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Picky Eaters : Born or Made? - Page 5

post #81 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by meganeilis View Post
We all have preferences, but IMO downright pickiness is something that parents contribute to and foster in their children. You don't have to force your kid to eat peas if the smell or texture literally makes them gag, but whining, complaining, only eating things that are white (bread, rice, plain pasta), nuh-uh. That is a decision you make as a parentto allow to continue. DH recently had a co-worker tell him that his 3 year old would only eat Eggo waffles. We both wondered, why keep buying waffles? Ditto my nieces refusing to eat ANYTHING but plain bread at a family party. They are 5 and 7. Take away the bread, and tell them they're out of luck unless they pick somethign that has a color.
But it's just not that simple. Some kids would rather just not eat than eat something they don't like. My dd loves bread. We only buy whole wheat sprouted grain bread. We went to a family picnic this summer and dd would only eat hamburger buns. This was frustrating and I tried my darndest to get her to eat something good, but it was a no-go. In the end I was much happier with her eating anything (even though is was trash) than getting to that low blood sugar overwhelmed crazy place. And she's not the picky one.

My point is that it's really easy to say "just don't buy eggos" but it can be really stressful and scary when your child won't eat anything. I'd certainly try to find something similar that she did like.
post #82 of 168
I think that for a minority of kids picky eating is genetic but for the majority it's learned. It irks me when people reinforce the idea of disliking a certain food. DH tends to do this: "Oh, DD doesn't like ____." rather than offering it to her anyway.

I offered DD peanut butter and honey for years and she kept telling me that was disgusting (without ever tasting it). Yesterday she informed me, as if it was a new concept, that she tried it elsewhere and it was great.

I think that with most kids it's more of a control thing than an actual dislike of the foods. I would make exceptions for gagging... as a kid I gagged on brussels sprouts and I still hate them. I eat one when they are served though.

I'm going to be the voice of dissent here: I DO think that an unwillingness to try new things is a character flaw. I think that kind of thinking can really hinder a person in life - life is all about new experiences and learning new things. Maybe it's possible to be picky about food and adventurous in other areas, but I don't think that's the case for most people. Eating the same food every day, staying with the spouse you don't love, going to the job you hate because you're too scared to try something new... sounds dismal to me.
post #83 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggie View Post
I'm going to be the voice of dissent here: I DO think that an unwillingness to try new things is a character flaw. I think that kind of thinking can really hinder a person in life - life is all about new experiences and learning new things. Maybe it's possible to be picky about food and adventurous in other areas, but I don't think that's the case for most people. Eating the same food every day, staying with the spouse you don't love, going to the job you hate because you're too scared to try something new... sounds dismal to me.

Some people are just simple. Just because it seems like it's dismal to you doesn't necessarily mean that it is to them. All that matters is that they are happy. I know people that have found their groove and are just as joyous in their routine as those who feel the need to be adventurous.
post #84 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggie View Post
I think that for a minority of kids picky eating is genetic but for the majority it's learned. It irks me when people reinforce the idea of disliking a certain food. DH tends to do this: "Oh, DD doesn't like ____." rather than offering it to her anyway.

I offered DD peanut butter and honey for years and she kept telling me that was disgusting (without ever tasting it). Yesterday she informed me, as if it was a new concept, that she tried it elsewhere and it was great.

I think that with most kids it's more of a control thing than an actual dislike of the foods. I would make exceptions for gagging... as a kid I gagged on brussels sprouts and I still hate them. I eat one when they are served though.

I'm going to be the voice of dissent here: I DO think that an unwillingness to try new things is a character flaw. I think that kind of thinking can really hinder a person in life - life is all about new experiences and learning new things. Maybe it's possible to be picky about food and adventurous in other areas, but I don't think that's the case for most people. Eating the same food every day, staying with the spouse you don't love, going to the job you hate because you're too scared to try something new... sounds dismal to me.
I'm a picky eater. And it has nothing to do with my parents catering to me because they were in the "eat what's served or go hungry" line of thinking. I went hungry a lot as a child. The smell of celery makes me gag. If anything has the slightest bit of celery I can't eat it. So yeah, I avoid foods that I know have celery in them. No matter how many times I've tried okra, I can't eat it. The slimy texture just turns my stomach. Same with quash. I can eat it cooked certian ways, but I'll never really like it. I hate, hate, hate tomatoes and most tomato products. So I avoid things that I know have lots of tomatoes in them. I hate almost all seafood and only eat my meat really, really well done. I would be quite happy eating chicken every single day. I hate milk and don't drink it. Watermelon and cantolope just don't appeal to me. And trust me my life is hardly dismal. I left all the jobs I hated and dumped all the men who were jerks. I ride scary rollercoasters and climb mountains. I love learning new things, I just avoid all the foods I've hated for almost 30 years. I want to enjoy my food and if I know I hate something I'm not going to force myself to eat it, not even one bite.
post #85 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Now, when I hear people discussing this issue, I think it's cool to discuss it as a means of getting information about healthy approaches to food for our own families.

