Let's Discuss Forcing Children To Eat - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-23-2006, 03:30 PM
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Junk food is not readily available items in my home. As an adult, I, too, choose to eat healthy and do not eat popsicles, ice cream, cookies, etc.
Modeling healthy eating behaviors is still extremely important to raising children who will choose healthy food. Everyone knows "Do as I say, not as I do" never works.
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
I've never bought those items. They are not readily available items. As an adult, I, too, choose to eat healthy and do not eat popsicles, ice cream, cookies, etc.
Modeling healthy eating behaviors is still extremely important to raising children who will choose healthy food. Everyone knows "Do as I say, not as I do" never works.
Must have thought I'm a complete junk food junky, huh?

I actually do not eat sugar myself? So although it may seem like my children must certainly be modeling my behavior - they aren't. I do have some of these around - for treats - for my kids. But not a lot. That in no way stops my sons obsession on them - or requesting them. He's begged for ice cream many many times after I've shown him the freezer and shown him we don't have any.

But MommaintheB's . .. . we've crossed threads before. I think my kids have appeared VERY abnormal as compared to yours in the past . . . so nothing new . ..

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Old 08-23-2006, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
How about more processed sugar? I think that processed sugar is unnatural and not needed by our bodies. I think it is downright harmful to them. Those are some of the reasons that I don't allow my kids to eat whatever they want, whenever they want it.
I never serve that. When my kids are offered popsicles, ice cream, cake, cookies, they will politely decline. They have tried them, but say they taste too sweet and they don't like the taste. The older ones say they don't like how they make them feel later, they recognize that the sugars give them a 'high' but then make their bodies drag later.
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:38 PM
 
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LOL if I ask my kids what they want for dinner, usually it is "chicken!" sometimes "tacos mama!"

We haven't made treats the forbidden fruit but neither do we serve them all the time. There is no consistency in our desserts...they are there or they aren't. If we are having ice cream that night we will do so whether the kids eat two bites or whole me-sized portions. But we're not going to announce that intention beforehand.

I was not forced to eat as a child and in fact, my family had really healthy eating habits. DH's family didn't so much. MIL practices all sorts of cajoling and bribing behaviors that drive me NUTS. Once we'd made it clear how much we hate that she didn't do it so much, but she'll still present cookies or something for "after dinner" (wink, wink). Drives me nuts! Either give the kids cookies or not, don't use them as leverage.

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Old 08-23-2006, 03:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
I've never bought those items. They are not readily available items. As an adult, I, too, choose to eat healthy and do not eat popsicles, ice cream, cookies, etc.
Modeling healthy eating behaviors is still extremely important to raising children who will choose healthy food. Everyone knows "Do as I say, not as I do" never works.
I don't agree this works with all kids all the time. We have a few candy items for special treats and only have popsicles in the summer. My oldest is a junk food junky (if we let him), my daughter can take it or leave it, my middle son rarely eats any of it, and my youngest loves junk above everything else.

I really think part of it is just the child.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:38 PM
 
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:40 PM
 
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I haven't read everything here but wanted to post.

We recently sent DSS back to his mom's. They have rules regarding food...basically you eat it. He knows what he can and cannot have etc. Not an issue. However when we have him everything goes out the window. He REFUSES to eat what is made. At first we thought it was cause he didn't like it but we double checked with her to see and she cooks the same stuff we cook. He eats it fine. No issues. So we thought maybe he was just not used to staying with us etc. It got to the point where he wouldn't eat. We could save it for him, keep it warm etc. and as soon as it was gone he was suddenly starving and demanding a Lunchables (he gets that at his moms house for lunch). He still does it. He can snack all day if he wants to but he won't because we "don't have Gogurt/lunchables/insert crap food here". This is very frustrating to me. Growing up we ate what was cooked when it was cooked. Our portions were smaller because we were smaller but we were to eat it. It's a power struggle for us. I know it and I try to keep myself in check but I refuse to make two meals just so he'll eat half of it and want a damn lunchable. I can ask what he wants for dinner/lunch/meal and he can help cook it and he'll be excited for it and everything but once it's done he wants what isn't available. : Ugh. Thanks for letting me get that out.

