picky eating

I used to be another one of those people who didn’t have children and judged the parenting styles of those who did.  I swore my child would eat what was placed in front of him or nothing at all.  I assumed that a child could eat anything if they were hungry enough. 

Cameron isn’t too picky and knows what he has to eat to get dessert.  For months now, Eli has been content to go without dessert rather than eat what is placed in front of him.  For awhile I tried to force him to eat but that was when he went through that refuse-to-swallow-and-drool-until-my-mom-loses-it phase.  I’m glad that is over and now I let him eat if he likes and if not, then not.  Richard and I were just sure he would go through life [under our roof] without enjoying the pleasure of dessert. 

But the other night the home teachers brought some treats Eli could not resist.  I put him back at the table and placed his dinner before him.  He seemed determined.  He took one bite, chewed with a pained expression, and swallowed.  The second bite put him over the edge and he started gagging.  I quickly realized that he was on the brink of vomiting and I begged him to swallow, which he did.  I promptly removed the plate from his eye-sight and gave him an alternate meal.

I caved, call me a wimp or a push-over but that is where I draw the line.  Richard and I looked at each other, feeling terrible about making our child eat something that was truly making him feel ill.  And it wasn’t for lack of hunger.  As soon as I set a bowl of applesauce and some sliced cheese in front of him he double fisted the cheese until it was gone and shoveled in the applesauce by the spoonful. 

It looks like I’ll be rethinking yet another parenting strategy I was sure I had figured out.

7 thoughts on “picky eating

  1. oh boy, if you ever figure this picky eater stuff out, please enlighten me. stockton is picky to this day, although he has made progress. zeb is suuuuuper picky. he funny about his mouth. very sensitive or something. he will not even put his toothbrush in his own mouth with his own hand. never, not once has he done that. every single night, we have to pin him down to brush his teeth and he cries. there is a little progress there though. now after we get the brush into his mouth, he calms down after a couple seconds and doesn't need to be restrained anymore. he is his own little person and i don't understand a lot about him.i still let my kids go hungry if they don't like what i cooked for dinner. i'm just too stubborn and don't want to give in.stockton tried a hamburger for the first time last summer – yeah, he was almost 9 at the time! he loves them now! also, he just tried pear for the first time a couple weeks ago (we have pears all the time, he just refuses to try them) and he likes those as well! hooray for progress!!


  2. I've done that before. Then I feel so badly afterwards. It's so hard to know if they are just being stubborn or if they really don't like it. I try to remember those foods that make them gag so next time I know to have something else with the meal that they like. I hate the “feeding” part of raising children, it is the hardest part!


  3. I made Max eat a grape tomato once from our garden. He gagged and I told him to knock it off and just swallow it. He continued to gag and somehow made it from the linolium kitchen floor to my light colored carpet where he promptly vomited it up. Consequently, Max doesn't have to eat grape tomatoes anymore unless they are cut up into tiny pieces in a salad. Too bad a small area of my carpet is forever stained from this incident.


  4. Have you read “Child of Mine” by Ellyn Satter? I highly recommend it. Here are a couple quotes: “Parents are responsible for the WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE of FEEDING; children are responsible for the HOW MUCH and WHETHER of EATING. “Children learn to eat a variety of food and take responsibility for their own eating when they are regularly offered a variety of nutritious food in a no-pressure environment.”


  5. This is so funny and sounds like a never ending story that goes on in my house. I attempted all that you did, and I as well, caved! So same goes in my house, if they eat, they eat, and if not, then they get noe dessert, but fruit, or something healthy is fine. My kids really like nuts for some reason, so latey I have been giving them trail mix, that is probably unhealthy as well, but it makes me feel like it is better than sugar or nothing at all. And yes, Ayden is the same with holding the food in his mouth and then wanting to spit it out because he held it there for so long. It disgustes me and frustrates me! I hate meal time!


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