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Thread: So I guess that tactic backfired

  1. #1

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    Unhappy So I guess that tactic backfired

    I've been having issues with Mason and getting him to eat dinner. Angus is now copying him and after arguing with the pair of them about eating dinner I sent them to their rooms. I wasn't in the mood for their power games and DH was going out so I had to deal with them by myself.
    We had steak and vegies. Nothing new and they usually both eat with a bit of haggling ie eat up and you can have icecream.

    They both ended up going to sleep without eating anything because I refused to let them have anything else.

    This morning I had two little boys vomiting because they had no dinner. I have exactly the same thing happen to me when my blood sugar drops. It's just like morning sickness.

    So now what do I do? Do I give into them and let them eat what they want to prevent this from happening? What type of message does that send? Just hold out and I'll get what I want because Mum is scared I'll be sick again!

    I feel totally lousy that they were so ill this morning, not to mention having to clean up spew off the wall, carpet and floor while Caleb screamed in his cot because he could hear us up and he wanted his breakfast



    Advice would be much appreciated!

  2. #2

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    My brother was a shocker when it came to eating, he was extremely fussy and would have been happy eating either a tin of bake beans or peas for dinner.
    My parents would make him sit at the table until he ate his dinner. Tantrums and all. He wasn't allowed to leave the table, even if it took 4 hours for him to eat it.
    I don't know whether this is the best or right method either. Obviously I'm not at that stage yet.
    Try not to beat yourself up over what happened last night. You didn't know what else to do.

  3. #3

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    ohhhhh Raven,
    I have resorted to doing this as well but not with such awful repurcussions. Poor you. Lets cross our fingers that they learnt their lesson last night and that there will never be a need for that to happen again. I don't have any real strategies other than send them to bed,or time out for a period then later they get one piece of fruit(pick a fruit they don't like too much),its not negotiable they must eat it then brush thier teeth and go to bed. maybe this will tide them over so they don't get the throw ups but not reward them enough to encourage them to do it again.
    One of my girlfriends is really strict with her kids , if they don't eat whats set before them at tea time they go to bed with nothing and their dinner gets wrapped in glad wrap to be reheated in the morning for breakfast. as you can imagine it dosent happen very often. I couldnt do it though it makes me feel mean.
    Me personally i listen to my kids if something i've made dosent taste good and i wouldnt eat it then i don't expect them to. if they are too busy chatting and their dinner goes cold , i will reheat it once. If they muck up at the table by being very very silly,or messy or wasting food then definetley no desert or lollies. If its a food new to them and they don't like it ,ie lentils- i expect them to try it because often they will even surprise themselves by not liking the way something looks but loving the taste,but if they don't like it i will have a quick and healthy alternative on offer. I'm probably way too flexible but i do what works for me. HTH

    Pauline

  4. #4

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    Oh Sam, that must have been so hard for you this morning. FWIW, I think your idea was correct. When Jack wouldn't eat I was told (by paed, MCHNs and dieticians) to do what you did - serve up the food and if he didn't eat it then not give him anything else. Prior to that I had been giving him the foods he liked as I didn't want him to starve, and as a result he would ONLY ever eat a vegemite sandwich, tasty cheese, yoghurt, banana and toast. Nothing else. I tried following the advice I was given and after a month or so suddenly Jack started eating all kinds of things.

    Given the fact that this has made the boys sick (unless they were unwell anyway and that's why they didn't eat?), then obviously that makes the strategy more difficult to implement. I too have the same issue with low blood sugar so I know what it's like. Maybe you could try adapting it a bit, so that if they don't eat at first, you put them in their rooms for half an hour, then sit them back up to the table and try again. If they still don't eat, then it makes it tough. I would try to avoid giving them food they like, as I think you will end up with the problem I had with Jack. Maybe find some other incentive to get them to eat - a sticker or something, or if they don't eat then you take a favourite toy away for a day - something like that. I really hope something works for you soon. It is a very frustrating problem, I know.

  5. #5

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    I do agree with you Caro about not fighting - I was also given that advice and found it to be good advice. BUT, I still wouldn't give in to them and give them the food they want. Jack learnt before he was even 1 that he didn't even have to try the food in front of him, he would always be offered something he liked afterwards. It was only after I stopped doing that, that his eating improved. When he was hungry and knew there would be no other food, he ate what was in front of him. And actually liked it!

  6. #6

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    Mantaray,
    i think withholding a toy or toys, or restricting tv for one or two days may work very well. I used this as a very effective parenting tool when needed in the past. I'd even heard the kids whispering when they thought i was asleep(when we get up in the morning we can watch tv on mute and mum will never know)little did they know that i had pulled it out of the wall. it stayed that way for two days,and something even i discovered its much more fun to play cards or monoploy then watch telly....

