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Step mom looking for advice(20 Posts)
Just looking for some advice/help pls, sorry bit of a long post 😁.
I’ve been with my bf for around 2 1/2 years and living together for 18months. I don’t have any kids but my bf has 3 from 2 previous relationships. His eldest is 22 and lives with us and he has a 21 y o who he hasn’t spoken to in a couple of years, his youngest is 9 and lives with his mom over 200miles away who we have every other weekend plus some school holidays.
Ever since I started dating my bf I have had some real concerns about his youngest sons diet. He’s a nice kid who can be extremely quiet and at the start very hard to get to know but I think we’re at a stage where we get on pretty well.
I’m up hours before my bf so would always offer him cereal (which it took probably a good 4 months before he would accept me doing his breakfast) so he has breakfast but after that it really is a struggle to get him to eat anything. He won’t eat any vegetables (not even chips!) or fruit and can honestly say what he does eat you can’t even call a meal. If I cook a Sunday roast all he will eat is a very small portion of meat and maybe 1 small Yorkshire pudding just dry no gravy which he will probably take the best part of an hour to eat, you can clearly see on his face he’s not happy about eating it. If we go out for a meal he will only ever eat a plain beef burger and if they make a mistake and put sauce on it he will burst into tears and act like it’s the end of the world.
Food he will eat includes
Tuna / bacon or ham sandwich (nibbles at the middle so really 1/2 a sandwich)
Chocolate of any kind
Plain Chicken burger
I look at the above list and it looks appalling and even a lot of the above he will refuse to eat because he says it tastes funny or it’s not the normal ones he has when it is he’s just avoided eating.
We try him with loads of different foods but he just says he doesn’t like it and I’m running out of things to offer him. Not that i do but if I offered him chocolate or junk food he would eat it straight away no issues so I no he’s hungry and I no he’s not completely avoiding food he’s just being extremely selective in what he eats. He’s not even refusing to eat normal food so we just offer him junk because we don’t, I think he would honestly go all day just on a bowl of cereal if we let him.
I’ve brought this subject up with my bf before but I think he is reluctant to tackle the issue as when we have spoke to my SS about what he eats it usually ends up in him getting upset and as we only have him every other weekend my bf doesn’t want the little time he spends with him ruined by upsetting him. I can understand why my bf is ignoring this issue but it’s really not helping and there is clearly something seriously wrong with his diet.
I did ask my bf to ask his mom what he ate at home as I thought he probably eats stuff for her and is maybe being awkward at ours, apart from the odd other thing he pretty much eats the same at home.
I really don’t know what to do, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I don't really understand why this is a concern for you. Just make what you want to make as a family dinner and let him choose from that. If he only lives with his dad a few days a month I don't see why it would up to you to investigate or try to change his diet.
FWIW I still eat like that. Some meat, a Yorkshire pudding, the occasional vegetable. Burger is just meat and bun. Same with a turkey sandwich. I have a sensory processing disorder and like a very limited amount of bland foods. He may outgrow it or he may not but it's not the end of the world.
My DSS was like this but grew out of it by 12. Just keep trying slightly healthier versions of what he likes. Maybe take him to the shop to choose things?
This might sound strange to you but there are lots of children who like the pp have sensory processing disorders or who are on the autistic spectrum or just fussy eaters and they eat a less varied diet than your SS. Meat is nutritionally dense so it’s this that’s getting him through. Plus the cereal is fortified with vitamins and minerals so that helps. I’m guessing he has milk. That’s good. So he is getting protein, vitamins and minerals, fibre, carbs, fats. He’s getting what he needs to stay alive. No it’s not ideal but it is what it is. It’s not something you can deal with. I would just give him what he will eat.
Leave the stress out of the visits.
Yeah I’m hoping he will grow out of it, If he look healthy then I wouldn’t be worried about it but he looks like a bag of bones.
