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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My kids are picky eaters. dd is 5 and has certain foods she will eat. Tonight, I made dinner (a goulash/stroganaff thing) and kept plain noodles off to the side for her b/c she doens't like the sauce. Fine. no big deal. Until she sees the noodles and decides she doesn't want THOSE noodles, she wants ramen noodles instead. No.

I tell her she needs to eat what is served or she won't eat. When I'm making something new and know she won't eat it, I do offer simple alternatives,but when I make something I know she's eaten before, I wont' do that. We're pretty liberal witheating, we don't have set meal times and we sort of come and go from the kitchen and that might be part of the problem.

I served the food about 1 1/2 hr before bedtime and I tell her if she doen't eat before bed, she won't eat. She is asking for other thigns, asks dh (he wasn't around for the conversation) for something else, etc.

She finally ate the stupid noodles and then was able to get something else, but is bed with no dinner ok for a 5 year old in these circumstances?
 

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I know it can be really hard at dinner-time with a picky girl, or boy or what-ever you have ( although, Im kinda seeing a real tenacity for the manipulative stuff in my 4.5 yr.old dd
).. And Yes, I've threatened, somewhat -one of those
ell, you can just be hungry comments-

However, I really think that actually doing it, sending them to bed hungry is not right. I usually tell them that's all there is, no dessert if they cant eat a few bites, and then EVENTUALLY--- WE let it go.
Yeah, it's really frustrating some nights

~L
 

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We have a snack shelf in the kitchen with lots of healthy things to eat and a fridge full of cheese, yoghurt, tortillas and a big bowl of fruit.

There's no requirement that anyone eat dinner, although we do really enjoy sitting with each other. If anyone gets hungry, there's lots to eat with no bother.

Also, we usually all weigh in on dinner so no big surprises for anyone.

I wouldn't want to make everyone a different dinner, but I also wouldn't want to be the food police.

I'm from a huge family...the rule when I was growing up was "Eat it or leave it, but don't talk about it." No one wants to spend dinner with a running commentary on everyone's deepest feelings about green beans.
 

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I think restricting food in anyway is just setting her up for future food issues. My four year old goes through slumps too and I think it's more about her wanting to be in control than her not liking what I prepared. So if she doesn't like what is served, she can help herself to something else. I won't cook anything else but she usually ends up getting yogurt or a tortilla. Don't sweat it, mama. Food should always be a non-issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wsn't trying to make it an issue, I wasn't yelling (big improvement for me) or getting upset. She just had a choice to eat what was being served or not. If she chose no, and it was bedtime and she hadn't eaten, well- that would be that. I wasn't trying to send her to bed w/o dinner, just a logical consequence, kwim? We don't have the healthiest diets anyway, and I often let her get somethign she can do on her own- but she wanted *me* to make her something. Once she finished the noodles, she was able to choose something else.

So, really, if they don't eat something you make, and you know they usually like it- they can just eat an apple or something else? They don't have to eat family meals at all if they choose?
 

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Sure. I know I'm not always in the mood for certain foods. I don't see why a child would be any different. If I made something and then decided I didn't have a taste for it, I wouldn't go to bed hungry. I'd pack it up for leftovers and eat something else. If I don't allow ds the same option, it's because I'm trying to control him. And food should never be a control issue, IMO.

Ds knows that he can either have some of what I'm eating or he can have whatever he can get for himself. If he gets me early enough, I'll help him make it. Otherwise, it's up to him to get something easily accessible.

Btw, I think it's great that you didn't yell. That can be hard.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by shelbean91
...So, really, if they don't eat something you make, and you know they usually like it- they can just eat an apple or something else? They don't have to eat family meals at all if they choose?
Exactly. At our house though, even if you don't like the food, you still have to stay at the table until everyone is finished eating. I also put all of the food on serving dishes in the center of the table so everyone can serve themselves what they want. This has helped our 4 y.o. decide that all of a sudden, maybe she does want to try that salad after having to stare at it for a while.
 

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My daughter is five and has tried this as well, including eating only two bites of something she usually likes, and then complaining later that she's hungry. For us, this is a natural consequence, and she will not starve to death by morning (she eats A LOT normally). She's not a baby, or a toddler, but five. She's not normally a picky eater at all, and will try anything. I made her her own meals until about age two, and then she was expected to eat what we ate. She loves spanakopita and curries, pretty good in my book.

I'm not going to have food battles with my daughter, and I see (non-AP!) families who really give in to the power games and what I see as true manipulation between parent and child. We do provide many choices at dinner - not just one dish, so she can choose what she likes, as long as she gets some sort of protein in. But when she throws a tantrum just to throw a tantrum...at a restaurant a few months ago she started crying and yelling because the pizza wasn't cheese-only (it never is when we order it - it has all sort of different toppings), and so we offered her a choice - eat pizza as-is or sit in the car with one of us. We took her to the car because she kept up with the tantrum - a spectacular one, I have to admit - and then she calmed down and we went back inside and she liked the pizza. We definitely never use dessert as a reward - dinner is dinner, it's nourishment and vitamins, and is independent of dessert (which is done as a treat-only on weekends anyhow).

