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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
x-posted in Meal Planning, but also posting here because so many of you are experienced planners, especially after the recent lessons!<br><br>
--------------------------------<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying"><br><br>
OK, so I did meal plans for two weeks in a row, and I tried to include things my kids have liked/eaten in the past, and I included my DD1 (the really picky one) in the planning process. She was all excited about a pasta salad we picked together, then when I made it she wouldn't touch it--I ended up making something else. Then I made turkey tacos, which she had loved two weeks earlier. She gave me a hard time about those too. Neither one will touch anything out of the crockpot--I have no idea why! I made baked sweet potato fries (OMG, so good, by the way)--no go. And so on...<br><br>
I had the same problem the second week too. Here we are in the third week, and I'm totally off track. What am I doing wrong? Are they just so used to too much fast/convenience food that anything real is a bust right now? Is there some trick to meal planning for kids?<br><br>
I need to use some ground turkey breast tonight, so I'm planning sloppy joes. I mean, what kid doesn't like sloppy joes, right? If this falls flat, I don't know what I'll do. I can't feed them noodles with butter and cream cheese and jelly every single day! Ugh. Any advice is SO welcome.<br><br>
TIA
 

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Well, I might get called mean, but what I cook is what's for dinner. I don't cook things I know people truly dislike, but other than that, what's on the table is it. If they don't want it, they can get something on their own, such as ... slice of cheese or cheese sandwich, lunch meat, toast, crackers, fruit, etc.<br><br>
They won't starve, if they're truly hungry, they'll either give it a try or fetch something on their own. Now, if your littles are too little to get their own substitute, maybe offer one or two things, a fruit, a protein (cheese stick or slice, etc). But don't cook a whole 'nother meal. That's not fair to you or your budget.
 

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Just keep it up, they'll get used to it! Kids can be very resistance to change...especially when changing from yummy junk food. I'd give it a few months, and try all sorts of new things with ingredients you know the kids like.
 

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What we did when my DS would get picky (usually only happened after coming back from a vacation at the grandparents' house or his Dad's house) is to offer an alternative of a peanut butter sandwich.<br><br>
He could eat what we had planned together or else he could make himself a peanut butter sandwich.<br><br>
DD is pretty particular about what she eats, but she can usually find enough food out of what has been cooked to eat a full meal's worth. I also don't worry too much about her yet since she still gets breastmilk on request as well.
 

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One of my kids wouldn't touch sloppy joes. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
I make one planned meal. It's a pretty sure bet that one or more of my kids won't want it. If I am feeling up to cooking a secondary option, I might make eggs (scrambled or fried, very easy) or hot dogs (if they're in the budget, though often they are not). If I can keep out part of the meal "unmixed," like brown rice or meat, I might offer that as an alternative. (The alternative has to be easy for me.) If nothing else there is always our version of peanut butter sandwiches (peanut butter on corn thins) or some creative pickyness-acceptable alternative like a handful of nuts plus a carrot or apple.<br><br>
In other words, I make what I make, I encourage everyone to try it, and we have a fall-back choice which is based on how much energy I'm willing to spend on preparation. One of my kids will *never* eat the main meal. One of them usually won't, but sometimes will try it. Two of mine will usually try it. I think my pickiest kid has food-sensory issues and I don't blame him for his pickiness, but I take his preferences into account only as much as I do everyone else's, if that makes sense.<br><br>
It's hard living with a picky kid. I also have a picky DH. Sometimes I get so frustrated - if they'd only all consistently eat beans and rice, or lentils, or garden veggie stirfry, we could live SOOOOOO much more frugally. Also we have food restrictions (no dairy, no gluten, no cane sugar, minimal soy) which limits my options.<br><br>
Just do the best you can and work within your own family's limitations. I think this will look different for every family. I try not to think too much about families whose kids "eat everything without complaining." I don't have those kids, and no amount of wishing will turn mine into that kind of kids. So I have to work with what I've got.<br><br>
Also I figure eventually they'll get sick of peanut butter and eggs and want to try something new. My second-pickiest surprised me last night by eating veggie/chicken fried rice and asking for seconds. I think it helped that I presented it as "dinner" and didn't offer the backup option up front. My pickiest had peanut butter but everyone else had the main meal.<br><br>
Rambling, here... just saying you're not alone.
 

