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Am I a dinner time meanie? - Page 3

post #41 of 135
I make one main meal. I always try to have something dd will enjoy. Also something dh and I enjoy. For instance, money is tight right now and we've been having a lot of pasta. I make a dish with pasta, olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, olives and artichoke hearts. The first time I made it, I put some plain pasta aside for her. I served her pasta with olive oil. I also made a salad for dh and I and cut up one mini bell pepper for her. Hardly any extra work and no power struggle. Dh offered her a bite of his and she loved it. I made a similiar lunch today and she just ate the same as we did.
I also keep nuts and easy fruit on hand--apples, bananas. She loves nori. She can always add those to help her fill up. But, like someone else said, I always eat my food while it's hot and don't get up and down to get her a million things.
She's an adventurous eater. We eat a variety and don't force anything.
I totally get it about not having the money to make a million different meals. That's true for us as well. I just tell my dd that.
post #42 of 135
The rule at our table is: try a bite and you can have something else. I put a lot of effort into preparing healthy meals everyone will like. If my kids (3yrs and 4.5) aren't willing to try something because it "looks yucky" they obviously aren't really hungry. They have lots of options at each meal and throughout the day, so I don't feel bad if they make the choice to boycott one meal.

I also have a rule for DH, I won't tell him what's in the meal until after he's tried it, he's gotten a lot better at not giving me the "you expect me to eat that" look in front of the kids!! :LOL
post #43 of 135
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
That's awesome. Can you imagine if your partner decided that they changed up what they would and would not eat every couple of days, and never informed you until AFTER you'd made the meal everytime.

Oh man. Imagine how well THAT would go over after a week.
Ahh I see you've met my dh. I stopped cooking for him years ago. Weird issues...he'll eat the same thing for weeks on end and then not eat it again for months. Luckily he's not around at dinnertime to pass this on to dd. I do make enough for him but he rarely eats it.

I only really have two food rules for dd~ try everything on your plate and no complaining. Try means put it in your mouth. If she doesn't like it she can even spit it out (discretely) but for the love of all that's holy DO NOT tell everyone at length how gross and disgusting it is. Just leave it on your plate and don't eat any more of it. I may be a grownup but my feelings still get hurt when you insult the food over and over.

She has been more picky than usual lately but in general eats a good variety. On the rare occasions that there really is nothing she likes or wants she's old enough(6) to go make her own sandwich, etc.
post #44 of 135
Originally Posted by arihillfarm View Post
I hope I'm doing this quote thing right...
If that's the post you wanted to quote, you quoted it.

What you describe (and I'm shortening for brevity):

Originally Posted by arihillfarm View Post
We fix one meal and one meal only. We always take into account everyone's likes and dislikes and fix at least one thing that we know each person will like, even if it's not an all-time favorite.
I think is pretty much what most mamas feel so far have said is acceptable for both parties.

However, the post you quoted
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
I remember sitting at the table indefinitely until we ate one large tablespoon of everything that was served. I found it disrespectful of my own tastes. I certainly can not imagine treating any guest that way. My sister, to this day, at 42, will never, ever eat green vegetables...
to me is much different than what your comment addressed:

Originally Posted by arihillfarm View Post
What about respect for the person who took the time to prepare the food for you? It's a two-way street and I was raised to always try at least one bite of everything on the table (especially important when a guest of someone else) and I'm hardly scarred for life. My DH was raised the same way too and so is our daughter. Barring an actual medical allergy, "no thank you" is not an option on the first go-around.
That's apples to oranges in Pat's case. In that situation, I do not believe there is any room for respect, nor is respect demonstrated.

For the OP: In answer to your question, only you know. For me, I don't agree with not letting them have something to eat before bed. We do have a one bite rule but for now it's because our dc would never eat anything new. We revisit foods often and try to have at least two food options on the plate that they might eat (sometimes we over spice, sometimes they are just not in the mood for pasta, chicken, broccoli, etc.) I have started a "No snacks right after dinner rule" just because I wanted to have some simple peace while dh and I ate our meals (the four of us eat together, but not at a dinner table. Generally, the kids are done before us and I don't see why they should remain if they are willing to play with one another.) I try to make sure they go to bed having some kind of protein -- cheese, yogurt, egg, nut butter, etc. It's what works for us.
post #45 of 135
drat the double post gremlin! :P
post #46 of 135
Barring an actual medical allergy, "no thank you" is not an option on the first go-around.
Do you require this of dinner guests? What if they refuse?

but if she wants dessert or a before bed snack of her choosing, she has to finish what's on her plate.
Do you require this of dinner guests? What if they refuse?

post #47 of 135
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
Do you require this of dinner guests? What if they refuse?

Do you require this of dinner guests? What if they refuse?

