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AIBU to expect my daughter to eat what I make for her?

(156 Posts)
onehappymummy Fri 27-May-16 00:09:59

Hi, not posted here in forever but had a bit of a discussion with my husband this evening and it seems that we disagree massively on this topic. I am wondering if it's a cultural difference (he is from abroad) or perhaps a class one (I'm from a working class background, he went to private school).

So, I was brought up being told "you eat what you are given or you go without". My parents would make small allowances to foods I particularly dislike (I was allowed to pick out of the mushrooms from the bolognese) but otherwise I had to eat it if regardless (I recall weekly having to eat gammon, cabbage and something else that I disliked). I will now eat anything that is given to me, and consider it rude not to eat a meal someone has made for me, even if I dislike it.

My husband believe that if you don't like it then you don't eat it. We argued today because I made mild chilli with rice for me and my daughter, he said she wouldn't eat it as she doesn't like rice or anything even mildly spicy (it was very mild). I told him I wasn't making something else and he then lectured me on letting our daughter stave. She ate half of it (enough given I gave her plenty) then said she didn't like it. I then questioned him on if someone made him a meal not knowing his likes and dislikes, would he eat it? He said "no". I told him I would consider that rude. He got annoyed at me and made me feel like I was being really unreasonable.

So, in summary, I would like to know if:

AIBU to expect my daughter to eat the food she is given?
AIBU to think that if someone makes you a meal it is rude to not eat it? (within acceptable grounds - not feeding meat to a vegetarian or something someone has a genuine allergie or intolerance for).

beetroot2 Fri 27-May-16 00:16:22

I really don't know what it has to do with being working class to be fair OP. I don't eat things I don't like and I won't be made to, would you? If you were forced as a kid and you are carrying that one on then you are double wrong.

IHeartKingThistle Fri 27-May-16 00:19:37

Well I think you're right as long as you're not forcing her or making it into a huge issue. My kids are expected to try things before saying they don't like it and I certainly don't make separate meals.

Your DH undermining you in front of your daughter is going to be an issue. Was he offering to cook something different for her or expecting you to do it?

treetrunkthighs Fri 27-May-16 00:23:34

I think yabu to expect your daughter to eat spicy food if she doesn't like it. Although it sounds like she gave it a good go so she is falling in with your way of thinking.

I think yanbu to expect adults to be able to grin and bare it and eat up when faced with a plate of food they don't particularly like.

onehappymummy Fri 27-May-16 00:29:39

beetroot it is to do with the fact my mum couldn't afford to make separate meals, the gammon meal was a cheap but nutritious meal. She made it as it was the only way she could afford to feed us properly - I understood this from an early age and ate it. My mother wasn't cruel, she just had a really strict budget.

heartkingthistle - we were discussing it in the kitchen while my daughter was in the other room eating. No, he did not offer to make anything and was expecting me to do it. She had never tried this dish before, so I expected her to try it and eat it for today.. If she didn't like it then I won't make it again.

I don't make her eat food I know she dislikes. She does not dislike rice, she happily eats risotto when I make it but for the most part, she isn't impressed by rice dishes - I just keep trying new ones so we don't live on tuna pasta (which they love and I hate). There are certain foods she doesn't like that I avoid, but veg and salad, I make her eat regardless. I just thought all parents did that. I mean, does anyone actually like salad?

ChipButtyButter Fri 27-May-16 00:31:06

Beetroot it's a 'working class' background issue because people don't always have a choice over what they eat. Guessing when she was young op's parents couldn't afford (either money or time) to buy and make multiple meals for different family members. The basics being you'll eat it if you're hungry enough and some foods you'll like better than others. It's not about being 'forced' it's about not having the privilege of choice. And to an extent, not pandering to the whims of toddlers. Yanbu imo. Same childhood mealtime scenario here and I'll eat anything now smile

DrowningInWallStickers Fri 27-May-16 00:47:32

I'm struggling to understand why someone would feed their kids stuff they don't like... Bar vegetables of course 😉

My daughter can't stand rice, she hates the way it feels in her mouth, doesn't like the taste and would rather starve than eat it. I don't serve her it, she's a person with her own likes and dislikes. I remember being forced to eat quiche as a child and hot sausage rolls and the taste of them made me feel sick for hours after.

However, my son says he doesn't like rice but really he is just copying his big sister (eats it when she isn't there) so if he's served rice he has to eat it.

DrowningInWallStickers Fri 27-May-16 00:49:29

Sorry just seen your update. With that in mind, you're not being unreasonable to feed her that and your husband is a tit for expecting you to cook her something different just because he says she doesn't like it.

beetroot2 Fri 27-May-16 00:51:11

As I have said I come from the same background and was never "made" to eat anything, I personally think its cruel. I watched kids at school being force fed by dinner ladies etc. my mother went up that school and told them in no uncertain terms not to. Lots of things in the "olden days" were cruel and to still have that mentality is ridiculous.

BillSykesDog Fri 27-May-16 00:54:16

But you do make her things she doesn't like. She doesn't like even mildly spicy food. You make her spicy food.

I agree with you that children shouldn't be encouraged to turn their noses up at perfectly decent food. But I think it's mean to knowingly prepare something you know she doesn't like.

