Fighting at the table

Kelly - posted on 06/22/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )

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Anyone have suggestions or tips for a good eater who suddenly wants to fight about what's being served? My daughter has numerous food allergies, which severely limits what I can give her, but has always been a great eater who would eat anything I gave her. Past few weeks she suddenly started throwing tantrums at the table and refusing to eat most anything that isn't cereal, chicken nuggets, hot dog, or banana. Has anyone been dealing with this also, or have any ideas to get past this with her still eating her veg and fruit?

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Judy - posted on 06/23/2010

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My 18mth old does the same to some extent. It's not so much refusing to eat what she is given and wanting specific things, more looking at her dinner and deciding she does not want it. If you try to make her eat it she just digs her heels in further and will sometimes swipe at her bowl to push it away. We just move the bowl off her high chair tray and say to her, "that's ok, you don't have to eat it, but you do have to stay in your chair while the rest of us eat and there is nothing else, you will go to bed without dinner as soon as we are all finished". Usually about half way through the meal she decides to tuck in and eat. We do not offer her other options and just wait for her to eat what she has been given. Saying that, there are a few nights when she has gone to bed with pretty much no dinner, that's her choice. She eats her breakfast in the morning and the next day happens as normal. We know she will not starve, it is just a matter of teaching them that there is no other option, especially when what she has been served is something that she has always eaten. Stay strong and don't give in to the tantrums.

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Natasha - posted on 07/14/2010

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cereal, chicken nuggets, hot dog, or banana......she will be fine with this I promise. My mother told me all I ate for a while was boiled egg, toast and cake. The doctor told her dont worry she will soon get bored just introduce new foods casually if she doesnt want it say nothing and take it away. My mother said she used t slip pieces of fruit and veg in my hand and pretend to eat it too sometimes it worked sometimes it didnt. May I say I am now a healthy 31 year ols who loves cooking, eating and trying new foods.....dont worry the more fuss you make the more fuss they make.

My soon did try to become fussy I just ignored him carried on offering the foods I always had and new ones if he ate it good if not no alternative was give.....plus I find smothies and tomotoe ketchup a god send.....Good Luck x x x

Elisa - posted on 07/09/2010

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My guy just started this too. He is a really good eater, so it's been a shock to see him stop eating foods that were top hits a week ago. It makes me feel better to know that it's part of him growing up. But I will be happy to take any suggestions.

Jenna - posted on 07/09/2010

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My daughter is also going through a similar stage. I asked her doctor at her 18 month checkup and she assured me that this is completely normal. At this age, they are not growing as fast as they were, and therefore do not need as much food. As long as your daughter is eating at least one good meal a day, she will not starve. If she were hungry enough, she would eat what you serve her. My doctor suggested offering her one other thing other thing other than whats being served for dinner and if she still refuses to eat, excuse her from the table.

Candyce - posted on 07/07/2010

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my 3 yr old daughter is a troublesome eater, we have come to this answer: she'll eat when she gets hungry or allow healthy food choices she wants. as long as is good healthy food we allow it

[deleted account]

My son has been doing the same thing as well. I mentioned this to the nurse when he had his 18 month check up and she suggested he may simply be tired and overwhelmed with what's on offer (even though it's generally a one-dish meal). So now when he kicks up a fuss I offer something simple i.e. a banana and so far that's worked well. I'm also bringing his dinner forward slightly so he eats a bit earlier and that's working as well. I'm also offering new, nutritious meals at lunch after his sleep as he's more refreshed and ready to tuck into something a bit different then, rather than at the end of the day.

Jenna - posted on 07/04/2010

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My daughter went through the same thing. One of our biggest deals was that she would not eat meat or veggies aloneand would not eat anything green (weird I know). I started mixing things up. Mac-N- Cheese with hamburger and corn mixed in, tator tot hotdish, pasta with sauce with meat and veggies mixed in, mashed potatoes with gravy and hamburger mixed in...etc. She loved it. Also things like ketchup, salad dressings, or gravys helped a lot. She still eats very little but she is eating. And she refuses food if I try to feed her but if you give her a spoon and bowl of food she will eat it herself. She is just independent! If she did not eat she still had to sit in the chair until the family is done because that is how I was raised. I too will not offer her a different meal than what the rest of us are eating.

Holly - posted on 07/01/2010

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ps- we do 'picnic' night on the floor. whatever I bring out on a tray and we eat on a blanket - he'll eat!

