Do you make "special" dinners for your toddler if they don't like what you are eating - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 114 Old 05-25-2006, 10:45 PM
 
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Nope. we eat what's there.
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#62 of 114 Old 05-25-2006, 10:46 PM
 
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We all have a say in what is prepared for meals. We are very very relaxed about all of it. We don't have set times for meals and we don't pick what we are eating until the last minute. We will all ask ourselves what we feel like for dinner. Very casual. I make pretty simple meals and my husband frequently cooks as well. He loves to cook. 5yo helps when he feels like it.

I would never even think of picking food as a battle or power issue. I can't honestly imagine being so concrete and absolute. I sometimes don't want what hubby has cooked and make my own thing - particularly when it is meat as i'm a lifelong veg. We have also been known to eat dessert before dinner every so often, at 5yo's request
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#63 of 114 Old 05-25-2006, 11:39 PM
 
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I can't quite see how planning the menus (and changing my own eating habits) so that I am always offering food my child will eat is really that superior, "morally," to preparing food my child will eat and then choosing to eat something different myself because I prefer to. What's the big Lesson? Either way the family is accomodating the palate of the child. The main difference is that the second way is, probably, more work (but who cares, if the meal-maker doesn't mind?)

I also don't think refusing choice is the way to avoid eating disorders. As ccohenou pointed out, turning food into a power struggle is a good way to make a relationship with food dysfunctional...and in our house, I would *have* to make it a power struggle to get DD to eat what we want to eat in sufficent quantities and with sufficient nutritional balance. (At least right now. She really did use to eat almost anything, and I suspect she will again, but right now food is a closely guarded Autonomy Thing.)

I also fail to see how my daughter eating plain pasta while I eat mine with spicy greens makes her an overprivileged, ungrateful person. If she were consistently and unpredictably refusing/wasting food for the sake of an argument or out of petulance, that would be different.

Some people say, "I could never make my kid a separate meal! What a pain in the neck! That kids is pampered!" because THEY don't want to make another meal themselves for their own kid. Just as some people say, "I would never let my kid sleep in my bed! What an intrusion on adult privacy! That kid is pampered!" because THEY don't want to have a child in their bed. Enh...what's it to you if I make my kid an scrambled egg? KWIM?

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#64 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 01:05 AM
 
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It depends. I don't want to be making different meals for the whole family, yet if we are having a meal that is too spicy I will give him something plain.
If it is something that I consider he could eat; like chicken, noodles, spaghetti, then I do expect him to eat it.
If he doesn't eat his food then he doesn't get juice or milk only water to drink in his sippy cup. He really likes his milk and juice so he will usually then try to eat it. All I ask is that he tries it. Usually after he does he will eat it all. If he tries it and doesn't like it, I will just give him some fruit instead.
I also give him one thing at a time like if we are having spagetti with bread and salad. I give him the spaghetti, then when he is finished with that if he wants bread...and so on.
I won't give dessert if he doesn't eat, but I think everyone is the same on that one.
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#65 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 01:20 AM
 
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I do not short-order cook meals. Gracie gets what is put there. She is free to eat as much or as little as she likes. However, she never ever goes hungry!! We snack a lot (I mean a lot) during the day. She basically can have anyting she requests during the day. Once a meal is over if I know she didn't eat very much I make sure that her snacks make up for it. These are completely informal times of eating and I don't care where or how she eats. Because of that she never really asks for other food at a meal, she knows that we won't let her go hungry!!
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#66 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 02:01 AM
 
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The short answer to the original question is: I don't make separate meals for her, and I never plan to. When she's old enough, the options will be: eat what I make or make something else for yourself.

For the OP, I don't think you're being mean, but as your child starts needing more calories from food (for us there was a sudden spike at about 20 months old), you might feel she needs more substantial snacks, or make sure there's more she'll eat at mealtimes.

