Mothering Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Disclaimer: I'm looking for advice but I won't punish or use 'consequences'. TIA.


My 3 year old has dumped everything he's had to eat (when he's done, I'm guessing) for the last two weeks. I am wondering if this is a phase. He will eat some of what is on the plate and then dump it on the floor. Or drink some from a cup and dump it on the floor.

I'm tired of cleaning up food and drink and I tell him that in a gentle voice. 'When the food is on the carpet, I get frustrated because I have to stop and clean it up.' I don't want to shame him about it or say, 'okay, that's it! no more xxxx to eat/drink'. I don't want to get into a battle of wills on this.

My 8 month old, btw, watches him do this and thinks it's hilarious. At least that helps me keep somewhat of a sense of humor in the frustration.

Wait it out? I do invite him to help me clean up and he does. Oh, I should also mention that when he is angry, he will throw food, take a bag of chips and dump it, or pour all his water on the floor. What does that mean? I'm serious, I need to understand why he does that.

I can also feel it coming on sometimes, when he seems close to being full and it's like this vibe comes up and I know he is going to throw something. Guests in our home say, 'wow, great catch' when I catch him mid throw but I truly can sense it sometimes!

Thanks. I know this won't last forever but it's pretty annoying right now.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,311 Posts
I cut a big black garbage bag in half and laid it under their chair and just ignored the behaviour...it's fun for them and a reaction from you good or bad makes it more fun...this way the carpet is protected and eventually your child will outgrow it...I have 2 daughters 10 and 14, both did it, both stopped...my dog loved the kids at this age...yummy...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,995 Posts
Personally I wouldn't give him anything but water to drink. Water doesn't do as much damage or cause as much of a mess to clean. Water is also the most healthy choice.

I'd also get strict about eating at the table. I would follow my own rules even though it's a pain.

Sorry you're going through this it's a pain in the behind.

DB
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
555 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by playdoh
Disclaimer: I'm looking for advice but I won't punish or use 'consequences'. TIA.


My 3 year old has dumped everything he's had to eat (when he's done, I'm guessing) for the last two weeks. I am wondering if this is a phase. He will eat some of what is on the plate and then dump it on the floor. Or drink some from a cup and dump it on the floor.

I'm tired of cleaning up food and drink and I tell him that in a gentle voice. 'When the food is on the carpet, I get frustrated because I have to stop and clean it up.' I don't want to shame him about it or say, 'okay, that's it! no more xxxx to eat/drink'. I don't want to get into a battle of wills on this.

My 8 month old, btw, watches him do this and thinks it's hilarious. At least that helps me keep somewhat of a sense of humor in the frustration.

Wait it out? I do invite him to help me clean up and he does. Oh, I should also mention that when he is angry, he will throw food, take a bag of chips and dump it, or pour all his water on the floor. What does that mean? I'm serious, I need to understand why he does that.

I can also feel it coming on sometimes, when he seems close to being full and it's like this vibe comes up and I know he is going to throw something. Guests in our home say, 'wow, great catch' when I catch him mid throw but I truly can sense it sometimes!

Thanks. I know this won't last forever but it's pretty annoying right now.

Umm I know your NOT gonna like my comment but hes doing it because you allow him to. You don't need to yell or spank or anything like that but its NOT shamming him to say okay meals over when you throw food. Were talking about a three year old, not a six month old. A three year old is perfectly able to understand no throwing food. I'd start with outlinning expected behavior before hand. feed little bits at a time to practice and stay consistant. If he dilibertly throws food take it away and end the meal. You can start all over again the next hour if necessary.
As for the sensing the point of throwing LOL its a Mommy gift isn't it?

