I am not a short order cook! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 78 Old 06-09-2014, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not a short order cook!

When I was growing up, we all ate the same thing for dinner and nobody ever asked us what we wanted to have for dinner unless we were going out.

I am gluten and dairy free so I do make exceptions for myself -- meaning, I will use GF pasta for myself and regular pasta for everyone else. But....should I make the entire family eat the GF pasta, too? Cooking different pastas requires using more utensils and pots and extra cleaning up. It's getting old.

Also, one of my daughter's is really too picky. I am tired of catering to her. She should eat what we all eat. Always. If we are having steak, she will have a hot dog. I find this strange since she likes hamburgers. Actually, it is amazing that she now eats hamburgers but we only make them with top quality, local beef. Lately she says she doesn't want chicken for dinner because it is boring. Well. Nobody else thinks it is boring. We don't eat chicken every day! Last night I made one of Barefoot Contessa's lentil salads, chicken apple sausages and potato salad. So good. All of it. My daughter had leftover sloppy joe instead. I don't like making sloppy joe but I make it from scratch for her. I really wanted her to eat what we all ate.

And one more thing....she takes forever to eat. The rest of us are not fast eaters except DH......but my daughter is taking eating slow to a new level. What should I do about this? She gets up from the table many times and I keep telling her to sit back down and finish. It's becoming ridiculous.

Yesterday we went out to lunch with Grandma. Grandma even eats faster than our daughter. It was painful. The server was like, "Can I get you a box for her?" And were like, "no, she is still eating."

My daughter is 9. I need to lay down some laws. Help.
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#2 of 78 Old 06-09-2014, 12:17 PM
 
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She's old enough that you can have a discussion with her about this. Tell her you didn't mind making her alternate meals when she was little and still getting used to new foods but now you need a break from this so until September you will make one meal and expect her to choose what to eat from the food you prepare. I found that ignoring the slow eating and going to do something else when I was done eating helped dd eat quicker. I don't think it's unreasonable to box food up and let her eat it later or to start on dessert without her and box her dessert for home. It sounds like eating slowly and being picky is a power thing for her right now so I would address it by finding ways to give her power without inconveniencing others.
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#3 of 78 Old 06-09-2014, 03:58 PM
 
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I agree with One_Girl that it sounds like there are some control issues going on with food between you and your dd. I would make an effort to get out of that cycle. Stay very low-key about this stuff: be clear about your boundaries, let natural consequences take their course and don't engage emotionally.

At 9 she's old enough to understand the issues and to help with problem-solving. I would deal with this sort of stuff through family meetings filled with collaborative problem-solving.

Slow eating ... at a restaurant where everyone else is waiting around for her, would she agree it would make sense to box up the leftovers? My family came up with a rule at home: no one leaves the table until no more than one person is left eating. After that it's fair game to leave, and nothing needs to be said. That also applies to not wandering away from the table while eating. Mealtime for us is family time. Once you leave, respectfully, after giving others a reasonable chance to finish, you're done.

Picky eating ... she should contribute ideas for family meal-planning. Our family had a deal where everyone could name one banned meal or food item that they disliked so much we agreed we would never serve it as a required part of a family meal. And after the banned foods had been stated, people could also choose (within reason, mostly as defined by cost and prep time) one meal that we would make at least once every two weeks. That way it wasn't about the parents choosing what everyone else ate, or else. Everyone had a single strong "yes" and strong "no" vote, and the kids could appreciate that we all had some significant say in it.

Whoever was doing the cooking would only cook one meal, but if convenient they might leave certain items "on the side" so that the person who, say, hated olives wouldn't have to have those in their pasta sauce. If someone absolutely couldn't stand to eat whatever had been cooked, they were free to prepare their own alternate food, but it had to be balanced (which we defined simply as having a source of protein, carbs and vitamins).

And I would encourage her as much as you can to take a role in preparing meals. My kids have been cooking family meals more or less independently from the age of 9 or 10, and it has made a tremendous difference to the adventurousness of their palates. They started out at a younger age taking on smaller roles. For instance, choosing and chopping and arranging the pizza toppings, or creating the alfredo sauce for the pasta, or making the salad and dressing.

Basically, if my kids are unhappy about meals I throw it back in their court. "Great... you help me figure out a way to make meals better for you, and keeps everyone else reasonably happy!"

Miranda
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#4 of 78 Old 06-09-2014, 04:43 PM
 
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I am the mother of a picky eater. I think it's fine to lay down the law that you will not be a short-order cook: I think it's less fine to insist that your daughter should like what you cook because it's "so good" and "not boring". It isn't good to her. My cooking is often not-good to my daughter; I get it. It's hard. You can insist on good manners, which means no complaining about what's served, but you can't insist that she actually enjoys what you enjoy.

