What do you do when they don't want to eat their dinner? - Page 9 - Mothering Forums
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#241 of 267 Old 01-12-2005, 11:13 PM
 
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Kavamamakava

Thank you for explaining, literally word for word, what I've been trying to say (but failing miserably at apparently !). What you do is excactly what we do here.

We have no food struggles. My children don't go to bed hungry. They only skip meals when they're ill and not eating anyway. They help shop for and prepare our food, set the table, and we eat together as a family. They eat what they like, ask for more (of what was cooked) if they're hungry or stop when they're full.

Establishing good, healthy eating attitudes and habits doesn't have to be about letting the child make all the decisions, and I totally agree that it falls under gentle discipline.
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#242 of 267 Old 01-13-2005, 01:47 AM
 
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Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#243 of 267 Old 01-13-2005, 01:56 AM
 
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monkeysmom wrote:

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And because it has been brought up that this conversation has gone on for a long time, and because I have participated in that, I would like to take a quick second and explain why I think this is so worth going over. Controlling food for kids is an extremely popular mainstream idea. Most parents do it and most people think that it is necessary and good and admirable. There are very few places where people can find evidence of parents who are not controlling their kids' food. I think it is important that on a message board devoted to fostering trust, creating attachment, and encouraging meeting the needs of children that AP parents be able to hear examples of that. It is one more choice in the toolbox--one doesn't HAVE to control food to have a child who is a "good eater." For the same reasons, I think it is important to challenge the notions of controlling food here. If people want to do that in their homes and everyone is happy, great. But, conversations like this, when I was new to this site and this paradigm shift, were really important to me--I hadn't really questioned so many of those mainstream ideals, hadn't heard arguments against them, and certainly wasn't aware of viable alternatives.
I agree with this so much.

It is so, so important to review the why of a behavior.

If your baby sleeps through the night, why is CIO wrong?

If your child obeys, why is spanking wrong?

If your baby has grown well on a strict feeding schedule, why is it wrong?

Please pay careful attention to that last one.

Why is it important to follow baby's cues with feeding?

Because that is such a vital part of this discussion.

I do not see the natural evolution of demand feeding and child led weaning to be carefully planning, strictly enforced mealtimes.

I know that parents who have posted here urging us to rethink strict mealtime attitudes are:

Not getting up and down at meals either

We are enjoying a hot dinner too

We are not pleading on bended knee with a 3 year old on a six month pasta binge

We have healthy kids who eat a wide variety of foods

We have kids who enjoy food, don't obsess or worry, and are highly flexible

We take out kids out to eat and have a good time

That IS significant on a gentle discipline board. This IS the place to say it. Others can say differently. I don't respect those who have posted to say we shouldn't discuss this at all.

It is a bit like mocking the spanking debates since 'that isn't even real abuse'. Saying one issue doesn't matter since a more difficult problem exists does not solve either problem.


For the demand feeders and child led weaners:

When they were babies you respected their cues. Yet you still had an active role in the routine that grew between you. You may have offered alternatives here, distracted a bit there, as your child tolerated it, so that both of your needs were met. But if baby was hungry, bottomline, you fed them, without any hesitation that, when it came to eating, it was okay to feed the baby when the baby wanted to be fed.

And the thing is that this becomes EASIER, not harder, as kids get older, if you continue to have the same confidence in your child that you had in your baby.

Your child WANTS to be healthy. He WANTS to enjoy his food. And you know what else? He WANTS to enjoy eating with you! This is inborn. You do not have to instill it. Humans begin eating every meal with another person! That isn't coincidence. Sharing food with others is a hallmark of human culture.

Believe that, and you will be amazed at just how gently and respectfully you can handle whatever issues may arise in your house regarding food, in a way that meets both of your needs, without ever needing to create non negotiable rules and schedules that take away the child's freedom to decide when and what he wants to eat.

It is absolutely valid to discuss this here.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#244 of 267 Old 01-13-2005, 02:13 AM
 
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I am going over in my mind the things that I wrote on this thread, and I see that I wrote that parents shouldn't buy food for their households that they themselves would not eat. After reading the link about the unschoolers who gave up controlling their children's food choices, I am thinking that this is actually a form of controlling food choices! But I still feel, from the perspective of coming from Jewish culture, that this is reasonable. I wouldn't want my child to eat non-kosher food, I don't see that there is much difference between refusing to have treif food and refusing to have food that as one poster put it, "isn't worth money in our food budget."

