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<p>I am at my wit's end with DD lately and her behavior, although I readily admit that she is usually so well behaved that my standards are quite high (read: I think this behavior is all normal for a kid but I'm overwhelmed because I'm not used to it).</p>
<p>Picky eating, nothing tastes right and she'll constantly ask for food (because she probably IS hungry) but refuses to eat more than a roll of bread or an apple. She used to love olives and kidney beans as a snack, pepperoni pizza and like any kids would be happy about french fries at a restaurant. Nope. Not now. Nothing good enough. Half way through a meal and she will decide she hates the food and won't eat.</p>
<p>Sugar obsession - constantly begging for treats, chocolate, etc. We don't as a family over-indulge or restrict - if we want to stop for ice cream on the way home we certainly do but at the same time I don't keep a ton of it in the house because, well my freezer is full. But DD is obsessed with treats and is constantly asking to buy an ice cream at the park, get a chocolate at the grocery, buy doughnuts at the grocer etc.</p>
<p>Bossy/talk back/tantrums etc. quite often.</p>
<p>So I think it is 1. transition (we just moved from the US to Australia) and 2. the age How do you get through whiny, tough, frustrating behavior even when you know there is nothing to be DONE to "fix" what is probably normal childhood behavior?</p>
<p>What we are doing:</p>
<p>1. spending a lot of family time going to parks, doing activities, talking and playing board games</p>
<p>2. trying to talk to her about the eating when it is not crisis-point "I'm going to make spaghetti with red sauce for dinner, do you want garlic bread with that tonight like you like?" Then, two bites in, "I hate spaghetti!"</p>
<p>I feel like I must be missing something I can to do help her transition (she is at summer school at her new school right now because she begged to go for a few weeks before our family two week vacation right after Xmas) in a way that is less grating for her father and I. Please tell me I'm missing something I can fix!</p>
 

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<p>Well, you are right that this is v. v. normal behaviour for the age, and I'm sure the big move has played a huge part in it.  It sounds like she is trying to find a way to take control of her life iykwim, with her sudden food pickiness.  I know it's not what you want to hear, but I think a big part of "dealing" with this will be just waiting it out.  She's gone through a pretty major upheaval and I imagine it will take a while adjust.</p>
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<p>My thoughts.... I think what I would do (re. food) is to try to take any power struggle out of it.  I'd be inclined to institute a rule of "you can choose to eat what we're having for dinner, or you can have a peanut butter sandwich" (or whatever simple alternative works for you guys).  If she says she wants what's for dinner I think I'd either serve her a small portion (with 2nds, 3rds and more available when she's finished what's on her plate), or make dinner a "serve yourself" affair with all the dishes laid out on the table.  If she takes 2 bites and says she doesn't want anymore I'd say "would you like a peanut butter sandwich?"  If she says no I'd say "ok, you can be excused".  No big arguments or coercions to take "just one more bite" or anything like that.  The thought is that you have your "rule" in place (in our case it's eat your dinner or the pb sand), and you take the emotion out of it.  It puts the ball in her court, yk - eat dinner, eat sandwich, not eat right now, whatever - and you're not going to engage in any kind of power struggle.</p>
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<p>For general whininess and complaining what I do with dd is ask her to rephrase or ask again.  So if she says something like "I WANT MILK!!!" in a demanding whiny tone, I might say "can you find a nicer way to ask?", and she'll say "may I have some milk please?".  In the beginning I did a lot of modeling of how I'd like her to ask.  Her: "I WANT MILK!!!".  Me: "milk please".  Her: "milk please".  When not in the moment I talk in various ways about the concept of "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar", and about how when you're around other people you're responsible for treating them with respect (ie. if she wants to have a pouty whiny freak-out she's welcome to do so, but in the privacy of her room - this is not appropriate behaviour when in a group of people).</p>
 

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<p>I forgot... re. the treats.  Perhaps here too you can take away the power struggle.  Come up with your "rule".  Maybe you can have one treat every day (for ex.), or, as we'll put it, 7 treats a week.  So every week she gets 7 "treat tokens".  She can spend them as she sees fit (with whatever limitations you set from the get-go, like no sweets right before bed, or whatever you come up with).  Once the 7(5, 2, whatever) tokens are gone they're gone.  The treat control is out of your hands and into hers.  You all comply by the "treat rules", she gets to decide when to "buy" her treats, and it's in her control if she gets one treat a day, eats 7 on the weekend or whatever.  This is just an example, of course.  You can tweak the system in whatever way to make it acceptable for your family (it could be "weekend is treat time - you have 3 tokens to spend over the weekend.  Once they're gone they're gone." for ex.).</p>
 

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<p>Good advice...thank you.....I think I will start the treat tokens because I think that will work with her.We went to the farmers market this morning and she asked for water which was $3 a bottle, we live three blocks away so I told her that I would not buy a bottle but give her a drink when we got home (she'd been drinking water with breakfast 20 minutes prior at home) and she SCREAMED the whole way home.  It is a power struggle, when I step back I can see it but darn if I don't feel like I'm living with an emotional terroist.  Lord give me the patience.  </p>
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