Sounds like a recipe for diabetes or bowel cancer later in life. How about a trip to the GP? This kid has a serious eating disorder.
My DS eats lots and varied. He looks like a bag of bones. Genetics.
Looks don’t tell the full story. A blood test might. But unless you’ve been given parental responsibility by law that’s not something you can make happen. It’s up to his parents. I think you can give an opinion to your DP. But it’s up to him to speak to the mother. Otherwise keep giving him what he will eat.
Yeah I know some people are naturally thin and I really do hope he’s one of them, just feel so guilty when your sitting there tucking into a meal and he’s sitting there eating nothing.
My advice would be not to waste your time worrying about things like this or filling yourself with guilt as though it's your problem.
He's not unwell as a result and both of his parents are happy with it and don't want to change anything. I would feel the same as you but in all honesty, you've done the best you can by him by gently mentioning it to his parents, the rest is on them. You will set yourself up for a lifetime of stress with no reward if you spend your time being worried about things to do with your step son that nobody else involved is bothering to do anything about.
Yeah pretty much everyone’s advice on here is to just to let him carry on as he is. As I’ve kinda been lumbered with being the one who sorts all his food out (I have a very lazy bf) I’ve probably felt more responsible in trying to get him to eat a little more and something a little healthier. I really have tried the best I can with him but at the end of the day he ain’t my kid. I’ve decided I’m gonna leave all his meals to his dad to sort and he can have the headache.
Thanks for the advice everyone 😊
My eldest two eat all and everything put in front of them. Including spicy food. They will give anything a go. My youngest (similar age) sounds like this child. To this day (as an example) they won’t have fizzy drinks. Or juice. And that palate extends into food. Plain burgers here too. I spoke to a GP about it and they told us not to worry and to simply wait and see. Short of force feeding my child, there is nothing I can do. I have discovered one set of food that they like and I make that as often as I can. I too am hoping they grow out of it.
They are also very skinny (but then so was I as a child) so I’m not worried about that part. There is some fruit that mine eats and I make sure I always have that in and make sure it’s had as a snack pre bedtime. It’s not easy I understand but I’ll just watch and wait and work with what I have.
Nb. I don’t think it helped that when my children were little (eapecially my youngest), my mother helped out for a period of time. And she would cater to this fussiness (which I never did with my older two) and actually make them a different dish. Which I think absolutely reinforced/ rewarded different eating habits and she didn’t stop no matter how many times I asked. I gently removed her and it took a while for me to simply assert that there was one meal for everyone and if it wasn’t eaten, there would be no sweets/ treats/ snacks until the last meal and things did improve.
I will say, tackling this is a fulltime job. There is honestly nothing you can do on the odd occasion you have the child. My exh and I work on this together and it’s gradually improving. I actually refused to order pizza the other week and ordered an indian and the child tried a bit of everything and finally settled on eating chickpeas with rice. So it can be done!
The trick is to ignore it. Don’t call attention to it (you’re reinforcing negative behaviour and they can start to do it more for the attention it gets). Don’t let it stress you out and turn mealtime into a chore. Focus on the children who do eat well. Praise them. Have conversation. And just remind them that unless plates are cleared (or a few more mouthfuls eaten) no pudding. And then enforce that. And move on.
Oh. And why are you doing the food prep? Why on earth isn’t your bf taking this child to the shops with him? Involving him in meal prep etc and tackling this as a parent?
One of my eldest DP’s Dc is a fussy eater and I categorically do not get involved or say a word. His children’s eating habits are for him to manage, not for me. I don’t think it’s my business.
Thanks for the advice, he does sound very similar to yours but I know if we cook one meal that everyone else will eat he won’t eat it whatever it is and would happily go hungry, we can’t eat the same as him because he only eats very dry and bland food which taste horrible. I’m just sick of cooking multiple meals it drives me batty.
My (now ex) DSS was the same. His parents pandered to it and gave him chicken nuggets and smash all the time.