I make sure meals take her preferences into account, just like I do for my vegetarian husband and me who likes fish and chicken. There's always something she likes, but we often have variations on a theme for each of us like chicken, veggie, and bean fajitas. We encourage her to taste things she's never had before, but we don't require it.

Answering other posters questions: At 2, she eats a great variety of stuff, but not all that much of anything. And has had meltdowns over wanting veggies. At a friend's dinner party, Evie had a meltdown because the host didn't give her mushrooms on her salad and broccoli with her main course like the other guests had.)

We started transitioning off of "baby food" type food at 18 months or so and it's all gone now at a bit over two years, basically as she was able to eat more adult foods.

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#67 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 07:27 AM
 
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DS eats what we eat. I have made exceptions with my older children and will with him if he ever vocalizes that he doesn't like a certain thing (for example, older DS doesn't like deviled eggs so I'll reserve hard boiled ones for him). I have never made a whole seperate meal though.
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#68 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 08:53 AM
 
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I make dinner and if ds doesnt want it the only alternative I offer is pb&j. He's a very light eater so sometimes he just doesnt eat dinner at all and somehow is not starving. I figure when he's a little older he can make his own pb&j if he doesnt like what we're eating. I dont think forcing him to eat what we're eating is always fair. Im a picky eater and I wouldnt want to be forced as there are several foods I dont like (and my parents were not flexible at all during meal time, you had to finish your plate or not leave the table)

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#69 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=EviesMom]
For the OP, I don't think you're being mean, but as your child starts needing more calories from food (for us there was a sudden spike at about 20 months old), you might feel she needs more substantial snacks, or make sure there's more she'll eat at mealtimes.
QUOTE]

Yes, I have noticed that Kiera is eating a lot more and she snacks quite frequently throughout the day on very healthy things so I am not too worried when she does not eat dinner or only eats a little. I really do try to have at least two things (like squash and pears or chicken and carrots, etc...) on the table that I know she likes so at least she will be eating those. I do not, however, force her to eat the broccoli which she so willingly feeds me , but I continue to offer it to her along with a veggie I know she likes. I have no problem with giving her yogurt for dinner occassionally or something, I just don't want ti to become a habit. My ex-step-brother ate only macaroni and cheese, PB&J, and McDonadls. My Mom refused to cook that for him when he was at our house and boy did it casue problems!!! I just don't want to fall into that trap...Not saying the pp who make something seperate for their dc are becasue I highly doubt it's McDonald's every night! Thanks again for the great resopnses.
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#70 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 10:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy
I really dislike the concept of not letting kids have something to eat other than the dinner that was prepared. I don't imagine I'd stop eating to prepare a whole new meal, but I'd have no problem at all getting up to get him something quick. Cereal, fruit, yogurt, maybe even a peanut butter sandwich.

Oh, and sometimes If there isn't much in the meal that I think he'll like, I'll give him some leftovers that he did like, or some other fruit or veggie.
That pretty much describes my feelings on the subject and what I would tend to do. I also try to include things DD will like in our meal and many times she will want something because it's on my plate and I am eating it.

Either way is fine with me. I am trying to avoid power struggles with food. My brother and I were raised the same way with some forcing to "clean our plates" especially our veggies. I was somewhat picky and my brother was extremely picky. Regardless of how we were taught, he is still a very picky, non-adventurous eater and I am fairly adventurous. So for my experience, my mom was not able to prevent my brother from being picky and may have even made it worse.

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#71 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 10:55 AM
 
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I'm willing to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as a substitute - but only until they are old enough to make it themsevles. Not the epitome of nutrition, but solid enough (on whole wheat bread) - and since my toddler is usually willing to eat what I make, it's not really a big deal.

My stepdaughter had an issue with eating anything we made for dinner... and it just became a huge problem. I wonder now if I could have handled it better by just not letting it become a point of contention... she was (most likely) doing it for attention and maybe if I had just let her make a PB & J sandwich with no fuss.. ah, well... what is past is past.
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#72 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 10:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by loraxc
This is us.

