Sent to bed without dinner

[deleted account] ( 30 moms have responded )

Has this topic been discussed on here already? Sorry if it has...I missed it.

If not, what is your opinion about sending a child to bed without any supper? Is it OK to do as punishment? Is it OK if they don't like what you have made for supper and don't want to eat it? Or in that case would you offer them an alternative?

Personally, I do not feel that is it OK as a punishment. I would think that is child abuse. My son is only 14 months so we haven't had any meal time troubles yet. But if he didn't want to eat what I made him, then I would probably at least make him a piece of toast or something before he went to bed.


Melissa - posted on 02/11/2010




Well i wouldn't give in too much just because they dont want to eat what you made. My nephew had this problem, all kids go through a stage where they only want to eat "comfort foods" The key is NOT to give in because then thats all they will eat. My nephew now 8 has nutrition issues which is now affecting his schooling, and at this age its harder to break the habit and they cant not feed him something. Every time we have dinner we have to make his dinner separate, its really a pain. My advice is keep making dinner and just sit and wait for him to eat what you made. This article i did read said that it is okay for a child to miss supper once in a while it wont hurt them, but it will teach them that you wont cater to their "wants" basically your letting them know, "this is what i made, this is what you'll eat"!

Minnie - posted on 02/15/2010




We don't use punishment in our house, so it goes without saying that I wouldn't send my child to bed without food for one.

Denying a child food for a power-trip? Poor parenting, in my opinon.

If my three year old doesn't eat what we make for dinnger she's allowed to have something else healthy. If cookies and crackers is all that's appealing, well, that's a natural consequence. In that case, yes she does go to bed without eating, but of her own choice, after offered something else healthy to eat.

But we never use it to punish, ever.

Jodi - posted on 02/21/2010




I agree Charlene. To be honest, when I first read this and responded, I was also just thinking along the lines of, well, if you aren't eating your dinner you can go without. That's the only time my kids go to bed without dinner - I would never use it as punishment for something else.

And honestly, it has happened so rarely, it is a non-issue these days. They know the rules. You eat what I cook, or you go without. But my kids are old enough to know better, and old enough to learn not to be so fussy. And I really do make an effort to cook a family meal that I know everyone likes (which is a large variety in our house). But I'd never serve it up again for breakfast!!!!

Charlene - posted on 02/21/2010




I've never known anyone that has said "Since you bit your brother you will go to bed with no supper!"... Do people actually take away supper to punish for something completely unrelated?

That would be abuse IMO.

It's different though if the child just refuses to eat supper. I know people who will send their kids to bed without anything if they refuse to eat what's on their plate. The children are allowed to come back downstairs if they get hungry, but they have to eat what was made for them, they don't get anything else. In that case, I think it's the child's choice. If they are hungry enough, they will go back and eat what was offered. :P

[deleted account]

When my oldest daughter was about 13, she became vegetarian. I had no problems with that, as I respect everyone's choices. My only stipulation was that I wasn't making a separate meal for her.She was fine with that, so I'd serve her just veg, but not meat, and she often cooked herself a meal - usually rice or pasta.

I've always been in the habit of making at least 2 vegetarian meals a week anyway.

I've never forced a child to eat, although on one horrific occasion I found myself saying, "the hungry little children in Africa would love that!" Channelling my mum! I'd always vowed I'd never say that, as it used to drive me mad when mum said it!

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Sharon - posted on 02/21/2010




Seems like everyone is 100% in agreement. With holding food as a punishment is not appropriate. Kids who refuse to eat a meal served to them is a different story altogether.

Melissa - posted on 02/21/2010




Using it as punishment is not right. You don't starve your child because he/she did something wrong.

As for not eating dinner. You should always serve a few options ie. Chicken, rice, and a veggie, at least one of those options should be something you know your kid will eat. Serve all options on one plate, with suggested servings sizes according to your child's age. If they only eat a third of their meal, the third they like, then that is all they get. If they are really hungry they will eat the other stuff too. But going on a half full stomach is not going to hurt them at all. But at least offer the meal with something they like.