  7. #7

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    The thing is, toddlers and kids like to be in control of what they do and eat. Try giving them a choice. Make it a choice of what you are eating, and something else they don't REALLy like, but will eat and will tide them over till morning and is relatively healthy. This way the more appetising is what u r eating and yet you are making it THEIR choice to eat it and giving them a sense of control. Arguing over food will only make them less inclined to eat and this in turn causes more authority problems. Let them make the choice.
    My older sis's DD used to only eat noodles for dinner, then she'd only eat tuna. She'd argue and conjole and in the end, to no avail. It was only once she let go of control and gave her a choice, that my neice started eating better.
    Some kids are fussy eaters. They eat because they have to not because they enjoy it. Trying to control them, only makes it harder to get food into them.....
    I'm not trying to put anyone else's ideas down, just giving you a suggestion of what the problem may be and an alternate way to face it.
    Offer an alternative, one they aren't overly fond of, but one they may eat and is not bad for them... Let them chose....see if this helps...?

  8. #8

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    OMG, just had to pick myself off the floor. For once I TOTALLY agree with you Caro .

    ABSOLUTELY stop making food an issue - they will run with it, you will end up bonkers. I really disagree with alot of the other stuff too - making them stay there all night or reserving it for brekky (that's just wrongtown!).

    1) They only things kids can control in their lives is what comes in and what goes out. If you make an issue of either, you will lose. Told to me by childcare professionals I respect.

    2) I was one of those horrible "white foods only" children. I am still really picky but am lots better now. I don't have issues with the taste necesarrily, it's the texture. I love tomato soups, sauces etc, but the thought of a raw slice of tomato eeerrrrrk! Hard on the outside, mushy on the inside. I also hate different foods touching on the plate. I have no idea how I got this way, I didn't mean it and my parents carrying on like pork chops (ha ha!) didn't help and made me feel like crap. Most of the time I was starving but the the food gave me the shivers. No amount of bribery was going to work, 50% of it was being stubborn. Mealtimes sucked for everybody at my house. It shouldn't be like that.

    3) As a result of this I was absolutely going to do things my way with my own kids. I never make a big deal out of it, if they don't like something, big deal. Now I have the eldest - she eats everything and is not afraid to try it all. The youngest - seems like she may be the same. The middle - well of course he is another "white food" kid (potatoes, toast, chicken, plain pasta and rice. That's it). His dad used to get all fired up, I made him promise not to hassle him, and he is getting better. Things were turning into a nightly standoff, Mitch was loving the fireworks and Beth was starting to follow suit (uck, uck,ucky!) He is starting (slowly) to eat what we do. Although he drives me bonkers when he rejects my loving offerings, if he doesn't like it, we shrug and continue with dinner. He may have a buttered cracker or something instead, we are all happy. I certainly don't make separate meals or anything, and he isn't going to starve. I'm not giving another reason for a 3 yr old to be oppositional!

    Maybe try backing off for awhile and see how things go?

  9. #9

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    My theory is if they eat something thats not junk its all good. So I have frozen options at all times. I tell them what we're having for dinner and if they don't like it I'll be sure to have backups in the freezer and they get to pick what they have. Kids love simple food and stuff thats easy to chew. Steak is something Paris absolutley HATES so we don't have it for the kids, if we have steak they have something from the freezer. The faves in this house are shepherds pie (to which I hide every vegetable possible thanks to my Tupperware chopping gadget ), spag bog (same deal with the veg), veggie risotto (same deal with the veg). And other things that I know they like (like slow cooked meals). I know your kids LOVE pumpkin soup so maybe have a few portions of that frozen for nights when you know they aren't going to like what you make. The take & toss containers are brilliant for portion sizes, and you can reheat them in the microwave straight from the freezer.

    And whenever I serve vegies I try to include a sauce of some kind, I didn't always do this but since the veggie hate started I have. And it definitely works. I HATE tomato sauce, but we'll often have gravy, white sauce, mushroom sauce or other things that help the inconsumables seem more pleasant. Definitely don't make it a battle. My parents used to do this with me, and it was awful. I remember being served cold hard meat & cold brussel sprouts for breakfast and gagging over it as I had to eat it till it was gone, and if that meant for breakfast or lunch so be it. Yet there were plenty of other meals that were good for me that I loved so why fight over it? Sooooo silly IMO! And I think it can also lead to eating problems later in life. I have friends who are part of the clean plate club as a result of this sort of parenting and they hate that they can't leave stuff on their plates (as does their waistlines ) So long as its a nutritious alternative anything is better in reality. And if you can remember to do extra when making their favourite meals it won't be a hassle either

    And can I just say... one night without tea is not going to scar them for life so please don't feel too bad, you are an awesome mother Sam, really truly

  10. #10

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    I can so relate. We have a battle on our hands every night with Evan. i have resorted to simply tellin ghim its hear if he wants it. Last night he didn't want it & said he only wanted take away! Pitty we live 40 minutes away from the closest Macca's . In the end he had a bowl of ceral just before bed.
    I use to fight but now I just can't be bothered. He get the option of a sandwich or something equally as easy if he doesn't want what I made. I have also made a habbit of asking him hwhat I should cook for dinner. Sometimes it works but usually not.

