Moving Down Mom’s Hierarchy of Foods: How “Finding Something Your Kid Will Eat” Entrenches Picky Eating

Oct 21, 2013 by

“We wonder how we get started doing these things, but we do them.”  — Mom of a budding picky eater

________________________________________________________________

When I was little, sometimes at dinner my mom might ask me if I wanted more of something, let’s say a dish called “Spanish Rice” (that’s something I remember not liking much as a child),  and I might answer, “I’m full for that.” I might often have been “full for” the main meal, yet if dessert was forthcoming, I was usually not “full for” that.

We all have a hierarchy of our preferred foods. If we are extremely hungry, we may feel “hungry enough to eat a horse” or horse meat, or even a hunk of hard, dry, unseasoned liver. Hunger makes food more appealing. If that horse, or horse meat, or even well-prepared liver appears on the table, though most people will pass on it unless they are truly about…

read more

When Picky Eating Leads to Abnormal Parenting

Apr 24, 2013 by

Marlena’s picky eater, six-year-old Walker, was overweight. He wanted to eat bean-and-cheese tacos and little else every day. His eating was abnormal. So Marlena reacted, desperately.  She did all she knew to do.

One night, the whole rest of the family found themselves doing the chicken dance after every bite he ate, to get him to eat. True story.

Another night, he allowed Mom to spoon chicken and rice into his mouth while he played video games.  She would feed him a “second dinner” before bedtime if he refused dinner, so that he wouldn’t wake up in the night, screaming from hunger.

Any given  night at the dinner table found both parents badgering Walker non-stop to eat more of this, more of that, with threats of punishment and promises of reward.

Following  a Picky Eater Down the Wrong Path

If you have abnormal eating going on in your house, your automatic response may be…

read more

Dad & the Picky Eater: 4 Steps to Setting Up Kids for Eating Success

Mar 21, 2013 by

Two-year-old Amber knows there’s chocolate cake for dessert. So at dinner, she turns up her nose at the roast chicken and creamed spinach. She’s holding out. So her dad commands her to eat and makes sure she does it. The battle begins. Amber’s secret enjoyment in getting Dad’s goat is even greater than her objection to dinner. It gets ugly, but Dad “wins.” Amber ends up eating the absolute minimum requirement of her dinner, then she gorges on chocolate cake.

“I thought that’s what I was supposed to do: make them eat,” different dads of picky eaters have told me when I suggested otherwise. “I thought I was doing the right thing, just what I ought to do to be a good dad.”

It’s a tough question: Where should we hold the line as parents? When do we let it go? Should we let them eat what they want or make…

read more

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…

read more

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…

read more
Page 1 of 1012345...Last »