Pritti7 Fri 27-May-16 00:59:17


You are right, I have seen it only too often that kids pampered blindly by parents are so ill equipped at surviving in social situations. So in her best interest she should be used to eating everything, what happens when she goes to uni, what happens when her husband prefers certain kind of food and her kids. This training needs to be given early on in life.

It winds me up when people disrespect my food. If someone has worked hard stood in the kitchen and cooked, eating it is the least a guest can do.

DH was also of the same opinion, if I don't like it I ain't gonna eat it. But I am not quite sure how but things have just fallen into place. I cook with just one intention to have healthy food on the table and at times if it doesn't taste good, he still eats it regardless.

I make DD eat all I make its not always easy, she throws her tantrums and goes to DH but Dh knows too well not to get involved or he will get into trouble smile . For me the priority is feeding her healthy food. I try to make it as tasty as possible so she likes it. But when she doesn't want to I try my best to distract her, cuddle her and feed her anyway with a reward for eating. And keep telling her the importance of healthy eating. And give her snacks during the day.

A (male) friend's DD ate carrots for snacking, no chocolates, no ice cream. His wife is a strong woman and has trained their DD well with food. But usually it is mainly to make kids eat healthy, not just 'what is cooked'. My arguement is if it is good for you then whether you like it or not doesn't matter. But my brother doesn't like my approach either. But thats just me, I am just a nightmare to live with I guess.

Orwellschild Fri 27-May-16 01:00:00

My family were dirt poor when I was a kid. I "got what I was given".
There is now nothing I won't eat apart from liver its minging tastebuds change massively as you grow up. I'm sure she isn't going to starve, op. And cooking a meal for your family isn't "mean", imho.
I hated the taste of wine when I was younger. Now the flavours dance on my tastebuds. Crack on, you're doing nothing wrong.

onehappymummy Fri 27-May-16 01:04:35

Yea, I see how that is contradictory. If only I could let you taste it. It was the mildest of the mild. Personally I didn't even think it was spicy at all, but she said it was to her so I accept that. I had looked for one that said it wasn't spicy as a compromise and got excited that I could actually make mexican food. It was actually really tasty with some fantastic slow cooked diced beef. She did actually comment on how nice the meat was. I think it was the aftertaste she objected to, hence why she managed half a plate before she said anything.

So, its mean for me to try to see if she could enjoy something I like by trying to find a milder alternative than what she has tried before. Would it be mean to stop making her favourite dish (tuna pasta) because I hate tuna and can't afford to make two meals?

DropYourSword Fri 27-May-16 01:16:10

I don't like spicy food. I'm a little better now than I used to be, but honestly when I was young even korma was too spicy for me. I don't think it's nice to make someone eat something they really don't like, even if you think it's very mild, because it's probably not mild to them.
I can manage mild to medium curries now but I still wouldn't eat chilli

anklebitersmum Fri 27-May-16 01:21:28

I don't think you're being unreasonable to expect a child to give a new food 'a good go' or to, within reason, eat what they are given.

Children need to try new things and if they never eat anything mildly spicy then you can't really expect them to move on to 'hot' foods can you?

Chilli, just as a thought, can be a bit of a slow burn with heat though-nice for the first half of the plate but too much as the residual heat grows with each mouthful. I started our lot off with chicken korma and worked up from there spice-wise (naan bread, poppadoms, chutney and onion salad are also all very exciting food additions for children). My nearly ten year old DS2 now wolfs down vindaloo that's too hot for me even now and the smallest at 6 loves a now pretty spicy Mummy Curry tikka masala. grin

As for enforced veg eating, yes we all do that to some degree although by the time they're 7 or 8 you should know who does and doesn't like what veggies.

Salad is an odd one-I'm not a big fan, it really only serves a texture for me whilst DD1 (nearly 11) recently requested salads for her school lunch confused. Now she's started a trend and apparently feels very sophisticated with her caesar-ish salad at lunchtime grin

Essentially the biters eat what they're given, they don't have to eat it all but if you're full, you're full so there's no pudding (when applicable) and no snacking later. It'll be a cold day in hell before I start making different meals for everyone, believe you me!

Pritti7 Fri 27-May-16 03:03:26

contd... (DH needed the laptop)
So to answer your question, personally if the food is not healthy I wouldn't mind if DD doesn't want to eat. So for things that I don't consider important like meat/potato/rice/mushroom, i wouldn't mind if she doesn't want to eat. But i hate making separate meals so I always have stuff in freezer that I could quickly defrost. I do let her have her way at times so when it is important i can count on her listening to/obeying me.

But when food is super healthy (like spinach, gourd etc ) then I do try to convince her. But in any case, I wouldn't be able to force her. Food has to be one of the joys of childhood, would want her to just look forward to my food.

Sorry but I feel your Dh should not be undermining you like that in front of your DD, she will learn to go to DH to appeal all your decisions.

TheToys Fri 27-May-16 03:50:57

I love a proper Greek salad. Beautiful. Could eat it daily.