  11. #11

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    Wow guys I didn't expect this much of a response! I was having a cruddy time and wasn't in the right frame of mind to think logically about how to handle it.

    I've had a rethink about how to handle the situation and instead of getting all antsy and feeling offneded of they don't want to eat what I've lovingly prepared I'll act all casual like and offer them something basic like toast or weetbix. Not straight away but after an hour or so before bed.
    Cailin I may even make some pumpkin soup. I'd forgotten how much they love that and I can hide a multitude of stuff in it

    *mwa* I love you guys

  12. #12

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    doesnt get any easier as they get older, im afraid,
    my son was a "normal "eater when he was little, but now he is 12 and i dont know how but it has got to the point where he wont eat meat, fish, eggs, veg, cheese,all he eats is veggie sausage rolls, and pizza with the top scraped off!!!!!
    and he wonders how he is putting on weight!!!
    any solutions to that one ladies will be greatly appreciated, oh and if i force him to try stuff he also makes himself sick!!!
    mandxx

  13. #13

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    I'm a bit of a marshmallow on this issue. What with Sof's eating disorder, Zoe's preservative intolerance, Liam's nut allergies, Tom working late and the whole veggo thing, I just ended up putting a selection on the table every night and telling them all to help themselves! The result is I have a very messy table and very happy kids! I guess it balances my militancy towards bedtimes!!!

  14. #14

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    Can you put something on the plate that they do like and will eat? Like maybe it's mashed potatoes and tomato sauce or something foolproof like that. And don't insist they eat everything, just limit the time the plate is in front of them (15-20 mins is long enough). Then if they complain later that they're hungry, put the same plate of food in front of them - or offer something else that's plain (like bread and butter). Eventually they will get the idea.

    We have a rule about having to have at least one mouthful of each thing on the plate but then if you choose to not eat it, that's ok. It means things DD didn't like the look of often got eaten cos it turned out it tasted good!

    BTW - steak and veggies is hard work for a kid - there's lots of chewing involved - that would be a bit wearing after a long day of playing and having fun! Could you mince the steak up and serve it as a patty? Might go down a bit more happily...

  15. #15

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    Sam when I was having trouble getting DD to eat dinner, I'd make sure there was something on her plate that she absolutely loved. Our rule is you need to try the other things on your plate before you eat the thing you love. At first she'd nibble at one or two things then eat the thing she liked, but now (at 6yo) she eats the things that are least favourite first, and eats her favourite thing last. Most nights, we have a clean plate (although she still has major issues with plain meat)

  16. #16

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    How's it going Sam? the only other thing I was going to suggest is to basically dispense with "dinner time" for a while. Kids are grazers and if you provide 10 small healthy snacks between noon and bedtime they will be fine. This happens in our house because to be honest sometimes I can't face cooking a "proper meal" (especially in the heat of summer when my illness was at its worst). So, because I knew they were unlikely to get big main meals I just constantly gave them healthy snacks from all the 5 food groups: chopped fruit/celery and carrot sticks, yogurt, cheese/crackers, tuna tins on crackers, a boiled egg, smoothies. <-- that was their usual fare every afternoon.... so what if they don't get dinner... maybe they would have a sandwich or a bit of toast just before bed... never had any kind of battle... we don't make a fuss over food at all, except to tempt if it's new and they are uncertain.
    I think if I was able to do proper meals every night I would try just giving more snacks if it ever became a problem.... little kids get tired of an evening... better to get the food in when they are asking for it.

    Whatever is happening rest assured it's probably just a phase. I used to worry about my DD when she was a toddler and she was too busy to eat.... these days whoa! She is a fit athlete with bigger muscles than me!

  17. #17
    morgan78 Guest

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    Just a suggestion on the "steak" issue - we tried Kangaroo fillets the other night - sorry if this offends anyone - and it is almost like butter no chewy bits like steak & DS wolfed it down.

  18. #18

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    I had an experience similar last night with Hamish, the last two weeks he is refusing to eat anything that resembles vegetables. Last night DH cooked up shepards pie , Emma wolfed hers down and asked for more but Hamish just sat there and sulked. I decided that id had enough of his fussy eating and sat down with him to feed him. Big mistake .......... Dh had chopped up onions and cooked it with the mince poor Hamish choked on a piece of onion and threw his dinner back up at me.
    After some comforting and cleaning, we sat down and tried again, this time i took care to take the onion out, he actually ate carrots and peas. For some reason he cannot eat onion no matter how small we dice it.

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