stepchildren think vegetable is a bad word - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-23-2005, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I need a little help and guidance here. I posted this in the hello thread but it does not really belong there. I am new to this board, I got married a month ago and "officially" became the stepmom of two wonderful children. (I have one of my own as well) I am finding alot of great information on this stepparenting forum, its so great to see other people are going through the same things.
I think the biggest thing I really need help on is my new sc's diet. They think vegetable is a bad word, they live on macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. My dsd is the worst, she is 5. If I make fish sticks, she will refuse them if they are not the long and skinny ones, if the macaroni even looks like homemade, she won't touch it. I love health food, I try to eat organic as much as possible and have cut out refined sugar and simple carbs from my diet. I hate to cook meals anymore because it is a battle every time. You would think she would die if she put that food in her mouth, the way she carries on. Every day for lunch, she has a peanut butter sandwich (with the crusts cut off) becasue that is all she will eat. EVERY DAY! I can't just say to her to go without if she doesn't like it, because she is underweight as it is.
We have a 50/50 split with her mother, we switch on Mondays. She eats whatever she wants at her mother's house and her father (my dh) hates to push her because he doesn't want to look like the bad guy and when you only get so much time with them, who wants to spend the wholetime fighting?
Is it worth the battle? I tried just makeing her eat just one bite of something (like a piece of melon) at mealtimes. She cries and whines until I or my dh just give in. I refuse to let her grow up eating like this, my ds (2 yrs) is already catching on to her antics, if its green he "don't want". She's not healthy. I don't want this to be a power struggle, i just want her to learn the value of good eating. But I am pulling my hair out. Any suggestions? Besides mealtimes, we get along great. I hate to be the wicked stepmother. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Thanks!
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#2 of 9 Old 10-24-2005, 03:27 AM
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Maybe let her have what she wants, as long as she eats 2 bites of this or that at each meal. That way atleast she is getting a little bit of helathy stuff in her. And hey, she may end up liking it.
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#3 of 9 Old 10-24-2005, 03:39 AM
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I wouldn't try to change her eating habits right now. She is going through a huge adjustment to a new family, you in a new role, etc.

For now, give in, is my advice. Make the long skinny fishsticks.
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#4 of 9 Old 10-24-2005, 12:26 PM
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My parents divorced when I was about 5. I lived with mom full time and saw dad anytime I wanted. Dad only lived 4 blocks from mom. Mom let me do just about anything I wanted. I always said that by the time she had me she was worn out of parenting and pretty much just watched me from afar. I'm the baby of 7.

I ate what I wanted at mom's. I remember eating cerial for dinner for a week straight while everyone else ate their regular meals. My siblings complained, but mom said nothing so I continued.

Mom also let me take my lunch to school or she would give me money to by candy, chips & soda at the convienent store near the school (which was against the rules of the school) because I hated the school lunches.

At dad's, I was forced to eat the meal served to me. It was awful. He would tell me that I had to eat what everyone else was eating. His way of thinking was right (I realize that now as an adult, but as a child I thought he was just being mean to me), but his way of getting his point across was wrong. He complained about how my mom let me do anything (now, not only was he being mean by making me eat stuff I didn't like, but he was saying bad things about my mom). He complained about how I need to learn to eat like everyone else, etc.

He even forced me to chew with my mouth closed, not smack when eating, and never spit in front of someone (especially spitting sunflower seeds). I seriously thought he was just picking on me.

Luckily grandma lived with dad. She would defend me and tell me I didn't have to listen to my dad. She would have me come over and sit next to her and she wouldn't let him do anything to me. I was free to do what I wanted again.

This behavior shifted from food to every day living. I learned to never be alone with my dad because he would force me to follow rules and have manners, etc. I would only go with him if there were someone else there that could back me up or at least tell mom and grandma on dad to get him in trouble.

Now that I'm an adult, I'm thankful for the manners he taught me. These simple teachings my mom never taught me. As a child I thought she was the better parent because she was so nice to me and let me do anything. I thought dad was mean and picked on me for no reason. As an adult I feel that dad cared enough to teach me right from rong (although his technique was right out of boot camp) and mom was just wrapped up in her own social life to worry about raising me.

Right now I'm going through a similiar instance with my step-son. We hold him accountable for his homework, etc. Mom sweeps it under the rug to let him have fun. Hopefully when he grows up he'll see what I see now.

I also have trouble with him and eating. The boy is 12 and he still tries to pretend to throw up if he doesn't like what he's eating. We make him leave the table and until we're done and then he must eat his cold food alone.

I know this was long-winded, but hope I got my point across. You can struggle all you want with your children/stepchildren, but if you have someone counteracting you, you're fighting a no-win situation. Just pray that you're children/stepchildren will appreciate what you are doing for them when they grow up.