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Many children do prefer plain, unmixed foods. It's potentially a healthier style of eating, considering the incredible amount of fat and salt added into many cooked and seasoned dishes.<br><br>
Based on my experience growing up, and my experience with ds, "insisting" that a child eat what you put in front of them is one issue that can truly drag on for years and years of battling, and in the end fail to produce a 'good eater'. It just doesn't work that way for many children. Some will <i>never</i> cave to the pressure. And like any battle of the wills it takes two people to engage in it. So it winds up being stubborness on the part of the parent that is also to blame.<br><br>
I go back to the fact that I trusted ds to know when he was hungry as an infant. Why should I stop trusting him? Well, I think the lack of trust happens as kids are exposed to a wide variety of foods and we see them make poor choices. Suddenly we want to take back all the control so we can make the choices for them. But I think we can still extent that early trust to them as they grow up. One thing parents do control is what food comes into the house. I do not keep foods in the house which I cannot trust ds to regulate. We do have junk food sometimes but I consider it a treat and don't stock the pantry junky snacks in general.<br><br>
I think as the parent setting the budget you do have a large say in what comes into the house. I'm glad to hear you tried to include the picky eater in meal planning. It sounds like your picky eater, though willing to go along with meal planning, really cannot handle being asked to commit on Monday to eat x on Wednesday. I would just accept that is too much pressure right now and try another tactic.<br><br>
Personally what we do, is we cook a meal based on what the cook has available. Our family is very small, however I know larger families who work the same way. Ds does not have to eat what I cook. I offer that option, and encourage him to try it, and sometimes he is willing. However he is free to eat any of the inexpensive numerous other options we have in the house.<br><br>
For example I keep plain cooked beans, veggies, and bags of frozen fruit in the house, as well as cheese and tortilla's. We have yogurt, organic sprouted grain cereal, and other healthy options. If ds prefers something else, he can have that.<br><br>
My only expectation is that he not waste food and he is very good about that. I ask him only to make what he can eat, and if he eats it all, he can make seconds. He is good about not making more than he can eat.<br><br>
This works for us, and I know larger families with the same approach.
 

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We don't make our son eat what is for dinner, but we don't offer to cook him something different. We try to make sure there is at least one food he can be counted on to eat when hungry (like bread or rice or pasta) and then let him choose what he wants to eat from what is on the table. If he takes three bites of something and does not want more but is still hungry, we will let him have a sandwich. Most of the time, we never have to make a sandwich- after three bites he is like, oh, this is good, I will eat more or he decides to fill up on the safe food, like the rice we are eating topped with daal or something. Some nights he just chooses not to eat, which is his perogative and happends without a lot of fuss or muss. I figure we must be doing something right on the self regulating thing without being a short-order cook because just a few days ago on being given a huge cookie, he broke it into 4 pieces- 1 for now, 1 for later and 1 each for mommy and daddy.
 

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I put dinner on the table. They can eat it or not eat it. I don't cook things I know they hate, but I don't restrict my cooking to all their favorites. My kids are fairly good about eating as a result. If they don't like the entree, there is usually something like rice or potato that they can eat along with their veggies.
 