I COULD make dinners every night that DD would eat. It would be things like bean and cheese quesadillas, vegetable soups, bean soups, pizza, and other kid-friendly stuff. But...cooking is one of my great joys in life, and I can't see limiting myself to the (relatively broad, but still restricted) foods my DD enjoys. I don't think it would be fair to expect her to eat the bitter greens, spicy foods, exotic vegetables, etc etc that DH and I enjoy. She would eat the starch, pick out a few vegetables, and then she would wake up in the middle of the night crying for bananas and toast. I know this because *it's happened* on occasions when we haven't had much to offer her that she likes and she's gone to bed without eating very much. I am not going to get up every night to feed my 2yo a snack because I am married to some idea that she had to eat arugula and spicy tofu salad for dinner or go hungry! I am also certainly not going to deny her that food in the middle of the night to "teach her a lesson" or something. So, to me, it's important to make sure she eats.

It's no huge deal for me to make her a quesadilla and cut up some fruit and vegetables for her when she has her early dinner at 6 pm. My husband puts her to bed while I prepare our dinner, which we enjoy together as adults after she is asleep.

Just so we're clear, I am always offering DD things that I made for us that I think she might enjoy. Today she did eat some of the beets and beet greens out of the pasta we had last night. We hardly did purees at all, I always gave her highly flavored foods, and when she was a younger toddler, she readily ate all kinds of things she won't eat now. But when she got to be two, her list of foods got a lot shorter and she got very suspicious of anything new. I'm pretty certain this is developmental. Enh. Food is not worth a battle in my book. She does eat quite healthily, so it's as not as though this has turned her into a chicken-nuggets-only child. She is also a great weight for her size and in great health.

I do expect that she will be eating what we eat much more when she is older and goes to bed later, but I don't think I will ever do the "You eat this or you go hungry" routine. I will offer something like PB&J and yogurt. I too was made to sit at an empty table with a cold pork chop for hours as a child. What the hell? Not for me.
This also describes us and where we stand. Only it's DH that's the exotic cooking fanatic!

This is a really interesting topic though. I have been thinking that there could be more to it than the approach. I mean in the last twenty years, there has been a huge change in the variety of foods we have available and in what people are cooking, how they are cooking and what we are eating. Maybe if my mom, and she even talks about this, had been more adventurous with food, we would have been more interested in it. We were a mostly meat, potatoes, and plain vegetables kind of home. It was only when I discovered all the things I could do with veggies later on that I began to eat them more. My dad is really the only one who hasn't changed a whole lot--he still prefers the bland basics when it comes to food. My brother, while still picky at least likes foods with some flavor. Even things like having mashed up sweet potatoes instead of plain white would have been a nice change. My mom never thought to do that. Her idea of sweet potatoes was from her own upbringing where they had that marshmallow yam casserole thing that she hated.

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#73 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 04:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ccohenou
But if they choose "not", do you then restrict their access to other foods in a way that you would not if they had not refused your offers? That's what I would see as controlling and punitive.
Nope, but I'm not going to prepare a single thing.
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#74 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 04:05 PM
 
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Sucks having a kid with multiple food allergies and SID/oral aversion issues.

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#75 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 04:05 PM
 
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duh - answered. sorry!!!!!!!!!!!

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#76 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 04:41 PM
 
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On the nights when my husband is home we fix one dinner, usually with some elements (rice, veggies) I know my DD will eat. if DH and I want something we don't think she'll eat, we'll make her a plate and offer it to her but if she doesn't want it, no big deal, I don't mind scrambling some eggs, heating up some brown rice or making her a fruit & veggie tray in 5 minutes. It's not some big power struggle with us. We fix what we'd like, why not afford her the same respect. As long as she's not asking for a 6 course steak dinner or something.

