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To get so wound up about my dd's fussy friend...

(358 Posts)
sabire Tue 22-Jul-08 23:15:28

who comes round OFTEN, and doesn't eat: pasta, pizza, cheese, seafood, fish, rice, tomatoes, anything in a sauce, quiche, noodles, lasagna ('never tried that!), stew argggh!

I really struggle to be accomodating, because the lesson I give my own children around food is this: you are not in a cafe and you don't get to pick and choose your meals. When someone prepares food for you it's a gift and a privilege. If you don't like it, just politely say you aren't very hungry and don't have seconds. If children say to me 'I don't like that' when they come around for a meal I just say - 'don't worry love - you don't have to eat it' but don't offer them anything else..... Is that mean?

When my dd goes to other people's houses and they say 'what would she like to eat' my answer is: 'whatever you want to give her'. Consequently my children are very unfussy compared to their friends - they eat almost anything and enjoy it. Obviously if a child was allergic to something or really repulsed by it I wouldn't expect them to eat it - but basic fussiness - I can't cope with it. I'm just worried that I'm going to turn my children into social pariahs because I won't pander to their friends' fussy eating habits.

susia Tue 22-Jul-08 23:23:48

the difficulty though is when your child (despite totally agreeing with your sentiments)is that fussy child. My son has always been this way and will actually vomit if he eats something he doesn't like. I have tried endless ways to get him to be less fussy and if I knew a solution I would do it but I don't.

Ilovebunting Tue 22-Jul-08 23:25:16

Of course you aren't. I have always had that attitude with my dd, and she was pandered at nursery and now likes to think that she can pick and choose, and as a result has had quite a few hungry bedtimes since being at home full time, but now knows that at home she eats what she is given. Fussiness is merely trying to have things their own way IMO (barring things that they truly don't like!)-and if your dd's friend doesn't like it she can a) eat when she gets home, or b) not come round as often. Most mum's take your view, and most kids are not that fussy at eating if they are at someone else's house, so they will not be outcasts! grin

susia Tue 22-Jul-08 23:26:15

so yes I think YABU as you are assuming that it is your parenting that has made your child able to eat anything

Ilovebunting Tue 22-Jul-08 23:26:29

Susia-are you sure it's not a food intolerance as opposed to fussy eating if he's being sick?

WigWamBam Tue 22-Jul-08 23:26:51

She sounds like my daughter. Except mine will eat pizza.

She is a guest in your home, and I think it's nice to try and give guests something you know they will like - there must be something she enjoys, and in all honesty it shouldn't be any harder to cook that for her than to do something which you know she will refuse and you will have to throw away.

If she has one meal she really enjoys just give her that - over and over. She won't get bored, even if you do!

partaria Tue 22-Jul-08 23:27:41

How old is the friend ?

I have 4dcs between 4 and 14 and hence have hosted a lot of playdates over the last decade. Your line is the same as mine - eat and be thankful but don't make a fuss if it's truly awful. But with guests I cut a little slack up to about age 7...after all it's no trouble really to rustle up bread and butter (definitely not an alternative meal) if they can't/won't eat what is offered. Btw i naturally pre check for allergies, religious observances etc., but what I don't pander to is fussiness, eg what breed of apple is this / I like pasta but not THAT shape - no tolerance of that whatsoever ! They can move on to a slice of bread then or wait til pick up time.

dcs remain popular and fussy guests just eat later.

MaudGonne Tue 22-Jul-08 23:27:58

Don't stress, if a child is this fussy, I'm sure the mam understands and feeds the child whatever after a playdate anyway.

Therefore I don't struggle to be accommodating so YABU.

handlemecarefully Tue 22-Jul-08 23:29:52

I think YABU to get wound up about it.

I don't think you are BU to not offer anything else.

However when I have dc's friends over I tend to offer something bland and unchallenging to the palate. Why create angst? Very often it is fishfingers.

My own dc's eat pretty much anything and I cook varied meals at home (italian, french, indian, mexican inspired). But it wasn't always so.

I tend not to judge parents with children who are fussy eaters. Some of it is the luck of the draw

ThatBigGermanPrison Tue 22-Jul-08 23:30:21

I was an incredibly fussy eater. I did vomit once, because of peas.

It wasn't about the tastes. It was about the textures. I hated 'rolly' food, 'jumbly' food, potatoes, fruit, meat, was never given pasta or rice - and I existed on ketchup sandwiches and poached plaice with swede and carrot mash for 2 years.

It's not my job to teach a visiting child not to be fussy.

tortoiseSHELL Tue 22-Jul-08 23:30:26

'consequently my children are very unfussy' - well, congratulations.

I have 1 child who could be that child described in the OP. My other 2 are very unfussy.

When ds1 goes to friends, I tell them SOMETHING he will eat, but also say 'don't make a special meal or anything, give him what the others have.'

He never eats it. sad

susia Tue 22-Jul-08 23:31:48

He is not intolerent to foods, he has had tests etc. He just is very scared of foods he is not familar with. Each time he eats something new, it takes alot of attempts for him to get used to it.

