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When your kid says "I don't want it".....

If you cook for them and when it gets to the table they say, "I don't want it," what do you do?
I used to go back in the kitchen and fix something else for my two year old, but I'm getting kind of tired of doing that. I do remember when I was a kid when my mom would cook something I didn't want...they would make me sit at the dinner table all night until I ate it. I don't think that's fair either, but I don't want to spend my life in the kitchen!


Asked by ajguinn at 10:10 AM on Jun. 13, 2009 in General Parenting

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This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • Battling over meals can create food issues down the road. I prepare healthy and tasty meals, which we eat as a family. The rule at our house is you try 3 bites of dinner, if you don't like it you get (yourself) toast with peanut butter & honey with an apple

    Answer by rkoloms at 12:46 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • I might sound mean...but I tell my kids if they dont want it then they can starve. The get hungry enough and finally eat. And if they dont eat it that night, it is waiting in the fridge for breakfast. Now, they eat whatever I put on the table :) Good Luck :)

    Answer by nikkileerue at 10:14 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • If they honestly hate the food- for example, I hated the fat on meat- it made me gag- but my parents made me eat it- and I'd gag and throw up every time- then I wouldn't make them eat it. If they hate a particular dish, then maybe there would be other dishes at the same meal- say they hate fish, I'd give them one bite of that and then let them fill up on the vegetables, etc. I wouldn't try to force them to eat something they hated, but I wouldn't make a separate meal for them. If I was cooking something I knew they didn't like, then I'd be sure to have something that they did like in the meal. After all, if my husband didn't like something, I wouldn't tell him to eat it anyway. A child is different in that they should sample different things, but have something they will eat at the meal, and don't serve more than a bite of the hated food.

    Answer by Bmat at 10:29 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • "Fine. But this is dinner, and you will not get anything else later. If you don't eat, you will be hungry until breakfast tomorrow morning (or lunch or dinner, depending on what meal this is)."

    My kids understand that I cook and they eat. If they don't eat, then they get to go hungry. The only thing I will do for them is that I try not to make things that I know they really, really don't like. Or I at least make sure there are at least 2 other things they DO like (like they don't like plain cooked carrots, so if I make those, I make sure the meat and the other side is something they do like.). I try nto to make an entire meal that they can't stand, since that, to me, would be pretty much the same as just not feeding them at all.

    We also have the 2 bite rule: whatever is on their plate, whether it is something they like or not, they must take 2 bites. So, even the cooked carrots, gotta take 2 bites.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 10:32 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • i'm not a short order cook. he eats what we eat, but he's 2... i'm not gonna make him sit till it's gone. i don't think that's setting up good eating habits. i him to eat till he's full, not till it's gone. i make sure there is at least one thing on his plate, that i know he will eat (one of his favorite fruits, veggies, cheese, etc) my sister's kids are older, and she makes them take a "no thank you bite" of everything on their plate. if they don't like it after they've tried it, they can say no thank you... but they have to at least try it. i plan on doing that once he's a little older.

    Answer by abelsmama07 at 10:33 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • I try to give my daughter a little say in what she has for her meals (I give her options of 2 veggies or whatever)... if she doesn't want it after she chose it, too bad. When she's trying something new, though, I make her try some a little and that's it. The next time we have it, I made her eat a little more. I don't prepare a whole new meal for her, though. If she doesn't like the main course, I just make her eat more veggies and fruits, etc until she's full or sick of it. She's a great eater, I think because we always exposed her to lots of different foods -- whatever we were eating, and we never went by the assumption that "kids just don't like" this or that. I don't believe in force feeding, but I don't want to cater to a toddler's every whim, either. Some meals she just doesn't eat as much because she just doesn't like it as much. It doesn't mean she'll go hungry or whatever.

    Answer by EmilySusan at 10:33 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • I think BMAT had it right, that's how my mother was.

    Though in my house, if they don't like it, they have the option of making themselves a Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich. My kids are older though. My DS is old enough that I am starting to tell him if he doesn't like dinner he can cook his own. (He hasn't, yet.) because I think he should be starting to understand cooking at his age.

    Answer by Lesli at 10:36 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • i also agree with bmat, my parents used to shove beans (like refried, black, pinto, etc, not like green beans) down my throat and i would throw up. i think everyone should be allowed to have a couple foods that they just plain hate.

    Answer by abelsmama07 at 10:37 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • i haven't read all the responses so sorry if i repeat something lol. my daughter is 2 also and i have this problem all the time with her, she's very picky. my mom will go and make her something else but in my opinion that's just allowing her to get away with it. if she says she doesn't want it, i'll kindly tell her that i'm not making anything else so if she doesn't eat it she won't be getting anything later if she gets hungry. usually i'll leave it there and she will want it later so i just re-heat it.

    Answer by tnm786 at 10:49 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • In general the rule is..."if you don't want you go to bed without." I refuse to be a short order cook and make 6 different meals every night. I make something and they either eat it or go without. But I make exceptions like if I know that they really, really don't like what I'm making (like my 6yo has just gotten so tired and bored of tacos she won't eat them unless forced). Then I might prepare something I know they like as a side or we do a mixed meal with a couple different things (that we all like then everyone gets to choose which part they want to eat) or if there are a ton of leftovers in the fridge they can have those (have to get rid of them somehow). If they still refuse all of that...that's their problem.
    We started doing that when they were 2 1/2 (never really had eating issues before that age...they ate everything). My 8yo goes to bed hungry a lot because she's a pain. The other kids learned quick to eat.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 10:55 AM on Jun. 13, 2009