But some of these replies are really shocking to me. I'm not trying to be rude, just wanting to understand - but what do you do if your toddler doesn't want what's being served? Do they go to bed hungry? What sort of lesson is *that* teaching them? That mama and daddy don't care enough to fix me something that will take 3 minutes of thier time so I'm not hungry? (If you feel like you're communicating something else please tell me, I'm not trying to be rude here, I just don't get this stance at all.)

I also don't think the "kids in 3rd world countries can't be picky about thier food" excuse is valid. Do your kids have no toys? Rags for clothes? I don't want my DD to take food for granted either, but my big thing is waste - I'd rather she have food that I know she'll eat rather than waste food (and money we don't have) by leaving it on the plate untouched while she's hungry.

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#77 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 05:01 PM
 
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I regularly prepare 3 meals - one for me, one for DH and one for Robin. I like super-spicy food and don't eat meat, DH eats meat and is allerigic to peppers, and Robin can't tolerate spicy foods and isn't a big fan of meat. It works for us. I cook, and I want to eat what I want to eat - so I'm happy to make other stuff for the others. Often DH and DD eat the same meal, and I make MYSELF something special. I cut time by making at least a few items that everyone will eat, but we usually all have different main dishes

I do, however, think it is important that children learn to have manners and to be willing to try new things, and part of those manners mean that when you are a guest at someone else's house you eat what you are served. (as a vegetarian, I am constantly in the position of eating lima beans and biscuits when we are guests - but my diet is MY choice and I don't think it's appropriate to ask other people to accomodate my needs (even though I would accomodate theirs )) I would not require them to clear a plate, but I do expect them to eat at least ONE BITE of everything being served. But this isn't appropriate for a toddler - but I would expect this when they are preschool and up.

We also had the agreement of one thing we didn't have to eat when I was a kid. FOr me, I was never required to eat brussel sprouts, b/c I hated them. But in exchange for a pass on that, I had to promise I would eat at least one stalk of brocolli every time it was served. I resented the brocolli less b/c I had say-so in the agreement. Now brocolli is my most favorite vegetable
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#78 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 06:37 PM
 
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I always make a "special" dinner for my toddler. He eats at 6 PM and goes to bed shortly after. DH & I don't eat until 8PM, so logistically, it works out that way.

His "special" dinner may include some leftovers from our dinner the night before, but more often than not, it is fixed especially for him. I make him a main dish and he will sometimes only eat a bite or two or even (rarely) refuse it. Whether he eats it or not, he is always welcome to fresh fruit, yogurt, etc. if he requests it.

I don't see any benefit it following a strict "eat what I give you or don't eat" policy. : If I don't like something, I don't eat it and fix myself something else. To me, this is giving him the same respect. He can't fix the food himself yet, so I fix it for him. I don't see how that hurts anyone or makes me a short-order cook. I'm just his momma. :
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#79 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 07:04 PM
 
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we have a vegan, a vegetarian, a kid who eats chicken breasts and hamburger but no seafood or anything with bones, dh who loves steak and all other meat, and me who eats chicken and fish but avoids red meat. not sure where the baby is going to land on that spectrum! but i'm used to fixing three lasagnes (a vegan, a veggie, and a meat) or three pans of enchiladas, or just putting all the elements of supper out on the table (pasta/rice, veggie sauce, grated/sliced cheese, sauteed meat) for each kid to choose and mix up as s/he likes.

but i have to admit that i lean toward making the vegan dinners just so we can all have the same thing! fewer dishes to wash, in any case...

somewhere on the table is usually something the baby likes (last night he vacuumed up a pile of garlic zucchini but eschewed the pasta). i'm pretty lucky... he's so far been a willing consumer of our taste in food.

i have to say that i think the more kids you have around, the less picky they will be. i used to babysit a little girl, an only child, whose mother warned me that she was very very picky, probably wouldn't eat anything i made, had to have everything laid out on her plate just so... well, i just served her up like the rest of the kids, and i think the pack mentality caught on quick. soon she was diving in with the rest of them, and her mom thought i was fibbing when i told her!