And remember...if you are tring to force him and the other house is relaxed, you will look like a bully rather than a concerned parent.
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#5 of 9 Old 10-24-2005, 12:39 PM
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Do they like pizza? you could sneak some vegetables in that way (in the sauce.)
I agree that trying to force them to eat vegetables along with adjusting to all the new changes will probably backfire. Imagine if you were used to healthy organic food and suddenly entered a house where they tried to make you eat orange mac n' cheese and fish sticks. You'd probably cringe as well.
My little brother always ate chicken nuggets and prepared foods (he would use his allowance) even though my dad made wonderful healthy food. Now my little brother is the best cook in the family, and cooks along with my dad.
I think having a peaceful relationship with the children is better than trying to get them eat their veggies. Just keep them on the table and make them look yummy. Maybe they'll come around on their own.
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#6 of 9 Old 10-24-2005, 12:57 PM
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I'm the same way you are -- and my stepkids are VERY picky and only eat crap, IMO. After making many what I thought were kid-friendly, yummy, but healthy meals for them only to have them turn up their noses at them (and having DH make them something else to eat) I gave up. DH cooks for them exclusively now.

If I'm making something for myself and they want to try it or even have it as a meal, they're more than welcome to. But I gave up on trying to make them eat healthy. I know this sounds harsh, but if you don't have support from their dad, there's not much you can do.

It's tough, though, that you have a small child of your own who is seeing these bad habits. My child is a newborn, so by the time he's old enough to notice these things my stepkids will practically be out of the house. And they're only with us 1/3 of the time, not 1/2 of the time. You have my sympathies!

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#7 of 9 Old 10-24-2005, 06:15 PM
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First i would relax. right now it is more important to bond and buiild relationships with them. What can you compromise on? perhaps make the mac and cheese and add some peas and corrots. If they pick them out so be it. They will still get full on familiar food and you will still be setting the precidence of "this is how we eat at this house. Speghetti is another good one. Ragu makes an organic sauce that tastes just like thier regualr sauce. hamburgers maybe? are you vegitarian or just healthy organic? Maybe dh could talk to his ex and find out what exactly they do eat. that would you give you a base to start with. there is aspme prettyt close organic processed food. perhaps you could do some oganic chicken nuggets that taste good (so many of those organic/natrual proucts suck )and a side of hommade fries or veggies. think kid friendly vegies like corn.

also talk to them. take them shopping. what would they like to eat, bring them into the kitchen and ask them to help cook. see what you can bargin with them. maybe they will eat carrots if you let them dip them. will have fruit for a snack etc . . .

also talk to your dh. in the end I htink it is more important to present a united front. so the two of you need to get together and decide what is exceptable and what will be done about it.

I think you definitely need to address table manners. sit down witht he kids and discuss what they may and may not do if they don't like what you are serving. will they get something else? do they need to try it first? etc . . .

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#8 of 9 Old 10-24-2005, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks alot, you have all said something valuable. I was very pleased when my dsd ate a bite of apple tonight, I didn't even get on her for not eating her chicken. I probably do need to back off a little bit, I guess its just something I'm so passionate about (eating healthy) and it was drilled into me that I always had to clean my plate growing up. I should pick my battles though and as there will probably be many more to come with my little princess, food is probably not the most important. I think she likes the fact that people call her picky, its become like she believes she has to be picky. Hopefully, its just a stage. In the meantime, I should be happy for all the little things I have done that she doesn't even really know about but that's healthier for her. (100% juice instead of sugar drinks, whole wheat bread that looks like white bread (thank you Sara Lee!)) and the little bites of fruit or vegetables along the way. Thanks everybody!
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#9 of 9 Old 10-24-2005, 11:21 PM
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Glad to see this thread! DSS lives on lunchables (and not the original kinds....he had a "pizza" one here before I put a stop to it that had chocolate spread, m&m's, and pop rocks for toppings) and gogurt. I finally told DH he can have all the gogurt he wants but no lunchables. We were having an issue with DSS not eating at dinner (he's a great little procrastinator....everything is always too hot, it needs cooled down ) and then twenty minutes after everything was done and cleaned up he was STARVING (his word). We agreed that we wouldn't buy lunchables (he knew it was a fall back food) and if we went somewhere and he was hungry we'd go home and eat. This last weekend was great. He asked for a lunchable once and when we explained we aren't going to be buying them he dropped it. He actually ate dinner this time around! :LOL I find if I leave out snaks like apple pieces and carrots and eat them myself he's more likely to eat them too. He asked for a carrot the toher day cause I was munching on one. Just take things as they come and don't force it. Let her know that this is what is available and if she's hungry great! If not, let you know when she is and you'll make her something. Let her help make the stuff too......maybe that will peak her interest.

Give more**Expect Less
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