Spoiled brats... picky eaters

Sharon - posted on 04/04/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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This blogger says what I've been saying all along. STOP INDULGING YOUR BRAT. Seriously. you've done this. You've created this. if your child won't eat - its because YOU allow this to happen.



http://www.kitchendaily.com/2010/03/29/p...



If that doesn't show as a link - copy & paste to your browser window.



but here is CP text from the article.,.



Wyatt, KJ, Lily, Sam, and Jo (courtesy KJ Dell Antonia)Imagine for a moment, that, for a week, your picky-eater child has no options. That every day, three meals are presented, and if he or she doesn't eat them, that's it. There is no grocery store, there is no pantry, there is no fridge. It's not even "my way or the highway," because there is no highway. This was our life, for one week last summer.



My husband, my mother Jo, and I took our three kids (then 7, 5 and 3) to China to adopt our fourth child (a 3-year-old daughter). Before we reached her province, the rest of us were caught up in China's stringent H1N1 quarantine. My husband spent a week locked in a tiny hospital cell with a mild case, served three meals a day through an air-lock window like the one they use at Harold's Chicken on Chicago's far South Side. The rest of us rode it out in quarantine, five confused Westerners amidst several hundred similarly exposed Chinese. We were served three meals a day, at first in our room, then buffet style. Three Chinese meals. Small amounts of meat or fish, with vegetables, in sauces. Noodles. Dumplings. Shrimp, complete with heads and tails.



It wasn't that we didn't expect to eat Chinese food in China (and lots of it). It was that suddenly, I didn't control when or what the kids were eating, and neither-once they'd chosen among the day's offerings-did they. We pointed, said thank you, took the food, and gathered around a table, all of us -- three kids, me and my mother -- on equal footing. What is that? We don't really know. What does it taste like? Well, somebody try it. Seven-year-old Sam discovered a love of curry; 4-year-old Lily, steamed buns; Wyatt, 3, ate snails. The rest of us had one bite each and agreed that although snail tasted ok, it was rubbery.



We did not have, all week, one single argument about the food on our plates. This is what led to my horrible realization: my kids will eat anything. They're human beings, and if you put edible food in front of hungry humans, they'll take what they need to get by.



Therefore, if they've been picky at home -- turned up their noses at a perfectly good meal or thrown a tantrum because we have the wrong kind of Pop Tarts -- it's because I've let them.



Which really, really blew. I never pandered to special requests at home, cooking a different dinner for each kid or providing a plate upon which nothing touches anything else. But every time I opened the pantry, or offered a snack an hour after the breakfast dishes were cleared, I was essentially saying, "heck, no, don't eat it if you don't like it. Don't even try it if it doesn't look good. You'll get something you like better before you even have time to get hungry." And so they waited. Once China said eat it or don't eat it, but there isn't gonna be anything else -- they ate.



This hasn't been an easy lesson to bring home. For one thing, there's no buffet here -- if I want them to try new things and eat whole foods, I have to cook them. For another, they're not fools. They know we have snacks in the pantry, and even if we don't, there's food at school and at the store and at the gas station and everywhere we look. The truth is that eventually, into every American child's life, some Goldfish will fall -- but, at our house, not nearly as often as they once did. If there is chili, there will no longer also be cereal; if there are apples, there need not also be chips. Because I have seen these kids eat snail, and now I know their secret: if I let them get a little hungry, they'll eat.



Can't get quarantined? Then try this at home:

1) Don't offer an alternative to dinner, and give no seconds on any food until everything has been at least tasted.

2) Skip snacks. When kids come in starving for dinner, get them out of the pantry and into setting the table or chopping vegetables. (In a pinch, put salad out first.)

3) Go for a nice, long hike with a healthy picnic.

4) Just don't buy it. If there are no cookies in the pantry, there are no cookies in the pantry.

5) Offer "weird" foods again and again and again (and again). Experts say it can take as many as seven "exposures" before a kid takes to a new food.

6) Don't give up, and don't give in. No kid ever starved to death because the only food on offer wasn't white.



edited to change a "7" to the "&" symbol... lol

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11 Comments

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Tracy - posted on 04/05/2010

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I've never allowed my kids to be picky, period. If you don't like it, fine you don't have to eat it, but you're also not getting anything else. My son doesn't like potatos in any form, which is fine, so he's learned to eat more of the broccoli. If there's something new offered, I have a rule: try it. IF at that point you honestly do not like it, fine. You'll get a pb&j this once because it's a totally new thing. Usually, though, we try a small bit of something new as an appetizer, then serve something we know they'll love for dinner. They weren't keen on sushi on the first try, so next time they want to try the rolls. :)



It's all in what they're offered. If there's a bunch of choices, they're going to go for the most unhealthy. As for snacks in our house, it's fruit, veggies, or cheese. Period. At their father's, he buys cookies and whatnot. That's fine. He can feed them garbage and deal with the consequences.

Firebird - posted on 04/05/2010

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My kid is a picky eater. But that's just toodamn bad for her! She can eat what I put infront of her or she can go hungry. That's what my mom did with us kids. I'm a picky eater too but my mom was never a short order cook.

[deleted account]

Yeah, it's an NZ show, I watched it a a Kiwi friends house on DVD - excellent!! I'm glad it's being shown here in Australia soon (Channel 9). The guy makes a lot of sense and it's nice to know that my parenting is not harsh but quite normal!! Sorry you US guys are missing out!

Eleisha - posted on 04/05/2010

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Wonderful, I am in absolute agreement!
Sheree; what channel? Would love to watch this; but haven't seen anything about it?

Lucy - posted on 04/05/2010

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This is so true (in most cases), kids won't choose to starve!

We are a vegetarian household, so it was automatic for veggies to be our kids first foods, and as they form the main part of every meal they would be pretty hungry if they "just wouldn't eat them" as I sometimes hear from other mums. They also eat a lot of so called "weird foods" like tofu, soya beans and quorn to get enough protein, and have never questioned eating these foods because they are just expected to tuck in. If, when they are a bit bigger and want to try fish fingers or something at a friends house, that's fine with me, but at home they get what they are given!

I would disagree with cutting out snacks though- My 2 year old son eats SO much at every meal but is very active and has inherited his dad's metabolism so there is not an extra ounce of fat on him, so for him healthy but high calorie snacks (like oat cakes and cream cheese) are a must.

I hope that show makes it over here to the UK at some point!

Sheree - posted on 04/04/2010

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Not sure where it is filmed, but it doesnt start for a few more weeks, but the previews look great :) The link you posted looks like the one I have seen advertised, same host.

[deleted account]

I agree with this. If my kids don't eat their meal, that's it... they don't eat. I'd love to see that show you are talking about, Sheree. I think it would be very interesting.

Sheree - posted on 04/04/2010

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Great Post Sharon :) Not sure where you are located but there is a new tv show starting called Politically Incorrect Parenting, its all about things like this and how if a child is fat/chubby/over weight, its the parents fault. I cant wait to see it and the outcry from people after it has been aired.

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