Confusing Situation about Food.

Megan - posted on 08/29/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I have two SS, one 15 and one 10. I have been in their lives for 9 years. Their dad and I have been married for about 4 years. We have joint custody with an EOW schedule, Monday night dinner night and half summer and holidays, etc. I would say we have a very good relationship in general. We tend to be close and they seem to be well adjusted.



A problem has arisen that is really upsetting to me. Basically, I have mentioned in other posts that my 10 year old SS is a really picky eater. One of those kids who survives on chicken nuggets and grilled cheese alone. So, when he turned 9 in Jan. 2008 we talked about how once he turned 10 I would no longer fix special food and he had an entire year to find some things that he liked to eat. It kind of worked. By the end of the year he discovered that he liked grilled chicken breasts, but had not made any decisions on fruits or vegetables.



So, Jan. 2009, he turns 10 and it begins. I start fixing him a plate of what the group is eating. He tried things for about 2 weeks. Still no veggies but he actually ate a bite of ground beef and tried chicken alfredo. Of course, he liked neither of these things. Since that time, he has been regressing. Won't try anything.



So, last weekend we were up at the lake staying with my mom and fixed a big breakfast on Sunday. Scrambled eggs, bacon, french toast, fruit salad, etc. So, we're all eating but B. I know he likes scrambled eggs, one reason I cooked them. So, why isn't he eating? Eggs are cold. Heat them up. Serve them again. No eating. Just sitting. Why aren't you eating? Eyes glaze over just sit there.



So, Dad talks to B. Dad asks B what the problem is? B says nothing wrong with the food, something happens that he just shuts down. Doesn't want to eat. Can't make himself take a bite.



Okay......Later. Out to dinner, know B is starving because he's hardly eaten all weekend. Order cheese pizza, which he likes. He hardly takes a bite. Why? Can't say. Same thing. Blank stare, not eating.



Cut to......Monday night, dinner night. Stop at Wendys to get B something because the rest of us are cooking dinner in the dutch ovens at Boy Scouts. 5 piece nuggets. B eats only 2. Why? Older brother wants us to go drive by a car that is for sale. B is dragging to bug his older brother. I say something to the affect of "Finish them if you are going to because we've got to go soon." No yelling, no mean tone, just saying. Then it happens, the big shut down. So, then I kind of have an epiphany. It's me. It is the sound of my voice it is me that makes him shut down and not eat. I say something to that affect "Oh my gosh. It's me who is causing this." B does not disagree. So, B and I didn't really talk for the rest of the night.



Anyhow...the next time we have the boys is the weekend of Sept. 11 and I'm really at a loss. I kind of just want to let dad handle dinner, and go work out or something, but I know that won't go well. And, I dont know if I want to back off our family dinners. Do I just cook him nuggets and not say a word to him or do I cook him what we are eating and not say a word, knowing he won't eat anything. I really don't know, but its kind of breaking my heart that he seems to have a problem with me now after years of not having one. The tension around meal time is getting palpable where even I don't feel like sitting down with the family.



And, no, getting him to help shop or pick ingredients or cook dinner with me will not help. I have tried it all. And, it is not something that I can discuss with his mother. At his moms they get the fast food of their choice every night and this will not change. Ever.



I'm kind of at a point where I feel like, okay if I'm the problem then I just will really back off. Won't lead your cub scout den meetings, won't help with spelling words, won't tuck you in, won't play games with you or read you books. But, I don't want to be petty, but still.



Any suggestions?

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7 Comments

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Robin - posted on 09/08/2009

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Oh the other thing that I notice you mentioned in your reply is that your having a hard time getting them to do things because you dont get much time,

I have gone through this myself with my SD, and I just stayed consistent, things may go her way at her moms, BUT at this house this is how we do it, kind of thing. And at our house things like smacking her lips while eating NOT TOLERATED, if you do that again you will be done eating until the next meal. If you break down and cry when there is no reason you can go to your room until you are ready to come out and have a big girl conversation (she is 7 Im not being unreasonable) If you dont eat your dinner you dont get anything else till breakfast, same with any meal etc, I also tell her you know I love you and I do these things not to be mean but because I want the best for you, and for you to succeed in life! I just say let the punishment fit the crime and STICK WITH IT, even when its hard if you falter at all, the kid knows you will eventually give in to THEM.

My step daughter since she found out that we were having another baby has been trying to get dad by herself constantly and trying to leave me and my son out, obviously it doesnt work BUT, the other day, he tells her he has to go over to his moms to finish some work he promised her, and I say we are going to go to the pool since its probably the last nice weekend of the summer while its still open (the one at our apts) and she begs to go with dad, and he says there wont be any fun Im just going over there to work, and we both get upset that she is throwing a fit over getting to do something she loves, and finally he says ok but you have to sit down and not do anything because you threw a fit,

I say NO, that is what she wants whether or not she gets to have fun in her mind she got her way by even being there with you! so I told her NO go get your swim suite on and we are going swimming and she cried at first but we had fun down at the pool.

