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Choosing food you don't like?


Night Elf
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I've heard of parents who force kids to eat stuff they don't like, but do those same parents make themselves eat food they don't like? This is one of those things I just wonder about. I have never made my kids eat foods they don't like because I'm sure as heck not going to eat food I don't like. My dd20's stepmom forced her to eat foods she didn't like and it's one of the things my dd resents about that woman.

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I think it depends on what's actually going on. If 'don't like' means gagging then absolutely, don't force the child (or yourself). But if 'don't like' means 'would rather have something else' then I think it's good training to learn to eat a wide variety of foods.

 

Bananas make me gag; fish with small bones make Hobbes do the same. Neither of us is forced to eat them.

 

Laura

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Absolutely. Once in awhile my kids don't want something I'm making because they don't feel like it. I don't consider that the same.

 

No, neither do I. I'm talking genuinely do not like something whether because of the taste or the texture, or something like that.

 

In our house, if you aren't in the mood for something then find something else for yourself. Which is actually the same rule if DH is making something one of us doesn't like anyway. I don't care for pork chops so I'll eat more of the sides and skip the meat, but everyone else in the house likes it.

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No, neither do I. I'm talking genuinely do not like something whether because of the taste or the texture, or something like that.

 

In our house, if you aren't in the mood for something then find something else for yourself. Which is actually the same rule if DH is making something one of us doesn't like anyway. I don't care for pork chops so I'll eat more of the sides and skip the meat, but everyone else in the house likes it.

 

This is essentially what we do. There is always peanut butter and jelly or fruit and veggies available if you want to make yourself something different in our house.

 

The only thing here is that I make the kids try things before declaring they don't like them (and having tried it once 2 years ago doesn't count). My oldest is very good about trying almost everything and eats a wide variety of foods, my younger is a creature of habit and would eat salad and pasta every day. Sometimes she is surprised and likes what she tries, sometimes she doesn't and sometimes she could take it or leave it (which is still good because it gives her another acceptable option if we are out somewhere and her preferred foods aren't available).

 

I will say, I find nothing more obnoxious than dealing with picky kids. I have taught mine to eat something if they are hungry, even if it is just something you can tolerate, and be happy you are fed (since many in the world aren't). I have bonus kids now and they have always been catered to with kid food. I don't make them eat anything because I am not their mom but I do often tell them I don't want to hear about food and to go talk to their dad because we are out and they are whining and miserable since their preferred foods aren't available (they each only eat a handful of things). My kids and I go off and have fun while they follow their dad around whining in search of just the right junk food to satisfy their whims. There is definitely something to be said for making kids try stuff.

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No, neither do I. I'm talking genuinely do not like something whether because of the taste or the texture, or something like that.

 

In our house, if you aren't in the mood for something then find something else for yourself. Which is actually the same rule if DH is making something one of us doesn't like anyway. I don't care for pork chops so I'll eat more of the sides and skip the meat, but everyone else in the house likes it.

 

 

That's pretty much what we do. Forcing somebody to eat something will never happen in this family. Ever.

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I make my kids try a little bit of everything. With DS I DO make him have a few pieces of his vegetables -- usually 3 small pieces. If I didn't, he would hardly get any veggies in him.

 

We do get some things in our farmshare I don't like, but I want to. Butternut squash is something I never liked, but I kept trying it different ways until I found a recipe (for soup) that made it not only edible, but good. Sometimes it's a matter of finding the right way to cook a food. Then there are other foods like lamb that I've tried a couple ways and it's disgusting to me no matter what.

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I don't think I'm understanding what is meant by "forcing" the eating of food. Maybe I'm thinking too literally. Regardless, I do personally eat food I don't like within the limit of true disgust (I don't think I could even open my mouth to pork skin, for example).