I think there is a difference between inculcating our values and controlling the basic needs and rights of an autonomous individual (the child.)

The other things I have taken away from this are that children like food that they have prepared, especially if they actually planted and grew it! This is exciting to me, because that's how I feel.

I have been scheming and plotting that as soon as my ds is old enough to have the attention span, that we will go visit the bakeries and farms where our favorite goodies are made. there is a great French-style bakery here in the area, they make delicious bread. There is a sheep-milk dairy up near where my MIL lives, we sometimes splurge on their yogurt. there is an organic kosher grape juice producer, I really want to see that vineyard! I would like to see these things myself. I also want to join a CSA for the same reason--he already gets into the summer farmer's market near us.

I've already got him reading cookbooks with me. He likes to identify pictures of vegetables and he can say "dough!" He has started to pat all baked goods from seeing me tap bread to find out if it's ready to come out of the oven. Heh.

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#245 of 267 Old 01-13-2005, 05:12 AM
 
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I've read this entire thread and I realized something. Dinner time, not all meal/snack times, is our family time with food. It's nice if everyone is hungry at that time and I try to time it that way, but sometimes the kids snack too close to dinner and aren't even hungry. Or sometimes I take too long to cook and have to get creative and serve the kids something to eat before the meal is ready. Even so, my family's dinner is served as a social event and not primarily as a way to fill starving bellies. Maybe that's why I don't feel it's a big issue if the kids eat or don't eat or I ask them to wait while I eat if they want to eat something different from what is served (which rarely happens). I"m hungry at dinner time and I'm pregnant and nursing still and I'll start to shake and twitch if I wait too long.
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#246 of 267 Old 01-13-2005, 10:29 AM
 
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OP- please forgive me for not reading the entire thread, I read the first page and the last 3 pages.

Here is what we have decided on in our house. I buy almost all healthy foods when I go grocery shopping, a few things that are not all that great too though- like I buy 4 half moon cookies when I go, and when I get home, we all have a treat of cookies and milk

So- snack times are determined by when each person is hungry, I have a fridge and cupboard full of healthy snack choices, so the kids and dh and I help ourselves to anything we want for snacks.

At mealtimes- breakfast, we tend to all eat whatever we want, cheerios and fruit, PB on whole wheat toast, left-over pancakes, etc.. The kids usually want whatever I am having (I have an almost 5 yo, a 3 yo and an almost 1 yo). Lunch time, I ask them what they want for a sandwhich usually, and they choose a fruit or fresh veggie from the fridge to go with it.

Dinnertime- I do make a specific meal each night. I ask the kids if they want what I am making, and if they don't I'll put out some yogurt and fruit and veggies, etc. They are never forced to try anything, or to eat anything. Sometimes they will think they want the taco I made (for example), after a few bites will change their minds, at that point, they can grab themeslves something, or wait until I have had a bit to eat, then I'll get them something else. I don't jump up, and I don't short order cook, but I do try to make sure everyone has something that they like to eat.

Dessert is not contingent on eating anything for supper.

I don't know- for me- it is just not worth it to argue foods with my kids, and if they can grab themselves something else, or wait a couple of minutes for me to eat a bit, I just don't see any reason why they can't have something else.

Our food budget is very tight, so we don't waste at all. Anything that is left over is eaten the next day for lunch by dh and me and sometimes the kids too. Anything that has been chewed and spit out is for the dog though :LOL.

Our way of doing things here, works for us and our kids eat really well most of the time. As a picky eater myself, I might have more understanding for kids and the stages they go through. I also know from being a picky eater- that I may do everything *right* in regard to food, and they still might be "picky". Ah well, there are worse things that being a picky eater .

Food is one area where I have always been pretty easy going, but MDC in general, has made me really question the "why" of what we do, and makes me re-think everything, and say, "is this really an important issue?" "What am I trying to accomplish here?" I have decided that all bodily functions, eating, pottying, sleeping- will be decided by the individual, and are not something I want to argue/fight over.

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#247 of 267 Old 01-13-2005, 12:37 PM
 
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Even so, my family's dinner is served as a social event and not primarily as a way to fill starving bellies.
This is exactly what I said in my previous post and I think it is SO true and a healthy approach.

