I'm trying to avoid food issues with my DS (5). He will go on picky streaks (normal, I know) and decide he doesn't like things he's always eaten. Then some outside influence (another child, usually) will come along and he will see them eating something, and he'll decide he likes it. For awhile. Then not....
I pack his lunch for school every day. He started out coming home with half of it uneaten, and I'd let him have that for snack after school since he came home "starving." He whined about it, and I told him that if he didn't LIKE his lunch, that was fine, but that he shouldn't have asked me to make that lunch for him. And now I know and won't make it again, but we are NOT going to throw away food every day just b/c he asked for ABC in the morning and then decided he only likes B at lunchtime.
I really don't like to waste food. Not only is it a money thing, it's a conservation thing. I'm VERY conservative. I don't like to waste anything. I'm trying to teach him that our food is actually valuable and not something we should just toss b/c we changed our mind.
Suddenly he started coming home with an empty lunchbox. Every day. Of course, I'm suspicious and I asked him if he ate his whole lunch and he said yes every time.
Yesterday he came home without the container his leftovers (which HE chose) in his lunchbox. That thing was not cheap -- I don't do plastic, so I can't just use Take-n-Toss stuff (and wouldn't anyway -- see "conservative," above!). He decided he didn't want his lunch and threw the whole dang thing away in the trash, including the container! He knew I'd be upset, primarily b/c I got upset as soon as I saw it missing. Then I calmed down, and asked him to help me figure out if I needed to look for it at school or if it was in the trash can. He wouldn't admit to throwing it away right away, but made it there in a roundabout way (lots of "I can't remember" whining).
So, I'm mad about the container being gone. I'm mad that he's throwing away food that he asked me for (I always give choices, unless there isn't one to be made, and yes I get not being able to know what you'll be hungry for in 3 hours, but we all eat stuff we aren't completely in love with sometimes). I'm mad that he's lying to me about it (although who can blame him? He knows I'll get mad! So I've screwed that trust up already....)
Where do I go from here? I know what I want for the goal (for him to eat his entire lunch or at least not throw it away in the trash), but I have no idea how to get there at this point. I need to mend his trust in me, but I know that's a long time coming. I did apologize for being angry with him.
Natural consequences: No more container, no more leftovers. Okay, so sandwiches only. Which he'll continue to throw away...
What else am I missing? I have to give him snack after school -- he eats lunch at 11:30 and dinner isn't til 5:30. Normally snack would be his leftover lunch, but he's taken to throwing it away so.... where does that leave the consequences?