Robin - posted on 09/08/2009

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my step daughter when I came into the picture all she ate was what dad got her which was mcdonalds chicken nuggets and hot cocoa in the morning and candy for breakfast, and I said this isnt ok! she would cry but I fixed a nice dinner and she wouldnt eat and dad offered to get her nuggets and guess what she was hungry again,

BUT I PUT MY FOOT DOWN, she was not only doing it to get her way but there was her jealousy of me and knew dad would come to her rescue, I said NO, this is not how its going to be and we fought at first, and she would be picky just to get dad to tell me to leaver he alone, but I stuck to my guns, and she ate what ever we ate, and if she didnt she was not allowed to eat until the next meal and still had to eat what WE were eating, right from the start I didnt put up with this for ONE SECOND, and eventually they will eat when they are hungry enough, its not mean or cruel, but they need to know they dont control what is going on in the house. and I fix things that typically kids will eat, I dont fix things that gross kids out. and she used to not like things just because dad didnt like them and did EXACTLY what he did, and I said you know what you are only saying that because dad is, and then when I make her try it she winds up liking it, sometimes acts like she doesnt because she wants to do the silent I told you so thing,


But what ever you do, DONT BACK DOWN, they will push until they know you will give in, but if you never give in they get over it,


My last and final thought, is it sounds like he also might be developing an eating disorder, when he feels like his life is out of control he is controlling his food, the internal thing that says YOU CANT MAKE ME! Boys get eating disorders too!

Mandee - posted on 09/08/2009

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I don't think it's you personally. I don't think feeding him just nuggets is good either specially if all he eats is fast food when he's not with you. I'm in a similar situation there but not to your extremes.

Yes he's a picky eater, that i won't disagree with. But what worries me is the fact that you also offer food that he likes and won't eat. To me that sounds like something psychological. Has his bm noticed the same thing? Either way, i would recommend talking to his doctor and school counselor and see what their take is on this.

Jaci - posted on 09/01/2009

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this could be something a nutritionist could possibly help with, almost like a therapist would for other family issues. Actually both may be able to pin point if there is another reason behind any of this.

Sally - posted on 09/01/2009

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One thing I learned from my very picky sd, you never win food battles. The other thing I learned (from a pediatrician) is that children won't starve themselves. Probably the less attention you give to this behavior the better. A very simple, this is what we are having for dinner is all. We have a rule of a no-thank you bite, in our house which has worked...she is still picky but eating more things because of it. You always have to take a no-thank you bite, if you don't like it you don't have to eat it and after that you leave t alone. Good luck, try not to let it get to you...the more you put a smile on your face and show that it is no big deal to you if he choses to be silly about his food, the less power you will give him and the better you will feel. :)

Megan - posted on 08/30/2009

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Thanks for your advice Carianne. I don't really know about what he would have discussed with BM recently. When we came up with our plan in Jan.08 I know it was discussed, because I talked to BM on the phone and she told me all about a plan they had to expand B's palate when he turned 10. It sounded remarkably like our plan. This coopting of our ideas happens all the time. This made me happy because I thought that we would be on the same page about the food. No.



We have tried the take a bite rule. For example I served B a spoon of corn. About 5 kernals of corn. I asked him to take a bite and he wanted to eat one kernal. I said no, eat the hole bunch, that is a bite. He wouldn't do it. Sat at the table. Just sat there.



I have asked him what the worst that could happen if he takes a bite and doesn't like it. He says he will throw up. I tired to explain that most people who eat things they don't like don't throw up. This only happens when you are so fixated on it that you make yourself throw up. Its okay to try things and not like them but noone on the planet dislikes every food. Then I just said, okay so you throw up. So what?



It does seem to be a control issue. It has gone on for so long and when he was little I really believed that it was the only thing he could control and so didn't think too much of it. I thought he would grow out of it, like his brother did. Now, he has lost so much weight I think only a therapist or something could get to what is really wrong. I think he is never in this situation at his BM house because they aren't trying to get him to eat anything out of his comfort zone. BM doesn't cook.



The other thing is that we are having the opposite problem with my 15 year old SS. He is overweight and seems to have a compulsive eating problem. He has been diagnosed with high blood pressure (at 15!!) and so we are trying to work with him on his diet. He doesn't get enough exercise but on our visitation schedule we just don't have a ton of control over the boys eating habits. Heck, I can hardly get themto use napkins or silverware. The entire thing is kind of appalling and frustrating. Thankyou again.

Carianne - posted on 08/29/2009

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Hi Megan,



First I want to say IT'S NOT YOU!!!



It sounds like your SS is very conflicted. Could he have discussed your new food rules with his BM?? Would she have had an issue with your tactic?? I gotta say you got to much further lengths then I ever would have with my boys. We have a "Take a bite (a good bite not a mouse sized bite) if you don't like it then you don't have to eat it but I'm not making you a whole other meal" rule. It works for us and both my boys are fussy about their food. (One rarely eats meat and only certain veggies, the other wont eat anything mixed up, no cheese, no nuts, no fish, no tomatoes).



My thought is that there is something else going on and food is just the trigger. The one small thing in his world that he can control. Push to find out what's going on, talk to your other SS. Don't pull away, B needs to know you are there for him 100%.



Good Luck

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