Constant complaining about food / Fussy Eating

(14 Posts)

My DSD did this when I first moved in, and still does it to a certain extent. Sometimes, I thought it was personal and rebelling against my presence in the house, but then she started to rebel against DH's cooking. Hah. It turned out she just wanted dessert.

We've made the most progress with: "Okay, if you're full, you're full, but there's nothing else". And meaning it. Even if it means re-heating her meal or sending her off to bed with just two bites of tea. DH is more flexible on how finished is finished, but we normally agree it's the whole plate or nothing. Sometimes, if she took a bite and wailed about eating anything more, we'd just leave her to it at the table for awhile. It sounds harsh over the Internet, but it was mainly an explosion-prevention strategy on our part, trying to avoid feeding into her behavior.

Reining in portion sizes helped too - DSD still doesn't eat a whole lot in one sitting, so she'll look at a big plate full of food and try to avoid most of it, to have room for the food she really wants. Sometimes, we copy DSD's mother's strategy and conveniently "forget" to buy dessert. And let her know this is the case when she asks "what's for pudding? smile".

She's turned on the tears several times over several dinners with above method, but she kind of accepts that's the rule now. It doesn't prevent her from picking at dinner once in awhile still and trying to get to something else, but the wailing has cut down considerably!

HTH

theredhen Tue 04-Dec-12 19:55:05

Don't make it a battle, when he moans, silently take his dinner away and sit back down again. If he creates, offer to get his dinner back for him. If he doesn't make him sit at the table until you've finished and don't let him have anything else until the next meal,

Gingersnap88 Tue 04-Dec-12 19:15:08

We've just had world war three over four carrots. I DESPAIR! angry

theredhen Wed 21-Nov-12 09:32:42

Glad it went ok. The bribing offering of a pudding often can focus their mind on eating their dinner I find. grin

Gingersnap88 Wed 21-Nov-12 08:31:23

Thank you everyone for your advice. I need to get myself one of these signs!

I felt a little bit better the other night as DH mentioned it to DSS's mum and she said he was being a nightmare at home too. He never believes me when it's just me saying something! Anyway, DSS tried it on again last night, picking away at dinner, but he was told that he couldn't have pudding unless he was finished and that moaning about food was rude.

He finished it as he knew I had baked cupcakes. Cheeky! Hopefully he'll keep going, if not then I'm either going to implement the no dinner no nothing rule, or DH can cook (which he hates). grin

purpleroses Tue 20-Nov-12 14:01:04

We have a vegetable list up on our kitchen and all the kids have ticked which ones they like. That means if they decide to turn their noses up at something they previously liked, I can point to the list and say "look, you said you liked it!" All kids can be fussy but with p/t DSC you have the added difficulty of cooking for them less often so things that you only do once in a while are more likely to be unfamiliar to them.

Agree with what's been said above, and let them take it or leave it. I try to avoid putting particular things that any of them really really don't like and can't be easily picked out into a mixed dish, but otherwise they can simply eat it or not eat it. If you're doing pasta and chicken DSS could just eat the pasta and come to no harm.

I also think there's absolutely nothing wrong with giving kids something easy out of the freezer some of the time and you and DP eating separately. My parents used to do that quite a bit and I came to envey the more exciting food they always ate. Stuff out the freezer doesn't have to be terribly unhealthy either. Frozen peas or baked beans with egg and chips or baked potato is very easy, reasonably healthy and generally liked by all kids and if it keeps you sane and happy then it's a good thing.

latkins120 Tue 20-Nov-12 13:44:16

Thought I would share my experience with this - I have a DSD who has just turned 7 and for the last year I have had the same battle with her - She was NEVER happy with anything I put infront of her at meal times - She will only eat very plain dry foods but even when sticking to things that she likes she would still find a reason to complain or get less than quarter through her meal and would say that she was full ... But could then go onto eating a pudding. After a few months this became somewhat infuriating never mind worrying that she wasn't eating nowhere near the amount she should when she was with us(we have her every weekend Friday-Sunday). These are the steps we took to cure it
1) Going shopping together for weekend food ... And all 3 of us picking a meal and all trying something that somebody else likes to eat (which helped introducing new things to her)
2)Whenever she would make the lame excuse she was full ... asked her to eat x amount more to get a pudding
3)After doing point 2 for a while we moved onto she had to finish her dinner and if she wasn't full she could then have a pudding
4)Reward chart for everytime she finished her dinner
5) When she threw a major strop about her dinner ... I would simply just put it in the bin and she would go without.