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I don't think I understand why this is a problem.<br><br>
So they don't eat it. So what? Presumably, they'll be extra-hungry for breakfast the next morning. And you can always serve leftovers for lunch or for dinner on another day. Even if there aren't enough leftovers for everyone to have them, you can have "leftovers night" and offer a choice of what's available.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>skueppers</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8138727"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't think I understand why this is a problem.<br><br>
So they don't eat it. So what? Presumably, they'll be extra-hungry for breakfast the next morning. And you can always serve leftovers for lunch or for dinner on another day. Even if there aren't enough leftovers for everyone to have them, you can have "leftovers night" and offer a choice of what's available.</div>
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That's what we do. The eggs we have every morning for breakfast are a problem, though, since I don't know anything else to do with leftover scrambled eggs, but 1 egg leftover really isn't very expensive money-wise, so I don't worry about it.<br><br>
DD eats about 1 good meal a day. Otherwise, she just snacks. I've given up on doing a real lunch, we just snack throughout the day on healthy things. It's a mystery everyday whether she'll have her "one good meal" at breakfast or dinner. She never gets junk, though, and she knows she doesn't get dessert at dinner unless she eats something that's not dessert first, but if she wants a hunk of cheese instead of meat for dinner, or some similar exchange, that's fine with me. I've learned to be very flexible in meal planning. We just have ingredients and a list of dishes we can prepare. We choose from the list as we need to, eat leftovers on nights that we have them. I'm actually much less stressed about food this way.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>miss_sonja</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8127562"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well, I might get called mean, but what I cook is what's for dinner. I don't cook things I know people truly dislike, but other than that, what's on the table is it. If they don't want it, they can get something on their own, such as ... slice of cheese or cheese sandwich, lunch meat, toast, crackers, fruit, etc.<br><br>
They won't starve, if they're truly hungry, they'll either give it a try or fetch something on their own. Now, if your littles are too little to get their own substitute, maybe offer one or two things, a fruit, a protein (cheese stick or slice, etc). But don't cook a whole 'nother meal. That's not fair to you or your budget.</div>
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That's me. I only cook one meal. Period. Eat it or not is your choice. While I would offer things like PB sandwich or some fruit/cheese, make sure the kiddos aren't filling up on junk food after refusing to eat good food.<br><br>
My dad had the "two bites" rule. You had to try two bites of everything on the table, even if you "don't like it." I remember not liking green peas much, but he made us try them. He wasn't mean about it though, and mom just tried to cook green beans more often instead of green peas. No sense in forcing the issue.<br><br>
For the record: I do eat green peas some. I still don't really like them, but DH loves them so Iusually just mix them in with mashed potatoes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> I guess my problem is more with the rejection aspect of it or something? I try hard to plan and shop for meals that they they'll eat, that they've eaten in the past, that they say they'll eat again--and then it burns me when they refuse! Plus, I don't think it's OK that she eats cream cheese and jelly every night. But of course, who is the idiot who buys the cream cheese and jelly? It's hard, because I don't think anything is really bad in moderation, and things like crackers and CC&J used to be fine to keep in the house an occasional treat. But since the pickiness started, that's all she asks for <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: I guess the "occasional treat" days are over.<br><br>
And I don't actually make two "meals." I operate on the assumption that she will eat what we're eating. So I prepare, cook, set the table, make the sides, get the napkins and drinks etc, call them in to eat, we all sit down and I put one bite in my mouth, and get the whine: I don't liiiiiike this, I want something eeeeeeeelse... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: And I have to get up make something else, just when I was about to sit down and enjoy my meal.<br><br>
Anyway, I discussed it with her and explained that I can't make two dinners every night, and that I try hard to make meals that I think she'll like. So from now on she'll be in charge of getting her own replacement, or eating what she has. She said OK, so now it's up to me to plan a little better to accommodate her a bit. For example, Georgia made a good point about cleaner foods. It's funny, it used to be that her favorite things to eat were saucy, one-pot type meals. Now she won't touch them. I guess I'm having trouble evolving from that mindset. So I'll start planning simpler sides so she has some options, and some simpler meals, like chicken nuggets, which we all like of course <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Darn it, why do they always have to change just when we think we've got them down??? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Thanks for the advice and the help finding my spine, everyone!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>melissel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8156882"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks everyone <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> I guess my problem is more with the rejection aspect of it or something? I try hard to plan and shop for meals that they they'll eat, that they've eaten in the past, that they say they'll eat again--and then it burns me when they refuse!</div>
