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AIBU sending my son to bed?

114 replies

littlemuckypups · 19/04/2011 19:34

My 4 year old son is a fussy eater.
He will eat nothing but junk food and so i decided it was time to put a stop to it and start giving him more veg dinners.
He is a very stubborn little boy and if he don't want it he wont eat it.
I have tried making it fun and done my best to encourage him but he is having non
of it and would rather scream and get himself into a state than eat it.
To make things ten times worse i have a short fuse (something im not proud of) and he knows it so its not long before we are rowing.
Today i offered it to him and we sat for a good hour or more waiting for him to eat it and he used every excuse he could not to eat it (he even wet himself) everything was a distraction.
When i gave up i said No sweets or pop just water until tea time.
Then tea time came and we gave him the same again and the same thing happened again, only this time myself and my husband left the room so he had no excuse to be distracted.
To say he got angry would be an understatement!
I ended up in floods of tears in the other room and in the end we had to send him to bed.
I am struggling to come to a solution about this, no sticker chart or negotiating works and i'm Not going to give up because that is the reason i'm having so much problems in the first place.
I don't know how to handle this situation,
any suggestions? Sad

OP posts:

diabolo · 19/04/2011 19:36

You've just got to tough it out.

Sorry, and it might take a few days or even a week, but once he learns you mean business, he will adjust.

Don't give in!


WikiSpeaksagain · 19/04/2011 19:37

Take a breath....

I don't find that any kind of bribery/reaction/reward works very well.

I try to put it down, give no input (not one more mouthful etc). Stay calm (eat the same thing with him). After 30 mins, mealtime is over. No snacks etc then same thing at tea time.

If you honestly think it's a behavioural thing then I think you need to be strong and calm, and 'outlast' him. He won't go hungry.


HecateQueenOfTheNight · 19/04/2011 19:39

It's a very good thing that you are addressing his diet now. If you've raised him on junk foods then good for you for realising that this needs to change! It will be for his long term benefit BUT you have to accept that in the short term, it is going to be hell!

Don't go from an all junk diet to uber healthy. It's too much too soon.

You need to go slowly. Introduce new things more gradually. Do a slow switch, slightly healthier options of things that you know he likes.

Don't make it a battle. Just be calm.

Involve him.

What about a veg garden? Perhaps if he's growing veg, he'll want to eat it?


Nagoo · 19/04/2011 19:40

give him whatever you decide is dinner, and warn him if he mucks about, then take it away when everyone is done.

i'm a bit Shock if i've read it right and you are giving him the same food. That seems super harsh.

I don't have a fussy eater. Mine gets a treat every day usually, if he's good. the rest of the time it's lunch and dinner and no snacks (fruit usually) unless he's made a good attempt at dinner.

There are loads of good people on here who can give better advice though.


SecretNutellaFix · 19/04/2011 19:41

try to stay tough. a few days/ couple of weeks of pain now will be worth the effort.

Come on here to vent when you need it.

once the meal is over, throw the food away- don't keep it for the next meal. Keep the routine simple and normal less chance he'll have a point when he says "that's yucky"


littlemuckypups · 19/04/2011 19:45

If he eats his veg then the next meal he gets is his choice.
If he eats it he will have what he wants for dinner and tea the next day.
I only give him his veg every other day as i know it's not nice to have the same thing all the time.

OP posts:

meditrina · 19/04/2011 19:45

I don't really have any advice, just a reminder to you that it isn't a reflection on your parenting. My eldest is a dreadfully picky eater. I used to feel terrible about this (and was very sensitive to criticism), but the the other DCs (same gene pool, same household) are completely normal eaters.


ousel · 19/04/2011 19:49

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

petitfromage · 19/04/2011 19:53

I've got a fussy eater, my heart goes out to you. My 3 yr ds would live off yoghurt and chips if I let him.

My big recent discovery is that he will eat more if I eat with him and force him to stay at the table - in my case by my telling him if he leaves the table it goes in the bin (which I have done to great effect, and a massive hissy fit as you very accurately described). He for the last week has eaten a half decent plate of food though (i.e. not just chips) which has sent me into raptures, including last night picking at veg and chicken kebabs.

Not everything works and as soon as you think you've cracked it they suddenly down tools and catch you at a weak moment and it's back to square one. But I totally agree with the first few posts that persistance is our best tool and sticking to our guns wherever possible.

I bribed him last night with ice cream with a monster face made out of sweets which made him polish off some chicken which was a bit of a break through - lot of face pulling but he ate it.

No idea if I'm doing it right but he's a healthy size and not prone to starving yet. Embarrassing when we go to other people's houses though as other kids wolf their food compared to mine.

I'll follow your thread and try to pick up some tips!


coralpink · 19/04/2011 19:53

You are making the veg into something bad in his eyes - he deserves a reward for eating it so he assumes that it is something unpleasant.

He can have veg every day in different forms (steamed, roasted, raw with dips, salads, blitzed into sauces etc)

What does he eat at the moment and what are you offering?


Megatron · 19/04/2011 19:55

He doesn't need to eat the same thing every day, there are LOADS of different veg he can try.

I have a very fussy eater but you just have to stick it out. I don't agree with giving him the same thing for his next meal, to me that's just making meal times even more of a battleground. And I don't think a 4 year old needs 'pop' either and I don't think that will help his mood.


ousel · 19/04/2011 19:55

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HecateQueenOfTheNight · 19/04/2011 19:55

"I only give him his veg every other day as i know it's not nice to have the same thing all the time."

