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When do you overstep the 'godmother perogative ' line?

(33 Posts)
DoMyBest Tue 28-Jul-15 15:35:51

We recently had a family pub lunch with a good friend and her primary school age children, one of whom is my godson.
She ordered a roast for one son then, when it arrived at the table with gravy & he complained, ordered a totally new meal for him. My godson, meanwhile, said he would only eat macaroni cheese, then refused to eat it.
When it came to pudding, my boys were allowed a kid's scoop of ice cream each (partly because they were allowed to as they'd finished their lunch, partly because it was the cheapest thing on the menu). I expected my godson to be told no pudding as he'd barely touched his meal, but to my amazement he was given a huge, adult, pudding of his choice.
My friend really is lovely, and teaches her children good values & respect for others etc. Should I raise the issue of giving in to fussy eating with her, or would that be pushing the boundaries of godmotherly perogative?

elelfrance Tue 28-Jul-15 15:46:05

you'd want to tread very very carefully....maybe a conversation about fussy eaters in general might be possible, but telling her she's doing something wrong is unlikely to go over well
i'd alos be slow to accuse her of "giving in to fussy eating" based on one single meal ....have you seen this before with her ?

Dukketeater Tue 28-Jul-15 15:49:09

No, don't say anything.

They are her children, her back, her rod. I would only interfere if she looked like she really needed help or if the kids were at risk which doesn't appear to be the case.

We all parent differently!

bakingtins Tue 28-Jul-15 15:50:16

I would keep your nose out unless she is complaining about her children's eating habits and then you could suggest her pandering to them is not helping.
I would be doing a silent eye roll though!

DoMyBest Tue 28-Jul-15 15:50:34

Yes, the fussy eating is a recurrant theme. But, ultimately (although I was going to mention it there and then, as a joke, like 'wow fussy eater!') I think its probably none of my business.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Tue 28-Jul-15 15:51:42

Being a godparent is more about looking out for their spiritual and moral well being than other aspects of their upbringing, isn't it? So no, not your place to comment

SweetAndFullOfGrace Tue 28-Jul-15 15:59:39

I would stay out of it. Food-related parenting is a very personal thing. And people usually don't take kindly to being told they're doing it wrong re raising their own kids.

Incidentally, I think using dessert as a reward or punishment for behaviour during the main meal is also problematic from a relationship-with-food perspective.

DoMyBest Tue 28-Jul-15 17:10:36

Right. Am glad something (unnusually!) held me back from speaking. Thanks for the advice, will follow (although will try to convert him to the joys of vegetable-eating when we're one on one!).

Goldmandra Tue 28-Jul-15 20:06:11

although will try to convert him to the joys of vegetable-eating when we're one on one

Please don't. You could just put him off them more and nobody will thank you for that.

My children have always been allowed dessert, even if they've barely touched their main course. I don't want them to think of sweet as a reward and savoury as a penance. They are now 12 and 18 and both choose to eat healthily.

You shouldn't say anything, mainly because your approach isn't automatically right and also because you don't see the whole picture.

Try to make your godmothering more about fun and less about correcting your friend's perfectly adequate parenting.

DoMyBest Tue 28-Jul-15 20:11:55

Ouch Goldmantra, hit me where it hurts! But you have a point on the role of godparents. As for potential food phobias, that's never crossed my mind: food for thought (see what I did there...).

Goldmandra Tue 28-Jul-15 20:20:58

hit me where it hurts!

Sorry flowers

FWIW I would never in a million years have ordered a second meal because a child decided they didn't want what they had ordered. I'm far to mean and anyway, that was madness lies, to say nothing of humongous restaurant bills!

DoMyBest Tue 28-Jul-15 20:55:42

I was literally adding up the bill in my mind thinking 'argh: and we're going to split this!) (whole other debate) smile

Goldmandra Tue 28-Jul-15 22:05:49

and we're going to split this!

Ah now that's not godmother territory. That's 'don't take the piss with my money territory'. I'm with you on that one. I hope she had the good grace to chip in extra to cover her extravagances.

Gottagetmoving Wed 29-Jul-15 12:29:12

I think your friend should have paid for the extra meal herself! I think that's when I would have said something.
I agree with not giving a pudding if the dinner is not eaten. It is not about a reward, its about not being wasteful or refusing just so they get a pudding!
Children are not stupid and will naturally prefer something sweet so will refuse the dinner.

DoMyBest Wed 29-Jul-15 14:37:00

Actually there was little waste as I ate the untouched meal myself (totsl porker). So I ought to be grateful!

MavisG Wed 29-Jul-15 16:48:37

I'd prefer my child to eat a big pud if he hadn't eaten much main course, but he would never deliberately orchestrate that situation (if he just wanted pudding he knows he could order it instead of a main course and he rarely does that).