In our house meals times, especially dinners are our chance to re-connect, to talk about what we are going to do that day or what we have done. If my son eats or not is just not an issue. And being that he is only 3 sometimes he sits with us for the whole 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes. Other times he is up and gone in 5. We never comment on what he ate or how much he ate.

I also think there is an excellent point being made about involvement. My son helps set the table and he clears his own dishes. He grocery shops with me and helps pick out his own fruit and veggies. We talk about why we don't buy certain things and what are better alternatives. (You should see the crazy looks I get from other shoppers!) He sees me reading labels and also comparing prices. We talk about what’s for dinner that week and what we need for lunches. He then sees the food we buy made into meals and often helps out in the kitchen. He loves to sprinkle cheese on the pizza, pour milk into the mixing bowl, get things out of the fridge, stirring, etc.

At 3 does he really connect all these things together? Who know? But I know he is being influenced by what he sees us doing with so many things why not our healthy approach to food?

Regarding the control issue: I read in another post (paraphrasing here) that not giving your kids certain food is a control issue and if they want to eat something they should be able to have it. Maybe it is controlling but I am sorry just because my son is mesmerized but the Clifford box of crap he sees in the grocery store doesn't mean I am going to given in and buy it. But I also buy very few foods he can't eat (booze, wine, my husbands disgusting power bars) so he is rarely denied any food in his own home. I also don't let him watch videos 24/7, watch any commercial TV or play on the computer whenever he wants. I don't let him hit people, use my sharp chefs knife (even though he really, really wants to!) or run with scissors. At 3 I make those choices for him. I realize all these are controlling him but is that necessarily bad? Am I doing more long term damage then if I did let him eat junk or watch TV all day? As he gets older he will have more control. I’ll teach him to use the knives, to make his own TV choices and choose when he wants to watch. I guess I just don’t understand how you can raise a child with out any control?

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#248 of 267 Old 01-13-2005, 09:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom
I guess I just don’t understand how you can raise a child with out any control?
Anyone else interested in discussing this in a new thread? I think it could be great.
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#249 of 267 Old 01-13-2005, 10:27 PM
 
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I guess I just don’t understand how you can raise a child with out any control?
Two part answer:

1)My view of the last 13 pages is: the point of greatest disagreement regarding food here is whether a parent has the right to control *when* a child may eat. On this most people were very clear in how they felt. I am against it with a baby. I am against it with a child. I don't think you should have non negotiable "times" when a child may eat or not eat. Hunger is subjective. You cannot determine it by the clock.

When you say "Aha, my child didn't eat the noon meal. Now they wait until snacktime. It was there 'choice'" That is not a choice at all. You let the clock decide, not the child.

I think that was the greatest point of disagreement here.

2) to answer your question about raising a child without "control" in general, I think we may want to start a new thread *LOL*

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#250 of 267 Old 01-13-2005, 11:13 PM
 
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Here you go!

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...89#post2518189

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#251 of 267 Old 01-15-2005, 12:35 PM
 
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I have not read any of the replies, so I am just answering the OP.
In my house I tend to make 2 or more different dinners every night. My Dh is Vietnamese and only likes asian cooking..I think asian food is gross. I like pasta, burgers, soup and sandwiches..you know normal stuff (lol) and my DH wont eat that cause he thinks my food is gross. So when I cook meals I cook two at a time. Our kids are 6 and 2 and my 2 year old will eat whatever is put in front of him, but my older DS has his own pickyness that I'm sure he gets from his dad and I. If he doesn't like anything his dad or I are having, then I'll ask him what he wants, and he helps make it. His list of foods that he will eat is not that long but at least it;s a healthy list.
Growing up I lived part time with my mom, and part time with my granparents. My mom would not let me leave the table till I ate all my meal, and if I sat there for more than 2 hours I had to go stand in the corner. AT my grandparents if I didn;t want to eat what was put on the table I didn't have to, and my Memere knew how picky I was about food, so she made sure to ask me while she was cooking if she needed to make something else for me. When I had my first DS my Pepere told me that if he ever see's me force feeding my baby boy he woudl be sad. I asked my aunt about what he said and she said that when I was a baby my mother would force me to eat my baby cereal by squeezing my cheeks so that my mouth would open. Yup, that sounds like my mommy dearest.
ANyway, I'm sure people will look down at the way meals are made at my house, but I don;t care. It works for us and as long as my kids are eating something, and it's a healthy choice, then that is what matters to us.
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#252 of 267 Old 01-18-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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I didn't read the debate. I just thought I'd answer the OP.