She's old enough to particpate in meal planning or to fix herself an alternative (microwave some sloppy joe meat and put it on a bun) if you don't want to cook two meals, which is perfectly reasonable.
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#5 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 01:38 AM
 
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Mine are fairly picky too but I try to keep conflict to minimum when it comes to food; it's too loaded a topic, kwim?

The rules here are minimal: Do not hurt the cook's feelings. "No thanks" or "I don't care for X " is ok, "Ack, that's soooo disgusting" is not. I don't short-order but I often leave ingredients seperated if I know someone doesn't like something. They are free to heat up their own leftovers if they choose, and if the cooked veggie I make isn't liked they're welcome to get a raw alternate from the fridge.

I do insist they at least try new foods, but if after one bite they hate it I let it go. Sometimes they come back to it later, sometimes not, but they are slowly expanding their tastes.

On a side note, other people's houses are great for this if you can swing it. My kids will come home liking things they wouldn't touch at home. I always ask for the recipe.
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#6 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 04:55 AM
 
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UGH! I hate that. My kids and dh are both gluten free. Meals can get expensive when you're cooking that way. So, as far as the pasta, I make myself regular pasta, because it's less money than the gf pasta, same goes with bread, etc.

When possible, I also make meals that give choices, like tacos. I put the fixings out on the table and everyone can grab what they want (but you can't make a purely cheese taco, leave some for the rest of us!). I do the same thing with pasta. I make ground chicken, sauce, a couple different veggies, and then put it all on the table for people to pick and choose, within reason. They have to have a serving of veggies.

I agree with getting her to help preparing food. Make it fun. Get on line and look for recipes together or watch cooking shows together. That way it can be more cooperative, and hopefully she'll feel some ownership over meals and be less fussy.

 
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#7 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 09:19 AM
 
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This is something we let got of. The one meal idea cost us too much in family harmony. My DS 13 has an over-active gag reflex. Until he was 5, I thought he was just "picky" and "stubborn." Dinner was a horrible event daily... like vomiting on the table horrible. We would all stress about it. Then, he got diagnosed and had occupational therapy for it and we let go of the "one meal or nothing" idea. Instead, we taught the boy how to cook. At 5, he could put together a decent cold dinner... sandwiches, yogurt parfaits with cut fruit, ect. At 13, he's a better cook than myself. I follow recipes, DS is actually creative and understands how foods go together. He also has gained enough skill and experience to eat most anything I cook now. He will certainly TRY anything I suggest. However, he knows if it's something he can't handle, he makes his own dinner. We started allowing DD 17 to do the same but she doesn't have the same issues and frankly, she hates cooking so much that she'd rather eat nothing but broccoli for a week than make something herself. She's going to love the dining hall at college.

Anyway, I know we are a different sort of case but I must say that letting go the notion that we all have to eat the same thing each night was so liberating. I'm not a short-order cook. I just opened up the kitchen to the kids and learned not to take it personally. Meal time is actually fun now.
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#8 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 11:12 AM
 
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I intend to do what my family did growing up. It's harsh, but it works and it completely wipes out picky eating. Starting around preschool, the child eats what the family eats. Or doesn't eat. Period. Now, we were allowed to not eat the mushrooms in the casserole if we didn't like them and similar things, but there was none of the eating sloppy joes while the rest of the family had steak. And if you refused to eat dinner (or breakfast or lunch), there was no snacking until the next meal.

This shouldn't be done with special needs or very young kids, of course.

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#9 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 11:20 AM
 
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As soon is a child is old enough to make their own PB and J or get their own cereal with milk.. I stopped being the short order cook.

Increase playtime before dinner. Two hours at the park will make even the pickiest kid hungry enough to try mom's food. You'd be surprised how many times they were too tired to make their own meal and tried the one I laid out for them instead. Success!

But yes, family menu planning is great. Each child get their favorite in at least once in every two weeks of menus. And they help me cook so they can see I'm not putting anything "weird" in the food.
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#10 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 01:22 AM
 
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Oh my I feel your pain. Getting kids to eat well is difficult especially with food allergies and such. Here's what I do:

For special dietary foods it depends on what it is. For "main" ingredients like pasta in macaroni (that will be made as a one dish type of thing) we all get gluten free/etc. For "individual" ingredients like cheese on burgers the lactose free is just for DD and I buy regular for everyone else but this is mostly because of price.

I don't fight eating time. We all start eating together as a family and you can leave the table at any point you finish eating. Rule: If you are done, you're DONE! Don't leave the table and expect to come back to eat later. All plates/dishes go in the sink when you're done by you so I know you're finished.

I don't allow regular snacks for those that just choose not to eat. Meals and snacks are scheduled with no "grazing" except a small veggie tray (think raw baby carrots or celery sticks) and bottled water if you get hungry. Drinks are also only at meals except water.