Deanna
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,231 Posts
Allgirls I like your trashbag suggestion.
Playdoh you say you sense when its about to happen- the build up. Can you counter right before then and ask him for a hug. Or tell him you really need a hug. I would keep trying to switch the focus. My dd is 20months and throws her plate sometimes when she's finished. She loves the reaction. So lately we don't give her one. I realize its hard to expect your 8 month old not to respond. So again I think switching the focus would be a better option. Oh have you tried no spill sip cups. I used to have with ds little plates that had suction cups on the bottom. They clung so tightly to the table
Oh yeah that why I got rid oh them. I had the darndest time trying to remove them

Good Luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,115 Posts
My ds does this too.He'll be 3 next month.What I have done is switch to no spill cups,or the kind with a straw that is hard to remove(these are the only kind I allow either child to walk around the house with).He can drink fine out of a regular cup,but he insists on spilling it when he is done.If you don't want to use a sippy cup,put only a tiny bit of water in the regular cup,and just give him more when he asks.As for the food,I have adopted a strict food in the kitchen only rule,for both my kids(dd will be 6 on Saturday).I set up their own little table and chairs,so it's right at their level,and it's really cut down on the mess.I also can sense when ds is going to dump his plate,and I step in and say"Are you all done ds?Do you want to help me throw the rest in the trash(or put it away for later)?"He LOVES to help me do that,as it gives him some control over the situation.Good luck,and I hope that helped!

Lisa
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,022 Posts
My ds is 3 1/2 and if he dumps food on purpose, the meal is over. He knows that food is not for throwing and if he's hungry he can choose to eat it rather than throw it. I don't look at it as punishment. I'm not doing something unrelated, like sending him to his room. He throws the food, the food goes away. I guess that's consequences. But it seems to work and he doesn't get upset about it. He understands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,086 Posts
ITA agree with Allgirls. This is indeed an ignorable--something that will pass if it's not too focused on, or reacted too strongly too.

To prevent a bit, limit portions considerably, a few of this and that and a very small amount of liquid in the cup. The matt under the chair is great too. If you can sense it's about to happen, try not to ASSUME it will by taking away the plate but make an attempt to distract him at that time by getting at eye level and starting a conversation. This way he knows you don't assume he's going to do something you don't appreciate and saves face. Who knows? You may distract enough times to get him to forget about the behavior altogether. And as always, continue to model the correct way of enjoying a meal. Keeping your reactions mild to nil and as we say here a lot, this too shall pass.


Hang in there--I know how annoying these kinds of things can be... just don't let him know that!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you, mamas for all the advice.

Here's what I did:

- Put him in the highchair at the table to eat and I sat there, too, although I really don't like to do that.

He still threw food and drink.

- I acting really non chalant about it, everytime it happened and would simply ask him to help me clean up. He wouldn't, he'd run away.

- I told him ahead of time what I expected, especially that when he was done eating, he could just leave his plate there, or simply put his cup into the sink (he loves to do that).

- I ignored it.

Nothing changed.

I was getting so frustrated with this! And hiding it, too since I didn't want to incite his behavior more.

Then I served him some egg and it was too hot. I tried to let him know that we could wait until it cooled, I blew on it, all the stuff we've done in the past. He swiped the plate with one hand and it smashed against our fireplace (he was eating in the living room) and lots of ceramic smithereens. That really pissed me off and I had to ask him to go into another room while I cleaned up b/c I needed a break from him at that moment.

I finally thought about how I must look on video, if someone were to tape me. I imagined that I looked like a jerk. I felt like a jerk. I wasn't treating my son the way I'd want to be treated. Sure, 'setting limits' and 'expectations' are all fine and good for books or maybe pet training but for me, it doesn't build a respectful relationship with my kid. Everytime I've ever tried any kind of 'reasonable behavior expectation/limit' it backfires and my son doesn't seem to want to be around me. (to which I guess some parents would say, 'well you can't be their friend! You're the parent!)

I decided to praise him and give him tons of affection. Everything he did, practically (!), I noticed and said how wonderful it was, how much i loved him, gave him lots of cuddles. I told him how great of an eater he is, how well he uses his fork, how he drinks from a cup, really basic stuff but I praise him.

The food throwing and drink dumping immediately stopped. He would just eat and not throw anything when he was done and quietly walk into the kitchen and put his plate in the sink. He'd drink from his cup and set it on a table for later. Or drink it all and set it in the sink quietly without me asking at all.

