least there was something familiar.

 

The amazing thing was...within a few weeks, the girls were eating a lot more at my house and they even ate fish sticks for lunch one day when their mom said NO WAY they'd ever touch them. But, they did and liked them. They didn't become wonderful, non-picky eaters, but they did expand their repetoire of foods.

 

I'm of the camp that if someone trusts you to watch their child, then they are trusting your judgement as well. So, use your judgement on the food stuff and see if you can't come up with something that will work at your house for foods for the daughter. She can always eat at home if there isn't anything she wants at your house. She will not starve in the 2-3 hours she's there.



I have a daycare child who eats chicken nuggets, milk, and fruit loops at his house. Thats it. Ever! Mom cooks for her and her husband and then they give him nuggets and fruit loops because thats all he'll eat. Well he's never had either of those things in the 2 years he's been here and he cleans his plate at almost every meal. Mom will look at his daily sheet with shock, "Spinach? He would never eat spinach for me!" Well yeah, he's never offered it!

post #8 of 38

Hang on, she's 9? That's the sort of behavior I'd expect from a 3-4-year-old. I'd be having a serious talk with her mother about how if Child is going to influence your kids by saying good food is gross, Child won't be coming over any more. Also that you don't want your kids exposed on a daily basis to Child's packaged foods, so it would be better if she ate them before coming over (if that's possible - after the bell rings at school?).

 

DD's only two and a very good eater - she won't consistently eat lots of everything, because she gets distracted/bored during meals (mostly my fault, honestly!), but she's pretty good about trying new foods. She doesn't balk at spinach, chickpeas, fish, olives... I always assumed we just lucked out, but maybe part of it is that she hasn't been to daycare/preschool/kindy and been exposed to all that "food is gross" talk? It'd break my heart if she started refusing foods because some other kid told her it was "disgusting". :( Don't be afraid to nip this in the bud before your kids really take Child's talk to heart!

post #9 of 38
I would just set out the afternoon snack before she comes over, and that is the snack for the day. She can take it or leave it -- if she doesn't want it, she can say 'no thank you' and go play or whatever. If she complains that she is hungry, just point to the snack you've already put on the table & say, "This is today's snack, there are no other options." A 9yo is not going to starve to death without fake cheese and juice for a few hours. I would imagine that once she realizes that what you put out is her only option, she'll eat it if she's hungry enough.
post #10 of 38

She's 9.  I'd try talking to her.  Tell her you're making the food and while she has a say (and make something she likes too) that you get the final vote in what's served.  And she's free to not eat it if she doesn't want to.  We have a rule at my house that you don't have to like anything, but you can't say anything bad about it. 

post #11 of 38


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

Hang on, she's 9? That's the sort of behavior I'd expect from a 3-4-year-old. I'd be having a serious talk with her mother about how if Child is going to influence your kids by saying good food is gross, Child won't be coming over any more. Also that you don't want your kids exposed on a daily basis to Child's packaged foods, so it would be better if she ate them before coming over (if that's possible - after the bell rings at school?).

 

DD's only two and a very good eater - she won't consistently eat lots of everything, because she gets distracted/bored during meals (mostly my fault, honestly!), but she's pretty good about trying new foods. She doesn't balk at spinach, chickpeas, fish, olives... I always assumed we just lucked out, but maybe part of it is that she hasn't been to daycare/preschool/kindy and been exposed to all that "food is gross" talk? It'd break my heart if she started refusing foods because some other kid told her it was "disgusting". :( Don't be afraid to nip this in the bud before your kids really take Child's talk to heart!

I have to say that I don't think preschool or daycare has anything to do with it.  Many of the ladies on this thread are daycare providers who say they've widely expanded their charges' pallets.  My kiddo goes to an awesome daycare where they strongly encourage healthy eating.  Parents bring in snacks once a month and our snack contribution for daycare this month is hummus and cucumbers.  DD's teachers are amazing at getting the picky kids to eat.  They do cute things like say, "everyone be really quiet and at the count of three crunch your red pepper!"  The way I read the OP's story makes me think this is about what this child is fed at her home.
 

post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

I always assumed we just lucked out, but maybe part of it is that she hasn't been to daycare/preschool/kindy and been exposed to all that "food is gross" talk? It'd break my heart if she started refusing foods because some other kid told her it was "disgusting". :( Don't be afraid to nip this in the bud before your kids really take Child's talk to heart!


