Friday, 26 July 2013


There is a battlefield in our house. It happens three times a day sometimes more if I am lucky. Two hours of torturous patients testing run your nails along the blackboard hell. So please if you have suggestions or have been there before I would love to hear about it. There is no secret that I love food, but my son is having one of those stages. You know the stages where they refuse to do anything you ask, no matter the discipline put in place, the consequences the confiscations, the rewards the praise. I have done it all, from ignoring to rewarding.

I got sick of hearing 'me no like it' and refusing to eat when he wouldn't even taste it. I got sick of finding something else for him to eat. So I flipped. I flipped. No more! I've had enough. I can't do this anymore. You are going to sit there and you are not going to move until you have finished it kind of flipped. 

So it worked and it didn't, there was some gagging, some vomiting (he was also sick at the time so think it was a combination of not liking and not feeling well - these days he got away with not eating anymore dinner), counting, lot's of time out (this was mainly when we knew he liked something and had eaten a small portion of his dinner and then started stuffing around), taking away rewards, eating or drinking those rewards in front of him so he could see the consequence being taken aways from him (this was done slowly so he had a chance to rectify his behaviour, - which he often did). There was lots of trying news foods, lots of praise, lots of rewards. 

So where are we at? There are days where he will try and eat new foods, these are mainly foods with a lot of spice and flavour. There are days where he has sat at the table for hours, I really do mean hours. The main reason for this and what triggered it is that we do not like waste, especially when a food was asked for. When a food has been asked for this is when I am most strict. You cannot ask me to eat a banana or peanut butter sandwich and then refuse to take a bite out of it. We go through ebbs and flows where he will eat everything on his plate with not much effort on our behalf, and there are days like today where you just want to yell and scream  and do a little eat the freakin food dance.

Is this just an attention thing? A stubborn and controlling thing? Something I need to stick with? Because I am getting exhausted! Exhausted of wasting 6 hours of my day coaxing, coaching, encouraging, bribing, begging, pleading and disciplining around food, something that has is should be an enjoyable moment. 

Honestly today I had enough and just let him go hungry, why because he didn't want to eat his lunch and when I told him he needed to and handed out a warning, he asked me in the sweetest voice to go to timeout. WHAT?????? I figured he could go hungry, and when he asked me to eat he could have another go at his uneaten lunch, no exceptions. And if he refuses to eat all day then he can go to bed hungry and we would start again.

So what is your strategy. I don't want to cook two meals, I want him to eat family meals. I don't have time and energy to run a cafe with a menu that is changed daily, if I did I would have set one up that caters to paying customers.


  1. You are the parent, he is the child. He doesnt get to dictate that you cook 2 meals each time. This is a form of control, and he sees he can control not only what he eats, but can make you run around and get you upset.

    Do you cook decent meals? Enough protein, fruit, veg, carbs etc? Well then, he gets presented with what you eat. Sit him down at the family table at family dinner time and let him watch that everyone else eats the dinner put in front of them. Dont make a big deal of it, get on with eating your own meal and dont miss out on your own meal as you're trying to make him eat his.

    Tell him that if he doesnt eat it, that's fine, but he doesnt raid the cookie jar later when he's hungry (in fact, get rid of the cookies, chocolate, crisps, jelly etc entirely, so neither of you are tempted!).

    He has to remain at the table until everyone else finishes their dinner, whether he eats or not. If he is hungry later, because he hasnt eaten any food, then the deal is he has to eat at least one bit of veg, protein etc off the plate he was presented with earlier (dont be in a rush to reheat - he'll soon learn warm food is nicer than cold). He doesnt get to go to desserts without eating at least part of main.

    You will not be starving your child. You still have to present him with healthy food in a family environment, cutting down the crap from the diet, and setting him rules and boundaries. He should get plenty of opportunity to eat food put in front of him, and it's his choice whether he eats it. When he's hungry enough he will.

    BTW - did he used to love green veg, and now hate it/refuse to eat it? When kids are around 3, their taste buds change so that green veg now taste vile, so they're not making that bit up! you just need to have plenty of other fruit and veg in their diet.....grapes, blueberries, strawberries, squash, potatoes, tomatoes of all types, apples, cherries, onions, bananas, grapefruit, melon, beans, pulses etc. Making things like this available to all of you does not make you a bad parent

    1. That is why I haven't been cooking two meals, and he get's what we are eating.

      Haha this is a cooking blog...I'll leave that for you to figure out.

      Yes we sit at the family table, and he does not leave until everyone is finished (not do we if we are waiting for him) and yes meals are balanced. And no we do not feed him junk food regardless of if he eats well or not. I also do not reheat food, a hate for the microwave, and I can't really be bothered dealing with continual requests (as I have seen happen from other fussy eaters as a deploy).

      Yes there has been a definite change in palate, used to eat greens, veg and other family meals, and has now changed his mind. A lot of it is control as he will often look at something and say yuck, and then finally taste it and like it.

  2. I totally reckon your doing the right thing with letting him just stop eating if he doesn't want it. When he is hungry he can come back and have another go. If you persist with this over several days he should calm down and go back to eating whatever you serve him. I reckon it's a great idea to all sit at the dinner table and eat dinner together at the same time. If he doesn't want to eat he has to sit and wait for everyone else to finish! He is growing up now and no longer a young toddler, he is going to kinder next year and will experience these same good issues and they won't have a bar of it! You're a great mummy, but totally get it, enough is enough! Xxx

    1. Thanks B, he really is in the middle of this control thing! I think I may be winning some of it back after weeks and weeks of trying. Tonight's dinner was a complete success and this we regressed because he was quite sick now he has picked up so has his appetite. There was 1 warning tonight and that is it! WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO! The only problem I had with letting him stop eating was him seeing it as a win, and then trying to do this all the time. I only did that once and it seemed to work for that day (so may keep it as my backup plan). Dinner altogether has definitely helped, sometimes hard when hubby is working late in the summer months, but so far this winter it has been working.

      Oh my issue with mecs (kinda) is that they are allowed to graze when they want (at least for 3 year old not sure how it works for 4 year old) - I may need to bring this up with his teacher, but hopefully things will improve by then and we won't have anymore issues.

  3. I will admit my two year old eats separate meals because by the time he gets home from daycare, he's too hungry to sit and wait for someone to cook a full meal. I will usually have meals prepped for him in advance to make life easier then his father and I eat dinner after he's asleep. I wish we could sit and eat meals together because as he gets older it is not going to be OK to have him eat separately. For now, it works and I try not to stress.

    I was stressing a big deal in the past when he would refuse nearly EVERYTHING I gave him and was worried he would somehow starve. He won't starve and he'll eventually grow out of that phase. As long as he's not drinking sugary drinks, processed foods or sweets then I am sure he is getting a balanced diet.

    Good luck to you!

    1. I was struggling with the timing thing as well! But now in winter we are all home at dinner time, so that is making it easier for us. The difference is I don't work out of the home, so I am able to sit and have dinner with him if hubby is working late.

      Preparing meals in advance sounds like a good idea as having a hungry toddler is no fun at all and I have found makes the not eating worse! Have you thought about using last nights dinner for tonights to save yourself cooking two meals?

      Definitely go with what is working at the moment and when he is older he will learn to eat meals together!

      The fussy stage is not fun at all! My little man just wanted everything plain! Plain pasta, rice, and eggs were all he wanted to eat at one stage and it was doing my head in! I just persevered and finally he started eating other foods which has been great!

      Thank-you and you too!


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