It depends. Sometimes I'll have them come to the table and do blessing with us or read the blessing (we have a book of meal blessings we like to use) or just visit for a while even if they don't want to eat.

Sometimes I just let them play in the other room and hope that they won't need us too much so that the rest of us can just eat in peace.



(Then again..... Perhaps I am controlling but I do make decisions for my children. About food. Mostly about which choices they may have at any given moment. We had two of our children on a gluten-free diet for a while, too. That wouldn't have been possible if I didn't control what they could eat. I control sugar because I have one child who melts down if she eats much of it and the other don't handle it all that well, either. Sometimes I will have one child who is inclined to snack continually wait for dinner that is cooking when she really wants a snack, so long as I know this child hasn't had to wait too long. I really am capable of using fair and reasonable judgement with that. I believe that it is my responsibility as a parent to make decisions for my children and to gradually reduce and change that as they mature. I don't have to go to an opposite extreme to prove that some parents control their children too much. I know some do, and I don't believe that I do.)

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#253 of 267 Old 01-18-2005, 06:18 PM
 
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It happened again last night...

I made spicy chicken and spicy garbanzo beans and they were too spicy for the 3-year-old. So she had a banana and milk for dinner. (Her choice.) I think it would be abusive to make her eat spicy food, or to make some privilege contingent on it.
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#254 of 267 Old 01-18-2005, 08:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Greaseball
It happened again last night...

I made spicy chicken and spicy garbanzo beans and they were too spicy for the 3-year-old. So she had a banana and milk for dinner. (Her choice.) I think it would be abusive to make her eat spicy food, or to make some privilege contingent on it.
Nor would I. I guess the difference with us is that if I was serving spicy chicken and spicy garbanzo beans our table would also have other things I knew they would tolerate: for example

*Fruit like grapes oranges and apples (which to me help "cool" a spicy meal for me anywasy)

*Rice made in a mild broth

*Cucumbers and Tomatoes


So, my kids are never totally stuck with something too spicy for them. Its not a big difference just a matter of how its done. And I think either way is OK. But I think that having many choices at the table make kids look more seriously at their choices and consider new foods. It also makes me less involved with their eating, since we don't have to discuss what they are eating. Which is not vital to raising a healthy child but is important to me.
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#255 of 267 Old 01-18-2005, 09:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Greaseball
It happened again last night...

I made spicy chicken and spicy garbanzo beans and they were too spicy for the 3-year-old. So she had a banana and milk for dinner. (Her choice.) I think it would be abusive to make her eat spicy food, or to make some privilege contingent on it.
I agree. But I also wouldn't make an entire meal my toddlers would hate. Whenever we offer new/untested foods, there's always something they want to eat on the plate too (in fact, I think this makes them MORE willing to try new things).
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#256 of 267 Old 01-19-2005, 05:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greaseball
It happened again last night...

I made spicy chicken and spicy garbanzo beans and they were too spicy for the 3-year-old. So she had a banana and milk for dinner. (Her choice.) I think it would be abusive to make her eat spicy food, or to make some privilege contingent on it.
Yes that would be abusive to MAKE her but who knowingly makes a meal that they KNOW their child can not eat?? I can just see my sons face! "Honey I made XYZ but you won't like it, you can have banana instead." He would be hurt! But then again we make no judgements on foods. I might tell him its spicy but he can try it if he wants. (My son actually loves spicy foods. If I had not encouraged him when we had them who knows if he would have grown to love them?)

If I am going to make say Chicken francese which both my husband and I love but I know my son doesn't I make sure the balance of the meal contains items that he does like. I do the same with "new" foods, foods that my son has never had before. Like the pp said, this can actually encourage my son to try the "new" food!

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#257 of 267 Old 01-19-2005, 05:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom
If I am going to make say Chicken francese which both my husband and I love but I know my son doesn't I make sure the balance of the meal contains items that he does like. I do the same with "new" foods, foods that my son has never had before. Like the pp said, this can actually encourage my son to try the "new" food!