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You might consider whether they're refusing to eat the food in part because they know it matters to you.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">So from now on she'll be in charge of getting her own replacement, or eating what she has.</td>
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You know, I really don't understand why people let their kids get an alternative to the food that the rest of the family is eating for dinner, whether the adults make it or the child makes it themselves. Being a "picky eater" seems to me like one of those things that only happens in a culture of wealth and privilege. If I were to let my kids do that, I would feel as though I were allowing them to develop an excessive sense of entitlement.<br><br>
My husband and I both grew up in families where it would never have occurred to anyone that such a choice ought to be available. Of course our parents took our preferences into account, in that each week's menus usually included items that were particular favorites of each family member, but we couldn't just skip dinner and then get a sandwich later. It was one of those things that was so obvious that I don't think any of the kids ever even thought to ask about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>skueppers</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8161907"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You might consider whether they're refusing to eat the food in part because they know it matters to you.<br><br><br><br>
You know, I really don't understand why people let their kids get an alternative to the food that the rest of the family is eating for dinner, whether the adults make it or the child makes it themselves. <b>Being a "picky eater" seems to me like one of those things that only happens in a culture of wealth and privilege. If I were to let my kids do that, I would feel as though I were allowing them to develop an excessive sense of entitlement.</b><br><br>
My husband and I both grew up in families where it would never have occurred to anyone that such a choice ought to be available. Of course our parents took our preferences into account, in that each week's menus usually included items that were particular favorites of each family member, but we couldn't just skip dinner and then get a sandwich later. It was one of those things that was so obvious that I don't think any of the kids ever even thought to ask about it.</div>
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You know, ITA with you, espcially about the part I bolded. I really do. Which is why I think I struggle with the issue so much. However, my feelings about it are also colored by stories that have been told to me in my exploration of the issue. My mom, who is very mainstream about discipline and how children should speak and be spoken to, is very lax about this issue and will always happily make my DD something else, because she has memories of being made to eat the food that was cooked and gagging through meals because she didn't want the food so much, yet she knew the alternative was starving all night long until breakfast. I have another friend who remembers getting a beating (literally) because he didn't want to eat tripe for dinner one night, and now he expects his children to eat whatever's put in front of them. Plus, in general, I allow and expect my DDs to participate in making their own decisions about what they wear, the toys they play with, how they spend their own allowance (well, only the older one right now <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">) the music they listen to and the books they read, within the range of the acceptable and appropriate. So I believe that they should be treated the same way with regard to food. That said, obviously I am having a little trouble letting go of the "eat what I cooked for you" mindset! But when I really get down to it, my DD would be happy to eat healthy foods as an alternative 95% of the time, and I'm really trying to go with that. For example, tonight I made baked chicken and sweet potatoes, which normally she loves. However, the sweet potato was stringy (it was rather old), and the chicken was kind of dry. Instead, she happily ate her "dessert" instead--a huge mountain of watermelon and kiwi. What's really wrong with that?<br><br>
Maybe my feelings are overly colored by the GD board perspective, I don't know. I lean that way, though, FWIW! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> The more I think about the whole issue, the more I realize the problem is mine. Kids this age are picky. They are. And I've seen waaaaaaaaaay worse than my DD. I had a cousin who would only eat white spaghetti with butter and white bread for a long time, and her brother barely eats anything--they went through a phase where they would let him eat peanut butter and chocolate mixed together to get protein into him. My best friend's son is slowly but surely backing off the number of things he'll eat on a daily basis. So I'm pretty grateful for what my DD WILL eat. I think part of my anger here is that I'm feeling like, "I'm bending over backwards trying to accommodate you with foods you're supposed to like, and you won't eat them!!!!" Well, why the heck am I bending over backwards? It's just making me mad. My plan is just to make whatever I make--if she wants watermelon for dinner, well, it could be a lot worse.<br><br>
I don't know. I really do totally agree with you, and my DH, who grew up poor, thinks it's weird too, and has a "clean your plate before you can have dessert" mentality that comes out periodically. But I have so much stress in my life these days. I really can't do this every day too--it's too much. Does that make any sense?<br><br>
Oh, and ETA that if it ever got to the point where she was demanding cookies and McDonald's for dinner every day, we'd have a problem. But we don't buy a lot of real junk food, and we don't have fast so often that she thinks she can scream about it every day (though we do have it too often for my tastes, but that's a whole other post, in the Working Mamas forum right now as a matter of fact <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">). I think as long as she's eating healthy foods, it's something I can and should let go of a bit.<br><br>