GingerDoodle Wed 29-Jul-15 17:16:32

To be honest if it was me and my friend raised the issue I would probably not invite them for lunch again.

I was that fussy child (didn't grow out of it till I met DD and left home - long story). My father (worlds fussiest adult) sometimes chooses to comment on DD eating habits (she's a normal picky toddler) - if looks could kill he would be toast by now; I normally bite my tongue but he's been told if they are coming for Christmas he is to keep his opinions to himself.

I don't really give a hoot what DD eats if we are out as long as she behaves in an acceptable fashion (she's not 3 yet so there is plenty of time to teach her to actually eat whats in front of her!)

DoMyBest Wed 29-Jul-15 21:00:11

Interesting. Straying off the main point of my post, but I didn't expect so many of you find the concept of children being fussy eaters ok.
I'm slowly realising this is a cultural difference: I went to a French primary school where you just eat the (3 courses!) you're served. It genuinely never dawned on me that it is ok for children to be fussy eaters!
But this reaction, combined with the fact that most of the children I know are and their parents don't get stressed about it, is making me more aware (and, I hope, respectful) of a different way of doing things.

swallowed Wed 29-Jul-15 21:01:13

Sticky beak ---> out

What makes you think she's not aware of this particular parenting gem which you are about to bestow on her?

DoMyBest Wed 29-Jul-15 21:21:14

Swallowed, you make my point: mumsnet replies have made me realise that fussy eating is totally normal & acceptable in the anglo-saxon culture, and that saying something about it would have been as shocking to my friend as I found her indulgence of fussy eating.
So, in a nutshell, thank you for helping me not ruin a good friendship!

RJnomore Wed 29-Jul-15 21:52:55

No it isn't normal and acceptable! In the real world we would all be aghast. Although I doubt anyone would have the balls to mention it.

But it would be noted trust me.

fredfredgeorgejnr Wed 29-Jul-15 22:53:50

I don't think it's okay to be a "fussy eater", but equally I don't think the route to preventing fussy eating is through the use of food as a reward or punishment. So "no dessert because you didn't eat 'virtuous food'" or "here's a reward for eating all that gross food", as that encourages the psychological reasons for hunger, whereas we need to keep the hormonal ones primarily as that is much less likely to lead to over-eating.

Of course it does sound unusually pandering to order entirely different meals etc. but you don't really know more of the background to that when they're not eating out etc.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Wed 29-Jul-15 23:51:07

No, the British way is to smile and nod while inwardly pursing our lips in judgment but without ever saying so wink

Goldmandra Thu 30-Jul-15 00:17:31

I don't think it's about accepting fussy eating. I certainly never did, although my DD2 could very easily have ended up with major eating issues had I not made enormous efforts of will to smile and clear away without comment.

My children have always been expected to eat the courses they are served or eat the parts they feel comfortable to eat and be prepared to feel rather hungry by the next mealtime. Earning a dessert by eating the main course has never come into it. They would just never be given extra dessert to make up for the calories they missed by leaving the main or snacks before the next meal.

I'm not sure if you're saying that the approach in France is to insist that all courses are eaten completely and dessert is conditional on savoury being finished but that doesn't sit comfortably with me.

I do firmly believe that it's our job to make the food available and the child's job to select from it what they would like to put in their mouth without our interference. This view has been firmly reinforced by many years of childminding including some children who were very fussy eaters and whose parents were hideously controlling. The fussiness was easily solved by my lack of involvement in the child's eating choices. The parents' behaviour was, sadly, usually much more of a challenge to change.

DoMyBest Thu 30-Jul-15 10:23:39

Although am veering off the subject again a bit, for me food is part of a person - and child's - spiritual wellbeing: enjoying different types, knowing what sort of vegetables, cheeses, fruits, potatoes, etc you like best. I don't mind that my child prefers beans to cabbage, or brie to compte. But for a child to say, age 7 or 8, 'I don't like vegetables' or 'I don't eat fruit' and the parents to adapt all their meals to suit that is, I think, sad.
How a parent chooses to address that (I note all your points about the dangers of food being seen as a reward) is a seperate issue.
For our oldest child we had it easy as he started school in the French system, so they decided, & he just copied the others.
The middle one started on sandwich packed lunches with all the other kids, so most of his 'balanced' eating experience took place at home. We've found that the idea of only getting pudding if he's finished most of his meal - and at least tried the things he thinks he hates - has made him realise he does like vegetables after all, that potato skins aren't yuk, etc. He chooses the cheeses he likes from
a cheese platter & talks about the different tastes.
So far no eating disorder and fingers crossed he wont have when older (you guys got me worried, now!).

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