Other half wasn't massivley impressed with the last step BUT my kitchen is not a restaurant, I deserve to be respected and I hate it when children are ungrateful ... And whenever he made the comment "Do you not think you are being a bit harsh" My reply was .. you cook for her then and see how you like it!!!

Just don't let him use meal times as a weapon ... I'm sure with my DSD it was an attention thing. However her problem with us is pretty much gone now ... but other people still pander to her every whim which makes me feel so annoyed because she is still doing these annoyingn things with food at her mums house and both sets of grand - parents .. but more fool them if they let her!!! Just stay strong and tell your husband to give you the control with DSS when it comes to meal times!!!

Xalla Tue 20-Nov-12 11:31:17

I want that sign!

Chood Mon 19-Nov-12 21:36:22

If you feel hurt about the criticism, ask your husband to cook sometimes. It's important that he understands how you feel, so he should bear the brunt of the criticism sometimes too

WakeyCakey Mon 19-Nov-12 19:32:49

Kaluki I have that sign too!!! It works a treat.
Dsd can eat or she can go to bed hungry. I don't leave her and DP to themselves until she has eaten and I sit between them so she can't flutter her eyelashes!

Kaluki Mon 19-Nov-12 12:52:34

I have a sign on my kitchen wall saying "You have 2 choices for tonights dinner: 1. Take It 2. Leave It!".
We have had lots of problems with mealtimes and I do the same as RedHen.
I cook their dinner. If they won't eat it, that is fine but I tell them they won't have anything else till the next meal and take their plate away, but save it in the fridge. If they moan that they are hungry later I offer to reheat the meal but that's all they can have. Its surprising how they change their minds when they know that's all they are getting!!!
This only works if you and DP are on the same side though.
If he won't back you up then you will have to deal with that as a separate issue.

theredhen Mon 19-Nov-12 07:04:32

It's attention seeking and the worst thing is to encourage it.

If you can get your dp onside you need to carry on what you're doing (cooking him something you know he likes) then ignore his whinges or simply give him the broken record technique. Don't argue or reason with him. If he doesn't eat it, let him go without and don't allow him anything else instead. It won't hurt him to go without food for one meal if necessary.

If, however, your dp is going to fuss and pander over ds, I'd be tempted to do as NADM suggests and let him deal with it. Talk to him first and explain your feelings. If you feel you can't stand to watch, have your meal before or after ds.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 18-Nov-12 23:14:12

if the problem is that your DP is pandering to his son fussy eating then there is nothing you can do. All kids try it on somehow or another - but if they get a reaction, the behaviour is rewarded and they'll repeat it.

I suggest that you disengage and leave your DP to deal with meals while your DSS is there.

Gingersnap88 Sun 18-Nov-12 20:39:08

DSS (7) is driving me mad. For the last month or so, he's been complaining/ refusing to eat/ picking/ moaning at every single meal. There's always an element that he doesn't like, even in dishes which I have prepared specifically because he likes them.

He is generally a fussy eater and prefers to eat, what I would call, bland stuff. At home he mainly eats chicken nuggets etc. When he is here, I always cook something that I know he likes. His favourite is pasta.

So tonight I made pasta with grilled chicken which was marinated in lemon & garlic. I do this quite often and he usually really likes it (asks for more etc). I left the table early as DD (8 months) was ready for bed. While I was upstairs, he told DH that he didn't like the chicken because it was "too sweet".

This is what he says every time he complains, that the food is sweet and he doesn't like sweet foods (apart from puddings). I'm going mad because DH seems to take this seriously but not every meal I'm making can be sweet (I dont use sugar or salt, and I vary the menu)! Normally, he says something while I'm cooking about not liking dinner, even before he knows what I'm making.

I know it's stupid but I'm hurt, as I make an effort to cook things he likes. I'm also annoyed as it feels like constant criticism and in fed up with it. Part of me thinks, sod it, I'll just give him frozen stuff while we eat a nice meal together.

I feel that he has regressed with food since his mum and dad had a big disagreement (about a month ago) where she withheld contact because she was annoyed with DH. I don't know how to handle it, it's really getting me down though.

Any advice?

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