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3 1/2 DD2 and eating

(31 Posts)
CeciC Sun 19-Oct-08 20:33:55

Today, my DD2 who will be 4 in January, hasn't eaten at all. Yesterday for dinner she wanted a "toasted" ham sandwich, and she ate just crisps with it, so I kept the sandwich for breakfast. Well, she had two very small bites of it during all day, despite telling me she is very hungry, but she is not hungry for the sandwich. It's not the first time that she doesn't want to eat what is for dinner, but usually she eats it at breakfast. She is not a very big girl, but she is very stuborn, even the threeat of going to hospital and have big neddles to her arms had no effect on her, even though she cried saying that she didn't want to go to hospital. I won't let her have any food until she eats the sandwich,I am a very stubborn as well but I think I might to have another way of getting her to eat what she asks for for another time.
Any advice very welcome.

nowwearefour Sun 19-Oct-08 20:37:41

i would just let the sandwich thing go. tomorrow is a new day. justpick something for eahc meal, perhaps in consultation with her depending how you do things. if she doesnt eat it put it in the bin/ compost/whatever at the end of the meal then something new for the next meal. it gives her the opportunity to exert some influence. otherwise you are just having a huge battle and a v v hungry dd2 over the sandwich. why have you decided that she must eat something from 2 days ago? not sure it would even be safe to eat by tomorrow?

TheArmadillo Sun 19-Oct-08 20:39:00

you are terrifying her with your threats. She is very young still.

Making food an issue will only make her worse.

Stop keeping the food for the next meal.

If she doesn't eat a meal then take it away and she waits until the next one, but don't carrying on feeding her the same meal every meal time until she eats it. It's really not a good idea.

Stop making food an issue, don't mention how or how much she is eating at all. Give her her meal (whether you decide what it is or ask her) leave her to eat it. If she refuses, take it away and she can have something to eat next meal time.

angrypixie Sun 19-Oct-08 20:47:05

Everything Armadillo said.

CharCharBaGOOOOOOORE Sun 19-Oct-08 20:50:25

also agree with armadillo

neolara Sun 19-Oct-08 21:00:16

I have a four year old girl and I would also agree with the other posters about not making food an issue.

Sometimes my dd eats her food and sometimes she doesn't. It drives me mad, but I try, sometimes through gritted teeth, not to show how cross I am when she won't finish (or sometimes even start) a meal I have cooked for her. Mainly I do this because I have found that the more insistent I am, the more defiant she becomes. To be honest, the best way I have found of getting her to eat something that she says she does not want is to say "Ok then, eat it if you want. Don't eat it if you don't want" and then I walk away. More often than not she is eating away within 5 mins.

I think it can be very dangerous for girls to feel the need to exert control by limiting what they eat. I read somewhere that approximately one in seven women with anorexia will die from that illness. It's not worth the risk of setting up control issues around food.

neolara Sun 19-Oct-08 21:01:06

Sorry, that sounded a bit preachy. Didn't mean it too. It sounds a very frustrating situation for you.

CharCharBaGOOOOOOORE Sun 19-Oct-08 21:11:03

v good post neolara. op, would you eat a day old toasted ham sandwich? because I wouldn't.

CeciC Sun 19-Oct-08 21:12:21

Thanks for the advice. I know you are correct. The food situation started a few months ago, and my approach was your advice, but I didn't think it had any effect, as more and more she refuses to eat what she has askes for or what I have cooked for the whole family. If she wouldnt' eat her dinner she would not have any thing else until next meal. But at the beginning it wouldn't happen very often, but for the last few weeks, it is increasing the days that she would decide not to eat, and because I work full time, the meal she doesn't eat is dinner, which means "nice" breakfast next day. That is why after months of not seing this to end, I decided to take it to the extrem, which is not making me feel any good at all. My DD1 was very fussy eater, and 2 occasions of nothing else until you eat your dinner did the trick for her to try more foods, and now, she doesn't like everything but at least, will eat what is for food.
I make a new sandwich everytime, and don't give her the old sandwich, but if she eats a bit, the new one will have a bit missing.

ruddynorah Sun 19-Oct-08 21:14:30

please just re read your op.

how would you feel if someone treated you like that?

what does she say she would like to eat?

TheArmadillo Sun 19-Oct-08 21:14:50

you need to keep on persevering. This is around the time many children get eating issues as it's to do often with controlling their environment.

Just give her the same dinner as everyone else, if she eats it, fine, if she doesn't she knows she will get nothing else.

I know it is exhausting and draining, but she will grow out of it eventually if you don't amke it an issue.

googgly Sun 19-Oct-08 21:16:23

Can you eat with her? Make something nice, and sit down together. If she doesn't eat it, don't say anything but just act like you're enjoying it and eating is normal.

I really agree that making food an issue is a bad idea. Setting aside future disasters like anorexia, it'll just ruin your life at the moment if your relationship with your daughter is spoiled by a ham sandwich. And it won't make her eat anyway, in fact it's more likely to do the opposite.

