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No idea how to handle this stalemate between me and DD!(29 Posts)
DD (6yo) is so fussy with food at the moment and it's driving me nuts and becoming very disruptive to the family. Today at lunch I gave her some cold, mixed beans and she refused them. I said I wasn't prepared to put up with fussiness any more and that as she's happy to eat beans when they're warm (ie. kidney beans in chilli, baked beans etc.) then she can quite easily eat them cold too and that she had to sit there until she'd done so. Well the stubborn little minx has been sitting there for almost 3 hours and has just fallen asleep!! So what the hell do I do now?!
The problem is, I'm not entirely sure that I was right to do this (I hate the idea of forcing a child to eat but I'm sure she's being fussy and that she could eat them if she tried). And what if she really can't stand them cold but can eat them hot - maybe that was unfair of me. But we are having so many power struggles lately and she nearly always weine (I know, I know, that's another issue). I just can't let her win another one or she will never learn that I'm supposed to be in charge! She says she's gonig to sit there until bedtime but what about when it gets to tea time - do I not give her any tea until she eats them? What if she stays there until bedtime, what do I do then?!
Oh lordy, I'm completely stumped with this one.
Throw the beans in the bin. Imagine if you were being forced to eat something you really don't like. Is it really worth the stress?
I would suggest that you try not to think of this as a win/lose situation.
If she doesn't eat her dinners then don't offer her an alternative and try to make her see it as no big deal instead of another opportunity to clash with you.
Sounds very stressful for you - is there anything that has triggered it do you think?
So everything that you eat hot, you'd be prepared to eat cold ??
I am afraid you are going to have to back off. The moment she senses that you are terrified to lose another power struggle, she will have to go looking for one, because it frightens them to see that parents are lacking confidence, so she'll have to prod you to see if the situation is really as nerve-racking as she thinks.
I would try to devise an easy and firm rule about mealtimes in advance. Say, whatever doesn't get eaten in 20 minutes gets taken away. (and then no snacks until the next meal) But do try to take it away matter-of-factly, not in a way that might make her fear that you are panicking again. And don't make a big deal about threatening her with no food; just let her find out for herself that this is what happens.
Basically, you can't lose a power struggle unless you choose to engage in it: if you refuse to play, she's lost already.
This situation is bound to make you both unhappy- please don't waste a day of both your lives over some wretched beans!
btw both my dcs went through a fussy stage between ages 4-8; 9yo ds is only just emerging. We tried to play it down as much as possible; just quietly took food away, and did not offer alternatives. I would say they are both good eaters now; the eldest is hardly ever fussy, and the younger very rarely. With a bit of luck it will pass.
I wouldnt fancy cold beans but will eat them hot. I dont think it's something you should battle with personally.
btw I consider myself as unfussy as you can very well get, but I would still prefer my baked beans warmed up, and would probably ask anyone eating in my house which they'd prefer- a little accommodation is not spoiling them
It was some beans fgs - find something worth scrapping over or you will have a battle with everything if you haven't already reached that point. Just because you say it is ok for her to leave them she hasn't "won" unless you pander to her with an alternative each time.
Actually the thought of cold beans makes me feel a bit ill. It isn't really that important that you should make her sit there for 3 hours, IMHO.
"Imagine if you were being forced to eat something you really don't like."
This is my whole point though - she does like them, she's just being fussy. I did offer to warm them up but she still refused. It's not cold baked beans, btw - it's plain haricot beans not in sauce.
Cory, I totally agree with you that "you can't lose a power struggle unless you choose to engage in it" - it's just that as I have already engaged in this one, how do I back down without letting her think that she can just be as fussy as she likes with food because Mummy will give in eventually.
I honestly think it's okay to lose some battles especially if it meant she sat there for 3 hours.
Cold mixed beans
Surely there are some things you don't like. Her palate will increase it just takes time.
Cold green beans no better. Warmed up with a bit of butter on perhaps .
I had a fussy eater - lived on Nan bread, hot cross buns, wheatabix and cheese for several years.
Now he's 8 and eats curry etc. I know if he doesn't want to eat some thing it becasue he genuinly doesn't like it.
Is this about more than food? Is there some other power struggle going on?? I only ask becasue imo if it is just about food you may want to let it go - a six year old has every right to dislike cold beans.
Cold beans does sound horrid.
I remember similar battles with my Mum over food and resented it for years. As I got older I would sneak into the larder and stuff myself with things I liked - I have struggled with weight all my life.
It's only recently that I've realised how much of an emotional crutch food is for me, don't make food your battle ground - IME it cannot end well.
You don't have to give in to fussiness, but you can just put the food there and then take it away again after a decent interval, with no alternative available (assuming you know this is just fussiness and not genuine dislike).
But please, don't do this 3 hours trying to force a child to eat something. That way lies eating disorders. You are not in charge of what goes in your daughter's mouth, she is - you can only offer sensible food and no more.
I suffer from weight problems, and although I don't blame my parents(I am an adult after all) I was made to clear the plate.
Now I wasn't a fussy eater, I was a small eater and very slim until my late teenage years. I can remember sitting at the table and being made to eat peas while the rest of the family was watching TV. I only wanted to eat 1/2 a weetbix I was made to eat a whole one. I now find it really hard to find a good stopping point with out gorging myself.
At her age she is more than able to regulate what she eats, you provide her with well balanced meals, she chooses what to eat, maybe give her a time limit. You don't need to mention anything else about eating once you've made it clear that it's her choice. Also no snacks or if you choose to give snacks perhaps just fruit/vege, leave it for her to decide what/when to eat the snack.
I assume you didn't just have cold beans for lunch and she had other choices. Why don't you apologise, and explain you only want her to try new food, then make some clear expectations for both of you.
Cold beans of any kind sound disgusting! I hope that wasn't all you offered her? Please tell me there was more to lunch than that and it is just the beans she refused to eat?
Go and give her a cuddle and say something like "Oh, sweetheart, we're both being a bit silly about this aren't we? How about I warm them up and make you some buttered toast to go with them? Then you can eat them up and we'll go and do something more interesting instead"
And never, ever get into a food battle. Put food on the table, leave ti there for a reasonable amount of time, then take it away without comment, and don't offer anything else until the next meal, when you do the same again.
My wise old mum says "It's a parent's duty to provide nice, tasty healthy food. It is not a parent's duty to make anyone eat it"
Seriously - you have had your daughter sitting in the same place for 3 hours over feckin beans?
I wouldn't eat cold beans - I don't mind them hot but I don't like them cold! And hot or not a plate of warm plain beans sounds really horrid - the texture of them all on their own warm or cold would be vile!
You need a lesson on picking your battles!
She is 6 so you ask her what she wants - make sure you get her to eat all the food groups so she is having a balanced diet - tell her that as she picks what she eats you expect her to eat it all. But FFS lighten up 3 hours!
Just sit her down now and tell her that you went a little over the top and you are sorry and from now on you are going to let her pick what she wants but she is expected to eat it.
Cannot believe you have fecked up your saturday and that of a little girl for 3 hours over a plate of plain hot/cold beans?
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