anyway, the concept here is that if you let kids know that you'll fuss over them, they'll use that to their entertainment advantage. but if you just put the food out, and let them have at it, and it's a good range of nutritious and well-prepared things, you won't have much to worry about. sure, i've had a kid go make a pb&j when i've made something they really didn't care for (last week's wheat berry salad with tarragon and edamame didn't go over too well... i'm still eating it!), but it's not an everyday thing.

i too had parents that kept us at the table for hours over cold peas. my ex had an epic struggle with my three older kids over (can you believe this?) brussels sprouts when he had them for thanksgiving. what a way to teach gratitude and grace!

great discussion. thanks for letting me serve up my two cents' worth!

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#80 of 114 Old 05-26-2006, 08:07 PM
 
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bowl of split pea soup
Oh my goodness...I too had a bowl of split pea soup that lasted through lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, and another dinner! As a result of growing up in a very strict family "food-wise", we decided early on to follow the food traditions of DH's family.

Basically everyone takes turns being "chef" for a meal...complete with chef hat. And those who aren't chef get to play "prep chef" and help with the chopping and slicing and dishes and those other chores that go faster when you're having fun or which aren't really doable by a "toddler chef".

There is always something at the table that each person in the family can/will eat (taking food allergies and philosophies into account) and everyone is free to eat as much as they like during meal times. If a person wants something special or specific then they can prepare it for everyone by volunteering to "chef" the next meal (for example, one dinner designed by a 6 year old included a salad with lots of veggies, a spicy soup made from ramen noodle soup packages, and banana pancakes...something for everyone, even if not exactly the blend most people would go for), but the whole family prepares the dinner meal together and the whole family eats the same meal...

DD nurses and I feel that this rounds out any nutritional gaps that might occur by her picking or choosing within a specific meal. I'm not going to force her to eat anything (I STILL wont eat split pea soup voluntarily) but we don't make individual meals. Sure, some of our dinners are a bit "do it yourself" (like wrap your own sushi, build your own salad, stack your own tortilla, mini pizzas, or whatever) but we all eat the same thing. We're a family, and cooking is something we do together.

It's worked for years in Dh's family, and it seems to be working for us now.

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#81 of 114 Old 05-27-2006, 03:12 AM
 
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Great info, thanks!
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#82 of 114 Old 05-27-2006, 09:54 AM
 
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I make things my whole family will enjoy, there are times (and they are not often) I will make more then on meal for dinner. Like DH LOVES sloppy Joes, personally I find them repaulsive so one night I might make those for him and Fettucine Alredo for us. But for the most part we eat what we all like. Isaiah isnt super picky he will eat just about anything.
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#83 of 114 Old 05-27-2006, 02:42 PM
 
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I've been dealing with a picky eater for 8 years now.

If my 8 yo doesn't like what we're having for dinner, yes, I will make her a PB&J sandwich or let her get a yogurt and some fruit or raw carrots. It takes me like 30 seconds to make a PB&J, which I don't see as a big imposition. My two younger boys are pretty typical eaters and eat most things but if they don't like something, I'll let them have a PB&J too.

As DD gets older, she is starting to try new foods but I she is always the one who chooses whether or not to try them. I don't understand what it is like to be picky as I will eat pretty much whatever but DD really has bad reactions to some foods. I don't know if it's the texture or taste or what but I definitely don't think it's a "power struggle." I don't think being picky is something she is consciously choosing to do as it can be a big pain for her sometimes.

Most kids I know are picky about something. My 6 yo niece eats everything but doesn't like to wear socks. Her 8 yo sister also eats most things but doesn't like going outside barefoot. I don't see my DD's picky eating as any different than these things.
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#84 of 114 Old 05-27-2006, 10:52 PM
 
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I have a rule at our house.
After I have taken the time and effort to make the meal, clean up the kitchen and have to clean up after dinner, I *will* sit down and eat and *will not* get up again after I have sat down until I'm finished with my dinner. There are, of course, exceptions. I didn't implement this rule until my son was old enough to understand it, and I wouldn't expect him to follow it if he was sick, etc.