ETA too, don't I see you around the GD board a lot? I'm kind of surprised to hear your perspective from a regular member of that board <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SusannahM</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8148575"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That's what we do. The eggs we have every morning for breakfast are a problem, though, since I don't know anything else to do with leftover scrambled eggs, but 1 egg leftover really isn't very expensive money-wise, so I don't worry about it.</div>
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Depending on your preferences... slap it between 2 pieces of bread with a little mayo and cheese for a sandwich. Wrap it in a tortilla with a little salsa for a burrito (you can microwave or steam it to warm it up). Mix it into leftover rice with some veggies for "fried rice".
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">You know, I really don't understand why people let their kids get an alternative to the food that the rest of the family is eating for dinner, whether the adults make it or the child makes it themselves. Being a "picky eater" seems to me like one of those things that only happens in a culture of wealth and privilege. If I were to let my kids do that, I would feel as though I were allowing them to develop an excessive sense of entitlement.<br><br>
My husband and I both grew up in families where it would never have occurred to anyone that such a choice ought to be available. Of course our parents took our preferences into account, in that each week's menus usually included items that were particular favorites of each family member, but we couldn't just skip dinner and then get a sandwich later. It was one of those things that was so obvious that I don't think any of the kids ever even thought to ask about it.</td>
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If there is other food in the house, then your children are living a completely different reality than a child in third world country. There is no getting around this fact. Our children see supermarkets full of food. Tables full of food. Pantry full of food. You can't suddenly say "Eat this or you get nothing else" to a child in that reality, without introducing what the child will recognize as an entirely personal power struggle. The child knows perfectly well there IS other food, it's just that you have arbitrarily decided to keep all control for yourself where food is concerned.<br><br>
If you were actually living hand to mouth, and didn't know where the next meal came from, of course your children would have a totally different reality. Children are very observant, and a child who is picky in the face of plenty, will probably eat whatever he is given when he has to struggle to find any food at all. But you can't make the first child act like the second child without engaging in mind games and power struggles that many of us remember from our own childhoods as extremely traumatic.<br><br>
I well remember my parents forcing me to sit for hours staring at a plate of food I would not eat, or serving it to me for breakfast. It was extremely upsetting. I knew there was other food. I could see it. This was about their need for me to express a level of total obedience which had nothing to do with the food. It became a power struggle. I was 4. They were adults. It isn't healthy for adults to need that level of control over a small child.<br><br>
You can't say it's about the food when it's about something deeper--obedience, emotional attachments to food, a need to "put the child in their place" by showing that if they want to eat they must bow to the preferences of the parent.<br><br>
For me I realized this was a petty control issue and not in line with the way I wanted to discipline. I question whether it is healthy for a parent to need such a sense of control over exactly what and when a child eats. Wouldn't it be wiser to teach them how to make good choices for themselves? I think guiding them towards good choices and providing healthy foods in the home is critical. But where I seem to differ is that I think it's good for a child to feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the food in the home. I don't want a perpetual infant. I want a child to understand what foods are in the home, how to prepare them, and yes, have the freedom to prepare, without waste or mess, a healthy snack if they happen to not want what I wanted for dinner.<br><br>
If we eat together it's not even about the food. It's about being together. I refuse to get into games or attach emotions to food choices. It should be about making healthy food choices. Not about me getting to make those choices for ds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>heartmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8164311"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If there is other food in the house, then your children are living a completely different reality than a child in third world country. There is no getting around this fact. Our children see supermarkets full of food. Tables full of food. Pantry full of food. You can't suddenly say "Eat this or you get nothing else" to a child in that reality, without introducing what the child will recognize as an entirely personal power struggle. The child knows perfectly well there IS other food, it's just that you have arbitrarily decided to keep all control for yourself where food is concerned.<br><br>
If you were actually living hand to mouth, and didn't know where the next meal came from, of course your children would have a totally different reality. Children are very observant, and a child who is picky in the face of plenty, will probably eat whatever he is given when he has to struggle to find any food at all. But you can't make the first child act like the second child without engaging in mind games and power struggles that many of us remember from our own childhoods as extremely traumatic.</div>
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Thanks Georgia, I was thinking along the same lines too, but didn't have it in me to figure out how to articulate it earlier. I'm so sorry you had to go through that as a kid. The more I hear about other people's families, the more blown away I am by what people will do to their own children in the name of discipline.<br><br>