For pickiness it helped to get the kids to sit down with me and make a favorites/hates list for each of them. Items that are truly hated I don't serve or don't serve often and they don't have to eat these. For those that they just don't want to eat I require two bites then they're done with it for that meal.

I found it really helped to get them to help with meal planning and fixing. DS had a major mixed foods (chili, soup, etc) aversion but does much better if he helps so he knows what's in it I guess. Also for those they just don't seem to care for we come up with alternative ways to try eating it... ex. don't like boiled cabbage, try sauteed or in eggrolls; no whole strawberries, try in a smoothie. This has helped to find ways they eat some foods because sometimes it's a texture or other issue in my house at least. Some foods I just haven't told them they're eating like me putting chopped liver in spaghetti sauce.

Sorry for the long post but I hope it helps you. Food with kiddos is a constant battle!
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#11 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 07:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pepin View Post

I am gluten and dairy free so I do make exceptions for myself -- meaning, I will use GF pasta for myself and regular pasta for everyone else. But....should I make the entire family eat the GF pasta, too? Cooking different pastas requires using more utensils and pots and extra cleaning up. It's getting old.

Also, one of my daughter's is really too picky. I am tired of catering to her. She should eat what we all eat. Always. If we are having steak, she will have a hot dog. I find this strange since she likes hamburgers. Actually, it is amazing that she now eats hamburgers but we only make them with top quality, local beef. Lately she says she doesn't want chicken for dinner because it is boring. Well. Nobody else thinks it is boring. We don't eat chicken every day! Last night I made one of Barefoot Contessa's lentil salads, chicken apple sausages and potato salad. So good. All of it. My daughter had leftover sloppy joe instead. I don't like making sloppy joe but I make it from scratch for her. I really wanted her to eat what we all ate.

.
Your chicken comment made me laugh! My son says the same thing. And I'm always saying "Well, we haven't had chicken in like a week. And, um, you NEVER get bored of burgers and that's just a hunk of ground beef!" heh

I don't have huge rules around food. I don't buy much junk food so we don't usually have chips and we hardly ever have cookies or candy in the house. I don't control snacking often unless they are eating me out of house and home and not eating their meals. Then I discuss the problem with them and they think about it and curb their snacking. However, I discourage snacking while I cook dinner or generally in the evening when I am about to cook dinner. I'll let them know dinner will be ready soon and if they are STARVING they should eat a carrot or celery, which gives them something to crunch while they wait.

I try to make meals that are tolerable for everyone. I'll leave out ingredients someone doesn't like, or I dice them small so they don't play such a huge role in the meal (like mushrooms in a speghetti sauce). They are not allowed to make something else unless the meal I have made is truly gag inducing or intolerable. For instance, they don't LOVE vegetarian coconut curry I make, but they will eat it and it doesn't make them sick. They can't make a peanut butter sandwich just because coconut curry is not their favorite. But, I also respect them by not making coconut curry every week. Sometimes I ask for their input on what we should eat but I like a wider variety of food so often I just make what I have. Otherwise we would live off pizza, mac n cheese, cheesesteaks and burgers.

As for rules about eating at the table... everyone can leave when they finish eating but I don't want them wolfing their food down so they can run do something else. We like to have conversation at the table. No one really ever wolfs their food down and dashes. My youngest is a pokey eater and frequently she is the last one eating. I usually sit with her because I do not like to eat and run. I like to eat and then sit at the table and digest my food and chat. So my pokey eater and I chat while everyone else leaves the table. My husband does the dishes so if DD2 is taking a huge long time and he's like almost done cleaning the kitchen, we'll say it's time for her to be done. She usually is, anyway, she just is picking at things on her plate to avoid feeding the cats and getting ready for bed. heh.

That's our experience and it has always been that way so the kids expect it.
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#12 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 01:05 PM
 
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I'm gluten intolerant, one of my kids is lactose intolerant, and both of my kids are picky eaters (one has an issue with textures as part of being on the autism spectrum, and the other doesn't trust foods that are too mixed up because she doesn't trust them). I totally get where you are coming from.

What helps here:

1. Every body has to be polite. They can say "no thank you." Even if they don't want to eat it, they still can be polite.

2. They can get something else to eat, and clean up from it. Keep some simple stuff on hand, and show your DD how to get it herself. Just stop being a short order cook. One of my kids had yogurt and a banana for many dinners growing up.

3. Giving the kids some control over meal planning. This started with them each having one meal a week that the planned what we would eat, help add the needed items to the grocery list, and help prepare it. They learned to cook this way. Now (they are 16 and 17) they each have one night a week that they completely prepare dinner. In addition to getting me off the hook one night per week per child, they have learned a valuable life skill.