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Old 08-23-2006, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by TripMom
But MommaintheB's . .. . we've crossed threads before. I think my kids have appeared VERY abnormal as compared to yours in the past . . . so nothing new . ..
I am sorry, I don't 'remember' you. No where did I even say/think your kids were 'abnormal'. I was just pointing out how MY family works and never said anything about other's families.

I really don't like that when a parent shares how their family has figured out how to make things work, other's jump on them and say they are judging them or making them feel bad.

Maybe if those of us who have figured out how to make things work weren't put down all the time, we could really learn from each other.
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
Maybe if those of us who have figured out how to make things work weren't put down all the time, we could really learn from each other.
Something about the way this is worded bugs me. It makes it seem like people with kids that don't readily comply/agree with the food choices given are doing something wrong b/c they aren't 'making things work.' Things are working fine in our house....we just have to be more creative than saying here are your options since what you asked for isn't available.

Maybe it's just me though.

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Old 08-23-2006, 03:50 PM
 
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I agree and I disagree. We eat very healthy foods but I also have a sweet tooth, personally. My oldest son really doesn't care for junk food at all. Really. He'll take maybe a bite of dessert to try it but can't ever stomach more. And, yeah, he'll lust after the occasional Goldfish cracker but will tell me his favorite foods & they're pretty sound nutritionally.
Ds2 DOES have my sweet tooth but loves "crunchy" meals just as much.

As far as forcing them to eat, that's a tougher one for me. I see how their behavior is affected by skipping meals, so I *do* make them sit down at the table or picnic bench or whatever 3x/day & eat something. We went camping recently w/9 little boys. My 2 actually sat down & ate their meals while the other 7 were running, screaming & playing. They are simply used to that pattern in their lives.
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Old 08-23-2006, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, if something causes me to feel defensive I think it's worth looking into. I don't do meals/foods exactly the same as MITB and my kids would never never say cake is too sweet (darnit!) but it sure doesn't make me feel inferior or offended that she talks about her kids doing that.
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Old 08-23-2006, 04:07 PM
 
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Another note: if I announce (as I have a few times, I wasn't feeling like prepping anything!) that we're having "ICE CREAM for dinner!" my kids will not accept that. Well, they'll accept the ice cream, and then they'll ask where the rest of the food is.

I don't think I did anything in particular to accomplish this viewpoint. I think that kids will often SAY they want only ice cream for dinner, but they KNOW at some level that it's not going to cut it.

It could also be that my kids eat a freakishly large amount of food compared to their friends; again, not something I can or would teach. They're not at all on the heavy side, they've just inherited my metabolism (I could at 105 lbs out-eat my 260lb husband). And I think along with it comes the need for food that is heartier than ice cream and donuts.

Thrives-on-air kids might get away with the ice cream and donuts just fine.

I don't think that this is our doing as parents.

But I do think that these different kids need different approaches to this whole eating business. And that's ok. I don't imagine that our laissez-faire approach to eating would work for everyone, and I don't think that it is a simple matter of getting off on the wrong foot or doing anything wrong at all.

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Old 08-23-2006, 04:07 PM
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Well i appreciate you explaining your position more clearly Pandora. We will have to just agree to disagree on that subject. I think that if someone were to get offended that my child didn't eat their meal, the issue is theirs. Of course there is a way to be gracious and polite about declining something and I do hope we will teach our daughter through modeling and providing information while also trusting that she is inately *good*, she will learn this skill --- but graciousness goes both ways (imo). I would not be offended in the least if someone said "Oh no thank you, I am not hungry at the moment" or "Thank you but I don't care for peas" (or whatever). I don't want to teach my daughter that she *must* take a few bites of something despite not wanting to/not being hungry/not caring for what they are serving/not in the mood for what they are serving (whatever) just because someone *may* get offended (why someone would take it personally that a child wasn't eating is beyond me but I digress).