 

Yes other kids can influence your kid's eating habits.  But I certainly don't think keeping them away from other kids is the answer. At some point, someone will probably think something your child is eating is gross.  This is a good time for the op to talk to her own kids about healthy eating and being polite about food you are served and not caving to what others think. 

post #13 of 38

I have a picky eater for a son.  He has real problems with foods that trigger his texture aversions.  We try to be respectful of his needs and expand his palate at the same time when we are at home.  He eats a healthy diet, even if it is more limited than I might wish in a perfect world.  I would hate it if someone were to assume that he doesn't like tomatoes or a certain type of yogurt or cheese because of poor parenting on my part.  Until I had him, I believed that picky eaters were just "spoiled".  Then he came along and changed my perspective. His younger sister, on the other hand, will eat anything I put in front of her  except meat (my son's favorite). 

 

Now, that being said...he is 7 and there is NO WAY I would tolerate (or expect someone else to tolerate) him acting like the 9 year old in the OP.  If you don't like something...fine.  Don't eat it...but nooone, child or adult, is allowed to say that good food that I have prepared is "disgusting" at my table.  A 9 year-old is certainly old enough to politely say, "No Thank You" or "Can I have mine without jam, please?".  She is also old enough to understand that the younger children in your house look up to her and that she needs to model good manners. 

 

My son will probably always be a picky eater...it's in his nature; however, it is my job as his mother to help him stretch his comfort zone a little bit at a time and to teach him how to be gracious and polite when other people offer him food. 

 

I don't think that it is a "food battle" to say to this girl "This is the food we have.  If you want to wait until you get home to eat, then you may. You may not be rude about what I offer you, though."

She is not a toddler and is old enough to understand that. 

 

OP, what a rough spot to be in. 

post #14 of 38

It's one thing to be a picky eater, it's another thing to eat only junk food.  This girl is a picky eater and is eating processed cheese and crackers, which you consider to be junk food.  I don't eat processed food but I don't consider processed cheese or crackers pure junk food per se.  As far as your own kids, just lay down the line and tell them the girl can have those things because her mother provides them, but you never will.  Also tell your kids they are not allowed to insult food.  A simple "no thank you" will do.  Hold the girl you're watching to the same standard.  No "gross," "nasty," "I'm going to throw up."  Just, "no thank you."  Be firm on that.

 

I am a very picky eater, there are only about 5 things I will eat currently.  I think it's important people be respectful of picky eaters... it's not within our control what we can or can't eat.  Most food looks and tastes like dirt to us.

post #15 of 38

The point of the OP to me is not "What do I do with this picky eater" - the question I'd be asking is "How do I get this rude child out of my life". I'm not even joking. disappointed.gif I might be a you-know-what for having that attitude, but I can't STAND rude children. Cuts me to my core to see kids who are not being taught how to behave and interface with other people in the world....little kids who don't shake that bad attitude in childhood, grow up to be rude, negative and unhappy people when they are grownups. If you are not able to get through to this child and get her to start treating you better in your home, you need to cut her loose.

 

I can deal with a picky eater, my kids are both foodies and will eat anything of quality that you set down in front of them...but I know and love some picky kids and would bend over backwards to give them foods that suited them. But this, OP, this child that you are dealing with, this is a completely different matter. I wouldn't have anybody in my house who treated me like that and called my food disgusting. I wouldn't ever allow my children to see me tolerating that kind of behavior, either. "This food is gross" "This is disgusting, I won't eat it"- really? I don't care who you are, you don't talk to me like that when I put effort into finding something you'll like. It's rude. I wouldn't talk to a dog like that, forget about a human being who was graciously trying to suit my picky desires for tasty snacks. Is she out of her mind?

 

I would also have a huge problem with giving her foods my kids don't eat. I'm not a total food nut with my kids. I believe that junk food and candy have a place in every home. Candy is yummy. Junky cheesy poofs can be a disgustingly satisfying snack once a year or so...but to have this kid eating things in front of my kids everyday that don't have a regular place in our diet for good reasons...that's beyond what I'd be willing to tolerate.

