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Blended Family; Mealtime Issue

Me and My dh have 3 kids between us. His son:9 and my two daughters:11 & 13. We have all 3 kids 80%, so pretty much full time. Our issue is dinners. I cook our meals to save money. When my own kids don't like something I make, I insist they eat a little anyway and remind them I will try to be mindful of not cooking it again. My dh son on the other hand, refuses a number of things I cook, and although I use the same speech on him about trying it anyway, he cries hysterically and his dad ends up saying he doesn't have to eat it. My dh and i have had loooong talks about this but he still ends up giving into his son. My daughters have now turned on me saying they won't eat things if he doesn't have to. I've tried catering to each childs palates, but end up cooking 3 diff things for dinner, and I'm not a restaurant. I'm very close to telling my dh to just take his son out to get a burger for dinner so there is no stress nightly.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 12:01 PM on Aug. 30, 2010 in General Parenting

Answers (9)
  • make the kids start planning food and helping with dinner. They are all old enough. Sit down before you go to the store, have them help make the menu, help do the shopping, and if something they want for dinner ruins the budget for treats they don't get any.

    Also, if they don't eat dinner, they don't get anything else. And forget about it.

    Answer by lovinangels at 12:06 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • Don't cook different meals, just have peanut butter and jelly and bread on hand and if he doesn't like what's being served - he can make himself a 9 he is more than old enough.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 12:07 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • What works for me is this, they have to try 3 bites of whatever I fix. By three bites they know if they like it or not. If they don't, they don't have to eat the rest. But, I don't cook separate meals. If someone does not like what is fixed, they are responsible for getting themselves something to eat. It can be a sandwich, cereal, whatever, but I am not cooking it, lol.

    Answer by mommy11260 at 12:09 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • Well the rules need to be the same for every kid in your house.
    Weather you insist that they try it or they make themselves a pp&j.
    Have your husband talk to his son, so maybe there will be less of a conflict.
    Have him lay out the rules for him.
    But you husband needs to stick to the rules that you two make.
    Everytime he gives in you're going 2 steps back.

    Answer by Rachel24517 at 12:10 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • You're paddling up stream and alway will as long as your husband gives in. It's hard to do the "you'll eat when you get hungry enough"plan but we've implemented that at times. The idea of everyone sitting down and making a weekly meal suggestion is a very good one. You just have to get everyone to agree to eat what you have all planned. Good luck......I know this is a difficult situation.

    Answer by RentaMom at 12:16 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • I would cook whatever I wanted to cook, what is economical, etc. They either eat it or they don't. The same goes for all three children. This is what we are having. If you don't eat it, there will be no snacks or treats until the next meal. They will eat it when they are hungry enough to eat it. I raised my own three children in just this way. So I don't think it matters whether it's a blended family or not. Just say you either eat it or you don't get anything until the next meal. That's letting them choose for themselves whether or not they will eat. I would put locks on the kitchen cabinets to protect the junk food, too. There is no sense in catering to the likes and dislikes of children. There are some things that are distasteful in life, and one has to deal with it, so they may as well learn that now.

    Answer by NannyB. at 12:28 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • You might try giving them each a night when they get to pick (from your economical selection) what you have for dinner....they only get to pick for the next week, if they've at least tried everything on their plate this week.

    Another option is to put plastic wrap on their plates, and say that's fine, you don't have to eat this, but if you get hungry it will be in the fridge, and not let them have anything else until the next meal.

    Or, my friend would let her kids make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwich if they didn't want what she fixed at dinner time, this was their only option.

    I sure wouldn't reward him with a burger out when he doesn't eat what you've made!! He really wins then.

    Answer by ohwrite at 12:54 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • I have 5 kids (youngest if only 7 weeks, so not eating yet!) with different palates - there are exactly 3 meals I can cook that all 4 of the older ones like! I cook whatever I want to cook and if they don't want to eat it, their only other option is a peanut butter sandwich and fresh fruit. They can make it themselves, I am not a short order cook!

    Answer by missanc at 1:39 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

  • Consistency is key, especially when kids are going back and forth between more than one other household like this. If you've been trying it this way and he's going to give in to SS anyway, then you need to come up with a different compromise. Our rule is "eat it or don't eat it, but that's all you're getting". If there is a dessert, it is only for kids that have eaten a well-balanced dinner. We don't do the "eat it or make something else" thing because we just really can't afford to cook an entire meal and then have one or more children decide they don't want it and eat things we had bought for other meals or snacks. It would double our food budget.

    Answer by riotgrrl at 1:45 PM on Aug. 30, 2010

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