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#258 of 267 Old 01-19-2005, 08:10 PM
 
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Yes that would be abusive to MAKE her but who knowingly makes a meal that they KNOW their child can not eat??
It was an experiment. Dh and I didn't know if we would like it either. It's one of my favorite things to do; cook and eat things I have never tried before. If no one likes it I make them whatever else they want. Dd just happened to want milk and a banana.

I don't require her to eat things she doesn't want, but I'm sure not going to give up my favorite foods or cooking hobbies. She knows she can have whatever she asks for.
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#259 of 267 Old 01-19-2005, 11:05 PM
 
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My dd (4) has celiacs and a host of food allergies. She does not have the choice to eat alot of foods.

My husband and I do not allow foods that she cannot eat into our house. Her dietary needs really control our kitchen. (We do make a quickie run to the store after bedtime some nights tho).

That said, she eats alot of really cool stuff! She will happily devour a raw spinach salad if that is what she wants. We do not have the option to eat crap. Most processed foods are on our no no list. That said...she cycles. Occasionally if she is eating alot of fruit and other stuff high in sugar and carbs, that is all she wants, it is imperative for her to eat protein. So I have to limit the really sweet stuff by not buying more. We quit buying apple juice because she could not control herself with it and she quit eating other things because she was filling up pn apple juice. Now, aj is a treat. I do control some issues of food in this house by simply NOT purchasing certain items because it is absolutely necessary for her health.

That said, I keep a cabinet in the kitchen that has stuff she can reach and eat. She serves herself. It is full of nuts, dried fruit, fruit leather and other healthy snacks. There is a bowl of fruit on the table. She helps herself to an apple, pear, banana or whatever seasonal fruit is laying around.

Eating dinner is optional. I would never make her eat something. She does occasionally claim she does not like somethign based on its looks. I tell her that if she takes ONE bite, I will leave her alone. She usually winds up finishing whatever it is.

I help her make her own plate and she can either eat it or not. If she is hungry, there are a host of healthy snacks available.

The only time I fix more than one meal (I cook 100% of our food from scratch) is when Dh and I have a hankerin for something that is NOT kid friendly, like really spicy pad thai. Then I usually cook some pre-made meatballs and sauce or something for her and she eats them with the rice I cooked to go with our Thai or Indian food.
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#260 of 267 Old 01-19-2005, 11:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Greaseball
It was an experiment. Dh and I didn't know if we would like it either. It's one of my favorite things to do; cook and eat things I have never tried before. If no one likes it I make them whatever else they want. Dd just happened to want milk and a banana.

I don't require her to eat things she doesn't want, but I'm sure not going to give up my favorite foods or cooking hobbies. She knows she can have whatever she asks for.
I too love to cook and experiment with food. My son loves to take part. I guess I just don't see what that has to do with this? How does adding something to the menu interfere with your ability to cook? How does it make you give up your favorite foods?? I make things I love all the time that my son may not care for, that was the example I used before about Chicken Francese. I also make things I know he loves that I don't really care for (organic whole wheat Annies) I make sure that the rest of menu is to my liking.

What you said was that you made 2 spicy dishes and that "they were too spicy for the 3-year-old" not that she didn't want to eat it. When I try new foods (my new favorite is duplicating the awesome Szechwan I get in my local china town) is to counter the real spicy prawns (or whatever) with a milder dish that is not new to my son and plain brown rice. Again, maybe because meals times for us are so much more than just food but my son would feel left out if he came to the table and I said "sorry, nothing here for you tonight. How about a bowl of cereal?" To me that just seems to discount his feelings and ignores his input into the family meal time.

Guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

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#261 of 267 Old 01-19-2005, 11:39 PM
 
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maybe because meals times for us are so much more than just food but my son would feel left out if he came to the table and I said "sorry, nothing here for you tonight. How about a bowl of cereal?" To me that just seems to discount his feelings and ignores his input into the family meal time.


I would go even further to say that whenever I cook anything untested in our kitchen (not knowing if dd or ds, much less dh or I, will like it) I ALWAYS provide something else at that meal that I know we do like. So just because I love to experiment with new recipes doesn't mean my kids have to grab a banana for dinner.