About the comment regarding people who don't make food an issue or battle having "enlightened buddhas" I don't expect (like MITB) that our daughter will always decline sweets or whatever and that is okay. No one I know (personally) in the entire world declines sweets completely (except diabetics and the like). I just trust that if she is given a strong foundation of information, healthful foods, and the freedom to choose what she eats, when she eats, and how much she eats with no restrictions (other than the meat thing explained in a previous post) that she will self regulate and more often than not choose foods that make her body feel good. She already does ... and hey, if it ain't broke....
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I just trust that if she is given a strong foundation of information, healthful foods, and the freedom to choose what she eats, when she eats, and how much she eats with no restrictions (other than the meat thing explained in a previous post) that she will self regulate and more often than not choose foods that make her body feel good. She already does ... and hey, if it ain't broke....
: Thank you for putting it in a way that makes more sense than I did with my post.
Of course, my kids will say yes to ice cream or candy, but it seems it is a decision they actively think about, it's not just because it is offered....ie- I have heard them say, "No thank you, it might make my stomach hurt later because I didn't get enough protein today."
I have made a point to teach my kids about the different food groups and how they are utilized by the body. I have followed that up with teaching them how to 'listen' to what their body needs.
Same thing I have noticed on the Pregnancy boards, the advice about if you are craving pickles and ice cream, then eat it because your body is telling you it needs something that those foods offer.

I also have taken pride in serving foods that are not the basic 'American' food, ie- mac n cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches....I instead have Tabooli(sp? I think I always spell that wrong ), Cous Cous, Bideena, plantains, mojape, etc. Basically what most would call ethnic foods, I think.
Like, one meal might be chicken fried rice with Bideena, and guacamole. Not your 'normal' dinner, iykwim.

In my family, the 'worst' meal we all love, is the summer sausage with leeks and potatoes. Way high in nitrates and carbs, but taste sooooooo yummy! But we always feel yucky the next day, so, it is a rare dish we make for potlucks or feasts or MY birthday.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Houdini
We have a few candy items for special treats and only have popsicles in the summer.
If you read some of the other posts, you will see that we don't make candy/sweets a "special treat". We don't make forbidden foods.

I know in my pp, it sounded like I do that with the Leek/summer sausage dish, but it is a decision the whole family has a say in, we ALL agree that it tastes yummy, but that it makes us feel like the next day.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:17 PM
 
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How do you handle it if your child doesn't eat a dinner that she normally likes, and then an hour later is asking for snacks?

This happens a lot and we aren't very consistent with how we handle it.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:23 PM
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I agree. Someone put it better than me and forgive me for not knowing who said it -- it was months ago in the GD forum.

They said something like -- suppose you had a buffet waiting for you every single morning. On it was every single thing you liked to eat -- sweets, vegetables, proteins, salad, ice cream whatever... every food you enjoyed at one time or another. This buffet would be available to you every single day of the week and you were free to eat what you wanted when you wanted and how much you wanted. Sure, for a while you may eat the "bad" stuff because you have always placed restrictions on what you could or couldn't eat -- even if it was just mentally or emotionally, this is always something that is "bad" or "fattening" or a "treat" or a "no no" or whatever. After a while though, once you felt really secure in the fact that the cheesecake will still be there tomorrow on the buffet, in the same spot, you would probably move on to the carrots, or the salad, or whatever "healthy" foods you liked, knowing that nothing was off limits, nothing was taboo, no food was going anywhere. Once you felt secure in the knowledge that you didn't have to eat the carrots to get the cheesecake, or you didn't have to finish the salad to get the cookie, or take one more bite of the broccolli to get the ice cream -- once you knew that eating the carrots or broccolli (0r whatever) was an active choice you were making on your own completely -- with no sanctions, lectures, punishments, force, promise of a "treat", or because nothing else was offered --- you'd probably slowly, organically move toward eating things which helped your body feel its best.... knowing that at any time, the cheesecake would still be there and you were completely free to have it.

I think the people who claim all their children would eat day and night is "junk" probably haven't truly tested that theory. I don't mean only offer "junk", I mean set up a "buffet" situation. In other words, tell your children they can have anything they want in the house, whenever they are hungry, whatever is available (healthy foods included). The only "restrictions" being things like liquor or serious allergins (like don't give your kid peanut butter if they might die...common sense).

Of course if you did that for a day your theory would be proven. The security would not be there in knowing that this wasn't just a "one time thing" and they would probably scarf every bit of "junk" they could find. I bet though, if someone tried that for a month, my theory would be proven. I can almost guarantee that if healthy foods that the child had eaten and enjoyed in the past were offered right along side the "junk" that gradually, once a child was completely secure in knowing that the "junk" would still be there if they chose -- with no rules in place like one more bites or first carrots then posicle or eat only at the table or whatever.... *most* children would gradually feed their bodies the things which helped their bodies work most efficiently.