Holly - posted on 07/01/2010

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V8. sounds weird but my son loves it! I also make numerous smoothies, fruit pizzas (whole grain thin bun with whipped cream cheese and strawberry slices or mashed avocado) - sounds weird but it's a winner. I also make alot of sunbutter and jam sandwiches on various types of breads, buns etc.... oh, and 3-bean salad is a favorite too. I think it's the tartness (he likes pickles).

Sian - posted on 07/01/2010

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I've found that at a certain age toddlers don't want adults sticking food in their face, they'd rather eat it themselves. And, there can't be too much chaos or expectation going on either. Some tips:
-Give her a fork or spoon that she can hold easily and help guide her to pick up the food and eat it.
-Clear the table of other food or distracting items, turn off the radio/CD player etc.
-Have the whole family eat together so she knows what's expected of her. A casual restaurant might work too, since she can see that everyone else is sitting down and eating.
-If she really won't eat more than a few bites, let her wander around and come back to you for bites of fruit, crackers, a sippy cup of milk and Carnation Instant Breakfast and she'll be fine to last through the night without being hungry, I think.

[deleted account]

my daughter has been doing the same thing. she is a pretty good eater but she is very specific what she wants, and doesn't eat very much. this has been going on for about 3-4 weeks now. My pediatrician says it's completely normal, and just let them crave what they want and next week, it might be something else she turns to. Try looking up Jessica Seinfeld's recipies online (jerry seinfeld's wife). They give you tips on how to hide veggies in food and my daughter loves it!

[deleted account]

OK, first, she's not going to starve to death. She can eat what is in front of her, or not. Do not give her anything else. Missing a meal or two will not kill her. Make sure she's not over snacking, though. And use reason - if she's sick or something, just give her what she wants even if it nothing but banana for a week.

Advice #2. There are lots of cookbooks with advice to get kids to eat veges. I use Anabel Karmel, especially her vege bites recipe which is like a homemade garden burger, or the savory corn or carrot muffins. My kid loves his veges now, thanks to her! So if you haven't tried it already, give it a go. I make him several dishes worth (since it's a bit of effort, best to do a lot at once) and freeze it for later use.

Good luck!

Laurie - posted on 06/30/2010

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Hi! My daughter ate everything too! Now the only meat she will eat is chicken or hotdogs, and only corn and french fries (even tried sweet potatoe fries without luck) She will eat almost any fruit. I serve anything I make to her anyways and I dont fight with her. I let her eat what she wants. Eventually she will grow out of this stage (I hope anyways!;) (my son who is 3 1/2 is the same way STILL and I have given him a multivitamin gummy daily since he was 2 even though my doctor said it wasnt necessary)

Avi - posted on 06/30/2010

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I have recently posted a topic called 'Picky Eater' and have received similar responses to this topic.

My toddler (19 months tomorrow) will only eat a limited things too. He won't eat meat, will spit it out. He'll eat vegies like carrots, brocolli and now all I find he likes is mac and cheese. He does eat a lot more variety at childcare for some reason. I have given up fighting. I still offer the food. Sometimes if you keep offering then he'll give it a go. I read a book saying you have to offer TWENTY times before they start to eat something!!

Good luck don't panic too much.

Colleen - posted on 06/29/2010

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So glad I'm not the only one with problems at the dinner table, my son refuses to sit in the high chair, holds his breath and throws tantrums. I tried forcing him in, but it just makes us all miserable. He started sitting to the table but that only lasted a few days, then he started choosing the chair he wanted to sit in, and now he won't sit up at all (unless he is on our lap) I don't know if I should keep with the high chair or let him decide when he wants to sit to the table.. so hard..I feel after reading some of the posts here that it must be a control thing- just not sure how i should handle it..

Jodene - posted on 06/29/2010

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Oh my gosh, my boy went through this. For about 2 months, he lived on watermelon and milk (basically). I couldn't get ANYTHING into him. My philosophy is, choose your battles. If she doesn't want to eat, get her down from the table and have that be it. Try a few times, but don't stress over it. At this point, our little ones are all about expressing their independence and finding some autonomy - controlling what they put in their mouths is one of the only things they do have control over.

They'll go through so many phases (my gf's daughter lived on toast and jam for dinner's, for a month), I'd just pick my battles. She'll start eating again eventually. As long as she's still drinking, and not losing a lot of weight, she'll be fine.

Katrina - posted on 06/29/2010

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So in theory I agree with giving my son what we are eating without other options, but the times when he completely refused to eat and I didn't supplement with anything else he woke up in th e middle of the night hungry . I gave him a snippy cup of milk and put him down again, but he was still hungry. I ended up giving him a snack. I'm hoping for some advice because I don't feel right just letting him cry at night.

