school age kid doesn't like to eat - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 08-14-2017, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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school age kid doesn't like to eat

I am still worrying about my nephew even though I know I shouldn't and he's not my child etc. He's going into grade 1 this fall. He's always been very slight and has not had a lot of growth height wise, but he has gotten visibly taller recently. When it comes to mealtimes, he balks at eating, complains about it (I'm not hungry etc.), barely eats anything before crying that he's full, won't eat unless a TV is on, and his parents end up feeding them themselves (and catering to his very plain tastes). Maybe a lot of this is normal for this age. I do remember my kid not eating at school and having his super picky moments. He also complains that the food I eat smells revolting (stuff like lasagne without meat so nothing exotic), everything he eats has to be very plain and meat based. I tried making him homemade blueberry pancakes when he was here last which he refused to eat but he will pancakes from a mix at home (and he does eat blueberries). I guess there must be a broad range of normal when it comes to little kids. I've given up trying to cook any meals he will like.
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#2 of 18 Old 08-14-2017, 09:04 AM
 
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Picky eating is one of the most difficult things to deal with in kids, particularly in kids that are willing to go hungry. I find sometimes it's best to not worry about expanding their tastes at that age and instead worry about expanding their bellies. Cook him what he likes and make sure he eats a lot of it. Eventually he'll get sick of eating the same old thing all the time and start to branch out on his own. Peer pressure from friends can be very useful. Good luck to you and his parents; you're going to need it!

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#3 of 18 Old 08-14-2017, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He eats virtually nothing when he visits so feeding him anything is literally not happening here (and not an option). I have made him 100 per cent plain scrambled eggs with butter which he eats at home and he will not eat it here. And I guess spellcheck got in the way of my saying the parents are hand feeding him so he will eat, which I don't agree with but not my kid so.. My sanity strategy is to to try not to focus on it, obviously he is functioning OK, just at a super duper tiny size.
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#4 of 18 Old 08-14-2017, 01:08 PM
 
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My kid was 'super tiny' and ate everything in sight, so you really cant base the size of a child on what they eat. Some kids are just tiny. My kid was 6 yrs old and still in toddler sized clothing, now at almost 17 yrs old he is still super skinny.

Not all kids are exposed to 'home made' foods, convenience foods seem to be the norm and eating out. Something made from scratch tastes different and they won't touch it. Some kids just can't handle change. (Some kids like getting new/different sneakers while others need the same style of shoe all the time)

I would say there could be 'issues' you aren't aware of. Maybe this child has OCD or SPD and that hasn't been shared with anyone for fully dx yet? Or maybe he is just super picky? Either way, since you know he is picky and overly sensitive, don't make his meal times more stressful then they need to be. Is it really that difficult to have something available that you know he will like? If sitting in front of the tv gets his mind off the food and allows him to eat with out problem, then let the child be. Not everyone enjoys food. It seems his parents have figured out a plan and a way for the child to function.

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#5 of 18 Old 08-14-2017, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He eats nothing while here. It's not like I haven't tried. Unless it has come from home or is candy (or maybe potato chips). Which is why I am trying to not get emotionally tired out by the situation. (Ok maybe once he ate some take out pizza, it has to be plain with zero toppings or pepperoni which none else eats here but we ordered it anyway so he would eat something) I desperately want to just sit down and eat a happy meal with him, just see him enjoy food. His mom cooks food at home, but they don't like food with a lot of flavour (or veggies or fruit), or if they do eat something they think he won't eat, they prepare a separate meal. I can empathize, every parent wants their kid to eat. But I am worried about how he doesn't seem to enjoy eating, can't eat without a TV and his parents are hand feeding him (i.e. he can't just eat on his own). We don't have a TV where we eat in our house, there is no TV on the main floor (we live in a small house). And this kid is definitely NOT eating everything in sight. We have a very casual home where snacks are everywhere, bowls of fruit, cookies, granola bars, yogurts, cheese you name it. Every meal I hear his parents cajoling him to eat and him whining about not wanting to eat, being full (could very well be the case), so if anything, his needs are being met which is good but it's with a struggle. And it's really not enjoyable. I find is so stressful but I know it's out of my hands.
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#6 of 18 Old 08-14-2017, 06:48 PM
 
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is he over a lot? Do you have a caretaker role going on? If not, I would let his parents worry about this. This is not your problem (said kindly)
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#7 of 18 Old 08-14-2017, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No they come here regularly, we don't have a big family. We have on the very odd occasion, had him in our care for a day. That is why I'm trying to stay out of it even though it bothers me. There is no way I'm going to be able to change how we eat to match what he wants in the few days or day they are here. I would literally have to change everything we buy and cook and I mean everything. I want to give him a nice meal but it's not gonna happen.
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#8 of 18 Old 08-16-2017, 11:09 AM
 
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I know if i have been sick and refrained from eating for a couple days, the size of my stomach seems to shrink and even a few crackers will fill me up. But once I've forced myself to have a normal meal, things "stretch" back out.