The issue with obesity and unhealthy eating habits with children have little to do with the actual food alone imo, yes, it is unhealthy but ice cream doesn;t make you fat.. A LOT of ice cream can iykwim... it has to do with all the food control and rules in combination with the "junk" being the only food offered the majority of the time, coupled with a do as I say not as I do attitude which is being modeled by a lot of parents (not speaking of anyone personally here). Of course advertising plays a part and such too but I digress.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Twilight
How do you handle it if your child doesn't eat a dinner that she normally likes, and then an hour later is asking for snacks?

This happens a lot and we aren't very consistent with how we handle it.
I am bracing myself for : - as I've given my opinion on this one before.

DS did this for awhile - as a delay tactic for bedtime. He would dawdle over dinner, refuse to eat, etc. - and then when I would try to clean up he'd say, hey I'm hungry, I want to eat. Repeat that many times over.

OR

He would dawdle and not eat, etc. And then try to get a snack - ironically, just exactly at the time that we began tucking him in . . .

So. DH and I told DS that dinner is from x to x. At x - dinner is over. The next meal after dinner is breakfast. No shaming. No punishing tone. Just defined the boundaries oand being consistent. Of course DS pushed it a few times -- but we were consistent and very quickly the whole problem went away.

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Old 08-23-2006, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Twilight
How do you handle it if your child doesn't eat a dinner that she normally likes, and then an hour later is asking for snacks?

This happens a lot and we aren't very consistent with how we handle it.

Give snacks. Offer the dinner she usually likes (leftover reheated or whatever).

That is what we do, although our daughter is still little, we will continue. She eats what she wants, when she wants, how much she wants with respect to my personal boundaries (I will make quick snacks but I am not comfortable with cooking 304973 different dinners for example) and what we have in the home...

My daughter had a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast (well part of one)... no biggie, I figure it's healthy, whole grain bread, organic cheese, a little non gmo, organic, no partially hydrogenated margarine....tomato on it...
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BusyMommy
As far as forcing them to eat, that's a tougher one for me. I see how their behavior is affected by skipping meals, so I *do* make them sit down at the table or picnic bench or whatever 3x/day & eat something.
:

and not just eating vs not eating, it's also what has been eaten that day. all carbs and sugar for breakfast and lunch ends up making DD1 (4) into a monster.

it's tricky to not cojole, bribe, or influence her eating even when i know she won't make the right choices and it'll affect our whole family when she starts screaming, crying, and having tantrums because her blood sugar is plummeting. for example, when DH wants to run out for Krispy Kreme on a saturday morning i make sure both girls eat some eggs or sausages or something before they fill up on sugar and carbs because it affects their behavior. we're careful to not mention the word "donut" or "krispy kreme" until they've already eaten something else. but we learned this by experience, bad experience!
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:44 PM
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In other words, tell your children they can have anything they want in the house, whenever they are hungry, whatever is available (healthy foods included). The only "restrictions" being things like liquor or serious allergins (like don't give your kid peanut butter if they might die...common sense).
That is exactly how my home is run. There are no "off-limits" when it comes to available food. I am the parent and am responsible for what I purchase and bring into my home, though.
I not only don't buy 'junk' food because it is unhealthy, but because I boycott a lot of the companies that manufacture the food.

Since the little ones cannot cook, yet, I do have a routine for when meals are served, but in between those times, they can eat whatever and whenever they want/need.
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:09 PM
 
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I'm one of the "he can eat whatever he wants whenever he wants it, no judgment" moms. We generally just have healthy food in the house, but when we're out he can eat anything that's available too. He'll eat a really wide variety of food, and a lot of it, just not every meal of every day, kwim? DISCLAIMER: he's only 2, so we might not have come to the more challenging times yet.

I am this way in part because of how I was raised. Nothing abusive, like some of the stories in this thread, , but my mother definitely controlled and micromanaged what I ate, and placed judgment on what I ate into high school and college. I snuck and hid a lot of food.

