to try to break the mold re: fussy child

(86 Posts)
Heinz55 Thu 28-Mar-13 20:30:26

very good and lovely friends are coming to stay. We see them a few times a year even though we live 3/4 hours apart. Between us we have 5 kids. One of theirs is extremely attention seeking fussy. She will only eat a particular dinner (it used to be that her mother could be the only one to cook it) and when we give all 5 kids a treat (like a chocolate bar) she will come in whining that she doesn't like it (ditto homemade cakes or anything that is not straight forward chocolate - unless SHE has specifically asked for it beforehand) and her mother gets her something different. Because I am also cooking a separate dinner for 4 adults and trying to enjoy my friends company I usually just tailor everything to suit this child because it really grates that her mother (who will then be annoyed with her dd too) will start preparing a different dinner/treat/lunch for this particular child. ANYWAY...this feeding my children boring stodge is also grating now and I want to make say, fish cakes for all the dc next week instead. Am I setting myself up for a fall by doing this as most likely all dc will fall on the food until this one goes "I don't like it..." and then they all stop eating and wonder what potentially better option is going to be offered....AAAGH!! Not a big deal by any means but while I am so looking forward to seeing my friends this is all I can concentrate on (the having to cater to this "special" child) should I just let it go and make the stodge???? I'm hardly going to change her fussy-britchiness in one weekend, am I?? (BTW she's 10 and the eldest of the dc)

Putting 'special' in inverted commas is a little inflammatory, though, isn't it? A bit like saying this 'vegetarian' child. The implication isn't nice, but may have been unintentional?

Yfronts Thu 28-Mar-13 21:07:24

Or don't discuss food beforehand. Cook one lovely meal and have some fishfingers (or whatever as back up for the fussy child

Welovegrapes Thu 28-Mar-13 21:07:31

I remember my poor school friend being reduced to tears once when people tried to force her to eat one of her no go foods.

As an adult I am really ashamed of our comments about her sad

Hopefully I have made up for it by being very supportive of the therapy and going with her to restaurants to help her try eating out etc.

In my defence I honestly had no idea this kind of thing could be an eating disorder - now I know, though.

My nephew is a fussy eater. My kids are not now that they are a little older. If, for example, my in laws are coming over and I plan to cook a roast lamb, which I know he won't eat, I will do carrots and broccoli within the vegetable selection and roasties. That way, we all eat the same meal but there's a bit of a compromise?

It blooming annoys me too tbh but I guess there's many ways of parenting. I usually grumble to dh afterwards!

Good luck.

AgentZigzag Thu 28-Mar-13 21:09:44

The girl does sound as though she's been made to feel as though she's somehow special in the scheme of things.

That people will put themselves out in order to bend to what she will/won't eat, that it's OK to expect people to do that for her, and her mum doesn't seem to discourage it.

That's not being sarky, it's describing how some children can be if their parents don't bring them down a peg or two pick them up on it.

Khaleese Thu 28-Mar-13 21:10:20

I think it must be awful for mum, if you make a fuss she will feel even worse :-(

Don't be so quick to judge. (you don't know the details)

If the child only eats "pasta" just cook her pasta! If she was a vegan or veggie you would accommodate her wouldn't you?

Yes, but to put 'special' makes it sound more like you are taking the piss.

HollaAtMeBaby Thu 28-Mar-13 21:12:04

Does the "special" child eat bread and butter? If so I would just bring out a big plate of that a couple of minutes after the children's dinner has gone on the table and cheerily say to all the children "help yourself to bread!"

Alternatively, what about giving the DCs buffet/picnic style dinners? e.g. jacket potatoes with different toppings in bowls in middle of table?

TeggieCampbeggBlegg Thu 28-Mar-13 21:13:47

You really think it's that easy Agent? Really?
You think 'bringing a child down a peg or 2' will cure 10 years of eating problems?

You sound as clueless as the OP.

AgentZigzag Thu 28-Mar-13 21:14:31

Welovegrapes, I know you can't tell whether a child has got deep seated issues with food which will cause them problems in the future, or whether they're using it as a way of manipulating and controlling their environment, but wouldn't the mum have mentioned it to the OP at some point if it was the former?

She might not if she sees it as a private thing, but the 'whining' about it not being the right kind of chocolate points to the latter.

And how might her mother know?

TeggieCampbeggBlegg Thu 28-Mar-13 21:16:37

No. 'whining' about chocolate being the wrong sort points to deeper, more involved issues with food, and perhaps other aspects if life.

AgentZigzag Thu 28-Mar-13 21:16:55

I'm not clueless about eating problems/disorders at all Teggie, but a child making a fuss about their food doesn't necessarily mean they've got a problem with it.

A problem with the adults around them not doing as they're told maybe, but that doesn't automatically add up to long term problems.

Or maybe get some pizza bases, lots of topping and let them have fun making their own. Then adults can have a meal of your choosing and kids enjoy it too but feel in control of their own food?

Used to do this a lot when kids had mates over. When all the ingredients melt in the oven its bloody hard working out whose is whose!!

Not automatically, no, but perhaps best not to assume the OP knows better than her parents.

Welovegrapes Thu 28-Mar-13 21:20:50

I don't think the mum would know tbh. I was really good friends with this girl for the whole of our 10-18 school years and still am now. I am now almost 40.

