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Thread: What to do about an insanely picky child? page

  1. #1
    keevelish's Avatar
    keevelish is offline Senior Member
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    What to do about an insanely picky child?

    My five year old has always been very selective in what she likes to eat. But in the last couple weeks things have been crazy!!

    I'll make her scrambled eggs and sweet potato for breakfast one day and she'll turn her nose up at it and call it 'yucky.' But then on a day we don't have that available she'll beg and cry for it.

    I'll make roast chicken for dinner and she'll refuse to eat it, and once again on a day we don't have it she'll go on and on about wanting it.

    Day in and day out- she doesn't want what she's given, despite it being a plain old normal food that she's been just fine with in the past. We're getting loads of wasted foods and if I refuse to make a new meal we get grouchy grouchiness for the rest of the day.

    I put chopped up chicken in a tupperware she can pick at if/when she's hungry so she can have control over her meals (because I feel that's what it is, being denied her addiction (bread and crackers) makes her want to have some sort of control) she wants nothing to do with it. She's turning up her nose at easy-access fruits and vegetables too.

    She refuses to eat dinner when we have dinner, won't eat anything despite multiple reminders that bed time is coming up and then just as we're turning off the light we get an "I'm huuuuunngryyyyyy!" Every. Single. Night.

    I follow gentle/positive discipline and attachment parenting so I want to follow her cues, give her freedom in her choices but this is getting to be a bit much. So much wasted food, so much frustration on her part and mine. Anyone gone through this? Is it temporary?

    I think we have way too much variety in our society. Too many options, too many opportunities to turn our noses up because there's always something else if we don't like the yucky food that was put on our plate. So hard to have a five year old understand that, especially with a husband who's like "so just give her bread/cereal, variety is the spice of life." grrr.

  2. #2
    Laguz's Avatar
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    You are the parent. She has two options: eat what is served or go hungry.

    Sounds harsh, I know, but put your foot down. It shouldn't take long for her to learn. =)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laguz View Post
    You are the parent. She has two options: eat what is served or go hungry.

    Sounds harsh, I know, but put your foot down. It shouldn't take long for her to learn. =)
    That's what my mother did with us. She didn't make a fuss and there was no drama. Don't want it? No problem. But we weren't given any other choices and weren't allowed to snack. None of us is a picky eater as adults. If we legitimately didn't like something we wouldn't have to eat it. I would only eat eggs scrambled as a kid and to this day still don't like mushrooms.

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    I am also a mother of a picky child, she was an extremely picky toddler and young child. I didn't follow the "eat it or eat nothing" rule, I cooked only things I knew she would eat. I cooked her something, cooked myself and husband something else, and sometimes cooked something else for my step-kids. Ugh. It was aweful. She's 10 now and although she is extremely particular still *can't even stand to look at ketchup* she does explore new things plenty. I now have 2 toddlers who go through phases. Sometimes they are really picky, sometimes they are not. I never cook them special food. I just don't have the energy. I know that if they are hungry they will eat, if they don't like something on their plate I don't mind. I will let them eat more of something on the plate they do like. There have been plenty of nights where one or both of them don't eat anything. I will say that they do snack freely during the day. Sometimes on primal things (beef jerkey, fruit or pork rinds) and sometimes on not primal things. They are both above average for their age in their height and weight class, full of energy and very healthy.

    Having been on both ends, giving in completely to a picky eater and now never giving in, I can say that my level of stress is way down now that I don't give in. My younger kids don't really worry about meal time like my older one did - it was always a struggle even though I made her special food.

    The thing that makes it easier now is that: 1. I don't stress when the kids choose to skip dinner because they don't want it. It's very possible that they just aren't hungry or that they just want control. 2. I always give them 3 food chioces at dinner, normally a vegetable, a starch and a protein and sometimes a fruit instead of a starch. This really helps because they will almost always eat atleast 1 thing.

    Hope this helps, I know a picky eater is no fun.