The meal thing still seems oddly complex to me. I'm tired of everyone's various food issues, even my own. None the less, at least we have peace around the issue.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#13 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 02:03 PM
 
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I intend to do what my family did growing up. It's harsh, but it works and it completely wipes out picky eating.
This will not "wipe out picky eating" or food aversions. It will make kids angry and resentful and make food a power struggle. It's easy when you have a 1yo; much more complicated when your child is aware that there are alternatives.

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#14 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 10:38 PM
 
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I intend to do what my family did growing up. It's harsh, but it works and it completely wipes out picky eating. Starting around preschool, the child eats what the family eats. Or doesn't eat. Period.
Well, I suspect it might work okay for the run-of-the-mill unadventurous taste issues typical of toddlers and preschoolers. But not for truly picky eaters, the kids who gag or vomit or just can't eat things that taste foul to them, the ones who as they get older know perfectly well that they're really hungry and yet their parents are withholding the yogurt and banana that would satisfy their appetites. That is cruelty, not discipline in my book, and I'm pretty sure kids would perceive it exactly the same way.

For what it's worth, I think there's evidence of neurophysiological changes that happen within the sensory system when kids go through adolescence. Some senses, like the vestibular sense, get up-regulated, becoming much more sensitive: your kid who loved to twist the chains on the swing and spin and spin and spin suddenly says he feels like throwing up when he does that. And some senses, like the ones involved in taste, get down-regulated. My kids' taste aversions improved a ton during their teen years. It took them a while to realize that the things they'd been avoiding for years didn't taste bad or feel gross any more, but they gradually started eating like normal human beings. It makes sense from a survival standpoint that kids are hard-wired for taste aversion when they're little because in primitive cultures they would have been running around playing and snacking on forage ... and having not grown up enough to have learned the cultural knowledge about foods safe to eat, those who only ate bland familiar stuff would be less likely to accidentally eat something poisonous.

So those of you whose kids are still pre-teens, there is hope for some normalization of food preference after adolescence.

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#15 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 03:36 AM
 
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Well, I suspect it might work okay for the run-of-the-mill unadventurous taste issues typical of toddlers and preschoolers. But not for truly picky eaters, the kids who gag or vomit or just can't eat things that taste foul to them, the ones who as they get older know perfectly well that they're really hungry and yet their parents are withholding the yogurt and banana that would satisfy their appetites. That is cruelty, not discipline in my book, and I'm pretty sure kids would perceive it exactly the same way.

For what it's worth, I think there's evidence of neurophysiological changes that happen within the sensory system when kids go through adolescence. Some senses, like the vestibular sense, get up-regulated, becoming much more sensitive: your kid who loved to twist the chains on the swing and spin and spin and spin suddenly says he feels like throwing up when he does that. And some senses, like the ones involved in taste, get down-regulated. My kids' taste aversions improved a ton during their teen years. It took them a while to realize that the things they'd been avoiding for years didn't taste bad or feel gross any more, but they gradually started eating like normal human beings. It makes sense from a survival standpoint that kids are hard-wired for taste aversion when they're little because in primitive cultures they would have been running around playing and snacking on forage ... and having not grown up enough to have learned the cultural knowledge about foods safe to eat, those who only ate bland familiar stuff would be less likely to accidentally eat something poisonous.

So those of you whose kids are still pre-teens, there is hope for some normalization of food preference after adolescence.

Miranda
That is really interesting!

 
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#16 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 04:42 AM
 
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Oh, I feel your pain! I have two relatively picky children and a picky DP as well. All together we can set things up so all the picky eaters get healthy (enough) foods to eat but I find that my preferences get left out as a result. I like spicy foods, foods from a variety of cuisines and just variety in general.

We balance that in a pretty erratic way. There are weeks where I go with the flow and we eat several meals of "fend for yourself" and several meals that are the things that everyone likes. Then there are weeks where I lay down the law and remind my family that if I/we are catering to them that my wants get left out. I will point out that I ate X last week and I do not especially care for it. And then I make some foods that I like and ask my family to eat it with me.

There may be light though! My 12 year old is rapidly expanding what she likes to eat. I have been tolerant with her in that her preferences grow from things like dipping something in soy sauce or adding just a small bit to some rice. It's frustrating but I KNOW that an appreciation for these foods will grow from that. My toddler does very well with the whole divided plate choice thing. She eats very well this way. It is annoying but the lack of waste and the variety she gets through that preparation is worth it.

Our big compromise is that I would never ask ANYONE to eat something that they were really turned off by. I have a few aversions and they are real. I would not ask my DC's or DH to eat something that they really disliked (and they would not ask that of me). In turn, we all do our part to eat the family meal - even if it is not our favorite, or what we're in the mood for. Our general rule is that if you don't hate it and someone in the family is willing to cook it, you should eat it.
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#17 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 07:32 AM
 
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If the issue is the work put into the meal, get help. Design a menu that can be tailored to most needs and cuts down on stove space. For example, pull out some plain potatoes before adding them to potato salad (which still makes me gag even as an adult--so there!) and let them butter and mash them. Cook a hot dog alongside the chicken-apple sausage. Have them prepare a bun and grab the condiments and set the table. Preteens and teenagers can do more.