Chantel - posted on 02/21/2010




I've never had to do it yet and I don't know if I would. If a child refuses to eat what is put in front of them and so sent to bed without supper, I can see that. If it's only done a couple times and they learn a lesson. However, my brother and sister in law tried this "technique" with my niece and now she's 3 1/2 and when you tell her to eat she says " I'll just go to bed". Now obviously there's something more going on there. (Long story, not for this thread) So in that case the punishment obviously doesn't do anything except create an unhealthy child.
When I was kid if we wouldn't eat supper it was there waiting for us if we asked for something later. If, at bedtime we still hadn't eaten it then we went to bed without supper. And woke up the next morning to have it for breakfast. We learned to just choke it down whether we liked it or not.

Rose - posted on 02/21/2010




This shouldn't even be up for discussion! Eating is not a privilege it is a right. Now as for not eating what they are given I always make sure there is something on her plate that she will eat. My parents would make me and my siblings go with out meals all day for getting in trouble. I believe it is a form of abuse!

Carolyn - posted on 02/20/2010




In the States eyes it is considered punishment. When I had my day care we were told by the State Licensing that food being withheld for any punishment was treated as child neglect. It is ok, if the child won't eat it, we were asked to offer another choice at our discretion. I do not think telling a child they can not eat because they did something wrong or you did not like is acceptable in any place. The denial of food is neglect in any form. It was something we took very seriously and I still do. If they do not make it a habit to ask for something different every time you fixed something else, then I would allow them an alternate food source for my own kids at home. Any child should be allowed to eat. That should never be used as a punishment.

Shelby - posted on 02/20/2010




I would never use it as a punishment. However in my house, It has always been this way for the 15 years I have been raising kids...I make 3 meals a day, and that is it. I am not a short order cook. My children from day one have been eating fruits, vegetables, meats, and bread... Favorite foods in this house consist of broccoli, spinach, shrimp, any kind of meat, carrots, salad...etc. They have always known that if it put on your plate, you will eat it. I would never feed them something that will kill them, and wouldn't ever feed them something that is absolutely so disgusting that I wouldn't eat either. But, there is no way I'm catering to 5 children. We eat family meals. If you choose not to eat...Which I don't have problems with,I have huge eaters...then I guess you'll go to bed hungry.
Now, with that said, We always have one rogue child, and that is my 3 year old...He is the testy one. He tries to get away with it, and he will just go without eating. I too believe that a child will eat when he is hungry, but there is no way I will let him up from the table when there is a healthy meal offered for him to decide what and when he will eat.

Lise - posted on 02/20/2010




Katie: I do agree with your post. I was thinking of the case of a kid who would only eat chicken nuggets every night. When his mom made chicken nuggets for everyone, he then wouldn't eat them... It was him just wanting to be different. I would not make a separate meal in a case like that.

Lise - posted on 02/20/2010




I wouldn't ever use it as a random punishment (as in, you didn't clean your room so no dinner for you), and NEVER on a little child. Once my child is old enough to understand (5, 6 years old), I would do it if they weren't eating for control. I worked with a kid who's mom made breakfast, lunch and dinner specifically for him - and then something else for the rest of the family. I swore I'd never do that. If there is a food she doesn't like, that's one thing. Having to eat something different just to be different? No way.

[deleted account]

Not an appropriate form of punishment, in my view.

When my kids were young, if they didn't like what was offered, they could make themselves a sandwich, or there was always plenty of fruit around. If they were just acting up, they could leave the table. If they hadn't fed themseves some bread or fruit by the time bedtime came around, well, they went to bed hungry! That way they could learn the consequences.

We never made a big deal of it. Denying children nourishment is not an option. That's why I always had plenty of fruit, bread etc.