We've had two days tantrum free as well. So I like that! Plus he is coming up to me and hugging me and wanting to play and seems to be such a happier little guy. I don't feel like a jerk.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,311 Posts
"decided to praise him and give him tons of affection. Everything he did, practically (!), I noticed and said how wonderful it was, how much i loved him, gave him lots of cuddles. I told him how great of an eater he is, how well he uses his fork, how he drinks from a cup, really basic stuff but I praise him. "

You can never go wrong with positive reinforcement..you know most kids do want to make you happy...good for you!!!

What a great solution and it worked!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,959 Posts
I'm so happy you found a solution!! Now, can you elaborate bit more?

Did you do the praising during eating when he was doing something good (like not throwing) or was this something you just incorporated into your overall day? Did you praise him when he stopped throwing the food, and put his plate in the sink? Or did you decide not to make an issue out of that, lest he revert back...

do share!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just started talking about how great he was with his eating and drinking in the middle of us hanging out, after I bottomed out with the egg/smashed plate incident.
He wasn't eating when I started talking about how well he uses his fork, etc. I just didn't know what else to do except take a radical departure from how I was interacting with him about this and overall, really.

I did praise him when he brought his cup to the sink. I thanked him for doing that. I never say, 'thank you for not throwing food' but probably none of us use suggestive phrases like that anymore. But mostly I would talk about how well he eats when we weren't eating and then honestly, hold my breath as he ate! He is so sensitive that if I start talking about how great he is at eating when he is eating, he gets very frustrated.

The food thing had me so pissed off that I was angry with him after the food incidents, too. So it was becoming a bigger problem on my part. Maybe I wasn't angry with him but I was angry that I couldn't solve this. That is often the case with me...I'm angry with myself because I fear that I'm failing at this.

I'm rambling here, but sometimes I will see shows on tv that are about helping parents be better parents in challenging situations. Every show has a video of the family and it always includes crappy moments where the parent is saying, 'no, stop that, please put that down, okay, that's it, no, we don't touch that, okay, no more, you're all done, time to get on socks...' That sort of thing, yk? And I can easily get into that type of talking to my toddler most of the day and not realize it and then wonder why I feel like a jerk at the end of the day!

So that's when I thought that if I were video'd, I would probably look horrible with my 'gentle' limits about food and explaining expectations and then the obvious frustration I had when I had to clean it up.

I also noticed how well he does all sorts of things and talked that up. I'm very leery of a bunch of praise as I've read all of Alfie Kohn's work and ITA with him. But in my gut, I think my son was starved for hearing how fantastic he is, no holds barred. I always tell my son that I love him every day, how great he does this or that but again in my gut, something was off in our relationship and he wasn't feeling loved like he needed. The birth of his brother and DS #1 feelings is a whole 'nother post but suffice to say, sometimes he can easily feel left out even though it looks like we're very inclusive. He is extremely sensitive and I am reminded of that daily.

I praised everything he did, and would intermittedly talk about the food thing (how well he eats, etc.) So far, no regression into the throwing or dumping either so that's good. I don't have to hover either which he hated (and I hated).

We'll see how it goes but so far, so good. Maybe he just really needed to hear how awesome he is and how well he does things like eating? I take it for granted sometimes and that isn't right. I can get tired and feel like, 'oh,just eat it and let's move on' instead of noticing that he is mastering new skills so well.

Sorry this got so long. I think hard about it all. He's been intense and super sensitive from day one and just doesn't go for more traditional types of approaches that seem to work for other kids/families. He typifies the Spirited Child description with his hatred for interruption, easily upset, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
555 Posts
I think your doing exactly right and I'm sorry I didn't suggest the same earlier. Yes I do believe in taking the plate away if the throw, however I also think children especially young ones need to hear compliments. We tend to think its belitting to always be saying "good job using your fork" or similiar comments but they need to hear it. These praises form how they view them selves and the world around them. I'm a firm believer in setting boundries, so yes in my household a plate ect dropped (on purpose) will get taken away, but I also believe that if you instill a sense of pride in your child, they will rise to a higher degree. Good job and hang in their!

Deanna
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top