If the issue is togetherness, first understand that eating the same exact meal does not equal togetherness. I know this because my daughter and I have multiple, "competing" allergies. If the dinner accommodates me, I need to come up with something for her and vice versa. We alternate buttermilk biscuits with wheat/dairy free cornbread. In the summer, we forage in the garden and make dinner together. They like making the veggies, even if they don't eat the same ones I do. *Because* they don't have to eat them, I think.

Also, on togetherness, if you would expect your children to eat what's in front of them, I would expect that you would give them some creative control over the menu and then, of course, YOU would be eating the hot dog/sloppy joe. Without pouting or grabbing a salad from the fridge if it's missing!

You sabotage the togetherness when you make a big deal of this. You are saying "*this* is togetherness" and basing it off eating the same thing not true togetherness which is emotional. (I am immediately struck by the comparison with the cliquish "wear this and we will be friends!").

If, by enforcing eating *one predetermined menu* you intend to change the picky eater, you don't understand picky eating. I know because I have 2 picky eaters in the house. One is your everyday runofthemill picky eater who really has a wider palate than many other kids but is wary. Some of the wariness is age appropriate, some is based on her considerable allergies and natural suspicion of food.

My other picky eater is of an entirely different sort. A hearty eater as a babe, at around 3 yo she became extremely picky, especially to scent and texture. She would retch when dh and I had strong smelling salsa on the table (which we used to spice up our bland cooking). Even if her plate was as she wanted it, if anyone else's plate had something else on it she wouldn't have eaten, she would retch every time she looked (even though we *never* made her eat what she didn't want, not even a taste). Food had to be uniform (hot dogs, not hamburger) with no bits WHATSOEVER. Etc. Etc.

Someone far back in the thread mentioned that letting go of resistance to being a short order cook is liberating and I heartily agree. It was for me, certainly. But I will admit that there are limitations. Just two nights ago, when inspiration and appetites were high, I had to brainstorm with the girls (who were helping, BTW) how we were going to get it all fixed. We were running out of pans, out of room on the stove. So we switched stuff around, made some pans do double-duty by throwing something in after something came out. Everybody took part (this doesn't always happen, btw) and it made for great family time. Everybody had something they were looking forward to.

No one noticed at the table that each and every one of us had something different.

And well said, Miranda!

I've avoided this thread because I always end up saying the same thing in defense of picky eaters and shrugging my shoulders at the intense resistance to short-order cooking and simply not understanding the persistence of what I perceive as an old-school approach on a progressive parenting site. I wind up sounding like a broken record (what's that? ask all the whippersnappers ) But here I am again....

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#18 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 08:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pepin View Post

I am gluten and dairy free so I do make exceptions for myself -- meaning, I will use GF pasta for myself and regular pasta for everyone else. But....should I make the entire family eat the GF pasta, too? Cooking different pastas requires using more utensils and pots and extra cleaning up. It's getting old.


And one more thing....she takes forever to eat. The rest of us are not fast eaters except DH......but my daughter is taking eating slow to a new level. What should I do about this? She gets up from the table many times and I keep telling her to sit back down and finish. It's becoming ridiculous.

Yesterday we went out to lunch with Grandma. Grandma even eats faster than our daughter. It was painful. The server was like, "Can I get you a box for her?" And were like, "no, she is still eating."

My daughter is 9. I need to lay down some laws. Help.
I don't see any problem with only fixing the GF pasta. My family really likes the bionatura GF pastas, and only dd9 needs to eat it. I used them because my daughter is sensitive to too much rice, and these have potato and soy flour instead of just rice (which also helps the texture). Alas, I can't eat these (allergic to rice and soy) so I still end up cooking two pans of pasta. But cooking noodles hardly dirties up a pan. Keep your pans segregated and they don't need more than a "swish".

As far as the slow eating, you must ignore this. You cannot and should not make someone eat at a pace that is unnatural for them.

If they are getting up and down, it could mean they need to move while eating, and a
"wiggle cushion" "wiggle cushion"
(Recommended by feeding therapists.) If she gets up and down, let her know that you never know if she's finished or not, and ask that she gives you a signal when you can clean up her plate or ask her to bring her plate to the sink when finished. Then ignore ignore ignore. If you have to stick your nose in a magazine or iPad. Ignore ignore ignore. Star doing the dishes. Ignore ignore ignore.