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Yes and no. DD9 hates lima beans. She's tried them several times and still dislikes them. We don't make her eat them. DS3 on the other hand, hates to try anything new and will refuse to eat if you let him. He seriously eyed chocolate with a weary expression for over 15 mins before the girls convinced him it was safe to eat. :rolleyes: He also dislikes all veggies. We make him eat some anyways. DD6 isn't a huge fan of pasta, however, the rest of the family likes it, so when we have it for a meal, she has to eat it as well. I'm not making seperate meals.

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We have never had a "clean plate rule" about anything, but when they were smaller they DID have to try a bite or two of everything at dinner. Kids can very quickly narrow down their list of likes if not made to branch out. Now they are old enough to have pretty well established likes and dislikes that are more than just power struggles...lol. I have one that is almost a vegetarian because of her dislike of meat, and I don't force her to eat it. I do still have a vegetable rule for my oldest. She has to eat at least ONE veggie a day, but I do try to make ones she tolerates. (She is okay with that, and admits that she wouldn't EVER eat a veggie if I didn't tell her to. She even jokes that I'll have to tell her to after she moves out because otherwise she'll eat nothing but meat and pasta.)

 

ETA: I do make things I don't PREFER occasionally and eat them. But since I'm in charge of the food, no I don't usually make things I hate. That said, there are VERY few things I hate, and most of my family hates them too.

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We have the "5 bites" rule in our house. I'm sorry, but as long as the food is not spoiled, anybody can choke down 5 small bites of even the most dilsliked food. This is where the good parental role modeling on my part comes in.

 

Not quite true, I'm afraid. There's something about the texture of banana that causes me to bring it straight back up. My son gags, yes I can hear him gagging, on some kinds of fish. There's no 'choking down' - it just won't go down.

 

Minus the gag reflex, my children (and the parents) eat what's put in front of them.

 

Laura

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When my kids were young, I "made" them eat foods they didn't like. I'm really glad I did, and I think my kids are glad now, too. They love and ask for things that used to make them gag. My oldest pores over cooking magazines and loves learning about different foods -- he who threw up at the table more than once over "having" to eat something he didn't like. I firmly believe that all children between the ages of 2 and 5 or so go through a picky phase, and how that is handled can have a huge impact on what they choose to eat for the rest of their lives. It was important to me that my kids eat a wide variety of foods, because my husband and I eat a wide variety of foods, and I wasn't about to fix special meals for the kids. We all eat together, and we all eat largely the same thing. Each kid is allowed one or two things that they don't have to eat. This is how both DH and I grew up, and this is what we wanted for our kids.

 

Yes, I do eat things I don't like, and I keep trying to enjoy foods that I don't care for. I don't like goat cheese and pickled herring, but if they are served somewhere, I usually try them to see if my tastes have changed. LOL, I "want" to like goat cheese. I used to not like eggplant and mayonnaise, but over the years, through trying, and trying again, I learned to like and appreciate them. I kinda wish I didn't like mayo now -- it would save me a lot of fat and calories! Unfortunately, I love it now. As for both mayo and eggplant, I didn't like them until I was in my 30s.

 

When I used to travel internationally with my job, I remember being embarrassed about some high ranking people in our organization who would not eat some of the specialities that were served in other countries. I'm not talking anything really weird, here -- mussels in Belgium, and squid ink pasta in Italy. In one case the host seemed a bit offended when he brought out his best food, and the organization's president refused to eat it. I don't believe pickiness is as common in other countries as it is in the US, and I want my kids to go to any country in the world and be willing to try the local specialties. I know I was glad when I traveled that my parents made me eat things I didn't like when I was young, because I never had a hard time finding enjoyable food in other cultures. So this, too, is part of my motivation in getting my kids to eat unusual things.

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I don't think I'm understanding what is meant by "forcing" the eating of food. Maybe I'm thinking too literally. Regardless, I do personally eat food I don't like within the limit of true disgust (I don't think I could even open my mouth to pork skin, for example).

 

 

I'm talking about having someone eat an entire portion of a food they do not like, not just encourage them to take a few bites. In my dd20's case, her stepmom would send the girls to their rooms for the night if they didn't eat everything placed before them. I always thought that was extreme. We were talking about it last night and it just made me wonder about the subject in general terms, not necessarily with the threat of punishment.

