picky neighbor kid is making my kid picky too - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-08-2013, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD (4) is a fantastic eater.  Loves vegetables of every description, generally meh about most desserts.

She gets along really well with the girl next door (7) and they play together a lot.  GND is often here in the evenings and weekends, and things have evolved such that she eats dinner or lunch with us about 3x/week. 

 

Unfortunately GND eats more of a SAD than we do and only has a select few vegetables she is willing to eat.  Not my business except that whenever GND  is here, DD refuses to eat anything that GND will not eat. If GND deems it 'gross' DD will follow suit.  This has obviated a large number of our regular meal options - pretty much any veggie-based main dish (she eats chicken and fish, which we typically have a few times a week).

 

I have been making an effort to keep GND's acceptable vegetables stocked (raw carrots and sugar snap peas) and always have them available but e.g. she was here at lunchtime recently and I had a sauteed veggie/rice combo that DD loves.  GND would not touch it, DD followed suit and they both ended up requesting dry Cheerios.

 

I have had some limited success by pointing out to DD privately that GND is quite petite (she only has an inch or two on DD, who is tall for her age) and telling her it is because GND does not eat her vegetables.  This was somewhat successful in getting DD to eat veggies in GND's presence (and actually DD started telling GND she needed to eat her veggies if she wanted to grow big, which induced GND to try a piece of broccoli).  However the effect was short-lived and I'm not super comfortable with the lie.  I can't really bring it up in front of GND either which limits the utility.

 

I'd appreciate any thoughts on strategy!  TIA


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Old 12-08-2013, 08:29 PM
 
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Send GND back next door before you sit down to a meal.


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Old 12-08-2013, 09:00 PM
 
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Totally agree. That kid has no business at your table if she's teaching your daughter bad habits.
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:15 AM
 
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Stop feeding her. For us dinner is family time. TV off, games off, all kids go home (unless invited before hand) when dinner is ready. And that helps with my kids appetites and what food they are willing to try. I'm not saying never have her over...but maybe limit it to once or twice a month or something. There has been times where we invited this adorable girl over that our daughter loves playing with and even made the dinner about her. We made her things that she liked and had a great time.

 

If dinner time is becoming stressful because of someone who doesn't live in your house hold it may be best they stop coming so many times


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Old 12-09-2013, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, there seems to be consensus on this.  I guess I am a pushover.

 

I do send her home for dinner if our main meal is something I know she doesn't eat. 

Also dinner at our house is not really 'family time' since DH often doesn't get home till 8 pm, I feed the kids around 5:30-6 and then eat with DH when he gets home.  (We have an agreement with GND's family that the kids get sent to their respective homes at 7pm, prior to that if they are hungry they will be fed wherever they are.)

So it's not like she's intruding on our family dinner, and DD enjoys having her here and it keeps all the kids busy while I get evening chores done.

 

I'm more reluctant to send her home if she eats the main dish but not the veggie sides - as I said I've been stocking the raw veggies she likes, which are easy enough and my kids like them too.  I was more wondering if there were some behavioral strategies I could use so I could continue to serve my kids the veggie sides I know they like, and expect that DD will also eat them even when GND is here.  (In the best case perhaps GND could learn to like some new foods - e.g. she did find out she really likes steamed artichoke/yogurt dip, after refusing to try it the first few times she encountered one.)

 

Maybe it's not a realistic goal though.


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Old 12-09-2013, 05:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post
 

Wow, there seems to be consensus on this.  I guess I am a pushover.

 

I do send her home for dinner if our main meal is something I know she doesn't eat. 

Also dinner at our house is not really 'family time' since DH often doesn't get home till 8 pm, I feed the kids around 5:30-6 and then eat with DH when he gets home.  (We have an agreement with GND's family that the kids get sent to their respective homes at 7pm, prior to that if they are hungry they will be fed wherever they are.)

So it's not like she's intruding on our family dinner, and DD enjoys having her here and it keeps all the kids busy while I get evening chores done.

 

I'm more reluctant to send her home if she eats the main dish but not the veggie sides - as I said I've been stocking the raw veggies she likes, which are easy enough and my kids like them too.  I was more wondering if there were some behavioral strategies I could use so I could continue to serve my kids the veggie sides I know they like, and expect that DD will also eat them even when GND is here.  (In the best case perhaps GND could learn to like some new foods - e.g. she did find out she really likes steamed artichoke/yogurt dip, after refusing to try it the first few times she encountered one.)

 

Maybe it's not a realistic goal though.

Well It's not that it's not a realistic goal...but more like I have NO idea how you would even achieve that goal. Kids tend to follow their friends and it seems like she wants to impress her friend. I don't know if this makes any sense but maybe instead of working on the food thing try working on "being her own person" kind of thing? I could be way off base since I don't have any other examples besides the food thing because for all I know she is very much a four year old who will stand by her thing..whatever that thing may be. But do you notice if she kind of follows this other little girl or is it JUST the food thing?

 

My oldest for example is a more swayed by others to an extent while my 4 year old almost 5 year old will make her opinions likes/dislikes on anything known.


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Old 12-09-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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Have you tried appealing to the neighbor to "act as a Big Kid" and help you set an example? My big kids were a bit older than 7 but they usually were happy to go along with my pleas to at least not ruin foods for the little ones no matter how gross they privately thought it was. wink1.gif
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:58 PM
 
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What I would do: you say that the friend eats meals with your dd 3 times a week; if your dd eats well otherwise, I would stop putting pressure on her and the friend to eat a certain amount of the food you want them to eat. Let them enjoy each other's company and meals in your home.

 

What I would not do: offer them a completely different meal (cheerios).