 

So, bottom line for me: The kids got an attitude about food (and probably life) that stinks. She's old enough to know better than to talk to you like that and I would tell her to shape up or ship out (nicely and respectfully, you know, in a way a nine year old can understand). She's infecting your kids with her rudeness and bad attitude about food. My DC looking at eggs s/he used to eat all the time and saying "this food is disgusting" would have put me over the edge. That's too much.

post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post

I am a very picky eater, there are only about 5 things I will eat currently.  I think it's important people be respectful of picky eaters... it's not within our control what we can or can't eat.  Most food looks and tastes like dirt to us.


Thank you for saying this frugalmom.  My ds1 eats a few more things than you (maybe 20) and I honestly think food doesn't taste, look or in particular smell good to him.  ANYHOW, I always have something around that he will like to snack on; because they are foods I consider to be healthy, he's welcome to them at any time.  Would those foods be his first choice?  No, he would certainly prefer a cookie or a big bowl of Doritos.  However, we only have certain foods in the house and that's that. 

 

With your 9 year old visitor, I would take the same approach.  These foods are available in the house, and as you can see that's all we have.  You are welcome to whatever you see that looks good.

 

As far as the manners, I agree with the pps - just talk to her.  If you want to visit our house, you need to follow our rules about food which are XYZ.  Short and sweet. 

post #17 of 38

 

Quote:
I have to say that I don't think preschool or daycare has anything to do with it.  Many of the ladies on this thread are daycare providers who say they've widely expanded their charges' pallets.  My kiddo goes to an awesome daycare where they strongly encourage healthy eating.  Parents bring in snacks once a month and our snack contribution for daycare this month is hummus and cucumbers.  DD's teachers are amazing at getting the picky kids to eat.  They do cute things like say, "everyone be really quiet and at the count of three crunch your red pepper!"  The way I read the OP's story makes me think this is about what this child is fed at her home.

I'm not dissing daycare providers; I'm just speculating that the more kids you get in one place, the more likely it will be that you'll have a few picky eaters among them, with the resultant "Eww, you're eating gross food!" comments. In fact, I remember that very thing happening at a kindergarten I worked at (with great teachers and strictly-enforced rules about not bringing junk food); and at my own school when I was a kid, where kids would make fun of Asian students who brought Asian food instead of sandwiches. It could equally happen at a playdate or something, especially where parents weren't eating right there with the kids to nip rude comments in the bud. And if it did, I'd think twice about letting DD eat with that kid again: food pickiness is an attitude I REALLY don't want her to pick up on. (I had a very picky-eating sister as a kid, and remember how it drove Mum nuts!)

 

Quote:
Yes other kids can influence your kid's eating habits.  But I certainly don't think keeping them away from other kids is the answer. At some point, someone will probably think something your child is eating is gross.  This is a good time for the op to talk to her own kids about healthy eating and being polite about food you are served and not caving to what others think.

Sure, but not bowing to peer pressure takes a lot more character than most young children possess, IMO. I mean, nearly every kid "knows", in the sense of having been told, that it's not important to wear branded clothes; that beauty is about personality, not who has blonde hair/pale skin/tanned skin/gets to wear lip gloss/is allowed to highlight her hair; that you shouldn't date bad boys; that it's not uncool to be academic; that junk food is bad for you; and so on, and so forth. Does it prevent kids from whining for Nike shoes, feeling "nerdy" for being in chess club, and "getting a boyfriend" because their friends all have one? Not a lot. Especially not if they're exposed on a daily or regular basis to kids who parrot those opinions. The child in the OP sounds like she's spouting "healthy food is gross" rhetoric on a very frequent basis - I'm not sure talking about healthy eating will be sufficient to counteract that, especially as the OP says her kids are already beginning to pick up the behaviors. So it seems sensible to remove the child from their sphere of influence, assuming her behavior can't be changed. It's hardly "keeping them away from other kids" in any kind of negative sense - I doubt the OP would lock the kids up in a tower with a bowl of celery. :p