FWIW, as a kid, it never occurred to me to complain about what was given to me. I never did eat broccoli and my parents were fine with that, but I don't think it ever would have occurred to me to ask for another meal. So I hear what Skueppers is saying there. But my kids are different. I cook a much greater variety of foods than my parents did. I buy a greater variety of snack-type foods than they did. My girls are well aware of what else is out there, what else is in the house, and what has been in the house in the past.<br><br>
This discussion has been so helpful to me--I've realized that the problem is my own expectations and standards, not my meal planning. Thanks to everyone who participated! (And I don't mean to kill the thread, I'd love to discuss it more if anyone wants to.)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>melissel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8162210"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Plus, in general, I allow and expect my DDs to participate in making their own decisions about what they wear, the toys they play with, how they spend their own allowance (well, only the older one right now <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">) the music they listen to and the books they read, within the range of the acceptable and appropriate. So I believe that they should be treated the same way with regard to food.</div>
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And so do I -- in as close as possible to the same way that everyone else in the family gets to participate in these decisions. Which, when it comes to food, means that she eats what she wants from the choices of acceptable "breakfast food" at breakfast, and from the choices of acceptable "lunch food" at lunch, chooses from available snack options when she's hungry at other times, and then eats dinner with the family. If we're debating between two options for what to eat for dinner, we ask for her opinion. This is the same as the way we treat ourselves, so I feel there's no major inconsistency there between the way the children and the adults are being treated. The adults also don't have the option of not eating dinner and having a sandwich instead! But if she wants to share my latte at breakfast, she's welcome to it. And if she has an idea for something that ought to be on the breakfast "menu" but isn't, we certainly give careful consideration as to whether it can be added.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>melissel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8162210"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">ETA too, don't I see you around the GD board a lot? I'm kind of surprised to hear your perspective from a regular member of that board <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"></div>
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While I'm into Gentle Discipline, I'm not into Consensual Living. I believe, for example, that children are not always capable of appreciating the consequences of their choices, and that part of my responsibility as a parent is to limit the choices available to them to ones that they are capable of making reasonably sound decisions about. Unlike some members of the GD board, I do not allow my 2 1/2 year old to decide her own bedtime (insofar as "bedtime" means she has to be in her room, not that she has to be asleep), because if I did, she wouldn't get enough sleep, and she's not yet capable of looking far enough ahead to see that if she doesn't get enough sleep today, she'll be miserable tomorrow. She's only recently reached the point where she's capable of appreciating that if she takes a nap, she has more fun later in the day. When she was wearing diapers, I didn't allow her to decide whether or not she was going to have them changed, because she wasn't at a point where she understood that the cause of her diaper rash was not having her diaper changed quickly enough.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>heartmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8164311"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I well remember my parents forcing me to sit for hours staring at a plate of food I would not eat, or serving it to me for breakfast.</div>
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And just to be clear, I would never advocate these types of strategies, which only serve to create a power struggle in which no one can possibly win. They seem to come from a mindset of "you must eat what is served," which I completely disagree with. I don't even believe in trying to cajole a 7-month-old into eating another spoonful of carrots, let alone in trying to force a preschooler to eat a plate of chicken and peas.
 

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As long at they ate something at dinnertime, if it's fruit or bread & butter or yogurt, salad, that was fine with me. But it wasn't okay to skip dinner entirely & come back an hour later wanting something else. Our kitchen was closed after the dishes were done. I guess I was lucky in that with 5 kids there wasn't too much of a problem--there was often a sibling peering at a plate asking "Are you going to finish that?" which probably spurred reluctant eaters on more than anything I would have done. Each of them had something they hated & we tried to work around that. Another thing I did was every Saturday post a simple weekly menu on the front of the fridge:<br><br>
Monday - spaghetti<br><br>
Tuesday - pot roast<br><br>
Wednesday - tacos<br><br>
This was because I got tired of driving in after work & having one of them jump on the side of the car saying "What's for dinner?" before I even got in the front door.
 

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When I cook, I make sure there is 1 thing that they'll eat. They don't HAVE to eat everything or try everything but if they don't like what is served I am NOT making them something else and they are not getting anything else till the next meal. If it is something new i give them a very small amount and I encourage them to try it.<br><br>
they are 5, 6 & 8 and other than the 5yo often will try new things and things they previously did not like they now do.
 
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