I had the same thought. I remember being forced to have one bite of things that REALLY turned my stomach. Sausage. It's a texture thing for me. But my mom was just sure if I tried it enough times I'd like it. I would cut that "one bite" into 5-6 pieces and swallow them like pills and it STILL made me gag. Shudder. Know what? I still can't stand it. And you'd better believe if it's being served I skip it.

And it is perfectly okay manners to not sample every dish if you know there is something that you don't like.

What's NOT good manners is to force guests (or family members...) to eat things they know perfectly well they do not like.

FWIW I have a child who will NOT try many things. Not even one bite. And if I held her to the rules that some here propose (nothing but the family dinner ever etc...) I have no doubt that I would have created SERIOUS fights over food already. As it is, I offer a variety, demonstrate that it's delicious (or at least edible... ) and SOMETIMES, once in a blue moon, she tries something she has previously rejected.

We don't do conditional deserts. And we don't do you have to take one bite to have anything else (if we did, I think we'd have growth issues) It's not worth making it a fight.

post #48 of 135
I would be sad if I thought dinner guests felt they had to eat something they didn't like to make me happy.
post #49 of 135
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
When cooking dinner for my boyfriend, I always make sure to make things he likes so that we both enjoy the meal, same as when he's cooking for me. I can't imagine forcing him to eat what I thought he should eat before I'd give him something he likes.

I don't know why it would be ok to do the same thing to a child.

By the time you are grown up, you have most likely tried different foods and know whether you like them or not. Children, for the most part, have not tried a lot of different foods and decided whether they like them or not.

Exposing them to different food is a good thing. Encouraging them to try different foods is a good thing.

Being a child's servant and short-order cook, constantly, is not a good thing.
post #50 of 135
Originally Posted by TinkerBelle View Post
By the time you are grown up, you have most likely tried different foods and know whether you like them or not. Children, for the most part, have not tried a lot of different foods and decided whether they like them or not.

Exposing them to different food is a good thing. Encouraging them to try different foods is a good thing.

Being a child's servant and short-order cook, constantly, is not a good thing.
Exposing, yes. No one here has said they avoid exposing their children to new foods. No one has said that they never encourage their children to try new foods. Encouraging and forcing or bribing (nothing else to eat or no desert) are very different things.

Also, I've not heard anyone say they're cooking whole new meals for children on demand. Either they're making choices of the main meal that children like, or allowing a LOW maintenance alternative (sandwich, yogurt, etc)

post #51 of 135
Our house rule to do with food is that everyone (including parents!) needs to try one spoon of each food. They are welcome to choose the size of the spoon or we can choose it. 10yo dd often will dig out the 1/4 tsp measuring spoon and use that but that is fine because it's "one spoon."
If I'm making a meal I know one of the kids don't like I'll make sure there is a side dish that they do like, or I'll bake bread or biscuits to go along with the meal so no one goes hungry just because they don't like the meal.
post #52 of 135
It my house growing up there were no per say "rules" about food but it kind of went like this:

My Mom didn't keep foods in the house we couldn't eat or she didn't want us to eat. There were a few things that had limits, for example she would get Little Debby Oatmeal Pie things for our lunches, those were special for lunches and you got one in your lunch. I think this never became an issue because they were only for lunches, I can never remember just having one of these at home as a snack.

Desert was a special occasion and didn't have requirements. Basically, there was not dessert offered every night after dinner and you have to eat dinner to get dessert type thing going on.

What ever was served for dinner, was the only choice. But, you didn't have to eat it or try it if you did not want to. It was also totally fine to try it and say "I don't like it". What you could not do was be rude or have an alternative. I think my Mom tried to make dinners we liked but I remember she would make some things I didn't like every once and a while, no big deal, I just didn't eat that.

I plan on having very similar circumstances in our house for our child. I want to strike a balance between not having issues and living in reality. To me its just not realistic to provide alternatives all the time. It's really not how things work, if you go to someones house, it isn't really acceptable to go make yourself a PB&J because you don't like the choices. But it is okay to eat the things you like, quietly don't eat the things you don't or say "no thank" you when something you don't like is offered.

I have a cousin who will only eat the following things: cheese pizza, rolls with butter, hot dogs and french fries. He will drink coke or water. That is literally all he will eat, he is in his 20's. He will go hungry before he will eat anything else. I remember going to his house as a kid frequently for dinner and his Mom made nutritious, tasty meals (spaghetti, pot roast with veggies, burgers, steaks, seafood, salads, ect..) but he didn't want to try them and she would happily put a frozen pizza in the oven for him. He is very open to talking about his limited diet and he says flat out "My parents just wanted me to be happy, so they made me exactly what I wanted every night, there was never a reason to try anything else.". He even says that he thinks if he would have had to be a little bit more involved in trying new things or at least having what the family was eating in front of him, that he would eat more foods then he does now.