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Since DH has food allergies...and I can not eat peas (I can voluntarily get them down, but they come right back up involuntarily)... there are foods I serve our kids that they enjoy eating that neither dh nor I can. There are foods I detest (well dh and I both detest) that I haven't brought into the house (Brussels sprouts and Lima beans, for example)...but everything I serve is something either dh or I have or will eat. Everyone has to try a certain amount of something...if it makes them gag (and periodically, something has), they don't have to choke it down...but for the most part all of my kids grew out of the gagging over food. I'd rather have them stop eating it than keep gagging and wind up with a huge mess to clean up. :p

 

There is too much good food out there to make recipes of things most of the family won't eat...

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Not quite true, I'm afraid. There's something about the texture of banana that causes me to bring it straight back up. My son gags, yes I can hear him gagging, on some kinds of fish. There's no 'choking down' - it just won't go down.

 

Minus the gag reflex, my children (and the parents) eat what's put in front of them.

 

Laura

 

 

 

My dd has an exteme gag reflex and is very picky. We've always encouraged new foods, but she is "scared" of them. It comes down to sensory issues. It's annoying, but she will gag and puke over a bite of macaroni and cheese. She is doing better, but does not like "mixed" foods (cassaroles, spaghetti, meatloaf, etc). This all started when she was around 2, before that she had no problem eating most foods. She has always thrown up over finger paints, silly string and gets sick when people burp around her. She even gagged at cotton candy. I was finally able to convince her that cotton candy was not evil and she did eat a bit. This past year she finally decided that cheese pizza was okay. She also can really tell the difference between "cheap" tastes (like frozen pizza) versus homemade or pizza chain. She will not eat pizza from the grocery.

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I'm talking about having someone eat an entire portion of a food they do not like, not just encourage them to take a few bites. In my dd20's case, her stepmom would send the girls to their rooms for the night if they didn't eat everything placed before them. I always thought that was extreme. We were talking about it last night and it just made me wonder about the subject in general terms, not necessarily with the threat of punishment.

 

 

I do make ds try some of everything, but I would never do this. I think having a clean plate rule when I was a kid led to food habits that caused me to be overweight and have been hard to break as an adult.

 

And yes, I also eat foods that I don't especially care for if someone else prepares them. I even make foods I know I don't like occasionally, because tastes do change over time and I might like them now even though I didn't before. My don't like list is pretty short already though.

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I thought I could say, "If I'm willing to eat it, I expect the children to at least be willing to eat a small portion of it," but then I thought, "What if roles were reversed and DS was the one with the authority and enforcing the same rule?" This is the child that ate a fried cricket. This thought made me rethink everything. :laugh:

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We have the "5 bites" rule in our house. I'm sorry, but as long as the food is not spoiled, anybody can choke down 5 small bites of even the most dilsliked food. This is where the good parental role modeling on my part comes in.

 

Actually, no. There are some people who have sensory issues with some foods. The texture is just wrong and it feels hideous in their mouths. There is no choking down 1 bite much less 5. The gag reflex refuses to let the ill-textured food down. If one tries one throws up.

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My Mom had a rule when we were growing up. If you don't like then don't eat it. But no one was allowed to say, "I don't like that." It helped me and my siblings because we learned to taste and try things for ourselves and not make our decisions based on the opinions for others. My Mom was constantly making things that she hated and we never even knew.

 

We have a rule in my house. You have to try things that you don't like every so often. And yes, the rule applies to adults too. In fact, avocados are now among my favorite foods and I used to HATE them. We have fresh fruits and/or veggies with every meal. For the longest time DD7 only liked apples and green peas. That's is. But I made her try at least one bite of everything on her plate. Every time. The result is that she now eats green grapes, peaches, apples, strawberries, pears, cucumbers, carrots, and green beans too. I often get frustrated when I think of all the things that she won't eat. But then I remember how far she's come and I feel better.