    On a side note, about wasting food. You can always save what she doesn't eat for the next day or two. There's no reason to waste it, maybe when she doesn't want a meal you can offer her some of her leftovers. Most meals should be good in the fridge for 2 - 3 days.
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    +1 to everyone. A child WILL eat wht YOU'RE serving, when they're hungry enough. Set the food in front of her, and give 30 minutes. At the end of that time, pick up the plate and send her on her merry way.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laguz View Post
    You are the parent. She has two options: eat what is served or go hungry.
    This. /endthread

    When she's 18 and living on her own, she can be picky on her own dime.
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    When I made meals I made sure there were 3 things to eat/choose from making sure that there was always a choice I felt sure everyone would like. ie. chicken, broccoli, & carrots. I let each child put what they wanted on their plate. If they chose nothing then they could just sit with us, as we observed family meals, if you were home you were at the table. No snacks. A child will not starve themselves, their instinct is to survive. Once she understands that meals are when we eat, she will figure out something from the choices given. We all have to make compromises in when we eat, we don't get to eat whenever we are hungry. Especially school children.

    I found it best not to create drama. I alwys gave them choices, I just made sure that all the choices I gave were choices I could live with so that I didn't care which they selected. Choose one of the foods available or nothing, up to them. No drama, I just repeated the choices. This served me well in most aspects of parenting as it gave them an opportunity to learn about the consequences of their decisions in a safe environment, before the decisions and consequences became more life changing. I tried hard to make most things a choice between things I could live with and let them suffer the consequences. So choosing no dinner, would naturally result in hunger before bed.

    Best also if you don't try to reason too much as they will shut it out, and also best not to warn them there will be consequences or what they are, just assume they are smart enough to figure it out on their own it is a better lesson that way.

    good luck
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    Quote Originally Posted by mommyrunmommy View Post
    Having been on both ends, giving in completely to a picky eater and now never giving in, I can say that my level of stress is way down now that I don't give in. My younger kids don't really worry about meal time like my older one did - it was always a struggle even though I made her special food.

    The thing that makes it easier now is that: 1. I don't stress when the kids choose to skip dinner because they don't want it. It's very possible that they just aren't hungry or that they just want control.
    The OP's child just started doing this, and it's clearly not food dislikes, but instead a pure control issue -- which has nothing to do with food.

    Reading between the lines, the mom is primal, the dad is not. Is the kid playing them against each other? Trying to get attention? Regardless, the solution is the same [Edit: Suggestions are for the OP. Like everyone else's suggestions are for the OP. Not talking to the quoted poster. Duh]: Ignore it. Let her be grouchy somewhere it doesn't bother you, and don't fix extra meals or throw it out. Eat what we eat at meal times or don't eat. Simple.

    PS if the dad keeps being a PITA, put him in charge of her meals, and do your own thing.
    Last edited by beachrat; 09-20-2011 at 01:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachrat View Post
    The OP's child just started doing this, and it's clearly not food dislikes, but instead a pure control issue -- which has nothing to do with food.

    Reading between the lines, the mom is primal, the dad is not. Is the kid playing them against each other? Trying to get attention? Regardless, the solution is the same: Ignore it. Let her be grouchy somewhere it doesn't bother you, and don't fix extra meals or throw it out. Eat what we eat at meal times or don't eat. Simple.

    PS if the dad keeps being a PITA, put him in charge of her meals, and do your own thing.
    I never said that she should fix her child special meals, I was only sharing my experience with my child.
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  10. #10
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    My almost 3 year old is starting to do this now. She was always a good eater -- would eat anything. But now she wants to pick and choose. As hard as it is, you have to make dinner (hopefully with one thing at least that you know the child would like), serve it, and remove it. If she eats, fine. If not, fine. I do allow a piece of fruit with cheese or vegetables with guac later, since we usually eat dinner really early right now. I still allow her to have her snack. But we've always done that. So I don't look at it as a "treat." But if she doesn't eat, I will not make her special food.

    Another person is right; she won't starve herself. Eventually she'll eat. Just try not to encourage drama.

    And good luck!

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