I know he is an extreme case and I think it can go both ways. My friends DH is very picky because he was "forced" to eat and try foods he didn't want to all of time, wasn't allowed to leave the table until he finished his meal (up until his bed time, then sent to bed hungry). As a result, he likes what he likes, he is never interested in trying new things. They had their son 2.5 years ago and my friend for a while was putting food on her DH's plate he didn't like just so her son would see that "Daddy has some too" and he asked her to stop because it was so stressful for him and brought back the memories of sitting by himself at the kitchen table until bed time when he was a kids staring at his cold food he didn't want to eat.

My exception for making accommodations would be that if my child came to me and seriously wanted to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet for whatever reason. I would be willing to accommodate this in the form of making side dishes vegetarian/vegan and providing a protein alternative. DH and I eat animal products but it is our choice, I do not believe someone should have to eat animal products or have them on their plate if they feel ethically opposed.
post #53 of 135
I agree with not making additional meals. However, I never REQUIRE that they eat anything, nor do I deliberately serve only foods that I know they dislike.
But I also do not offer "alternatives". They can wait until the next meal or snacktime.
post #54 of 135
This discussion has been done here before.

At our house, there are nights when no one eats the same thing. There are nights when we eat the same thing.

I am vegetarian, dh is not. Ds has his own version of eating.

I make sure to have healthy choices on hand at all times.

I don't understand why people need to make such a huge deal with food.

The only rule we have is that if you ask for it, you need to eat it.

I wouldn't survive a day in some of the situations described here.
post #55 of 135
This brings back years of creative eating (I was the only vegetarian in my family as a kid)...

We had the "eat what is served or make yourself a sandwich" rule. Worked fine.

I don't believe in forcing people to eat something they don't like, regardless of age. However, I am also really irritated by having to cater to the preferences of the super-picky.
post #56 of 135
Children aren't dinner guests, and I am not a short order cook.
post #57 of 135
We offer the easy alternatives like pb&j or yogurt.

The thing is I don't remember EVER having anything on my plate as a child that I didn't like, or telling my mom that I didn't want to try something, I remember always eating what was served, (except that one time with the brussels sprouts) so my son's refusal to eat dinner is something foreign to me that I really don't know what to do about. But I don't have a "one bite rule" and I just make him a pb&j instead. Or sometimes scrambled eggs, so I guess I am a short order cook sometimes. But that's okay with me, they're just eggs.
post #58 of 135
I just found this thread, and I went over it briefly so excuse me if I missed it...but I haven't heard mention of Ellyn Satter? Her books (Child of Mine and How to Get Your Kid to Eat...But Not Too Much) saved our lives! We have no mealtime battles and my kids eat way more foods than they used to. The premise is that adults are responsible for providing healthy, nourishing food at predictable meal or snack times...and the children are responsible for choosing how much, if any, of those foods to eat. Ellyn advocates for component meals, and including something in the meal that your child will probably eat. I put a bit of everything on each child's plate and there are no requirements to eat any of it. Foods that go untouched a dozen meals suddenly make it onto a fork, and my child suddenly eats it. I've had a child say "I don't like this food" about something....and my response is always "you don't have to eat it"....next thing I know she's tried it and wants more. If my response had been "you must eat at least 2 bites"...well I don't think I need to tell you where that would have gone.
post #59 of 135
I think your policy is fair. For years I prepared different meals for everyone. It was ridiculous and got way out of hand. Our rule is, you have to take 5 bites (if you are 5), 3 bites if you are 3, etc. If you dont want to finish after that that is ok. (If it were truly disgusting and the child were gagging on it I would let it go but I dont typically make things that anyone would find that awful.)
There are plenty of nights where we eat different things - if DH is working late and we are just having sandwiches or something. But if I cook dinner for all of us then we all eat it.

I wholeheartedly agree with the poster who said they are not guests and I am not a short order cook.
post #60 of 135
I agree. Kids are not guests. I would NEVER insist my dh eat something he didn't like or even wasn't in the mood for.

And I've not heard anyone on this thread describe a short order cook situation. I think that's an easy thing to say- but I'm not seeing it here. I haven't seen anyone say that, oh, little johnny didn't like the steak and potatoes for dinner, so she prepared him a casserole instead

I'm hearing things like- fruits and veggies, simple sandwiches, yogurt from the fridge, piece of cheese, etc. Hardly the work of a short order cook Things that most kids 5 or over could easily get themselves. And those under that age could do any prep if they *couldn't* get it themselves (spread on sandwich etc)

How much work is it to spread pb and j? Or open a yogurt? Or peel a banana?

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