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Ds has issues with food textures and tastes, and can gag with certain foods. Other foods he may get down, but the look on his face is priceless! I typically end up making him separate food about 70% of the time for dinner, but he has to try something new or something he typically dislikes 2 - 4 times a week. He cannot be forced at all. Most of his sensory issues are centered around his mouth, and he actually stopped eating anything but vanilla pudding because he was convinced he would choke if he tried to swallow anything, He lost a lot of weight and needed to be retrained to eat by a specialized SLP at a cost of about $4000. Now if he is being picky or is not in the mood for something that we know he likes, that's a different story. I try not to pass on my food dislikes to him, though, and he eats things I do not enjoy. Dh and I are not fish eaters, but ds likes certain fish dishes. There are a few things I absolutely will not eat (brussels sprouts, radishes and turnips) but I still make them for the family.

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I actually ate something two nights ago that I don't care for much. But because dh cooked it, I ate it. I did not want to put a damper on his new abilities. He is cooking things that he likes that I don't. I don't think he is doing it on purpose, I just don't think he realizes why I don't make these things.

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I don't ever force my children to eat anything. Dh is of a different mindset, he gets it from his parents who were like food nazis (and in many other areas). We do encourage them to TRY something, because children are so fickle and if something doesn't "look" good they won't even try it. They have found more than one food they love this way. If they hate a food, I would never force them to eat it. If they don't want something reasonable that we are having for dinner (like grilled chicken and potatoes for example) they are free to not eat. 95% of the time I cater to their wishes on meals but I'm not going to make a separate meal for each child, every single time we eat.

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I was forced to eat a lot of crap when I was kid. I hate certain food, textures make me vomit, so no I don't force anyone to eat anything they don't like. When ds was little he had to try foods, but I would never force him to finish. At this point he helps with every dinner, so if he wants something different he can make it.

 

My sister and I both developed food allergies as adults, like in the last decade. I do think there are some foods my body was rejecting years ago but we didn't recognize it as such. I try to be aware of how that might play out in ds's eating habits.

 

I do try to make sure he substitutes categories so the meal is fairly balanced. I also try to cook meals that can be arranged in different ways. Dh will eat almost anything, but he's picky about how it's prepared, ds and I are picky about what we eat. Gah, I hate messing with it.

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My Mom had a rule when we were growing up. If you don't like then don't eat it. But no one was allowed to say, "I don't like that." It helped me and my siblings because we learned to taste and try things for ourselves and not make our decisions based on the opinions for others. My Mom was constantly making things that she hated and we never even knew.

 

We have a rule in my house. You have to try things that you don't like every so often. And yes, the rule applies to adults too. In fact, avocados are now among my favorite foods and I used to HATE them. We have fresh fruits and/or veggies with every meal. For the longest time DD7 only liked apples and green peas. That's is. But I made her try at least one bite of everything on her plate. Every time. The result is that she now eats green grapes, peaches, apples, strawberries, pears, cucumbers, carrots, and green beans too. I often get frustrated when I think of all the things that she won't eat. But then I remember how far she's come and I feel better.

We have the same rule here. A few times a year dd has to try something to see if her tastes have changed or to see if her texture aversion has changed. Thanks to this rule she will now eat cooked onion, bell peppers, eggs, strawberries, bananas, mushrooms and a few other things. It has been a long road. And in solidarity I get to pick something weird from the grocery store to try. The last time it was baba ganoush. That stuff was hideous.

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My kids will occasionally pull the 'I don't like this!' bit about something they've devoured a billion times before. So yeah, they get 'forced' to eat it at that point.

 

Otherwise, I do my best to respect preferences. Some of my kids hate shrimp, so I don't serve it to them. Diva hates Alfredo sauce, so when I make it, she has garlic butter pasta instead.

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Yes, I frequently eat things I don't care for and try new things. I encourage my children to do the same. However, there are certain foods that I know are issues that I won't press. For example, DS1 has an issue with shrimp, DS2 with asparagus. When we have those, I don't make them eat them.

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I think it depends on what's actually going on. If 'don't like' means gagging then absolutely, don't force the child (or yourself). But if 'don't like' means 'would rather have something else' then I think it's good training to learn to eat a wide variety of foods.

 

Bananas make me gag; fish with small bones make Hobbes do the same. Neither of us is forced to eat them.

 

Laura

Same here. Specific foods, I don't get too excited about. My 11 yo doesn't care for asparagus, but everyone else likes it, so we have it less frequently than the rest of us would like, but more frequently than she would. And she is expected to take one or two pieces (the "no thank you" serving). I don't care for salmon, but if the rest of the family really, really liked it, I would eat it, just like I would eat it if someone served it to me.

 

If there is a certain texture, I can work around that with different preparation methods, etc.

 

However, when people talk about cutting out large swathes of dietary possibilities - adults who eat absolutely nothing but meat, bread, and Mountain Dew, for instance (and I know multiple of these)... Yeah, I'm not going to allow my children to do that. And if that meant taking them to OT to work on whatever issue was causing them to have such a narrow food tolerance, we'd be right there.

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Oh, and to add...

Diva went through a phase where she 'hated' vegetables. Funny, she was just fine w/them until she'd been at a neighbour kid's house...and the neighbour kid was allowed to not touch veggies b/c she 'didn't like them'. Kid survived off canned pasta and other assorted junk food (she was incredibly spoiled, thanks to Dad having guilt over a divorce). Since her friend got what Diva considered to be 'treats' instead of veggies, she thought that would fly at our house. Nuh uh. We got to the point where she was only served veggies...and once those were done, she got the rest of the meal.

 

Not an issue for long.

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Not quite true, I'm afraid. There's something about the texture of banana that causes me to bring it straight back up. My son gags, yes I can hear him gagging, on some kinds of fish. There's no 'choking down' - it just won't go down. Minus the gag reflex, my children (and the parents) eat what's put in front of them. Laura
Actually, no. There are some people who have sensory issues with some foods. The texture is just wrong and it feels hideous in their mouths. There is no choking down 1 bite much less 5. The gag reflex refuses to let the ill-textured food down. If one tries one throws up.

 

Agreed!

 

My most adventurous eater- the child who stood at the hot deli counter BEGGING me to buy her a container of the cauliflower-veggie mix- the one who, at 18mos sat in the grocery cart seat hugging broccoli and singing its praises, cannot/will not eat tomato soup- it comes right back up. This child is not being difficult- she will eat ANYTHING- but since the sight/sound/smell of vomit makes me do the same, I don't make her even look at tomato soup. She is a lovely young lady, and I get many compliments on her- and one friend loves to have her over for dinner as she is such a GREAT dinner guest.

 

ANother child is pickier- but she will try foods. It is also a texture thing. When she was at an OT appointment for something unrelated- the OT pointed out that she was literally having a pain reaction to what they were working on- her physical limitation was real and significant, but the pain reaction was actually holding her back more. He said that it was similar to foods and other textures she doesn't like, and he had no idea about her food preferences.

 

Anyway- as long as they eat well and get the nutrition they need, I will never force them to eat anything.

 

How *do* you force them to eat? Physically shove it down their throat? Intimidate them? Threaten them? Keep serving the same food and nothing else until they finally eat it? If it gets to the point where the oroginal food is spoiled- do you cook up another batch of it and start over? Would you do the same for yourself if you were served a bad meal at a restaurant or friend's home?

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I have sensory issues (gagging/vomiting on stiff-soft texture food like eggs, beans, etc.) and at least one kid who probably does too. I make a lot of food that I don't like...and I usually "try" it (frankly its usually keeping my kids company at this point, unless I haven't had the food before). I ask that they try things too in very small amounts.