It sounds like because he eats so little, his stomach size truly does get full with very little food.

Does he like drinks? Like, could you make him milkshakes that include protein powder? Perhaps a liquid diet would help.

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#9 of 18 Old 08-16-2017, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hard to say

There are so many things on his "do not like" list and he seems to like very few calorie dense/nutrient dense food unless you include meat (like salami), maybe some nuts. For a good long while his fave foods were scrambled eggs and (plain) cucumber slices (and raspberries were virtually the only fruit he'd eat). He doesn't like pudding or maple syrup or honey, and possibly not yogurt. We bought him raspberry gelato once and he took one single bite and then refused to eat it, it just tasted like raspberry puree. His current fave fruit his green apple, not seeing a good smoothie out of that, maybe peanut butter... I can't seem him eating avocado and he'd probably turn his nose up at ripe banana. I think some of it is suspicion about food outside of home. Why do kids always act like we are trying to poison them?
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#10 of 18 Old 08-16-2017, 06:35 PM
 
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I wouldn't make it a hill to die on. Power struggles over food never end well. You know what he likes, so have that available- if he refuses, that's fine, simply have it available , no stress. Raspberry jello does NOT taste/texture like raspberry puree. Jello and puree are different textures, substances etc. Sometimes when kids feel like they don't have control, they latch onto what they can control and food is something controllable.
If he likes green apples, offer that- why does it need to be a 'smoothie'?

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#11 of 18 Old 08-16-2017, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Gelato is NOT Jello, Jello is a name brand gelatine product. Gelato is Italian ice. So yes, raspberry gelato should taste like nothing but raspberries otherwise it's garbage. And he picked it out himself, we weren't trying to force him to eat anything.

I was responding to the suggestion to make him a smoothie.
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#12 of 18 Old 08-16-2017, 07:28 PM
 
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I'm guessing this kid has some anxiety issues, and his food pickiness is being exacerbated by the anxiety he experiences eating unfamiliar food, or food provided in an unfamiliar environment, or food provided by people he is less comfortable with than his parents. Unless he's overtly malnourished and in need of medical attention, I would leave this issue up to his parents. If he's spending days with you, suggest they pack food for him since he doesn't eat your food.

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#13 of 18 Old 08-16-2017, 07:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumto1 View Post
raspberry gelato should taste like nothing but raspberries
Mmmm, love raspberry gelato! And yes, I agree, it's essentially raspberry coulis, mixed with a bit of milk and frozen, and is about as close to pure frozen fruit as you can get. Nothing like Jello®.

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#14 of 18 Old 08-16-2017, 07:46 PM
 
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Maybe you need to add some a little bit exciting on their meal.

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#15 of 18 Old 08-16-2017, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think excitement is what he's looking for. And I can't help but worry, to me he does seem underweight, but kids are all on their own path I guess, in any case he's not my kid.
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#16 of 18 Old 08-16-2017, 08:14 PM
 
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Or maybe you can treat them always a good food and balance it?

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#17 of 18 Old 08-17-2017, 01:39 AM
 
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Even if he is underweight, if he is only eating with you occasionally then it would be unlikely to make much difference even if he did eat everything you gave him.

It sounds like he is getting a lot of attention for this. Whatever the cause of the problem, that is unlikely to help. I agree with the PPs who have said either offer your food in a low key way and then move on or ask his parents to pack food for him.



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#18 of 18 Old 08-17-2017, 04:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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that's just it

I know whatever I do will make very little difference, we started out doing those or similar feeding tactics with my son because he was crazy picky but we cut it out when he was a toddler because I could see it was just making things worse. Hovering, catering, cajoling....It bothers me he isn't just eating on his own unless it's candy or something. But his parents are just doing what they think is right. And I think it maybe has something to do with me feeling like I'm not holding my end up by being able to offer him food he will eat while here, I've always been the one who feeds family and friends. My son has a friend like this and it means we can't have him over for dinner or invite him out on for example, a day trip with us. I made a simple, popular pasta dish for my sons friend with some plain steamed broccoli on the side, only to have him tell me it smelled revolting (the broccoli). And he wouldn't eat the pasta because it had a cheese in it I guess he'd never eaten before.
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