It's a little annoying in my family because I not only have a toddler, but I have a picky husband who also expects to be served. In his family, mom didn't really sit down and eat so much as she played "server" for every member of the household. NOT my cup of tea. at all. We still have issues with my husband expecting to be served. Of course I serve my son, because he's too young to do it himself, but I think my husband can handle it especially if he has sat on his butt for 2 hours prior to the meal as I was in the kitchen dealing with food prep and childcare!

Anway, so if my son wants something else for dinner, he can get up and get it himself. I do not make special meals for anyone (hubby has wanted me to do this for *him* and I definitely said "no"), but try to take everyone's personal tastes in mind while meal planning.

That said, we have pretty lax rules about when and what my son can eat. Most of the food we have in the house is healthy, so whenever he asks for something I usually say 'ok'. Just not after I already made dinner.
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#85 of 114 Old 05-27-2006, 10:55 PM
 
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Yep! There's no way on God's green earth I could live with myself if I had something in the house that I KNEW my child liked but I didn't fix it for them only because I'm trying to be in control of the situation. These are very young children we're talking about. Now if they are closer to an age where they can definitely be reasoned with and know what is best for them, then yes I will try harder to get them to eat what we do, and still give them what they WANT if they don't want to eat what we eat.

I have an (almost) 11 yr old child that used to be the world's pickiest eater up until about 5 years ago. It took getting him out around other kids that were eating various foods to show him that he could atleast try more and he might like it. Now he eats everything we eat and isn't picky in the least bit.

They grow up and they start eating better, it's that simple. Why try to starve a 3 yr old if they don't want the food? That's cruel, it really is.

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#86 of 114 Old 05-27-2006, 11:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
With all due respect to anyone who DOES do this, I think it is a dreadful mistake that is setting you and the child up for some absolutely awful behavior.
I totally without a doubt disagree with you.

You are saying exactly what everyone that is against AP says to a co-sleeping, cloth diapering, demand feeding parent says. They all say that the kids will grow up somehow out of wack or expecting things that they shouldn't from the people around them or my favorite is that co-sleeping makes the kids grow up and not know how to sleep on their own. Do any of us sleep 'alone' once we get married to a person we have never slept with our whole life? At some point in life most adults 'co-sleep' you know.

Get a grip, we're not talking about doing this with older children, just the younger ones in most instances that I've seen here on the boards. Ofcourse I wouldn't cater to my 10 yr old at this point but he would be given something to eat that would fill up his tummy even if he had to fix it himself IF he were a picky eater still. I'm his mom and I love him and I will make sure that his tummy is full no matter what he ends up putting in it.

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#87 of 114 Old 05-27-2006, 11:14 PM
 
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Just to add, I think it causes unecessary power struggles when parents coerce their children into eating what's for dinner, or even into just "trying" it.

As a kid, my dad always made me eat everything that was on my plate, which was almost always too much for me. I wasn't a picky eater (and I certainly didn't snub my vegetables) but I had a small stomach. My dad thought I was just trying to get out of eating (why would I try to get out of eating if I was hungry? I'll never understand that logic). Compare that with my mom's view (my parents were "divorced" and lived separately), where you could eat dinner if you wished, could eat however much you were hungry for, etc.

