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mean mama confessions

We've all heard people talk about what their kids won't eat or what the kids complain about, or read posts or comments or even whole blogs devoted to the theme of picky eaters . Usually I bite my tongue, as no-one wants to hear me at the moment, but what I want to say is burbling around and I have to vocalize it.

"What do you mean?" I want to ask. "This does not happen at my house."

If my kids complain about the food, they get an additional helping. If they refuse to eat, I ignore them, clear their plate along with everyone else's, and serve them the same plate at the next meal. We have only done the recycled plates once with each child and the extra helpings a couple of times.

If my kids complain about the food they get an additional helping.

When they like the food they speak up about it, so I know by their silence what they don't care for. When it is time for seconds I just serve them whatever it is that they have sweetly told me that they do like.

I am giving them incentives to be polite (quiet) about the foods they don't care for and for being polite (pleasant & complimentary) about the foods that they do care for.

This does not seem unduly harsh or difficult to me, so why do I hear about families that struggle with picky eaters. What am I not getting here? Or am I just a big meanie?


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Audrey said...

I'm glad you have success with your kids, but not only are all kids different, they are prone to changing the moment you brag about your well behaved, properly mothered children.

I wouldn't call you a meanie, but I suspect you're far better at sticking to your guns than most of us.

Suzanne said...

Ack. You are right. I was bragging.

Tami said...

If you're a meanie, then I am too. Shad and I decided long ago we would do our best not to raise picky eaters. I am a picky eater, and quite frankly it can be miserable! The older I get, the better I get, but still...
We've taken the same tactics (although I hadn't thought of the extra helping - thanks for the idea! :) We fought for quite awhile with Nick over food and finally won the battle. He now will eat everything on his plate - he doesn't always like it, but he'll eat it. Maddie, thankfully, didn't take as long to get the idea. She can take forever to eat food she doesn't care for, but she'll get it down. The older two will eat anything I put in front of them (thank goodness).

Suzanne said...

meanies unite!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are mean at all. One thing I know from your blog is you love your children and are wise with them.

I personally do want my daughter to express what she does or doesn't like regarding food or anything else. But she has to say it politely (She may say 'I don't care for that', she better not say 'thats yucky') and she must take an 'adventure bite' of everything. I don't make her eat stuff she doesn't like. Mostly because she likes almost everything, it seems pointless to quibble on the few things she doesn't like. If she was a picky eater I would handle it differently. She is really good about this and not a picky eater so it really hasn't been a problem.

This is home manners. She certainly may not express that she doesn't like something anywhere else. She knows this.


Suzanne said...

Oh Serena, you raise a good point about home manners. Our kids are still so new to having both a 'home' and an 'outside world' that it makes more sense to not complicate things with two sets of rules.

Thanks for helping me see this.



Anonymous said...

Hi, I had to come back and tell you....as you know parenting is a humbling experience. No sooner had I sent that reply...I should have known my fate was sealed. So last night at dinner my girl said 'yucky we have to eat that again?'. I instituted your policy and have instructed Grandparents (who are her caregivers) to be on the watch. sigh. :-)

Suzanne said...

Let us know how it goes Serena, ok? Another variation is that when one kid complains about 'fairness' of portion size I always make it even more 'unfair'. This stops that annoying habit in its tracks.

JHS said...

I'm with you except for the seconds. I would never make them eat seconds of something they didn't like if they were polite and ate the first serving without complaint. As a reward, I would give them something else that they did like if they didn't like the first round. I have my mean limits.

Suzanne said...

Oh JHS, you have misunderstood. That is exactly what I do. If they were polite on the first round, they don't get it the second time around.

Helene said...

These are good habits to teach your children so that when they are invited to dinner they don't insult the host.

Anonymous said...

Oh I wish my daughter-in-law would do this with my grand-kids. They expect me to cook up alternates.