There are so many different types of veg that you could give him a totally different meal every day of the week!

Really, he should be having some fruit and veg every day.

Not oh, only every other day - it's almost like you feel it's a necessary evil, iyswim. You'll pass that attitude onto him and then you'll have a hell of a job undoing that.


EricNorthmansMistress · 19/04/2011 19:57

'If he eats his veg then the next meal he gets is his choice. - don't do this. He has to start eating what he is given. You are making it too complicated
If he eats it he will have what he wants for dinner and tea the next day. - too complicated. Too long between eating what you give him and having choice - he won't connect the two at age 4 and you are being inconsistent, some days he has to have what you say and some days he can choose
I only give him his veg every other day as i know it's not nice to have the same thing all the time.' - what is 'his veg'? There are hundreds of different vegetables and you need to vary what you cook if you only have one type every other day

You also need to stop buying snacks and pop. If they aren't there then he can't pester you into giving it to him.


littlemuckypups · 19/04/2011 19:57

I have let him help me make it and even explained that carrots help you see in the dark, broccoli makes you strong etc. but then as you are explaining it to him he sends you in circles,
for example he will say "whats this for?" and so i tell him and we go through all the veg until he goes back to the first veg again and its back to "whats this for?"
Another way he distracts us

OP posts:

squeakytoy · 19/04/2011 19:58

I only give him his veg every other day as i know it's not nice to have the same thing all the time.

There are dozens of different vegetables, you dont have to have the same one every time.

Mash carrots up with potato to make orange mash.

Make a traffic light out of the veg using tomato, carrots, and broccoli

Let him make sandwiches (cabbage and mash butties are lovely!)


ousel · 19/04/2011 19:59

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HecateQueenOfTheNight · 19/04/2011 20:01

Does he like soup?

I make loads of soups. Lots of veg. The boys don't even know they're eating it! Grin

Gravy. Always add some blended veg to the gravy.

As well as putting some veg on his plate every day, add extra in other ways.


Pancakeflipper · 19/04/2011 20:02

I have a 2 yr old who uses food as a control mechanism.
When he tries this, it's strictly no puds if main meal is not tried. I only sit him there for 10 mins if he's refusing to touch it. Then down from the table. We all continue having a nice tine at the table. He gets no reaction from me now. It works far better than me getting upset too. He's not starved.

If veg is the struggle try it different ways. Perhaps mash potato with grated courgette and carrot that is fried will tempt him? Or veg in a chicken casserole. Grate veg into spag bol, shepherds pie etc...


squeakytoy · 19/04/2011 20:03

Veg can be put onto a pizza too.. lots of red and yellow peppers, and some mushrooms..

Granted, you have to be a bit creative, but ultimately, a 4 year old can not be allowed to dicate what they will and will not eat.

As for the junk food, dont buy any, and he cant eat any, it really is that simple.


missmyoldname · 19/04/2011 20:09

Not necessarily a long-term approach, but what has worked with my DD (also 4yo) is giving her 3 or 4 different veg with each meal, and then if she only eats one or two types its better than none! Also, she gets to retain some control (she is a diva!) which makes it less of a battle.

So I give her carrots, broccoli and peas, and she may try a bit of them all and then decide she only likes the carrots.

I know this approach encourages waste, but its a lot better than when she ate NO veg at all!

I also try to include fruit/veg/salad in every meal. So if she has a sandwich, she also has some tomatoes and cucumber. Fruit as pudding for at least one meal as well, and that way we quite easily get 4 or 5 a day in.


vmcd28 · 19/04/2011 20:49

Op, what do you mean by junk food? If it's pizza, make your own using ciabatta, blend plenty veg with tomatoes, and cheese on top. Chicken nuggets - easy to make your own with no salt, 50/50 bread made into breadcrumbs, and you can blitz nuts or seeds to put through the breadcrumbs too. Make a big batch and freeze loads. Same with fish nuggets. Homemade burgers and meatballs - you can hide grated carrot etc in them.

Veg can be hidden in bolognese sauce, mince, soup, sauces. If you grate veg rather than chopping it, it literally melts into the meal and vanishes. After ge starts accepting these foods, then you can begin to use chopped veg rather than grated.
At this stage it doesn't matter if he knows he's eating healthily, the main thing is getting it into him.

Would he drink smoothies or fresh fruit juice? Dried fruit bars or bags of fruit flakes or raisins?

Oh, and make sure you all eat the same, rather than making separate meals for you and him.

It will get better. Ds1 used to be very fussy but he now eats 4 or 5 different veg and apples, and he loves smoothies and pear juice so it's now easy to give him plenty fruit and veg but not give the same each day.


littlemuckypups · 19/04/2011 21:15

i think i may have being trying too hard Sad
i am going to keep trying but as many of you have suggested maybe i should give him his veg in more of a variety of ways (such as veg burgers or 1 type of veg with something he likes?).
I think i betta give him a big cuddle tomorrow and start at a fresh angle

thanks all Smile

OP posts:

squeakytoy · 19/04/2011 21:19

What does he like?

I can give you plenty of suggestions that you can use to adapt the meals he already likes :)


Lindax · 19/04/2011 21:29

second the mash idea, we got ds back to veg by having orange (carrot) mask, green (brocolli) mash, yellow (turnip) mash etc and steadily made the veg in the mash chunkier and chunkier over 3-4 weeks. Once he was eating carrots, brocilli and turnip he was used to eating veg and tried others more easily.

veg disintergrated in a casserole was also tolerated quicker early on.

smoothies too are great.

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