Is it bad to force my toddler to eat?

He is 2. He used to be such a good eater always willing to try new things and loving his veggies. NOW he hardly eats at all. Its not that he doesn't like the food, he just doesn't want to sit with us to eat meals and forgets about his snacks. So I made him this nice breakfast of plain yogurt, homemade granola, honey and fresh berries. YUMM. I know he likes this so when he ran away and refused to even try it I held him and forced him to taste it on his tongue. After a big production of trying to wipe it off he came to me and wanted to eat it.. the whole bowl. I have done this 2 more times with other goodies and its working....but I am wondering if this is unhealthy. Am I going to have to put him in thearapy at age 3?

  • SHARE THIS QUESTION:
missv66

Asked by missv66 at 8:12 AM on Jan. 19, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

0 Level 1
This question is closed and filed in the CafeMom Encyclopedia.
Answers (87)
  • What your doing is wrong yes. You should NEVER force a child to eat if they dont want to. He is not going to starve himself. If I'm correct in most states what your doing is considered force feeding and is considered child abuse. Dont force him to eat if he dont want to. He will eat when he is hungry. It is just a phase and both of my boys went through it. Now they are 3 and 4 and eat like horses.
    ChaoticSoul

    Answer by ChaoticSoul at 8:15 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Credits: 87 Level 5
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • Not therapy at 3, but it might be setting him up for more feeding problems....and I mean starting to HATE meal times.

    But then I don't know if my solution is any better....my 2 year old has a choice...sit in time out while the rest of us eat, or sit at the table quietly, or sit at the table and eat. If he comes to the table and gets fussy, he goes into time out. When he decides it's time to eat, he can go eat. If everyone else has finished...the meal is over. He goes without. (that's only happened once)
    TiccledBlue

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 8:18 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Credits: 41 Level 4
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • I dont think forcing him to try something is bad or hurting him! but my daughter never eats and not because she doesnt like it she just would rather play. He will come around.... My daughter will finally say she is hungry and eat and eat and eat... its crazy
    BallardMomma

    Answer by BallardMomma at 8:26 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Credits: 210 Level 8
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • I wouldn't force him... its a normal thing for him to not want to eat. If he doesn't want it I'd just sit it aside and try again later... maybe turn off tv... pick up any toys that might be within view and distracting him. Try sitting him in his high chair and sit it in front of him and eat a meal of your own (I'd use a suction bowl for this LOL)

    dtetz

    Answer by dtetz at 8:28 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Credits: 0 Level 1
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • My DD won't eat anything either. Even things I know she loves like grapes. I'll admit that sometimes I have to force 1 bite or one piece in her mouth to get her to try it but if she still doesn't want it or won't eat it then that's it. Most of the time it works and as soon as she's gotten the taste in her mouth it's like "Oh yeah, I DO like this stuff" and happily munches away. Sometimes she just doesn't want it so I don't press the issue. Either she eats it or she doesn't.

    Most moms I know have to do this occasionally. 1 bite though, not a whole meal. I'm told it's just a phase, that they all go through this but it sure is irritating as crap!
    Xynyth

    Answer by Xynyth at 8:36 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Credits: 2659 Level 16
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • I would not FORCE him to eat. He will eventually eat when he is hungry. If you keep forcing him to eat then he may see food as a bad thing and stop eating all together. Just keep offering him random things during the day, limit his fluid intake, and he WILL eventually get hungry and eat!
    MyMayBaby_Chloe

    Answer by MyMayBaby_Chloe at 8:39 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Credits: 0 Level 1
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • What your doing is wrong yes. You should NEVER force a child to eat if they dont want to. He is not going to starve himself. If I'm correct in most states what your doing is considered force feeding and is considered child abuse.


    I work for a police dept and is not child abuse to force your child to try something new.   It is child abuse to let your child starve and get malnourished.  My son has autism and is a very picky eater.  If I "let" him pick what he ate, he would be over 100 pounds and have high cholesterol.  I have "Forced" him to try new foods.  If he ends up liking it, COOL, something new to add to the menu.  If he still doesn't like it, then he doesn't have to eat it. 

    xtina34

    Answer by xtina34 at 8:46 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Credits: 0 Level 1
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • Where did she say she was forcing him to eat? She said she was forcing him to "taste it on his tongue"...that's touching the food to the tongue, not shoving it in his mouth!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:51 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • LOL he wont be in therapy by 3 but the things you are doing are not right. What happens is this. Kids learn what food means, if he isnt hungry he wont eat. If he is he will eat. If you are forcing him to eat when he isnt hungry he is going to believe its how he pleasing you and his body. That can lead to damage later in life when it comes to food. For instance, my dh was raised to eat everything off his plate even if he doesnt like it. Now he has weight problems. There was more to it also like everything was centered around food, when hes bored he eats, its a comfort thing. Hes fought very hard about that in his adult life. So long term yes there are links between forcing a child to eat everything on their plate and obesity.
    gemgem

    Answer by gemgem at 8:52 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Credits: 148630 Level 42
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • OMG...no, you're not damaging your son. Obviously you don't want to have to do this forever, so don't set yourself up for a battle (which will turn into a game for him) at every meal. My daughter is 3 and I have had to completely eliminate snacks between meals because she was trying to refuse meals to get snacks. I've also had to make sure there was no distractions (no toys out, no tv on) and that she was pretty much stuck at the table before she will eat. It has worked wonders.
    kabbot01

    Answer by kabbot01 at 8:52 AM on Jan. 19, 2009

    Credits: 51 Level 4
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN