Concerned about nephew and mealtimes

(7 Posts)
ScreamToASigh Wed 06-Feb-13 15:46:50

My nephew is 3.2 yrs old and has some issues around food. He's never been particularly enthusiastic about eating, and seems like he would never eat if entirely left to his own devices.

What has worried me a bit was a situation that happened this weekend - to the point where I feel really uncomfortable about it and feel like I need to say something. Problem is I don't know how without seeming like I'm interfering or without upsetting my SIL.

So what happened was that we sat down for a family evening meal with my PIL, SIL and nephew. He didn't want to eat what was served, and immediately he had both PILs and SIL completely focused on him. They were all trying to cajole, persuade, bribe him to eat the main course. SIL takes the spoon and starts to try and spoon feed him (this is very often the case).Not so unusual so far I guess.

But then SIL starts to literally shove the spoon into his mouth and basically force feed him. I was a bit surprised by this and didn't know what to do other than concentrate on my own dc. The situation then escalated as she continued to try and shove food into him, until he started retching and then eventually made himself throw up what had been forced into him. I was really bothered by this but felt unable to say anything as PIL seemed unfazed by it.

Am I overreacting? Is this not as bad as I felt it was? I just feel the way that SIL handles mealtimes is completely at odds to what I would do and it makes me very concerned for my nephew. Tbh I just wanted to tell them all to leave him alone to eat or not as he wants, and not to make such a song and dance about it. I am also a bit concerned because I don't want them to behave this way around my ds when he is learning about food and mealtimes (he's 7mo).

Wwyd? How would you approach this, or would you not approach it at all?

(Sorry about the essay....)

atacareercrossroads Wed 06-Feb-13 15:56:44

Well, it would be impossible to say anything without looking like you're butting in with unsolicited advice. Was this incident a one off? Having a 4 yo myself who just won't eat I understand the hopelessness of feeling angry/sad/worried etc and I can see why it escalated how it did I guess. Don't worry about your dc around them, the small bits they may see will be outweighed by your attitude to food, not that you can do anything about it anyway if that's their approach with their own dc.

Sorry, splinters well and truly in my backside here!

ScreamToASigh Wed 06-Feb-13 16:04:33

It was the first time I've seen the forced feeding and the subsequent vomiting. The spoon feeding and focus on cajoling etc happens everytime I've seen him eat. He very rarely feeds himself. Is that unusual for a 3 year old?

I wondered whether I could try recommending to my SIL a baby & toddler cookbook that I have which has a long section about how to handle fussy toddlers. I thought maybe I could get away with bringing this up as I am weaning my ds at the mo. Or would that too unsubtle?

HeyHoHereWeGo Wed 06-Feb-13 16:07:47

I know the answer!!
Buy a book called My Child Wont Eat by Carloz Gonzalez
Give it to SIL.
Hope she reads it.
It is wonderful.


(Poor little boy, I hope she does read it)

atacareercrossroads Wed 06-Feb-13 16:12:49

Most 2+ yo I know can easily feed themselves to be honest. The cookbook sounds like a good idea. Subtle but gets a hint across. Maybe strike up a convo "Awww how frustrating it must be for you, is he always fussy about food" and take it from there?

atacareercrossroads Wed 06-Feb-13 16:22:39

Or turn it around so it looks like you're seeking her wisdom, but make her think about her approach? "Gosh I'm worried my dc is going to be a nightmare eater, what's your approach........oh right, do you think maybe just relaxing about it might work? They eat when they are hungry surely, won't starve etc etc" type thing?

ScreamToASigh Wed 06-Feb-13 17:06:29

I could try those approaches out, thank you atacareer! But do you think I really should try and raise it? Would the risk of offending outweigh the possibility of changing what happens? Not to mention my DH would not be too happy with me sticking my oar in I think.

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