But, just as some folks may feel an inner rage at hearing some other parent say, "My child will only eat xyz" -- it gets my hackles up when people second-guess what other parents are saying about their own kids.
I agree. I've never understood why what *other people's* kids eat bothers people so much. Like if someone wants to bring along a PB&J for their kid to eat instead of pizza (or whatever), why is that such a big deal to anyone?

Every kid has certain things about them that are different from "the norm". I have one kid who is a picky eater...I believe she was made that way because she has been picky since she started solids. My other two kids eat whatever but have other strong likes and dislikes. Like my youngest always wants his hat and sunglasses on, sometimes even at night. My middle son doesn't like to wear shirts with collars or t-shirts with writing on them.

And while I'm not concerned about any of it, I can tell you that my daughter's picky eating bothers people a lot more than my sons wanting to wear a hat and sunglasses or wear a plain t-shirt.

I guess food is just a hot button issue for people.
post #86 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Absolutely nothing! One problem is the cultural attitude that says it's "rude" to refuse to eat whatever food is set in front of you. Another problem is the cultural attitude that says parents aren't supposed to "give in" to their kids.

A heavy dose of respect for kids can help transform this into a non-issue, or at least less of an issue.
Thank you. I get so frustrated reading these threads because it seems like so many people answer with so much judgement, and many of them have never had a picky eater, which of course they attribute to their amazing parenting skills. I have three children, raised basically the same way with regard to food. My younger two will eat practically anything, or at least try it. My oldest will eat almost nothing - and it's not about junk food. Do you know how freaking happy I was when he was finally willing to eat a cheeseburger (plain, of course) from the evil McDonalds? How nice was it to have one more food in the arsenal, and one I could get while we were out! Or when he tried apple pie for the first time? Or last year when he would finally eat noodles with a little butter and parm or a teeny bit of marinara sauce, instead of plain? It's like heaven.
post #87 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggie View Post



I think that with most kids it's more of a control thing than an actual dislike of the foods. I would make exceptions for gagging... as a kid I gagged on brussels sprouts and I still hate them. I eat one when they are served though.

Can you imagine what life would be like if almost everything available to you to eat tasted like brussels sprouts? Or made you feel the way brussels sprouts make you feel? Would you be able to get over your "character flaw" every single day and every single meal and eat things that made you feel that way?
post #88 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindberg99 View Post
I agree. I've never understood why what *other people's* kids eat bothers people so much. Like if someone wants to bring along a PB&J for their kid to eat instead of pizza (or whatever), why is that such a big deal to anyone?
Yes, I find that to be a real character flaw, getting upset at what people feed their kids or upset with other people's kids being picky eaters .
post #89 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
Can you imagine what life would be like if almost everything available to you to eat tasted like brussels sprouts? Or made you feel the way brussels sprouts make you feel? Would you be able to get over your "character flaw" every single day and every single meal and eat things that made you feel that way?
wow, good point. We don't all experience things the same way.
post #90 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
Thank you. I get so frustrated reading these threads because it seems like so many people answer with so much judgement, and many of them have never had a picky eater, which of course they attribute to their amazing parenting skills. I have three children, raised basically the same way with regard to food. My younger two will eat practically anything, or at least try it. My oldest will eat almost nothing - and it's not about junk food. Do you know how freaking happy I was when he was finally willing to eat a cheeseburger (plain, of course) from the evil McDonalds? How nice was it to have one more food in the arsenal, and one I could get while we were out! Or when he tried apple pie for the first time? Or last year when he would finally eat noodles with a little butter and parm or a teeny bit of marinara sauce, instead of plain? It's like heaven.
That's just like in our family too. My oldest of the three dds is just like your son. I was so so so grateful when I didn't have to pack a pb and j sandwich everywhere we went.