Then, all our mums and dads and most if us kids said:

Why is this being pandered to?
The mum is spoiling her
It's just ridiculous
It's not genuine food intolerance

Now, I realise that if someone almost 40 is prepared to spend a week long business trip eating only bread and the crackers they brought with them, there is a serious issue. The eating disorder clinic obviously think so too.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Thu 28-Mar-13 21:22:26

I think too many outsiders do dismiss any fussiness as just that, they have no idea what is going on and should stick to supporting the parents.

And stop being so judgey.

Hear, hear.

Welovegrapes Thu 28-Mar-13 21:23:38

Btw because of my experience with my friend, this is what I would do. I would find out from the mum what the child likes and I would serve various children's options including enough things she would eat that the child will have a decent meal. I would not only serve what the child will eat - reasonable compromise.

That will enable your friend to really enjoy herself free of worries about her daughter not enjoying the meal. The dc will enjoy herself too.

Everyone happy!

PicaK Thu 28-Mar-13 21:25:03

Sorry but in a world where most kids devour chocolate of any kind, one who won't eat it because it's not the 'right' kind sets bells ringing for me as one with a genuine problem.

There are two issues here - first any whinging and rudeness the child shows is unacceptable. The parents should be tackling this. But equally unacceptable is to cold heartedly refuse to prepare food this child can eat.

If you went for days to a house where they were serving slugs and worms to eat every day, how would you honestly feel? - especially if served with the smug 'I'm going to get you to eat this' sneer that comes across strongly in your post. It's the same thing.

Please just be thankful you have kids without eating issues. As you can see - those of us who do (albeit of the politely refusing variety) tear our hair out on a daily basis. It's not like we haven't tried your approach repeatedly and with no success.

Are you sympathetic to your friend - would she confide in you if there were a problem or have you made your feelings abundantly clear?

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 28-Mar-13 21:27:35

YABU.
Seriously why is this even bothering you. My DS is fussy, I don't pander to him as much as this mother seems to and I try to minimise the inconvenience to others, but he has a fairly limited diet.

I want him to eat protein at meal times to stop him filling up on snacks therefore if its something I know he won't eat I'll try to get him something else such as bunging a couple of fish fingers in the oven. Luckily he does eat a lot of the stables i.e. pasta, rice, pizza, most vegs it's mainly mixed meals with a sauce or roast dinners that he doesn't like.

This wouldn't apply if we were there for one meal only - I'd just make him make do, but not so much for a weekend or longer.

Just let the poor child be. If you don't want to cook your children whatever it is she eats - what does she eat btw - then just do it separately for her presumably it's something easy like plain pasta.

HollaAtMeBaby Thu 28-Mar-13 21:28:15

By the way OP, why are you cooking separate meals for the adults and children? Even if you don't want to all eat together, why not make large quantities of things like lasagne/cottage pie/other dishes not based on mince confused that will do for children and adults? Then when it's time for grown up dinner, all you'll need to do is open the wine which you will need after putting up with the inevitable whinging of Special Princess Fussybritches

AgentZigzag Thu 28-Mar-13 21:30:47

That's very true Welove, and I can see what you mean (because you've explained it rather than having a bit of a rant like Teggie).

There are some things you just don't talk about to people outside the family.

I was just thinking that because the mum was as annoyed as the OP at her DDs eating, she could have said they were having problems with her whenever it came up, which a lot of people would naturally do with friends.

Of course, and possibly what you're saying, the mum might not know a problem is developing that might dog her for the rest of her life. Would that be unlikely though these days with the amount of information floating around about eating disorders? Might be difficult to apply to your own situation I suppose?

boschy Thu 28-Mar-13 21:30:59

I am the mother of a very fussy eater (now 16). Quite frankly, if I thought a good, longstanding friend thought they could 'break' her in one weekend of her fussiness I would have asked a long time ago.

Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as that. As others have said, just make something that everyone else will eat and make sure there is bread and butter/cheese/salami/whatever she eats available too, and dont make an issue of it. It wont help, and it will only make your friend feel worse.

Heinz55 Thu 28-Mar-13 21:39:37

I never said I would "break" her!!!!! I said: I'm hardly going to change her fussy-britchiness in one weekend, am I??
My own children and pretty much every other child I know has their own foibles where food is concerned. I cook serarate dinners because MOST of the children wouldn't eat what we're having - and they (being children) have a more limited list of what they will eat but they will try stuff and will eat a reasonable variety. I'm not clueless about this child - I've known her all her life (and her parents most of theirs too), and the fussiness is about everything - not just food. It is about demanding attention ALL the time. She will eat bread and butter but not if I prepare it and sometimes not if I bought it.OF COURSE I know I am not going to change her but because it irritates me I needed a bit of feedback to remind me that it is not my problem and I probably should just suck it up on behalf of my friends. Do they know how I refer to their child?? I sincerely hope not because THEY are my dear friends but that does not mean I have to adore their child all the time (just do my best not to show it which hopefully I will manage this visit because I have let it out here a bit)
The mum gets very stressed about her attention seeking so no, I wouldn't like to draw attention to it - and yes, I do think she'd tell me if there was a specific problem with this child. So yes, to all you nice posters and all of you more agressive ones, I will shut up and put up becuae I suppose that's what you do for your friends and loved ones! blush

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now