I tore my hair out making nice meals he wouldn't touch. In the end, I handed over his catering to his father and tried to be zen about it. I fed him when his dad wasn't there but I took the same route of just giving him what I knew he would eat, even though he still never ate all of anything. He didn't even like chocolate, or potatoes in any form except Smash. He wouldn't have milk on his cereal, just dry. And he'd only eat the middle of bread.
He's 18 now, seems healthy enough and eats a more varied diet, I doubt he'll ever be very adventurous with food but I take him for lunch now and then and he eats normally. He's also very skinny (and about six and a half feet tall) but he always was and his dad was at that age (as was I, but that's irrelevant, and I ate like a horse my whole life!).
As I’ve kinda been lumbered with being the one who sorts all his food out (I have a very lazy bf) I’ve probably felt more responsible in trying to get him to eat a little more and something a little healthier.
Totally not on. I'm glad you've decided to stop facilitating this OP. You make what you would normally make for the family and if your SS doesn't want to eat it, your boyfriend deals with it. You should not be expected to cook multiple meals.
We’ve trying taking him the shops to pick stuff he would like to try or stuff he has at home but he’s not interested and we end up coming away with the same stuff. Don’t get me started on my bf, he’s just so lazy when it comes to stuff like cooking. As I said in my previous post I’m gonna have to wash my hands with sorting his meals out.
I was given all that advice about getting him to come to the shops, getting him to help cook, designing a menu with him, letting him choose on certain days, putting the meal in front of him and telling him no pudding unless all eaten and not giving other options (we didn't really eat pudding anyway, but he didn't care if he didn't get pudding, he never liked it anyway).
It all failed.
I do think there are different dynamics at play with a step child. But I also think food is a very complex issue and the methods you used with two year olds don't work when they are older and there's just no point entering into psychological warfare with a child.
It made me miserable as I like providing meals. But I expect he knew that and played on it. So me stepping away and leaving his dad to deal with it was all I could do. Mind you, when we split up (my decision) ex said "and you can't even be bothered to make meals for DSS", erasing several years of me having tried and tried to get the boy to eat! So my angst was not recognised by either of them.
It's not just meals, you're going to have to remember that all decisions about his care fall to your lazy BF, ALL or you're in for a very hard road. I'd be contemplating if you want to be with this "lazy" man full stop
I have a step daughter with food issues. And they are definitely issues! She has a lot of issues generally with social situations and routines and is clearly undiagnosed ASD. No problem there in itself but she is incredibly hard work.
My younger SD protects her sister by pretending to be fussy and that drives me batty.
I cook things where it's easy to adapt.
Chicken fajitas for rest of us but plain chicken and a wrap for SD and she usually picks at the cucumber.
Chilli for the rest of us but grated cheese on rice for SD. I tend to serve cheese and nachos anyway with chilli.
Meatballs for rest of us but pesto on spaghetti for SD.
She will not have any wet food at all but does fill up on potatoes.
Lunchtimes we tend to do sandwiches and I put out on the table jam ham peanut butter Nutella, cheese and let them choose.
I also take a bit more time to serve dinner up in dishes on the table and I don't stress about what she chooses for herself. Now she's a bit older (15) she's definitely embarrassed by her own food issues as they are so apparent. Being in a step family has def hi-lighted that for her and I think that's positive rather than her own facilitating mother.
In our house all children help put out food and set table and everyone helps clear away so she can then hide her leftovers quite privately in the waste.
Her entire personality gets frazzled when food is made a battle ground.
My bf is incredibly lazy when it comes to cooking and house work and I think I’m the sort of person who likes to make sure everyone fed and watered and try to keep the place tidy. He does do a massive amount of diy round our house so it’s not like he does nothing at all and when he has patches of non diy times I make sure I don’t do all the cleaning etc. We get on great it’s just the only issues or disagreements we have tend to be to do with his kids.
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