post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

 Sure, but not bowing to peer pressure takes a lot more character than most young children possess, IMO. I mean, nearly every kid "knows", in the sense of having been told, that it's not important to wear branded clothes; that beauty is about personality, not who has blonde hair/pale skin/tanned skin/gets to wear lip gloss/is allowed to highlight her hair; that you shouldn't date bad boys; that it's not uncool to be academic; that junk food is bad for you; and so on, and so forth. Does it prevent kids from whining for Nike shoes, feeling "nerdy" for being in chess club, and "getting a boyfriend" because their friends all have one? Not a lot. Especially not if they're exposed on a daily or regular basis to kids who parrot those opinions. The child in the OP sounds like she's spouting "healthy food is gross" rhetoric on a very frequent basis - I'm not sure talking about healthy eating will be sufficient to counteract that, especially as the OP says her kids are already beginning to pick up the behaviors. So it seems sensible to remove the child from their sphere of influence, assuming her behavior can't be changed. It's hardly "keeping them away from other kids" in any kind of negative sense - I doubt the OP would lock the kids up in a tower with a bowl of celery. :p


My point was that you can't shield your kids from every little negative thing. Since you can't, turn it into a teaching moment.  And yes, talking about things like this does work.  It may take awhile to make an impact, but it does work.

 

post #19 of 38
Thread Starter 

Wow! Thanks for the insight. Some of you (rightly) picked up on my frustration with her attitude. I'm really not sure what her diet is like at home. I'm guessing it sucks, although I live right next to the local elementary school, and you would not believe what kids eat at recess.

 

Also, yes, I do consider processed cheese junk, but I don't forbid it. My kids can try it, and if they like it, have it on occasion. I do not however want them to believe that they can eat whatever crap they want because if you whine, you'll get it. That's the message that's being conveyed here IMO if I do cater to her ''delicate'' palate.

 

And yes, I do know that some people are picky eaters (DH is, and although he tries, his diet still sucks and is very, very limited). My love of food knows no boundaries,, and I'm happy my kids share it. I'm in a pickle, pure and simple.

 

I'll talk to the mom and update.

 

Thanks.

post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessemoon View Post

I have a picky eater for a son.  He has real problems with foods that trigger his texture aversions.  We try to be respectful of his needs and expand his palate at the same time when we are at home.  He eats a healthy diet, even if it is more limited than I might wish in a perfect world.  I would hate it if someone were to assume that he doesn't like tomatoes or a certain type of yogurt or cheese because of poor parenting on my part.  Until I had him, I believed that picky eaters were just "spoiled".  Then he came along and changed my perspective. His younger sister, on the other hand, will eat anything I put in front of her  except meat (my son's favorite). 

 

Now, that being said...he is 7 and there is NO WAY I would tolerate (or expect someone else to tolerate) him acting like the 9 year old in the OP.  If you don't like something...fine.  Don't eat it...but nooone, child or adult, is allowed to say that good food that I have prepared is "disgusting" at my table.  A 9 year-old is certainly old enough to politely say, "No Thank You" or "Can I have mine without jam, please?".  She is also old enough to understand that the younger children in your house look up to her and that she needs to model good manners. 

 

My son will probably always be a picky eater...it's in his nature; however, it is my job as his mother to help him stretch his comfort zone a little bit at a time and to teach him how to be gracious and polite when other people offer him food. 

 

I don't think that it is a "food battle" to say to this girl "This is the food we have.  If you want to wait until you get home to eat, then you may. You may not be rude about what I offer you, though."

She is not a toddler and is old enough to understand that. 

 

OP, what a rough spot to be in. 



I agree w/ this. I have one child who will eat anything/everything - is more adventurous than I am when it comes to trying new foods. And my other child... is an extremely picky eater. Even regularly turns down candy/sweets, and "junk food". I think in your situation, I would ignore the "picky eater" aspect, and concentrate on the behavior end of it. I agree with pps, she is old enough to understand a kindly approached conversation telling her that she's welcome to turn down any foods, but, she must do it politely, and, that you don't want her making negative/nasty comments about the food that is available. Personally, I also wouldn't let her eat something that wasn't being offered to all of the children, regardless of what it was. I would feel odd offering any food to only certain people in my home, and, not all of the group.

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