Personally, I don't think that a child learns anything by being forced to eat something, other than food is gross and you need to be forced to eat it. I certainly also agree that it's not fair to the mother (or meal preparer, whichever) if they are expected to act as a short-order cook. I'm sure they have other things to do with their time, unless of course they actually want to cook separate meals for everyone. in that case, go with it. IMO, parenting isn't about teaching your child to conform to a certain set of rules, but rather teaching him how to get along and try to compromise so everyone's happy (and also to have a personal set of morals and boundaries so that *his/her* needs aren't ignored in the process).
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#88 of 114 Old 05-27-2006, 11:23 PM
 
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I totally without a doubt disagree with you.
Do any of us sleep 'alone' once we get married to a person we have never slept with our whole life? At some point in life most adults 'co-sleep' you know.
Funny you mention this, my husband was made to CIO at a young age and *never* slept with his parents, and now he can't sleep well in the same bed with me. On the other hand, I prefer to sleep with others, and my mother coslept most of the time (she was a single mom of two, why wouldn't she?). I wonder how common it is for people who were made to sleep alone to not feel comfortable sleeping with others as adults.
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#89 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 10:40 AM
 
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Why try to starve a 3 yr old if they don't want the food? That's cruel, it really is.
I don't think anyone is recommending starving their little ones, or even letting them go hungry!

One thing that hasn't been addressed in this thread is the assumption that there are meal time "options". Which, at least in my family, is not always the case. We live very close to the bone and there is rarely wiggle room in the budget to provide nutritious options that cater to everyone's tastes. Although we do take turns planning and preparing meals, and although the "chef" has basic control over what is served at a given meal, they still have to deal with the reality of the budget.

Which means using home made bread and yogurt, veggies from the "seconds" rack at the supermarket or from our garden, discounted meats or end-date tofu, etc. Obviously no one is forced to eat something they don't want since that would show a lack of respect for the individual as well as a lack of respect for the food and the efforts of the chef, but making a seperate meal (even just a sandwich) is often not an option.

We are a family, and that means doing certain things (like food prep, mealtime, sleeping) together. My dd and the children of my friends who share our budget constraints are not "starved" (I know that's not what anyone meant to imply!), but the concept of "special meals just because you don't like something" is not one my family could indulge in even if we wanted to.

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#90 of 114 Old 05-28-2006, 10:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by wombatclay
I don't think anyone is recommending starving their little ones, or even letting them go hungry!

One thing that hasn't been addressed in this thread is the assumption that there are meal time "options". Which, at least in my family, is not always the case. We live very close to the bone and there is rarely wiggle room in the budget to provide nutritious options that cater to everyone's tastes. Although we do take turns planning and preparing meals, and although the "chef" has basic control over what is served at a given meal, they still have to deal with the reality of the budget.

Which means using home made bread and yogurt, veggies from the "seconds" rack at the supermarket or from our garden, discounted meats or end-date tofu, etc. Obviously no one is forced to eat something they don't want since that would show a lack of respect for the individual as well as a lack of respect for the food and the efforts of the chef, but making a seperate meal (even just a sandwich) is often not an option.

We are a family, and that means doing certain things (like food prep, mealtime, sleeping) together. My dd and the children of my friends who share our budget constraints are not "starved" (I know that's not what anyone meant to imply!), but the concept of "special meals just because you don't like something" is not one my family could indulge in even if we wanted to.
That sounds perfectly reasonable. Very different from denying the child an alternate food choice to prove a point, teach a "lesson", or exert control.

My 5yo is a very reasonable person and is quite capable of understanding things like mom wanting to have time to sit and eat, for example. I prepare the food and he eats and then is ready to play. I remind him that while I was preparing the food, he was eating. Now it's my turn to eat. This usually happens during lunch. He totally gets this. He also understands that it is sometimes an imposition or an impossibility to prepare an elaborate meal for him if he doesn't want what was just prepared. It might mean less time to read or draw or play together or maybe i'm tired and don't feel like cooking anything complicated as a second meal. If I don't mind whipping something up for him I do it. If I am not up to the task for whatever reason, I explain that to him and he gets it. No power struggles. He can grab his own snack. The lesson is we can work together to all have our needs (yes, sometimes wants) met and still be considerate of others. Sometimes that takes compromise but we can make it work together.

ETA - our 21 month old will eat anything. She still gets a good bit of her calories from breast milk but generally eats bits of whatever is served.
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