Out at a restaurant, if it's busy, let her know that you can't give her all the time she needs like usual and choose an agreed upon point to box up her food to eat in the car. Fries can be reheated in the oven. If it's not busy, pull out your phone and give her some time. Eat at places where she can get up and down, or if the wiggle cushion works, have her haul it in.

Trust me, she feels your disapproval, frustration and annoyance, and you would be lucky if she's not taking it personally.
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#19 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 12:40 PM
 
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My daughter is 9. I need to lay down some laws. Help.

I totally disagree with this sentiment, partly because of the age of your DD. Moving into adolescence is NOT the time to start a power war with your DD over food. She'll win.

Some girls have even destroyed their own health and lives in order to prove they have control over food.

The "every one eats the same thing in the same amount of time" thing was common when I was growing up, and I've sat in Weight Watchers meetings that were full of women who had no idea when they were full, and were incapable of not eating food that was in front of them, even if they didn't particularly like it.

I think its important to stay focused on the long term goal of our kids having healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food, and not get to hung up on how dinner goes today. Isn't it better for your DD to eat a hot dog today and not have to spend years of her adulthood trying to figure out when she is full and when she is hungry and why she is eating?

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#20 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 03:47 PM
 
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This will not "wipe out picky eating" or food aversions. It will make kids angry and resentful and make food a power struggle. It's easy when you have a 1yo; much more complicated when your child is aware that there are alternatives.

I disagree... Demanding favorite foods is a power struggle that makes mom resentful. Mom is still in charge at this age, IMO, for the childrens' health and maturation. There are no alternatives if mom serves various healthy palatable meals and does not have an unlocked cabinet full of poptarts or such for secret snacking.

We are assuming that mom is not serving the kids chicken livers in gravy, creole shrimp, or lamb-filled peppers, of course. If the kids will submit the meals that please them then mom can incorporate them into the weekly meal plan.

Catering to children's tastes does nothing to nourish them or encourage tolerance for other's budgets and preferences, IMO. I've dined with too many adults who peeled the cheese off their burgers, gave 7-step directions to the wait staff about how to prepare their meals, sent back dishes because contained some celery, etc. I sincerely do not believe that anyone should turn away nourishing lovingly-prepared food unless they are allergic to it. With millions of people worldwide malnourished and parents everywhere trying to make the best lives for their families as possible, I don't think that some cooperation and tolerance from the children is too much to ask.
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#21 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 05:39 PM
 
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Catering to children's tastes does nothing to nourish them or encourage tolerance for other's budgets and preferences, IMO. I've dined with too many adults who peeled the cheese off their burgers, gave 7-step directions to the wait staff about how to prepare their meals, sent back dishes because contained some celery, etc. I sincerely do not believe that anyone should turn away nourishing lovingly-prepared food unless they are allergic to it. With millions of people worldwide malnourished and parents everywhere trying to make the best lives for their families as possible, I don't think that some cooperation and tolerance from the children is too much to ask.
This begs the question: how do you know these adults didn't come from households where they had to eat what was put before them, and when they finally got to adulthood--hallelujah!--they got what they wanted FINALLY.

I agree, it would be nice if people didn't simper and fuss over food without appreciation, but I disagree that making kids eat it or go without is going to prevent this. (I think forbidding simpering and fussing is a good start, not dictating food consumption so strictly.)

If the family eats chicken livers (or tripe or lengua or kidney pie), then what qualms would a child *naturally* have eating it over *cheese* or any other cultural foodstuffs.

Having pop tarts or anything else in the cupboard is not going to change a truly picky eater. The truly picky eater WILL go hungry before putting the offending food in the mouth. But there probably is something in the house they like, and if you only stock nutritious food, then naturally a child's diet will be nutritious.

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#22 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 05:46 PM
 
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It's been argued (somewhere, somewhere) that the first world experiences pickiness is, in part, that foods in other countries are far less varied from day to day. The sheer number of OPTIONS here. The need for adults to have NOVELTY. The AVAILABILITY of a *world* of food. Kids like predictability. Some kids need total predictability.
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#23 of 78 Old 06-18-2014, 05:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pumabearclan
Catering to children's tastes does nothing to nourish them or encourage tolerance for other's budgets and preferences, IMO. I've dined with too many adults who peeled the cheese off their burgers, gave 7-step directions to the wait staff about how to prepare their meals, sent back dishes because contained some celery, etc. I sincerely do not believe that anyone should turn away nourishing lovingly-prepared food unless they are allergic to it. With millions of people worldwide malnourished and parents everywhere trying to make the best lives for their families as possible, I don't think that some cooperation and tolerance from the children is too much to ask.