 

Tricking them into eating doesn't work long term. Telling your dd that her friend is smaller because she doesn't eat her vegetables is simply not true. Eating is not a discipline issue.


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Old 12-10-2013, 08:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mambera View Post
 

Wow, there seems to be consensus on this.  I guess I am a pushover.

 

I do send her home for dinner if our main meal is something I know she doesn't eat. 

Also dinner at our house is not really 'family time' since DH often doesn't get home till 8 pm, I feed the kids around 5:30-6 and then eat with DH when he gets home.  (We have an agreement with GND's family that the kids get sent to their respective homes at 7pm, prior to that if they are hungry they will be fed wherever they are.)

So it's not like she's intruding on our family dinner, and DD enjoys having her here and it keeps all the kids busy while I get evening chores done.

 

I'm more reluctant to send her home if she eats the main dish but not the veggie sides - as I said I've been stocking the raw veggies she likes, which are easy enough and my kids like them too.  I was more wondering if there were some behavioral strategies I could use so I could continue to serve my kids the veggie sides I know they like, and expect that DD will also eat them even when GND is here.  (In the best case perhaps GND could learn to like some new foods - e.g. she did find out she really likes steamed artichoke/yogurt dip, after refusing to try it the first few times she encountered one.)

 

Maybe it's not a realistic goal though.

I think it is a very realistic goal.  And you are right, this is going to come up very soon anyway.  Better that you handle it at home where you can control it, than you wait until your child is in a group setting with other kids where you are not present.

 

I think I would just have a friendly chat with the young girl.  She is 7, so she is a big girl.  I'm with stormborn.  I would start by saying how happy I am to have her join our family for dinner.  I would tell her how much my child looks up to her and want to emulate her. 

 

I would ask that she not make derogatory remarks about food that is not to her taste or comfort level.  I would even offer her an alternative to, "I don't like that.".  If she sees something that she doesn't want, I would ask her to use a phrase like, "I don't care for that." I would ask her help us reinforce how we teach our child not to hurt the cook's feelings. If she accidentally slips up at the dinner table and lets out an accidental, "Gross!".  I would simply say, "Could you please rephrase that for me?"  This worked for my dd when I started having her do this at age 4.  A 7 year old can certainly handle it with a little bit of practice.

 

If I thought she might do it, I might suggest that she  consider taking a couple of bites on her own initiative to just to see what a huge influence she has on my child.  It's a very heady feeling of power that a seven year old might like to examine. 

 

If I thought I could get away with it, I would ask GND if she could please serve herself a miniscule serving.  I'd explain to her that then I could point to GND as setting an example of at least taking a small sample.  Because peer pressure has already entered into it, I think you might as well put it into good use.

 

Kids love sampling things at the grocery store.  I think I might even go so far as to buy a bunch of those tiny disposable sample cups and putting it in there for GND to try.   It would be worth a shot for me.

 

I think before the meal, I would tell the child what the main dish is going to be, and give the child the option of either going home or staying for dinner, now with the new understanding that there will be no unpleasant remarks about the food. Seven year olds love having that kind of power to choose their own fate. 

 

I would be fine with giving her the raw veggies that she likes, as long as it is easy for you.  I think that I would give DD a choice between the veggie sides that DD likes and the raw veggies that the GND likes.  Eventually, DD will start to choose the ones that she likes.

 

Any requests for Cheerios would get only one response from me.  No.

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Old 12-10-2013, 07:17 PM
 
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Our rule at home and my rule for my preschool classroom is "we don't say we don't like it we just don't eat it" and it is something even two year old children understand. A small amount of every food goes on the plate and that is as far as my involvement in food decisions goes.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I would just have a friendly chat with the young girl.  She is 7, so she is a big girl.  I'm with stormborn.  I would start by saying how happy I am to have her join our family for dinner.  I would tell her how much my child looks up to her and want to emulate her.

 

That is a great idea, stormborn and emilysmama.  Thank you!  I am going to try this.


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Old 12-12-2013, 08:43 PM
 
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Let you know that you value her company and your daughter enjoys eating with her. But then I'd explain the situation to here and give her some options, i.e. be respectful of your table (no complaining) and trying everything and modeling good behavior or go home and eat. 

 

I might also do veggie snack after she departs.

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Old 12-17-2013, 09:32 PM
 
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How funny, we have the EXACT same problem.  Our neighbors have become very intertwined with our family because when DS was born very sick and needed lots of extra TLC for the first 9 months, they came over every day and took the kids, helped clean, made us food, etc.  So now their daughter is 15 and our go to babysitter, and their son is 10, just loves my little guys, and essentially all four kids are always at one house or another. Problem being though, that DH and I are foodies -my kids eat pesto, hummus, seafood -you name it. Neighbors have never heard of those things, let alone are willing to eat them. It was a problem for a while, my daughter formed a taste for Velveeta cheese and started refusing her veggies also, but we instilled some boundaries and tactics that have proven well, and two yrs later the problem is pretty much resolved:

 

**We talk A LOT about healthy versus unhealthy food.  It's not lecturing or conjoling, but educating.  We play games to see who can name the most veggies, fruits, proteins, etc.  This is something that GND can be included in.

 

** we have a "no thank you" bite rule in our house which essentially requires you to take one bite of something, if you don't like it, then you can eat the other things on your plate that you do like, but you need to try one bite.  This often makes them realize that they actually DO like it.

 

**Having the kids help prepare the food seems to make a huge difference.  It's like they made some sort of concoction now they really wanna try it.  It's always easier to cook with OUT kids, but even if they can do one part, help set the table, be apart of the WHOLE process, that can help.

 

good luck, I know how frusterating that can be! 

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