I spent alot of time discussing it with my HV when he was younger and he is gradually getting better. But he is extremely fussy and it has caused alot of worry for our family. Going out or to other people's houses is really difficult and I explain to them, don't ask them to cook anything special but I do say to not expect him to eat anything as he may well not. The biggest breakthrough has been not expecting too much and that takes the pressure off.

handlemecarefully Tue 22-Jul-08 23:32:47

Yes it is a fundamentally irritating trait when parents think "my dc has no problems with food /touching ornaments /( insert any other perceived problem)...thus it must be other parents not doing it right"

ThatBigGermanPrison Tue 22-Jul-08 23:35:18

mmmm, quite. My ds1 was always thrilled to share everything as a toddler, always has been. Doesn't mean toddlers who lie on the floor screaming "Mine mine mine minnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnne!!!!" are abnormal, or badly parented. Just different.

sabire Tue 22-Jul-08 23:36:40

WigWam - I find myself not wanting to do it on principle! I know it's not the child's fault that she's so picky - it's her mum's, but this child is 9 now and I really think that someone needs to instill some social graces in her - namely how not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

"you are assuming that it is your parenting that has made your child able to eat anything" - All 3 of my children are adventurous about food. I'm sure the family food culture does have SOMETHING to do with this.

susia Tue 22-Jul-08 23:40:41

Well all of us in our family love food and none of us are fussy, we even own a family restaurant! but not my son, he just doesn't like most things. To be honest I think your attitude is patronising and ignorant.

My son was potty trained at 18 months but I know I was just lucky, I don't assume parents whose children are wetting the bed at 5 are bad parents or doing something wrong, I assume that in that aspect things are more difficult for that child!

anniemac Tue 22-Jul-08 23:41:26

Message withdrawn

anniemac Tue 22-Jul-08 23:41:28

Message withdrawn

sabire Tue 22-Jul-08 23:43:41

I know some children are phobic about food, or are 'super tasters' who are particularly sensitive to bitter and strong tastes, but IMO there are far, far more whose extreme fussyness is a result of not being regularly exposed to new tastes and textures.

I'd bet my bottom dollar that extreme fussyness of the type most of my dd's friends have is almost unheard of in countries where food is scarce and where children are not able to pick and choose what they want to eat.

ravenAK Tue 22-Jul-08 23:48:22

I have a child who often refuses whatever I've cooked (basically, he is deeply suspicious of vegetables). So he picks at his tea then fills up on fruit.

His best friend is extremely fussy too, & quite aghast that I don't cook to order, like her mum. If she comes to tea, she quite often goes home hungry.

Neither of them are likely to suffer from malnutrition any time soon.

Obviously you don't offer eyeballs & semolina to visiting children whose tastes you don't know, but no big deal, if they don't like what's on offer they won't come to harm by missing ONE meal...

susia Tue 22-Jul-08 23:51:34

That argument is used often and I understand the sentiment. However I think you should look at this website;

I really can't stand it when people seem to be an expert on something without any experience or understanding of it.

Another example - my first child slept through the night at 6 weeks and from 4months slept 7 to 7. I remember being fairly smug about it at the time. My second woke every 3 -4 hours till he was 9 months old and then had 5am wakings for a year! We did nothing different and suddenly I was able to understand how little our actual parenting had influenced the outcome and much it was the individual child.

I think it gave me a little more compassion too!

chipmonkey Tue 22-Jul-08 23:56:07

sabire, I honestly think you are worrying too much about this. . Ds1 was very fussy as a small child and I liked when he went to his friends house and was able to observe his friend eating broccoli in a white sauce, in my mind it was a way of showing him that other children were not fussy little feckers had more versatile tastes and I do believe allowing him to observe this helped him get over his fussiness. At 11 he will now eat almost anything. And I wouldn't offer anything else except maybe toast or something simple like that.

sabire Tue 22-Jul-08 23:57:34

"Obviously you don't offer eyeballs & semolina"

grin grin grin

"Neither of them are likely to suffer from malnutrition any time soon"

My SIL always pandered to her fussy ds's - cooking to order only the foods they asked for. They're now 24 and 28. They eat from the following menu: vegetables - carrots, sweetcorn, potatoes (but only chips and roasts), burgers, Kentucky, ribs, pizza, roast chicken. And that's it basically. They eat no green vegetables other than peas now and then. I'd feel devastated if I thought I'd in any way encouraged my children to develop the sort of eating habits that would increase their risk of cancers and other lifestyle illnesses. I think there's a whole generation of children who are growing up having completely failed to develop a taste for vegetables and healthy food - and we're all going to pay the price when the NHS falls apart under the strain....

ravenAK Tue 22-Jul-08 23:59:10

It's different if it's an ongoing problem though.

My cousin (much younger than me, don't know him well) is apparently hyper sensitive to taste & smell. He's in his late teens now & is still revolted by all sorts of foods - so his diet at home consists of bland, familiar foods.

Play dates are a different situation - I would expect my dc to be polite about anything they were offered & would be happy to feed them when they came home if they were hungry!

chipmonkey Tue 22-Jul-08 23:59:48

susia, we had a similar experience with ds3 and bottles! Ds1 and ds2 would happily switch between breast and bottle and I smugly thought it was because I introduced a bottle of EBM at the "right" time.
Ds3 was given bottles before he was put to the breast, had a regular weekly bottle till he was 5 months old and then suddenly decided he was having none of it! And this stubbornness has alas shown up in a lot of different situations with ds3!

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