One question - has your daughter observed other children performing this act and succeeding? We noticed a dramatic uptick in picky, food-related behavior when she saw a friend throwing fits at home and in public and getting food made-to-order as if by her personal sous chef, complete with bribes for desserts. That would be nice for all of us, I guess.

I do offer it as a choice - i.e. you can eat what I've made, you can make your own food, or you can not eat, but at 7:00 the kitchen is closed (say, it's 6:30). If you are hungry because you didn't eat dinner, then that will be sad, but that is what we do in our family. We eat dinner at dinnertime.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chfriend
I'm from a huge family...the rule when I was growing up was "Eat it or leave it, but don't talk about it." No one wants to spend dinner with a running commentary on everyone's deepest feelings about green beans.

Ooooh, that's the rule here. But, you can't just get something else for dinner here though. You eat what's on the table or nothing. BUT there is always dessert (you get that even if you have eaten NOTHING for dinner).

And there is always a snack before bed. So no one goes to bed hungry. Actually my kids have never been upset about the eat what's on the table or nothing rule. It never really occured to them their was another option until they were older and liked almost everything anyway.
 

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I wanted to add too - sometimes kids act like this when what they're really trying to express some way to make choices, to be independent. The way we deal with it is to offer the choices I said earlier, especially at dinner, which is a big-deal family meal with lots of options and consideration regarding what everyone likes; but at breakfast we've gradually let her make her own in any case, with whatever choices she wants. Maybe give her more control over one entire meal of the day - i.e. choice of cereals, pour her own milk, choose a fruit from the fruit bowl, make her own toast, spread the butter, etc etc; or packing a lunch/making her lunch; and she'll back off the dinner issue - it seemed to relieve some of the pressure in ours, along with being firm about dinnertime issues.

It's just not polite or cool for my daughter to expect ME to cater to her last-minute whims, because we don't tend to do that to each other in our family, especially at dinnertime. I don't even want to think about my husband whining at me about the chili "being the wrong color."
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Dragonfly
Why can't she just have something else?

I don't think you should be hopping up and cooking something else, but maybe she could have something that's easily accessible to her?

I would maybe agree on something simple she can have instead? (cereal, fruit, PB sandwich, yogurt?) I would not be comfortable sending a child to bed hungry .
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In response to the question loraeileen- no, she hasn't seen other picky kids recently. Actually, when we spend meals w/friends, the positive peer pressure helps her to eat a greater variety. Maybe I should do that more often!!

For breakfast and lunch, she has complete control, as I don't cook for those- cold cereal or a sandwich, etc. We also have some snack foods like grapes or pretzels available throughout the day.

She has been having tantrums just for the sake of tantruming lately, maybe she is just adjusting to some new change and exercising her independence. However, she also needs limits- after she finally ate her food, she apologized for yelling.

Another example of independance was that I told her it was time to get ready for bed and did she want to sleep in her jammies or her clothes. She said her clothes, I said that was fine, but if she wanted her jammies, she needed to do it before we were laying down. Well, as we were laying down, she said, no, I want my jammies. I had told her the hour before that she needed to change if she wanted to, so she needed to keep her choice. She fussed about it for a while (asking please over and over) and finally stopped and again said sorry for not listening. I did end up letting her change b/c she had forgotten to go potty before laying down, but I think she's just testing her boundaries and I'm working to get the balance of limits and her choices. So, it's not just mealtimes,but lots of times- I suppose if I keep that in mind and pick the right battles, she'll learn what she needs to learn.

One issue I have is my parents were the 'clean plate club' parents. Needless to say, I'm pretty overweight and don't know how to have a single portion of anything. My dad was also really stubborn and strict at random times, so I see myself following that pattern. It's really nice to have this place to bounce ideas around.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa

I would maybe agree on something simple she can have instead? (cereal, fruit, PB sandwich, yogurt?) I would not be comfortable sending a child to bed hungry .
If she were willing to do this herself, it might be ok, but she wanted me to get her something. I also make these choices available when I'm making something I know she won't eat- I don't want to have to make those choices available when I make something I know she usually eats. I guess I'm being a baby about it, but that's how I feel. I should just get over it, I know.

Also, she probably wouldn't really be *hungry* b/c we usually allow snacks throughout the day. And, she eats cereal right when she wakes up, so it wouldn't really be that long w/o food.
 

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You wanna trade friends?


It sounds like you know your child, and what she's needing right now. Good luck.

I was also part of the clean plate club. I remember not being allowed down from the table at age eight, until I ate all the saurkraut on my plate, bribe of dessert afterwards. GAH! I really would have rathered the choice not to eat.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by shelbean91
If she were willing to do this herself, it might be ok, but she wanted me to get her something. I also make these choices available when I'm making something I know she won't eat- I don't want to have to make those choices available when I make something I know she usually eats. I guess I'm being a baby about it, but that's how I feel. I should just get over it, I know.
Why don't you make the the rule at the "meal" that there are no other choices available and then allow a choice of snack before bed?

If she's hungry she can eat then, but it gives you the ability to not have to get up during the meal.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by shelbean91
For those of you who limit eating to dinner time, do you cut off snacks a certain amt of time before meals?

Yes. we had set snack times as well as set meal times. Afternoon snack was about 2 hours before dinner.
 
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