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This begs the question: how do you know these adults didn't come from households where they had to eat what was put before them, and when they finally got to adulthood--hallelujah!--they got what they wanted FINALLY.
Being picky as above is essentially being unwilling to conform with acceptable social behavior. Telling your friends that even a hint curry in their pot luck dish is unacceptable (without tasting it), dissecting food in a restaurant, and ordering a restaurant to discard your meal over a tablespoon of celery are poor manners. It is also poor manners to behave this way in the home and that starts in childhood. I'm not advocating forcing children to eat food they dislike or encouraging any parent to regularly offer food that the children dislike, but eating a single bite to taste (under condiments, if necessary), without faces, derogatory sounds, or complaints, is good manners and leaves open the possibility that the child's tastes will change.

Most of the time adults will make the foods they enjoy, and most of the time (I hope) children are given foods they enjoy.

I have a spiritual reverence for food and eating, that food is a gift to us and that it is also a gift to one another; it is a source of dignity and should be accepted with gratitude and humility for the nourishment it provides. I do in fact eat many things that I don't enjoy, such as raw liver and fish, because of the unique nourishment they provide, and as I'm lucky enough to have access to these foods it would be irresponsible, I feel, to deprive my body of health because I don't care for the taste of them. I also wouldn't want my host to feel rejected if I refused to eat the food provided, or to miss out on sampling the foods of other cultures by regularly choosing a McD when traveling. I really do think that maintaining a loose hold on preferences is the source of tolerance and spiritual growth.

I'm sure that every mother wants her children to be both nourished and satisfied. I feel this is best accomplished by feeding children well and also challenging them to develop some maturity regarding food. Getting what you want and appreciating what you have in life (or on your plate) do not always coincide, but both can yield satisfaction with the right attitude.

Hopefully there is an acceptable "middle ground" for each parent and child regarding food. Surely some acceptable side dishes can be included in a meal, or a recipe changed to make it more palatable. If a child refuses to eat anyway, once in while, I see nothing wrong with that. Another meal will be coming around in several hours.
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#24 of 78 Old 06-18-2014, 07:01 AM
 
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This is so interesting, because I have found that the pickiest adult eaters are the ones who were forced to eat things they didn't want to growing up.It set up a bad relationship with food in general, and now that they actually have the power to make their own food decisions, they make everything is EXACTLY how they want it. They aren't willing to move out of their comfort zones even the littliest bir.
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#25 of 78 Old 06-18-2014, 07:44 AM
 
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^ "Being forced" is probably the key here. Food being offered and being forced to eat (through threats, displeasure & anger, shaming, having food withheld from meal to meal until the disliked food is eaten) are different.

The OP sees and others have indicated a power struggle over food. This is in addition, probably, to the child's natural legitimate preferences.

It's possible to offer food and accept the child's choice to refuse it without getting caught up in the power struggle. Mom getting resentful or frustrated, as SS said, is probably keenly perceived by the child. If Mom can offer the food and accept its rejection without being upset about it, as well as including the children to a point in the meal planning and prep, then the child shouldn't feel the need to engage in a power struggle with the parent.

I was lucky that I didn't have food issues with my daughter. When she didn't like something I served it less often and offered condiments to help the very small portion go down easier. I would say "I know you don't like this, but please just take one bite. It really is good for you and maybe you have changed your mind since you tried it last. You don't have to eat it to please me or taste more than one bite. I gave you extra [favorite food] this evening because I figured you wouldn't want much [disliked food]. If your dad and I didn't like it so well I wouldn't serve this at all."

Rereading the original post I can sense that mom seems to feel underappreciated and somewhat offended as well by her daughter's behavior. She is clearly trying her best to make elegant wholesome meals that boost her family's pleasure and health. Having her daughter reject that seems to hurt, understandably. If she can invite her daughter to participate and accept a refusal then that is probably best. Her daughter may decide to join the family rather than feel left out (and hungry). However, making separate meals for the child is giving her an inappropriate degree of power over the family culture, IMO.

Another thought is to make individual meals ahead of time and everyone chooses what they want. I do this often, because I don't like to cook. I do all the prep in one day and package in individual dishes & freeze. Everyone can choose what they want from the options. But if sharing the same meal is important to the OP and she likes to cook then this may not work for her.

Last edited by pumabearclan; 06-18-2014 at 07:52 AM.
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#26 of 78 Old 06-18-2014, 07:53 AM
 
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[crossposted with your last post, pbc] pumabearclan, your views on food are admirable. But you answered my post without answering my question and now QOTM weighed in on it. You don't know if that overbearing diner comes from a household where food choice was given priority. And I have anecdotes that show the opposite-- that kids who were allowed a great deal of slack became quite adventurous eaters. I'm not out to prove anything except that until you know their story, placing the burden on parents who indulge pickiness is a mistake.

It's my *opinion* that parents who state that kids who have to eat what they are given, taste one bite etc. etc. and that will lead to kids who are not picky, have never had a truly picky kid, or a kid that will dig their heels in no matter how hungry they get. The kids have been "easy" and amenable, more or less, to that approach.

