Best book ever for picky eaters and their parents: Bread & Jam for Frances

Oct 1, 2012 by

If you are the parent of a picky eater and haven’t read Bread and Jam for Frances, I would rush right out and get a copy.

In the 1964 children’s classic by Russell Hoban, Frances, a little badger, wanders into the picky zone, but only temporarily. How, within two days, she escapes her rut of eating nothing but bread and jam  is an inspiring tale full of lessons for parents and picky human children alike. It’s beautiful, humorous and understated. I get misty-eyed each time I read it.

A Good Example

First off, I love the father badger in the story. Each meal, he sits down and makes a cheerful and positive comment about what’s on the table.

“What a lovely egg!” he says at breakfast. “Now that’s what I call a pretty sight. Fresh orange juice and poached eggs on toast,” he says the next morning.

“What is there nicer on the plate…

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How to use the Push Pull Principle on a food-throwing toddler

Sep 24, 2012 by

My friend Elaine has an adorable 17-month old, Wade. Every meal, Wade always starts throwing food once he’s eaten. As soon as he no longer needs it as food, he turns it into a toy. It’s a normal stage for a baby. A one-year-old discovers that he can throw food and enjoy doing so. But it’s been going on for awhile and Elaine doesn’t know what to do about it. She scolds him, but he doesn’t let that bother him.

I asked her if she took the food away from him when he did it.

“I don’t want to take the food away,” she said, “because I’m afraid he’s not done eating.”

That fear is the crux of the matter and so it continues.

Mom is the only one who’s afraid here. Wade has no concerns at all. He’s in charge and he knows it. He likes throwing food and he likes having…

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Picky Eaters! It’s Rude! It’s Embarrassing! Part II: 8 more reasons nobody should have to eat anything, ever

Aug 30, 2012 by

Mom brings out a new casserole with artichokes, chicken, cream sauce, and noodles. The kids begin to freely complain: “I don’t like that.”

“You haven’t even tried it,” Mom responds. “You have to take at least one bite. No dessert unless you eat dinner.”

It continues:

“This tastes weird.” “What is this stuff? I don’t want it.” “How much do I have to eat to get dessert?” “Can I have some cheese sticks instead?” “Yuck!”

What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s unacceptable dinner table conversation, that’s what. It’s shocking. It’s embarrassing. It’s boring! Just because you have a picky eater doesn’t mean this kind of stuff is OK.

Picky kids are being rude to their mom about the food she cooked. Mom’s allowing it, as if the children might eat better if they get to talk that way.

If we force a child to eat, he’ll defend himself and rail against the food. That’s a normal…

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Picky Eaters: It’s Rude! It’s Embarrassing! Eight reasons why nobody should have to eat anything, ever

Aug 28, 2012 by

Imagine you welcome your adult friends, Sharon and James, into your home for dinner. While you’re eating together and chatting amiably, you notice that James doesn’t take any of your cauliflower puree.

“James, you need to take at least one bite of the cauliflower puree,” you tell him.

Then, you notice Sharon is playing with her fried liver and trying to hide it under her pile of cauliflower puree.

“Don’t you like the liver, Sharon?” you ask her.  “You’ll have to finish that liver, or you won’t get any of the chocolate cake I made for dessert.”

Of course, you don’t carry on this kind of talk at the table with other adults.  We don’t openly scrutinize what our guests eat. We remain cheerful. We pretend we don’t notice and are mortified only inwardly if our adult friends reveal in some subtle way that they don’t like what we’ve cooked. Of course we…

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Parenting’s no longer fun: bringing up bébé to be picky AND tiresome

Aug 9, 2012 by

Research has revealed that American moms find being around their own children twice as disagreeable as French mothers do.

We Americans would rather do housework than tend our own little darlings, according to Pamela Druckerman in her recent Wall Street Journal article “Why French Parents are Superior.”

We parents would do well to remember that how we feel dealing with our kids is probably about how other people will feel dealing with them, just without our maternal or paternal affection.

To rub more salt in the misery, being self-sacrificially wretched for the sake of our children is no guarantee things are going right. Rather, probably the opposite.

Out of control while over-controlled

Marlena’s kids screamed like banshees, unchallenged, for what they wanted. They also snacked, unrestricted, on junk food all day long. But when it came time for dinner, Mom hovered, micro managed and pressured them over every bite, while they resisted.

“Two bites…

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The World’s Simplest Solution to Picky Eating: Freedom Within Limits

Jun 26, 2012 by

The other day a man was telling me how one of his kids had been a picky eater.

As I always do, I asked him what he did about it.

“We’d sit there with him and tell him he had to eat certain amounts of the various things on the table. We’d sit there and insist until he did it,” he told me.

A typical strategy, I thought. And a counter-productive one.

Then he added, with a note of curiosity: “We noticed, though, that if we actually left the room for awhile he would eat.”

I wasn’t surprised by those results. Just another proof of the Push-Pull Principle.

Nobody likes to be pressured and forced to eat something they don’t want to eat….

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