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So, what do you do when your child refuses to eat?

I've been back and forth on this and I need some opinions!

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Asked by exxOHjackie at 8:03 PM on Apr. 27, 2012 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 9 (345 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • of things might be "okay" if we have to eat (whatever components of a meal you're looking to fill in your meal profiles)? Just acknowledge how it seems he's having a hard time, and you know you are, and you want to make a plan and at least try to make it better. "A lot of what we have for dinner seems really hard for you, and I want to work with you."
    For awhile, I tried to make macaroni & cheese on nights that I cooked fish for the family, because this was one of the solutions my daughter came up with. At this point, I don't really have those kinds of considerations to make anymore (she now eats everything I can think of that I make, even though some things she doesn't eat much of) but it was helpful to be transparent about this plan, to convey how I wanted to help, and to get her input.
    It was frustrating when she'd "not like" something I was CERTAIN she had loved, but my best advice is DON'T argue or engage the validity!!!

    Answer by girlwithC at 3:09 PM on Apr. 28, 2012

  • the obvious exceptions (the many times the family ate his fave dinner, etc.) Don't try to challenge his statements, persuade, or reason with him. Think of it as "blowing off steam," or simply expressing his internal unhappiness. It's about his feelings, not about the Truth. Where you want to get is Ahead, somewhere else, out of this stuck place, and the way out is THROUGH. (Try to hold on to this so you can just "be there" & "allow" his frustration. The sooner he can FULLY have & express his frustration, fair or not, the sooner he can move through it to something else.)
    You are holding a limit by continuing to prepare the meals you choose, anyway. His opinions & feelings in response are the least he can be allowed to have. Just don't be surprised if they're negative (blowing off steam....)
    In other, neutral moments, find time to talk to him in a solution-oriented, problem-solving way. What dinner ideas might work? What kinds

    Answer by girlwithC at 3:04 PM on Apr. 28, 2012

  • Sorry you are struggling!!
    Try to take control out of the picture. (So that you are not giving him something to push back against.)
    The sooner you accept (and convey conscious acceptance) that whether he eats & how much he eats is fully his choice, the better.
    This doesn't mean only providing his favored foods, but it means not nagging, not urging, not getting mad/being upset or trying to control through punishments or rewards or withholding approval, etc.
    Don't react to his emotional responses, his complaints or his whining. Don't "ignore" them, either. (That's a more passive rejection, an attempt to control by withholding responses so he'll stop.) The goal is to be able to tolerate that he's upset & critical, and to accept his perceptions even if they don't ring true with you ("You never make food I like" or "I never get to have what I want" & similar "never" & "always" statements.) Don't engage the validity or point out

    Answer by girlwithC at 3:00 PM on Apr. 28, 2012

  • We use the 3 bite rule. You must try 3 bites of what is on your plate; if you don't like it, you fix yourself peanut butter and honey on whole grain toast with a kiwi or apple. Even my husband is expected to follow the rule.
    If you cave now, you will forever have a picky monster on your hands. I promise that your child will not starve. Parents who cave are part of the reason why one half of American children are both undernourished and overweight. One third of children born in this century will develop type 2 diabetes.
    Keep offering a variety of healthy foods; stop buying junk foods until the picky phase has passed. Make sure that you are setting a great example by eating a variety of healthy foods.
    Make sure that he is drinking plenty of water, so he does not get dehydrated

    Answer by rkoloms at 1:03 PM on Apr. 28, 2012

  • They don't get anything else until the next meal time. I serve a well balanced meal, and I avoid things they truly don't like, but I'm not a short order cook.

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 9:57 PM on Apr. 27, 2012

  • Oh, that's completely different then though. Mine can't eat anything other than a liquid diet.

    Count your blessings :)

    And you've gotten good advice here. Good luck

    Answer by BrawnwynII at 8:56 PM on Apr. 27, 2012

  • We do the bring the food out for the next meal and eventually they will eat it. They do not have to clear their plate but they have to eat a reasonable amount of everything on it. I cook regular family meals and do not cater to their preferences or wants.

    Answer by Melbornj at 8:48 PM on Apr. 27, 2012

  • Im the same way as Coala my sons been grtten picky lately so what we do is say "if you dont want to eat that you get nothing else that includes special drinks and snacks till that is gone" same thing if he doesn't eat he gets it for breakfast. Tough love but it works lol

    Answer by LostInMyMind at 8:47 PM on Apr. 27, 2012

  • Have them drink Breakfast Essentials

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 8:30 PM on Apr. 27, 2012

  • I am a mean mom! I send them to bed hungry. If they absolutely refuse to eat they go hungry until the next meal and the same food is offered again. I have had to do this a handful of times. I also play games. Good thing my 3 yo hasn't figured out what I am doing yet, but my 6 yo niece has. I make them take 5 big bites (small ones don't count), then 4 medium sized bites, then finally 10 baby bites. They work on the counting and they eat their dinner. It is a win win in my house. Sometimes, but rarely, this doesn't work and I have to revert to my tried and true methods.

    Answer by coala at 8:25 PM on Apr. 27, 2012

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