I can literally remember thinking when I was around 14: "soon I'll have my driver's license and I can just go out and buy whatever food I want and eat it in my car". And I did. Tons of binging and various food issues that I'm finally starting to get over now, at 29. I definitely had the forbidden fruit thing going on. I had no sense of normal eating habits because mine had been controlled.

So, I know this is just one person's experience, but I'd really encourage anyone who is tempted to control what their kid is eating or judge what they're eating, even a little bit, even out of love, to rethink their position.
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe I didn't read her post right but how is she witholding food if she is offering it at dinnertime? :
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:30 PM
 
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Maybe I didn't read her post right but how is she witholding food if she is offering it at dinnertime? :
:

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Old 08-23-2006, 09:32 PM
 
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I believe that it's totally inappropriate to force a child to eat. It icks me right out when I see parents doing it, or bribing, or following kids around saying "Just one more bite. Just two more bites or no ice cream." Shudder. Gentle encouragement, lots of talk about what our bodies generally need, attempts at modeling positive eating habits... all of those things are my method of operation.

I don't care for being a short order cook either so we come to agreements that we can all live with. It's easy enough for me to provide yogurt, fruit, a sandwich, tortillas with cheese in addition to the regular meal (whatever it may be.) Making part of a shelf in the fridge/corner of the pantry cupboard the child's own special area and keeping foods they always enjoy there is easy too. Then they can just help themselves. Always having a couple things they dig on the table works too.

They decide on the portions and when they are done. It's just respectful and goes a long way toward kids learning about their body and it's way of communicating.

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Old 08-23-2006, 09:36 PM
 
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My understanding was that if the child wouldn't/didn't eat at dinner, then no food until breakfast

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Old 08-23-2006, 09:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Twilight
How do you handle it if your child doesn't eat a dinner that she normally likes, and then an hour later is asking for snacks?
Keep snacks around? I used to keep them down low for easy access. Peanut butter on celery or crackers or tortillas. Fruit. Yogurt. Raisans, sunflower seeds, tortilla chips and a mild salsa. Cottage cheese. Mashed avocado mixed with bananna and served cold is like a pudding/ice cream and it's so good lol.

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Old 08-23-2006, 09:39 PM
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umm...

When a child grows up, the child will more than likely get a job, correct? Even if one homeschools said child.

That means said child will be on a schedule. And will have to eat on breaks, or not eat at all during the work day until he/she gets home.

Not everyone can WAH, not everyone can SAH. When in the workplace (we ARE raising our children to become adults correct?) You go by your employers schedule, not your own. And if you have a break from X:00 to Y:00 and you know you aren't gonna be eating till you get home at Z:00 common sense dictates you would eat between X and Y or else you feel real crappy by Z

Kids are kids, yeah. But not everyone homeschools, So kids in school have to eat at certain times, and aren't allowed to eat during other times. During the adult life not everyone can graze during their work day.

One has to take that into account. One has to take into account that hey, sometimes You CANT eat during certain times no matter how hungry you are. Shoulda eaten earlyer.
I feel that keeping my DD on a mealtime schedule prepares her for these situations which WILL be part of her daily life for the next...ooh Long long time until she either retires, or decides to become a SAHM..whichever she chooses.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna
My understanding was that if the child wouldn't/didn't eat at dinner, then no food until breakfast

-Angela
Yea that's what I was getting too.

It just would not sit right with me. That can be a long stretch sometimes. What if dinner just didn't work for the child that night? What if he just wasn't all that hungry even though he usually enjoys that food regularly? I often skip the evening meal but then like a small snack around 9 or 10 pm.

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Old 08-23-2006, 09:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna
My understanding was that if the child wouldn't/didn't eat at dinner, then no food until breakfast

-Angela
Maybe......

We do a cut off time for food in the evening. Our crew doesn't seem to sleep as well if they eat right before laying down, so we try (doesn't always work) to not give them food about an hour before bedtime. Most of the time they ask for something right at bedtime as a way to stay up later. If they are insistent that they are hungry we offer a slice of cheese to eat in their bed. Some nights they take it....others they don't. I figure if they take it they are truly hungry....otherwise it was a way to get out of bedtime. We don't limit their food intake much outside of that. We generally graze/snack during the day and eat a dinner together.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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