It's no wonder when presented with a brand new dish of totally foreign flavoring no less that a 3 year-old would get balky and avoid the whole meal altogether. Where's the "child's choice" in that?!?! So if I make liver and onions (something my kids hate) even night for dinner and they get to "choose" a yogurt or banana instead, that's what people were talking about when they said how important it is not to impose our will on our children? In my house, serving some new spicy beans alongside some rice pilaf and popular steamed vegetables would ensure everyone was happy at suppertime (and I can practically guarantee my kids would try the beans to boot).
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#262 of 267 Old 01-20-2005, 02:00 AM
 
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How does adding something to the menu interfere with your ability to cook? How does it make you give up your favorite foods??
Because some say we should just have one dinner for the whole family and not cook foods that some people in the family do not like. That would interfere with our enjoyment - dh likes pork and beans, which I do not like. He and dd like to eat chili, again which I do not like. I like alfredo sauce, which dh is not that into. We all get to have the foods we want and refuse the foods we don't want.
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#263 of 267 Old 01-20-2005, 10:25 AM
 
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I think the idea that cooking an entire meal that is KNOWN to be distasteful to the rest of the family is a hard one to take, just from a simple repsect for others perspective. If I wanted fettucini alfredo for example but no one else liked it, I would keep the noodles and the sauce separate b/c everyone here loves noodles, and prepare some chicken breasts to have on the side. Everyone would be eating the same meal, but I'd get to have my special sauce that everybody else hated. This isn't cooking two (or three or four) different meals, and it's not making everyone else fend for themselves for supper either.
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#264 of 267 Old 01-20-2005, 11:22 AM
 
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Reading these last few posts, it really sounds to me like effectively the same approach, but described differently?

I mean, I can look at Greaseball's posts and say "yes, that is what we do".

But then I read Maya or Periwinkle or Hollybear and say "yes, that is what we do."

Basically, everybody gets to eat something they like. Whether it is presented as the main meal or not, the child could feel very respected either way, imo. Or very disrespected, depending how it is handled. Sounds like all of the kiddos here feel very respected by the approach in their home, so what is the problem?

For example, sure, if the main meal is distasteful to the child they could feel "left out". But, in these cases, I (and apparently Greaseball ) talk to dd and get something yummy for her--and she feels very respected, indeed.

Or, in some families, the child must eat what is on the table (no other options). My first reaction is that the child would might feel disrespected because, well, what if s/he does not like it? But, in the cases on this thread, the parent knows their child well and makes sure that there are appealing choices already on the table for the child, and the child feels respected this way as well.

It seems like a very small distinction to me. Either way, the child is eating something s/he enjoys. One method just provides a bit more choice for the child. But, if the meal preparer and child are both happy, then where is the problem?
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#265 of 267 Old 01-20-2005, 11:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Greaseball
Because some say we should just have one dinner for the whole family and not cook foods that some people in the family do not like. That would interfere with our enjoyment - dh likes pork and beans, which I do not like. He and dd like to eat chili, again which I do not like. I like alfredo sauce, which dh is not that into. We all get to have the foods we want and refuse the foods we don't want.
Who said that? I know that I didn't. Have you even been reading what I have posted? Where did anyone say never to cook foods that some people don't like?? I am so confused by your round about arguments.

I guess in my family we all have a say in the meal making process. No one is denied foods they like that others don't (whole wheat annies) and no one is ever forced to eat things they don't (chicken Frances). It is a respect issue in our house. All relationships are about compromise.

Another example of respect: My son and I LOVE egg salad. The smell of it alone makes my husband gag. Do my son and I just stop eating something we love? Of course not, instead we have it when Dad is not home. How respectful would it be to say "Gee, honey, I know this stuff make you sick but tough luck WE love it so here's a banana."? I see the fact that you knowingly made two items that were "too spicy for a 3 year old" as not very respectful. But again, I have to say, that we need to agree to disagree.

Pardon me while I puke.gif

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#266 of 267 Old 01-20-2005, 11:35 AM
 
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Disclaimer: I only read the first page, and I'm responding to the OP :


We have two on solids (21M & 3.5) and our approach is to never have any control or say over their food. I completely trust that their bodies know what it wants and needs, and they will not starve themselves.