[deleted account]

Nice to know that someone else doesn't have a problem with offering a simple alternative to dinner if their child doesn't want what has been prepared. I haven't reached that stage yet, but I don't see what the big deal with offering something else is. If someone else made me dinner and I had no input as to what was being prepared and I didn't like what was made, then I would make myself something else. I'm not going to jump through hoops for my son, but as long as he's not being impossible and not wanting to eat anything at all, I will happily make him a simple healthy snack in place of the family dinner.

Rosie - posted on 02/15/2010




i have had many a times where my children don't want something that i've made, and if they don't eat it they don't get anything else. i don't make things that they don't like because my parents would do that and make me sit at the table and eat it till it was gone. i wouldn't do that to my children so i try to make things they like. it's hard with 3 children that all have different tastes, but occasionally problems will arise and one of them won't want to eat what i've made. then they will go to bed without supper. i know when i was younger i would've much rather of gone to bed without supper than having to be forced to eat "cheeseburger pie" filled with disgusting onions. i would gag and dry heave the whole time. i don't want to do that to my children.

Krista - posted on 02/15/2010




I don't agree with sending a child to bed without dinner as punishment. The only time I could ever see sending my kid to bed without dinner would be if he was so tired and cranky that sleep was a more urgent need than food at that point in time.

I refuse to offer alternatives for food, though. You will never catch me making separate meals for the kids, unless I'm making them their supper early so that my husband and I can have a romantic dinner after the kids are in bed. If they don't like part of the meal, they can eat the rest.

Michelle - posted on 02/15/2010




my doctor told me that a child will never starve themselves. I personally will not make an other dinner for them. But i have learned a good trick with my 17 month old. If i want her to eat her veggies (which are her least favorite) i serve them to her first before the rest of the meal. It works almost every time. I don't think you should use it as a punishment, but if they don't like dinner... too bad. also usually there are a few different foods served with dinner. usually a kid likes on of them. but sometimes kids don't eat b/c they aren't hungry. My daughter won't eat anything if she is teething badly. I mean she won't even eat treats that she loves.

[deleted account]

I wouldn't send my child to bed without eating dinner. I see it as a form of child abuse and there are other ways to deal with bad behaviour such as positive reinforcement in the form of reward charts etc.

[deleted account]

I don't want to use it as punishment. I don't want to use food as punishment or reward. I think that is how people have negative associations towards food. I student taught for a teacher that offered cookies for good grades/behavior and I hated it. I think kids will eat when they're hungry so if they're hungry they will eat what you make. I wouldn't make my child a whole seperate meal if she didn't want what we were having. My parents never had issues with us eating food. We liked all kinds of vegetables, fruits, meats...and we ate what mom or dad made. I'm hoping my daughter will be the same :)

Jodi - posted on 02/11/2010




Yep, I would. I haven't had to do it, believe it or not. I'm pretty hard at dinner time. Eat what I put in front of you or go hungry. When I cook dinner, I do make sure that I cook meals I know the kids generally eat, and with foods they mostly like - I would never go out of my way to cook something just because I liked it, and let the rest of them starve, that's just not cool. They sometimes have something on the plate I know they don't really like very much, but they have to at least have a decent try. And if this is the case, it is only a small part of the meal, not the main part of the meal. I refuse to cook more than one meal for the whole family. Eat it, or go hungry. My kids have never chosen to go hungry, because they know I mean it.

Meghan - posted on 02/11/2010




i would not use this as punishment. BUt in saying that my 3 year old son can have his moments( as all toddlers do) and has learnt that if he does not eat what he has infront of him- then he goes to bed hungry.he has done this before, and just woken up and had a bigger brekkie than normal. it does not interfer with his appitie, and i tell you what- he does it maybe once or twice a month just to see if those rules apply, all we say is "you eat you will go to bed happy, if not thats your choice, but nothing else will be offered." and 9/10 times he wil eat :)

[deleted account]