Yabu, though. She gave the food a very good go. A turning up of nose without tasting is rude. Also saying yuck etc. Admitting your mum that you would prefer to not eat more chili, as you find it hot, is not. You don't need to cook two meals, just leave out some components for the people who don't like them and substitute with something else (grated cheese, tomato sauce...) If you like. This works unless all you make are one pot meals/bakes.

Normandy144 Fri 27-May-16 04:10:13

Yanbu. I have re read your post and can't see a ref to your daughters age anywhere? I don't think there is anything wrong in serving new foods to kids. You have to in order to expand their palates. If you stop serving them dishes they have disliked before you'll soon have a a very limited scope to pick from and they'll never get the exposure. My own DD is 3 and not a massive rice fan. Do I serve it to her every day/ week? No, but I do try it a few times a month and usually try to ensure the day before and after she has meals I know she will eat. Kids palates change so much in those early years and in my opinion you have to keep exposing them to foods they might previously have declined.

araiba Fri 27-May-16 04:21:41

dh told you that dd didnt like spicy food and rice
you made spicy food with rice
dd didnt like it
you whinge and dh points out that you knew this would happen before you started

what is this madness?

nooka Fri 27-May-16 06:00:57

My dd doesn't like very spicy food. So I make her portion without spices. It means one more pot to wash up but it's not really very much extra effort. I really enjoy spices but it would be very unkind of me to cook a spicy meal and make her eat it so I don't. I can't really see the point of making a meal that you know one of the recipients is highly likely to dislike.

She was a very fussy small child, I did think she should just eat whatever dh or I cooked, but she did not! It was a big pain, but she grew out of it and now eats (and cooks) a wide range of food, but she is a super taster and find lots of spices overwhelming.

curren Fri 27-May-16 06:13:42

When I do pasta for the family, I make a tomato sauce and then add in all the gubbins that me and dh like (olive etc) to some and not the rest.

I don't get all the fuss about making two meals. I can be done really easy. I don't often cook, dh does it. But when I do I can adapt it quite easily, chilli would involve two pans. Spicy for us, not for the kids.

Both my kids have never liked spicy food, at all. One is 12. I wouldn't continue to force her to eat it.

Risotto is very different to eating rice with chilli.

You say you can't afford to make two meals, is that really the objection? In your op your objection was that it was rude. If you really can't afford to make two meals, you and your dh need to discuss how you compromise.

I grew up in a house where you had to eat what you were given. Single parent household, very limited income. There are tons of foods I won't eat due to remembering having to force it down.

Eating what you are given is in no way definitely going to make your child non fussy.

winchester1 Fri 27-May-16 06:22:30

I think op made the meal a very mild curry with rice (which she knows dd sometimes eats) and served it.
Then her husband said dd wouldn't like it and she should make something else.

Personally we are the same, 1 dinner for everyone (unless it steak as that's expensive and I'm giving it to toddlers, they get homemade burgers instead), and eat more of the bits you like but try it all. OH is foreign but also grew up poor, which i think is the reason we have the same approach.

So far they aren't too fussy, happily eat veg etc so hopefully it continues to work.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Fri 27-May-16 06:27:17

My dd is a super taster as am I. I think that if you are not it is very hard to understand what it feels like. If I have pepper or mint for example then my mouth will burn for a few hours. It's not a 'pleasant, fresh taste' it is physical pain. I can't believe that someone would willingly subject themselves to that pain, and that is just accidental ingestion as I would avoid obvious instances.

Dd hates spicy food, among other strong tastes. I might give her the option to try a little bit but I would never plan a meal around it. She has a boring ready pot if we have curry or something.

I would think it rude if someone so close to me made a meal that they knew I would find painful to eat and then forced me to eat it. If I was out at a friend's house then I would try to have a little and leave as much as I could without appearing too rude. I would suffer for hours afterwards. I wouldn't do that to my daughter.

Bolshybookworm Fri 27-May-16 06:29:35


Your average child in the uk is hardly starving, making them the odd meal that they dislike will not do them any harm. My kids know the rule in our house- you get what you're given, you don't have to eat it but there are no alternatives.

Also, I have two kids who like different foods- if I only cooked things they both like then that would be a very limited range of meals!

Incidentally, my eldest dds tolerance for spice is directly related to how much she likes the food grin

MakeItRain Fri 27-May-16 06:29:40

When I was little the taste of so many foods was enhanced. I since read about "super tasters" and think that applied to me, especially when I was younger. Different brands of baked beans for example were like two completely different foods. I think most children have a much better sense of taste than adults.

So I would never make a child eat something they didn't like. I can vividly remember nearly 50 years later how revolting the texture and taste of some foods were to me. My mum never forced me to eat things either. I think because her own experience had been a very strict insistence on food being eaten. Funnily enough I eat pretty much anything now.

So I'm with your dh. I don't make a fuss about it or make it a big deal. I don't cook anything else. My dc can have fruit/cereal later if they're hungry. They tend to eat most things I give them now anyway. But if they say they don't like something I won't force them to eat it.

It sounds like food is something you've never really learnt to enjoy with your "who actually likes salad?" comment. I found that a sad thing to say, as if a lot of the time you just go through the motions eating things or cooking things you think "should" be eaten.

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