Friday, February 3, 2012

Food Issues; The Kid Version

Dinner for the past few weeks has been torture in our house. Bug (remember he's 4....) has refused to eat dinner for the past 2-3 weeks unless it's basically a kid's dream. Things he will eat: pizza, nuggets, plain chicken (no sauce, no cream, nada), plain rice, waffles (yep, plain waffles). For lunch he is even refusing to eat everything except for plain bread. Not plain as is white, but plain as in plain- dry, nothing on it, plain bread. He puts together two plain slices of bread and calls it a sandwich. This not eating has caused several late night issues that I don't know how to solve. Issues such as a really bad attitude, not falling asleep until close to 10 at night, crying for candy or dessert, and power struggles at the dinner table. I am at my wits end!

When I was a kid the rule always was "eat your dinner and you can get your dessert". Dessert was the reward for eating dinner. "Eat 3 more bites and you can have a candy bar". "Clear your plate for a bowl of ice cream". I don't blame my parents, they did the best with what they knew. The worst was when we would have pancakes with syrup and my Mom would count the syrup as the dessert. We always thought that that was an awful trick.
As an adult who has struggled to overcome seeing food as a reward for good behavior (eating all of my dinner) OR I eat (use to eat....) two donuts for breakfast because no one was going to tell me that I couldn't. Somewhere along the way, food became a source of validation- I am good enough to eat this or I am grown-up enough to choose how many donuts I want to eat.

Typical solutions to this problem are....

~ Eat it for breakfast (my husband has horrific not so good memories of eating many different types of dinner for breakfast): Here's my problem with that- Food shouldn't be a source of torture. Saving dinner for breakfast as a punishment gives the food power and value that it shouldn't have.

~ Sit at the table until it is all gone: We shouldn't eat until our plate is empty. We should eat until we are full. How in the world will I ever know if he's really full? There are times when I'm just not hungry. What if he really isn't hungry.

~  Eat 3 bites and then you can have dessert: Again, food is not a reward. Dessert should be a special treat and not a reward.

~ Send him to bed hungry: I've been doing this for 3 weeks and it's not working!

~ Offer at least one food that he will eat: How much plain bread can (should) a kid eat in one day? I do, usually, end up giving him a piece of fruit when he totally refuses to eat anything that I offer.

~Try everything once: LOVE this idea, but he won't open his mouth. It's not like when he was a baby and I could "airplane" the food in and get him to try everything.

~ Have him help plan and prepare the meal: Yep, tried this...he was a great helper and still ate nothing.

Did I mention that I am stuck. I really don't know what to do. I want to raise children who have a healthy relationship with healthy food. I model eating a variety of food. Hubby even chokes down a steamed carrot now and then to encourage positive eating. :) Has anyone encountered this problem? is there a solution that I haven't considered?????


1 comment:

  1. I would encourage you to google Ellyn Satter and do some reading on her site. I love her insight. And I truly believe that if you model good eating then he will one day be an adventurous eater! Hang in there mama you are doing just fine!


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On June 19, 2009 I started my weight loss journey. It has become quite the journey! As of today (2-1-11) I have lost 162 pounds and have gained a whole new life. This blog is a continuation of my journey. I hope to inspire and encourage others through my process.