We dont' keep "junk" food in the house- there is no mac n' cheese or hot dogs. I think these types of foods kids might ask for again and again, aside from what their bodies need. But if everything in the house is relatively healthy I believe they'll eat what they need as they need it.

I often employ their help choosing what to make for meals so it isn't often that they reject what we made to ask for something else- but if they did I would let them eat it. As long as there aren't "junk" (relative term I know) options in the house- than I know the alternative will be healthful.

We put the food on the table each meal. The kids eat what they want and leave what they don't. We don't comment or discuss their food intake. And if we decide to make a fun dessert treat after dinner they get it regardless of what they ate earlier. But that is random, and there is no expectation of that.

I've even let them eat a slice of apple pie before dinner because it was there and they were dying to try their creation. I guess I figure that type of situation is rare and it won't kill them. They both still ate dinner.

We've also never labelled foods as "like" or "dislike" it is simply something they are in the mood for or are not. They can reject a food 16 times, there is no discussion they simply leave it on their plate, but I keep putting it there and eventually they choose to eat it.
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#267 of 267 Old 01-28-2005, 05:18 AM
 
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Wow your family's eating habits, rules what you will sounds alot like mine to a T. I have a almost 3 year old and a 9 month old. My 9 month old is pretty much EBF, not pushing solids because i trust that she knows what is best. I offer but never force it. My toddler has a very adult taste for foods. Since she could talk she would ask for healthy snacks because that is what she was used to. To this day she will ask for a apple, cheese, carrots, etc instead of a chocolate cookie that MIL brings. People are shocked to find that she will eat any fruit or veggie you put in front of her. She loves meat, cheese and bread. We sit down for every meal together. We all have the same but in different portions. She eats what she wants and when she if finished we let her down to play quietly. many times she will come back and eat more or ask for a alternative and sit back down. She has very healthy eating habits and is a healthy weight. We all eat dessert if we make it that night and like many it doesnt matter if you didnt eat all your peas or not. Anyway i agree with you completely. You said what i was going to..


Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom
I am facinated by how much passion food debates create on this website. This is certainly not the frist multi-page thread about how to handle meal/food refusal. But on to the question.

First, each family is different and kids are different. Here is what has worked (well, I think) at our house. Maybe it might provide some ideas for others. Not that it's very different from what others have already said.

Either my DH or myself cooks dinner. We have an almost 2 YO and a 5 YO. Its very important for us to have a family dinner each night, and we all start with the same things on our plates. If either child decided they don't want something, regardless of why or what, they can get an alternative item. Even my 22 mo. old can open the fridge and get cheese or yogurt (to replace a protein) or a piece of fruit from the bowl (to replace a veggie). There are lots of reasons that I don't want to be a short-order cook, not the least of which is that I want to enjoy my dinner while it is hot too. Its one of the few "self care" items that I have made a priority.

If they are simply not hungry, then they can go back to playing until others are finished, as long as they have sat down with us and said grace.

Dessert is a separate "meal" and is not contingent on eating dinner. For us, this eliminates the "<a href="http://www.serverlogic3.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=11&k=ice%20cream" onmouseover="window.status='ice cream'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">ice cream</a> is better than peas" issue because they aren't connected to each other at all.

We have always cooked an enormous variety of food at our house and our kids are pretty good about trying stuff. And they love lots of things that other children don't--the more expensive the better it seems. When they say "I don't like it" and mean "I haven't tried it but it looks funny", that's OK. Maybe next time it will look more familiar and they will go on to try it. I think it probably helped that they see interesting, different food from the time they started solids. My sons favorite veggie as a young toddler was artichokes, and boy were people stunned when they saw him eat one! I've never cooked special for the kids. When they were just starting solids (well, after the one-at-time period), I would just grind up the veggie of the day, so I think they don't expect it.

We don't, however, allow "fits of temper" at any time, and at the table is no exception. I think demanding a different food, throwing a tantrum, or whatever, around food is an issue about that behaviour, not about food per se, and should be dealt with the same way you would deal with them at any other time.

Anyway, that's mealtime at our house, for what its worth.


I think its important for us to respect our children, but it is a two-way street. So, I respect their "I'm full", "I don't like it" or whatever. But they need to respect "Mommy is eating her dinner and you need to do it yourself" as well.
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