But in my mind, that doesn't make that approach any better than another. Stating that "my kid isn't picky because I did this" is possibly false. Whenever we choose a path, and we get a certain outcome, it's easy to credit the path. That might be the case, but it might not. It is correlative evidence.

That works both ways. I could say that, for the once-picky eaters I am acquainted with who had their pickiness accommodated, that this lead to them being OK with being adventurous, but I don't know that. My 9yo, for example, just whipped up a garden feast of peas, mashed potatoes with chive "butter" (non-dairy), and collard greens with tamari. She didn't like the collards after one bite. She likes the spinach, though. DD7 munched on raw peas alongside her favorite egg noodles in homemade chicken broth. She's my truly picky eater, but she's decided that the fat floating in the broth is where the good taste is (I used to strain it through cheesecloth once upon a time). And though she never eats vegetables beyond the occasional carrot, she browses like a deer in the garden. She will taste flowers, eat raw kale, everything. This wonderful result might not have been from my liberal kitchen exactly, but it didn't result from forcing my kids to eat or even taste foods, either.

I do know that if our modest, flexible, respectful approach to food is done with the here-and-now in mind and not some overarching food-training regimen, then all will be well. When togetherness and good food matter more than what's on the plate vs. what's on another plate and shifting in seats vs. sitting still or eating slowly vs. eating at a good pace, then that's all good.

I don't eat to train my kids to be good eaters. Sure, we have a rule "Eat what you want, don't eat what you don't want , and don't make a fuss". It's easy to not make a fuss in our house because kids don't have to eat or even try anything they don't want.

I eat with my kids to be together with my kids. I agree, food is spiritual. But more important, and perhaps even integral to that, *connecting* with your family is spiritual. I guess sitting and fuming over a wiggly 9yo is *connecting* as well, but to what end?

(Aside: I get the frustration that increases as kids turn this age and still hang on to behaviors you thought would pass a long, long time ago. I *still* find myself amazed when my angry 9yo bites her sister. GAH! Doesn't happen often, but still. I wonder if it's often the oldest that makes us wonder what exactly is the real timeline for ending what we thought of as toddler behavior!)
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#27 of 78 Old 06-18-2014, 08:11 AM
 
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Stating that "my kid isn't picky because I did this" is possibly false. Whenever we choose a path, and we get a certain outcome, it's easy to credit the path. That might be the case, but it might not. It is correlative evidence.
Actually I didn't say that my daughter wasn't a picky eater because of what I did... She wasn't a picky eater. But when she was presented with things she didn't like, that is what I did, and the point wasn't that it caused her not to be picky but that it diffused any potential power struggle between us over food. In case it helps anyone reading this thread to collect ideas that feel right to them. So I think you misunderstood my comment or I wasn't very clear about it.

Incidentally, my mother used food as abuse. And I'm not now a picky eater. So there are not hard and fast rules about outcomes.

I view these threads as collections of ideas for the many people who read them to consider, not to arrive at a consensus or "right" solution. I value discussion. I used the internet quite a lot when I was parenting and always found very provocative and insightful material in discussions among other moms. And everyone is free to change their mind or reaffirm their own values through the process; it's very helpful.

Bon appetit to all!
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#28 of 78 Old 06-18-2014, 08:19 AM
 
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Actually I didn't say that my daughter wasn't a picky eater because of what I did... She wasn't a picky eater. So I think you misunderstood my comment or I wasn't very clear about it.
You are right. I worded it badly, meaning people in general, not you or what you stated specifically. Bad editing on my part. Consider this an apology. I didn't misunderstand, just was unclear in wording my point.

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#29 of 78 Old 06-18-2014, 08:28 AM
 
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But in my mind, that doesn't make that approach any better than another. Stating that "my kid isn't picky because I did this" is possibly false. Whenever we choose a path, and we get a certain outcome, it's easy to credit the path. That might be the case, but it might not. It is correlative evidence.
This really should read "I hear people state that their kids isn't a picky eater because they have certain rules, and that statement is probably false."

It's a common *understanding* that people who discuss picky eating assume that their actions are causative to the result, or that other's action are causative to other results. And I disagree that it's that simple. I disagree that because that irritating diner is picky now, that he was every indulged as a child. Or even automatically that he was in a inflexible situation either.

I haven't misunderstood your assumption that X leads to Y, since you used those examples as to why kids shouldn't be overly indulged and that certain rules should be in place.

The only rule I agree with is that their shouldn't be any whining over it. But I tell my girls that I do like to hear their opinions if they can tell me in a constructive way.

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#30 of 78 Old 06-18-2014, 08:28 AM
 
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No apology required; not in the least!

Your description of your daughter's browsing is beautiful, BTW. I once caught mine snacking on the nasturtiums at a friend's patio, haha
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