I would never use it for punishment, but if he refuses to eat, I'm not going to force him too either, so in that case, he would go to bed without supper.
He will only eat single foods at once; like lunch will be a bowl of peas, dinner may be a plate of corn, and breakfast may be a plate of pairs, but he will not eat peas and corn in the same meal.
I know I might get bashed to catering to this, but it is what we feel is best for us.
The rule is that he must eat one fruit and one veggie per day. The other meals he can create as he likes (but no "junk food") So if he has apple sauce for breakfast, pairs for lunch, and bread for his two snacks, for dinner he MUST choose a veggie. If he refuses a veggie, he will go to bed hungry.
We also have a "time for eating" which is at supper time. If he doesn't eat then, he doesn't eat, but if he eats supper, then gets hungry again before bed, I will gladly make him a healthy snack.

Leah - posted on 02/11/2010




I don't think it should be used at punishment!As some of the other have said I am not a short order cook so I am not going to fix different meals for my son just because he does not want to eat what I made!!

[deleted account]

I would never send them to bed without eating as a punishment for some unrelated action (a la Where the Wild Things Are), BUT if my 6-year-old CHOOSES not to eat her dinner, then yeah, she'll go to bed hungry. It's not abuse. She had a choice, and she chose not to eat her dinner. I like what our pediatrician said about it. He said, "No child has ever starved to death in the presence of food." It's true. If she's that hungry, she won't turn her nose up at perfectly good food just because she doesn't want to try it.

If she has been offered food, and given every opportunity to eat it, told multiple times to try it, and has refused, then she can accept the consequences of her actions, that being, that she's going to bed hungry. The only other option is to force feed her, and I pretty much begged my husband to stop doing that a few years ago. So yeah, in a way, she has a choice. She can eat what she's served, or she can go hungry. A school aged child is old enough to understand that.

If she genuinely didn't like certain foods, that would be one thing, but since she won't even try the majority of foods, I can't really take that into consideration. You've got to at least try the stuff, and if you won't, then I'm sorry, I can't help you, and you are making the choice to go to bed hungry.

Isobel - posted on 02/11/2010




The only reason I would see it as useful is if the child were refusing to eat...then it's basically their choice to eat dinner or go to bed without. I don't believe withholding food is appropriate for any other offense.

[deleted account]

I personally wouldn't do this as discipline for bad behaviour. I'm not going to go as far as to call it abuse providing it only happens very occasionally to an older child as a last resort, but I don't agree with it.

If it's just because a child genuinely doesn't like that particular food then I think it's way too harsh. All of us have tried some foods that we don't like and none of us would expect to be locked in a room for it.

If it's because the child doesn't want to eat anything healthy then it might be the only answer. I'm glad I've never been in this position and I'm not going to judge anyone who has. In my opinion it's better to get a child into a lifetime of good health even if it means doing something that is not so good in the short term.

[deleted account]

Right now we offer food to our 21 month old and if she doesn't want it, then she'll get applesauce or toast or something. But no treat or dessert unless she eats good food first. She's already learned that one. Once she's old enough to work the microwave or toaster, if she doesn't eat what we fix then it will be up to her to fix her dinner.

[deleted account]

Not ok. I'm not making meals to cater to random whims, but if you don't want what I've made you can get yourself a healthy alternative (for my 8 year olds). My son will eat what I make us, what his sisters eat (if it's different), something simple like cheese and fruit, or nothing.... but he still nurses quite a bit, so never goes to bed hungry anyway. ;)

Amy - posted on 02/11/2010




i wouldn't tell my child they have to go to bed without anything, however, i'm not catering to their whims on what they desire for supper. What i make, is what you get. that's how i was raised and it's just fine for my kids. although i believe there is an age line that this would come into play. i think i was 7 years old when my mother first said "that's what i gave you. you can either eat it and have a happy belly or go to bed hungry". i always opted to pick at what she gave me. there's no way i would send a toddler to bed without food. but we have healthy eaters and they eat about anything. i wouldn't use it as a punishment, but just say it as above. this is what i made and it's the child's choice.

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