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to have said this to SIL?

(16 Posts)
SpeedyGonzalez Mon 06-Jun-11 12:40:27

SIL is taking DS out today. We have ongoing problems with 4 yo DS not eating enough. Every mealtime he eats like a mouse, we hassle him and everyone gets stressed out. At the moment we've decided to take the "hands off" approach of leaving him to manage his own food intake without being hassled by us. The aim is that he should take responsibility for his own eating.

So I explained this to SIL and asked her to give him half an hour to eat, without saying anything, and even if he only has one bite of food she should just pack the food away at the end without a word.

WIBU to explain this to her?

SenoritaViva Mon 06-Jun-11 12:41:57

No YANBU at all, why are you even asking? Did she react badly?

worraliberty Mon 06-Jun-11 12:44:02

It's worth a try I suppose.

I've always gone with the idea that kids will eat when they're hungry..and some kids only need a tiny amount to feel full.

It's not really how much they eat but what they eat that's important when their appetites aren't very big.

SpeedyGonzalez Mon 06-Jun-11 13:10:47

Senorita, she has reacted badly in the past to me telling her stuff like this about DS. She thinks it's out of line, and that I should leave her to make all the decisions herself hmm. She can take a running jump as far as that's concerned. When I was explaining this eating approach to her this morning she started giving me an irritated look. FFS.

worra - he often eats like a mouse at nursery and then as soon as I pick him up (30 mins after his last meal) he's biting my arm off. Stoopid, innit? Sigh. Oh, so many things we have to deal with as parents.

Stangirl Mon 06-Jun-11 13:34:10

My DD isn't a big eater and we've taken the "ignore and make no fuss" approach you describe. Things are improving. You are absolutely right to tell SIL how to do this - it's important.

SpeedyGonzalez Mon 06-Jun-11 13:48:49

Thanks, Stangirl. It's really heartening to see that you're finding the approach is making a difference. We did it a long time ago and it started to work, then we slipped back into old habits. It's SO easy to make little comments reminding them to eat, because you just want the best for them, - DH doesn't even notice himself doing it, so I'm constantly having to remind him during meals!

SIL adores DS, but she's also a very pushy/ bossy sort and doesn't like to be told anything. <<rolls eyes>>

SenoritaViva Mon 06-Jun-11 13:54:02

Speedy I have a DD that eats like a bird, she's 4 now and we're also taking this approach. Think it's better.

Agree, SIL should take a running jump, would you like me to dig a splash pool for her at the end (we could fill it with mud and everything).

SpeedyGonzalez Mon 06-Jun-11 13:59:01

Woo-hoo! Gracias Senorita! Seria fantastico! <<grabs camera>> grin

thegruffalosma Mon 06-Jun-11 14:01:46

OP I think you are doing the right thing not hassling your ds to eat as I know some kids who seem to enjoy the attention/reaction that not eating brings BUT it seems there a history of you giving SIL detailed instructions on how to care for ds. It might have been better to stick to your way at home and if sil wants to make mealtimes with ds stressful for herself then that's her problem. DS will still know that YOU don't give him attention for refusing to eat.

SpeedyGonzalez Mon 06-Jun-11 14:19:11

TBH gruffalo, with SIL it's not that I give her detailed instructions all the time. I tell her the same stuff that everyone does when they hand over their kids to someone else. If there's nothing to say, I say nothing. If there's something important to say, I say it. She's the only one who ever has a problem with it.

Both DH and I have observed this in her - she frequently wants to have voting rights over the decisions we make for our children. Like - we should have made her a godparent - how dare we decide this without consulting her? And how dare we not do exactly what she wanted us to do at Xmas and on DS's birthday - do we think we have the right to make these decisions for ourselves? etc.

MadamDeathstare Mon 06-Jun-11 14:22:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SpeedyGonzalez Mon 06-Jun-11 14:46:04

Actually, MadamDeathStareClairvoyant wink, "'Oh, I'll fix that eating problem for them, he'll eat for me'" is exactly what she said! I then explained that he's like that with everyone - nursery, at friend's houses, etc, and she was quite surprised!

Funnily enough there was a time not so long ago when she asked me to tell me how much he should be eating - she got upset that I would give her snacks for him without telling him how much he ought to eat. confused Seems I can't win!

MadamDeathstare Mon 06-Jun-11 16:10:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SpeedyGonzalez Mon 06-Jun-11 20:21:12


"She must be a joy to work with." Well she's okay mostly, but you do have to walk on eggshells around her sometimes or be on prepared for pushiness and subtext. God, I can't bear people speaking "with forked tongue", they're so draining. Nowadays I tend to disregard such people.

Fecklessdizzy Mon 06-Jun-11 21:00:36

Face it OP, whatever actually happens when they're out she's going to report back that he cleaned his plate ... wink

DS2 was a food refusenik, we tried the flaffing around/ pleading/ stern/ aeroplane noises approach then the ignore and get on with life approach ... the latter was better and less exausting!

He's 10 now and not starved to death yet ...

iloverhubarb Mon 06-Jun-11 21:15:01

Yep same, DD wouldn't eat ANYTHING except carbohydrate with nothing on it. And broccoli. Ignore ignore (well we did our best). Till suddenly age about 11 she got hungry. Fragrant rice, curry, samosas. Brown bread for goodness sake. Anything at all. Just wait.

Ignore child (good plan) and ignore SIL. I would probably let SIL get on with it with no food based instructions at least short term. He won't starve. It's a little emotional for you, about being a 'less successful' parent than those people who do the 'oh my children eat anything' boast. You are doing the right thing. SIL is a side or separate issue. Only about 8 years to go and he'll be fine!

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