Unless you've been through one who has different food requirements (because gagging will ensue otherwise), no one really has any idea how hard it is to work through those eating issues.
post #91 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I've spent most of my adult life (20 + years) with non-Americans both in their culture and here. Yes, I eat with people from different cultures every single day. And, no, I have yet to find that they are as picky as American kids.
Well, I do too, and if we're going to throw stones I find that British kids are the most hooked on the "white diet" - but I assume this is at least partly sample bias.

I do agree that Americans (and Canadians, although both are a huge range - do we mean Southern Americans? Midwest? Quebecois?) are bombarded with processed foods. And those processed foods tend to taste the same, every time - like campbell's tomato soup. Whereas making my own tomato soup I can taste the changes as the season changes and with different varieties.

This may make a surface kind of habitual pickiness, and I think that part is probably made. But I don't think it's a case of Americans being "lazy" or "catering" or anything like that. I think it's a case of both what the cultural food is (and many people find it disgusting the way "picky" Americans find other things disgusting but when someone can't stand spam or cheeze whiz, we call that smart; when someone can't stand okra and tomatoes we call that picky) and marketing.

And we do resist them in our house. But, I don't give a flying fig what other parents do about that. Having been raised a lot on junk food, I know it's entirely possible to change one's entire diet as an adult. Of course despite the fact that we ate the same 7 meals... every week... for 10 years, I am not a picky eater.

I think picky eaters exist in many cultures (perhaps not where starving is the alternative). They certainly exist in literatures of various areas of the world. (Jack Spratt would eat no fat/his wife would eat no lean).

I think that the assumption that parents who are generally offering nutritious food in their home (if repetitive) are somehow creating risk-adverse sad little people is... not nice. I took that to an extreme, but that's the tone I get in this thread.

I find the judgment in this whole thread depressing and sad. If you all come to my house you're welcome to eat, or not, pick out the onions, or not. I like people, not eating habits.
post #92 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggie View Post
Eating the same food every day, staying with the spouse you don't love, going to the job you hate because you're too scared to try something new... sounds dismal to me.
Even more dismal would be someone eating something she didn't want to eat, or divorcing her spouse, or quitting her job where she felt secure, just because you think her sticking with these things is a character-flaw.

I see the inability to respect other's choices as a character-flaw.
post #93 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
Yes, I find that to be a real character flaw, getting upset at what people feed their kids or upset with other people's kids being picky eaters .
Yeah, this too!
post #94 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I think that the assumption that parents who are generally offering nutritious food in their home (if repetitive) are somehow creating risk-adverse sad little people is... not nice.
I agree.

Quote:
I like people, not eating habits.
I love that!
post #95 of 168
both.
post #96 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunar forest View Post
But it's just not that simple. Some kids would rather just not eat than eat something they don't like. My dd loves bread. We only buy whole wheat sprouted grain bread. We went to a family picnic this summer and dd would only eat hamburger buns. This was frustrating and I tried my darndest to get her to eat something good, but it was a no-go. In the end I was much happier with her eating anything (even though is was trash) than getting to that low blood sugar overwhelmed crazy place. And she's not the picky one.

My point is that it's really easy to say "just don't buy eggos" but it can be really stressful and scary when your child won't eat anything. I'd certainly try to find something similar that she did like.
*shrug* The truth is that not every picky eater has sensory issues, and most kids faced with "starve or expand your horizons" will pick trying a new food. Even as adults we have to do things that are not always within our comfort zone (public speaking, being a group leader at work, getting to know the new neighbors, etc etc), in the long run it's better to face things head on, even when they are stressful and scary, then to live in a tiny tiny comfort zone that limits us in many situations.
post #97 of 168
After I had my first son, I would have happily agreed that picky eaters are made - after all, I had done the "right" thing and offered him lots of different foods many different times and there were fewer than five foods he didn't want to eat.

Then I had his brother. Raised him the same way. He has LOTS of foods he will not eat. I'm still serving them to his older brother. He's not eating them.