TheArmadillo Sun 19-Oct-08 21:18:11

it also wont harm her to miss dinner, the only reason it needs to start being a serious issue is if she is losing a lot of weight and/or fainting and is listless/constantly exhausted.

Otherwise all is fine and missing dinner won't harm her in any way.

fizzbuzz Sun 19-Oct-08 21:20:25

I don't think threatenig with needles and hospitals is the answer. I am a bit shock at this.

It's just building up fear and anxiety around food which will probably destroy what little appetite she has. When I am scared, I don't want to eat much eitherhmm

Give her what everyone else eats. My dd is like this, a real pain with food, I give her vitamin drops to cover all eventualities

CeciC Sun 19-Oct-08 21:20:52

I know you are correct, I always said I wouldn't let food be an issue, but I had this problem with DD1, she was very fussy, so I would let her eat what she wanted. Until one day, she wouldn't eat the fishfingers because the breadcrumbs were broken, and she didn't like them broken. And then I said enough was enough, so she didn't choose what to eat anymore, well for a few days at least, but from then on, she would try at least, and if she didn't like it, she didn't have to eat it.

TheArmadillo Sun 19-Oct-08 21:22:36

I think giving them what they want all the time can lead to further problems. I think a mixture of stuff they like and stuff you want them to try is better.

nooOOOoonki Sun 19-Oct-08 21:27:19

CeciC- my parents used to do that to me and made a huge issue with food, my sister and I were incrdibly fussy.

Going to my BF house was a revelation - she used to be allowed to eat or leave at will. (though if she didnt eat she didnt get later, mind she was 8 at this point at 3 I would let them eat later).

If I were you I would:
1. Get DD helping you cook, get her to pick out of two options what to make.

2. Eat togther, if she refuses say OK but get her to sit with you whilst you eat, and just chat (but not about the fact she hasnt eaten)

3. Do not make any fuss of her not eating, no punishments/no comments no attention about it at all.

4. Next meal get her something else to eat - once again no fuss if doesnt eat, if she does it praise her for it but not over the top.


we also do the traffic light game (can you eat etc) make it fun.

we talk about how yummy food is when we arent eating

basically eating should be fun, if she doesnt want to eat dont make an issue of it AT ALL - no faces nothing, otherwise you are setting yourself up for years of battles.

good luck (I have had to leave the room when my beautifully prepared meal doesnt even get a taste before a refusal so I didnt grumble)

Twelvelegs Sun 19-Oct-08 21:30:30

My sister had the same (only much much worse) with her son, she called in a child psychologist. The advice which was very effective and very quickly was to relax, let him eat what he wants and back off. The more of an issue you create around it the more of an issue it will become. Try and foster and happy and healthy attitude to food.

CeciC Sun 19-Oct-08 21:30:52

I just think that if now if I let her get away with it, it would be worse...., as everytime there are vegis for dinner, my DD1 has to eat them, and she does, but then DD2 doesn't have to.
I have to find another way for her to eat food that until now she would eat with no problem, I don't know, stickers charts.

Twelvelegs Sun 19-Oct-08 21:32:24

How long have you been full time? What does she eat elsewhere? Is it only you she has an issue with? Why is she trying to control the environment wih food?

nooOOOoonki Sun 19-Oct-08 21:40:02

sorry - but but it sounds like you are making it into a battle -'let her get away with it' - lines mum and I fought about this until I was about 15 EVERY DAY!

sticker charts quite a good idea; ignoring it but praising DD1 for eating up a better idea smile

Twelvelegs Sun 19-Oct-08 21:42:05

Agree with NooOOO, it is about your child eating not winning. You have to be smart about this, it is not personal she has not consciuosly decided to piss you off by not eating and possibly has anxiety about it all. Step back.

googgly Sun 19-Oct-08 21:52:04

The only thing she's 'getting away with' is winding you up. So just start ignoring it and not getting wound up.

TheArmadillo Sun 19-Oct-08 21:55:54

The others are right that it is not about winning or drawing battle lines or 'letting her get away with it'.

Your job is to provide her with a reasonable diet by providing her with reasonable meals. That is where your responsibility ends. You cannot eat the food for her - that is her part. This is where she has the choice. She can eat or she can go hungry. This is her choice, your part is played.

So tell either she either eats it or she doesn't, you don't care which but that is all she is getting and leave it at that. The next part is up to her.

You are doing your job as a parent if you can do that.

Incidentally teaching ds (4yo) that food is needed for energy and to make him run around (helped by sportacus) helped.

Twelvelegs Sun 19-Oct-08 21:57:48

Can I just add that you don't even speak about it, no passivce agressive 'I don't care whether you eat it or not' rubbish. Smile put down food, talk to DD1 about super (not too much) she is for eating it and change the topic.

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