Melita - posted on 06/29/2010

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Hi! Tantrum-just ignore.In my house my Mia need to try, we gave her 4 times on plate what she didn't like and 5th she tried and she was eating.Banana- we do not talk we straed to eat in front of her and she wanted a bite, as well in front of her friends we gave her smomething and they eat together.Good luck!

Stevi - posted on 06/28/2010

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My son is the same way he used to eat anything i put in front of him. He really liked meat. now he will eat fish sticks, chicken nuggets, but not regular chicken. he will eat pizza and fruit. and noodles this is it. he does not like cake or ice cream or any type of gummy candy.. i don't know if this is strange or not

Iliana - posted on 06/28/2010

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I think this is pretty normal for all toddlers. I just served him a variety of food (meat, veggie, bread/carbs) and let him eat what he wanted. Sometimes it was only the veggies and sometimes only the meat. He seems to be eating better now, so maybe it had a little to do with the cold he had or his teething. Hang in there and like everyone said..."A child will not starve" :-)

Jo - posted on 06/26/2010

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just been/going through through a similar thing with DS who is 18.5 month old. Absolutely this is about them testing their boundaries so all the advice about 'giving them opportunity' then off to bed is the go. I also got sick of the waste of food so started ONLY making what I wanted and eating together - helped because he was interested in it because it was mine. Also anything eaten in a cafe was instantly interesting. terrible for the budget, but if you have some where local that does already know you, talk to them about it - take your food in and finish or start with a coffee/babychino that you do pay for. If they are decent people, or at least recognise business opportunity to build trade, you should be able to work something out. If its summer where you are [winter and raining here] then have dinner as a picnic in the park for a change in scene -or even the garden if you have grass!

re: food allergy. this is going to sound like tough love, but having been through it myself - there maybe times you need to suck it up and only make meals the whole family can eat.

good luck to us all

Heather - posted on 06/26/2010

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I have 2 kids with food allergies. My son is allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts and tree nuts. My daughter just eggs. I have found the BEST cook book ever. I make food the whole family eats. On occasion my husband and I will eat here are amazing desserts in there too!
http://www.dairyfreeeggfreekidpleasingco...

Beccie - posted on 06/26/2010

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I went through this a few months ago when my LO was about 14 months. He refused just about every meal for 2 months ! I was so stressed and it was a major battle for the first couple of weeks. Then I realised I had to be stronger than him, so didnt show him my frustration. I put the meal infront of him and gave him 5 min to start feeding himself. After that I tried to feed him, and if he still refused it then it got taken away from him with no alternative offered and he waited until next meal time. After about 6 weeks of this I did start to get a bit worried so spoke to his Health visitor who said I was doing exactly the right thing as he was just testing me to see who could win, and he had somehow even gained a pound in weight throughout this lol !! After about 2 months he did start to eat better, although even now he still refuses some meals that he used to eat before all this started. Just be strong and remember they wont starve, if they are hungry enough they will eat. good luck x

Kristen - posted on 06/25/2010

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I find it's all about my daughter showing that she doesn't have to do what I want her to do. You have to keep your cool... I find that 2 favourites are yoghurt & pro-nutro. Mixed mash, sweetpotato & gravy with a bit of rice mixed in is also ok.

Danielle - posted on 06/24/2010

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Have you tried Chicken Pot pies? My daughter is in the bottom 5th percentile for her weight for an 18 month old. They suggested Carnation Instant Breakfast. Tastes better then pediasure and smells better too, lots of vitamins and they told me I could mix it in with mashed potatoes and other foods as well...

Amanda - posted on 06/24/2010

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The last time I tired to get him to eat and he was not interested my husband and I did no give him anything else and for the next 2 hours he kept signing and screaming for food. Help!

Kim - posted on 06/24/2010

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I have the same problem. My son is allergic to dairy and starting to refuse food. I think he is just tired of the same old thing and he sees what we eat and wants that. I always try to cook everything non-dairy as best I can, but sometimes the others like mac n cheese. The doctor says he is still growing normally and his diapers are still normal, so I'm not too worried. I just continually look for new recipes or products that he can eat with his allergies to combat the food boredom. Hang in there!

Emily - posted on 06/23/2010

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More than anything, it is a personality/behavior thing. She is learning that she can and does control an outcome. She is trying to assert herself. Don't worry-- a child will NOT STARVE-- I promise! Just keep with it!

Ella - posted on 06/22/2010

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Does she like mashed potatoes? If she does mash carrots up in it or cut up green beans in it.

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