Of course, I should have know better. My parents and brother love seafood, squash, and lima beans and they were served often when I was growing up. For almost 40 years I've tasted seafood, squash and lima beans (on many, many occasions in my childhood in an effort to get desert) and I still find these items extremely bad tasting. I could choke them down if starving were my only other option, but since I have money and nearby grocery store, I will be eating other things.

My mother has always called me a picky eater, but my unwillingness to consume bad tasting foods doesn't mean I am unadventerous in other ares of life. I've been SCUBA diving, snow skiing, whitewater rafting, climbed Mayan pyramids in Guatemala, and hope to see the gorillias in Rawanda when I can afford to go. I don't see the correlation between the two.
post #98 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by meganeilis View Post
*shrug* The truth is that not every picky eater has sensory issues, and most kids faced with "starve or expand your horizons" will pick trying a new food. Even as adults we have to do things that are not always within our comfort zone (public speaking, being a group leader at work, getting to know the new neighbors, etc etc), in the long run it's better to face things head on, even when they are stressful and scary, then to live in a tiny tiny comfort zone that limits us in many situations.
Thank you for posting this. I think I have figured out what makes me so fascinated by/uncomfortable with this thread.

For me AP is about accepting the child where the child is at. If a baby needs to nurse, nurse. If a baby needs to be held, hold him. That's sort of the simpler stuff. But then there's all the exponential questions that come with it... if we trust babies to feed on demand why do we jump hoops trying to expand our children's palates?

I have an easy kid so it is not worrying to me personally that I need to change his relationship to food. But reading this thread I guess I have clarified in my mind that for me it is kind of like baby proofing the house. I want to "junk proof" our home enough that it is 90% nutritious, wholesome, respectful food. But within those bounds, I want to trust my son to be who he is in relationship to food.

I guess I don't fundamentally believe that making kids "get over" aversions is really going to create risk takers in the future, just like I don't believe kids have to sleep alone so that they don't always have to have someone in their bed as adults.

Not saying I'm right, just what I think is right for me right now, which is a more fluid thing.
post #99 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by meganeilis View Post
*shrug* The truth is that not every picky eater has sensory issues, and most kids faced with "starve or expand your horizons" will pick trying a new food. Even as adults we have to do things that are not always within our comfort zone (public speaking, being a group leader at work, getting to know the new neighbors, etc etc), in the long run it's better to face things head on, even when they are stressful and scary, then to live in a tiny tiny comfort zone that limits us in many situations.
But this is correlating pickiness regarding food with pickiness regarding everything else in life. In fact, it goes beyond a correlation and suggests that allowing your child to be picky about food causes them to be risk averse. I don't buy the correlation, and I certainly don't buy the causation.

Aside from sensory integration issues, I've not seen any mention of the physiological characteristic of being a "super taster." (See I did learn something in chemistry class.) When you're a super taster, you're a lot more sensitive to flavors which means that something that doesn't taste bitter (like many green veggies) to other will probably taste really bitter to you. Super tasters, it is no surprise, don't like lots of food and have been labeled picky eaters.

I, too, am turned off by the desire to control not just what one's own children eat but what other people's children eat.
post #100 of 168
I've always thought that the pickiness stages (because I do think there are stages to this in typical child development; I have a sensory-issues kid and she has stages of more and less picky too) don't necessarily determine the items that the child will eat, but rather the fact that there will be fewer foods or more food restrictions on what the child will happily eat.

So, when DD went through her first picky stage, she'd never had mac and cheese or hotdogs. She would only eat plain chickpeas and beans, plain rice, fruit, that kind of thing. Sandwiches, leafy textures, anything that comes on a bun, anything with sauce she would not touch. People would comment because I'd take her to the salad bar at the museum cafe so she could get hardboiled egg (she would only eat the yolk), chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc. All nice and plain and pileable such that they don't any of them touch on the plate. And all a lovely shade of white/beige too! People would comment on how she was such a good eater, not eating the kids meal burger and fries (well, first off, we don't eat beef, but secondly, she's just as picky as the kids who will only eat burgers and fries, her choices are just different.)

We have a 2 bite rule at home, but it applies to everyone in the family and only to new foods and things that you will clearly hate based on other dislikes are exempted (ie- DD did not need to try chickpea curry (tomatoes, spicy, sauce); she got plain chickpeas and quinoa though, an adapted version, not mac n cheese and hot dogs)
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