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Eating with fingers

Yes, this is in the right section. My almost 11yo is driving me nuts. She still insists on eating with her fingers...all the time. She gets a fork or spoon but puts it down after a few bites and eats with her fingers. I'm not talking finger foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, etc. I'm talking cereal (yes, she sticks her fingers in and picks out the cereal), mashed potatoes, vegetables, all sorts of messy stuff. It's just gross and irritating. And embarrassing when we are out to eat and she's eating her food with her fingers (scooping it up and slurping it off her fingers).

She is perfectly capable of eating with a fork/spoon and has known how since she was like 1 1/2-2 years old. I'm so tired of telling her to use a fork, quit eating with her fingers, etc. It's multiple times at every meal. She also picks food out of the serving dishes with her fingers.

Anyone else have this problem? How did you get them to stop? My other kids don't do that (they are 9, 8 and almost 5). Occasionally I catch them but I warn them and they don't do it again the entire meal.

Answer Question

Asked by justanotherjen at 7:31 PM on Mar. 19, 2011 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 26 (28,174 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • I would take her food away as soon as she does it. She will learn, and I doubt she will starve herself to death in the process!

    Answer by rachelv817 at 7:39 PM on Mar. 19, 2011

  • I wouldn't let her have the food if she insisted on eating it with her hands. I'd take it away the moment she started it.

    Answer by kayalouise at 7:41 PM on Mar. 19, 2011

  • Have you asked her why she is doing that? Does she have trouble with her fine motor skills, such as handwriting? I have no idea what would cause her to do that.

    Answer by ARgal at 7:42 PM on Mar. 19, 2011

  • As soon as she goes to eat with her finger take the plate out from under her. Tell her: if you won't eat with utensils you don't eat. Or, like we do with our kids if they try to steal food off our plates with fingers, they get fork tines into the back of the hand.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 8:05 PM on Mar. 19, 2011

  • Lol, rosehawk...I hate when my kids try to steal food from my plate.
    She has no motor skill problems. She's just lazy and eating with her fingers is easier and quicker for some reason.
    I have taken her food away before but then she throws a huge tantrum and says we can't starve her, blah, blah, blah. Then when she gets the food back she goes right back to picking it up with her fingers. My 4yo doesn't even do that. She's been eating with utensils since she was 16 months.

    Comment by justanotherjen (original poster) at 9:02 PM on Mar. 19, 2011

  • No thats really wrong. Even more wrong you let her do it!! WHOS the adult? Seek professional help for her because she has a problem with herself, you or a family member if she acts out this way.

    Answer by vbruno at 10:21 PM on Mar. 19, 2011

  • Why don't you find out if there is something wrong? Take her to the doctor and a counselor to see if something is wrong? And I would NOT take her food away but she could eat by herself. All she has to do is tell her teacher that you aren't letting her eat and social services will be at your door investigating you.

    But, my niece's friend does this AND eats with her mouth open. Drives me crazy. I told her to use a fork and close her mouth or she wasn't eating at my table. In this case, there are major issues going on in her house. Her sister has major mental health problems.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 1:54 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • She probably does it because she knows it makes you mad. I would quit making a big deal about it but let her know that other kids are gonna make fun of her if she keeps it up, and then leave it up to her. that would be what i would do but I could be completely wrong

    Answer by singlemominUSN at 3:07 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I don't "let" her do anything. How do you stop her from doing it? Every time I see her picking her food up with her fingers I tell her to stop. So I spend the entire meal reprimanding her. What else can I possibly do besides take the food away until she wants to eat like a normal person?
    There's nothing wrong with other than her attitude problem. She doesn't feel she should have to follow rules like other people. Telling her the other kids will make fun of her...doesn't bother her. She doesn't care. She goes to school with her hair in a giant knot sticking out of the back of her head no matter how many times I tell her to brush it. If I try to do it she runs and hides in the corner of her top bunk where I can't reach her. She stays there until it's time to leave for the bus. And, yes, she gets punished for that. She doesn't care.

    Comment by justanotherjen (original poster) at 3:24 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • Regarding the food?

    You're not starving her. You're asking her to behave like a human being. If I were in your shoes I think I'd go this route:

    She is 11. She is not a baby. Since she is going to act like a baby and eat with her hands and not brush her hair and any other issue you're having that an unspoiled 11 YO wouldn't be having? Treat her like a baby.

    She starts eating with her hands? Make a HUGE deal about babying her. Get out a bib. Talk baby talk. Feed her yourself. "Oh, little baby, here, let me help you. Open wide for the airplane! zoom, zoooooom!" And when she freaks? Send her to her room.

    Her room btw would be stripped of everything but a bed and books. Since she's going to act like a baby, you'll give her the outfit that she needs to wear each day. And you'll brush her hair for her. Oh yeah...babies don't get to be in top bunks. That sucker goes in the garage.


    Answer by BuddyRoo at 2:24 PM on Mar. 22, 2011

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