 

Short of allergies and foods that bring on severe gagging issues, I usually expect everyone to try 1 bite. It can be small one. People are allowed to politely spit into their napkin if something doesn't feel right. The idea is to have the taste in their mouth and learn polite behavior (no talking about how disgusting the food is or spitting things into other food, drinks, or their brother's plate). I reinforce and model "thank you for cooking for me, I just didn't care for that" and the idea that different people have different ideas of what's good...and that can change!

 

I try to remember my goal: encourage adventurousness, keep minds open, introduce the brain to many flavors. In my experience forcing food is detrimental to those goals...but so is allowing people to close their minds before their taste buds have had time to get used to things.

 

I've slowly grown as an eater since becoming an adult. Before that I lived in a lot of fear because of my issues. The worst was thinking it was all in my head. I spent too many years getting down on myself, not eating with people, being embarrassed. I want to teach my children how to treat food as an adventure. I want to make it appealing by minimizing discomfort and maximizing success. Because this has worked with me, I don't have any fears about applying it to my own children.

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I do eat things I don't like sometimes, for various reasons. However, I don't make my kids eat things that they don't like. I view it as it is my job to provide them with healthy food, it is their job to eat it or don't. They choose. I've always refused to have a power struggle over food with them, I just don't do it. But, I don't know if it is because of that or not, I've never really had to. They, for the most part, eat a wide variety and eat a lot. Last night we had meatloaf, green beans, and mashed potatoes. My oldest cleaned the plate, he almost always does, because he just eats a lot. My youngest ate a small bit of meatloaf and ate all of her green beans and mashed potatoes. Fine with me, nothing said to either of them. They were both full and ate a relatively balanced meal. If they finish their plates, they can get seconds or they can choose some fruit to have afterwards if they are still hungry. That is pretty much what we do every night. Sometimes they eat it all and beg for more, sometimes they don't like it and pass on part of the meal and eat the other things, etc. Like my oldest doesn't like mac and cheese. I pretty much know if I make it, he isn't going to eat it. I still give him a bit, but I'll give him more broccoli or whatever on the plate that he will eat. It seems to even out. They each have their things that they don't like, and I don't force them to eat it, but I do keep offering. They both have changed their minds on things that they previously have said they didn't like.

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How *do* you force them to eat? Physically shove it down their throat? Intimidate them? Threaten them? Keep serving the same food and nothing else until they finally eat it? If it gets to the point where the oroginal food is spoiled- do you cook up another batch of it and start over? Would you do the same for yourself if you were served a bad meal at a restaurant or friend's home?

 

 

 

I don't have to force, intimidate, or threaten. They know the rule. They try a bite, if they don't like it, they're free to spit it out or whatever. They move on to the next thing. I don't make them sit and eat a plate full of it. Just a bite. I don't serve spoiled food. I'm actually not sure what spoiled food has to do with it? Maybe I missed a post?

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Nope. When I was a kid, my da made me eat a brussel sprout. Shoved it in my mouth. I'd already sat at the table for quite some time by myself. Dishes had been cleared away and younger siblings had gone to bed. Da came over and asked me if I was ready to eat it and I told him "no way". So he stabbed it with a fork and held the back of my head and shoved it in my mouth. Not one of his finer parenting moments. He was incredibly frustrated, and I wasn't exactly a disobedient child but I certainly questioned a lot of "commands" and wanted to know why. I'm sure that played into the brussel sprout incident. To this day, I can't eat them. :( Which is upsetting. I've heard that they are delicious, roasted.

 

I'd never force one of my children to eat something they truly don't like.

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I do. Bananas make me ill when I eat them whole and raw because I was traumatized as a kid by stories of snake eggs in them. No joke. I still eat them, but I have to force myself. I do the same sometimes when we eat fish. I only like it specific ways, and I am actually very picky about my food. I just don't let the kids know that and we eat a lot of variety. Partly because I have one very sensory defensive eater who would likely starve to death if I didn't hide stuff in her smoothies. Seriously, not a joke. If she never ate things she didn't like, she would have died long ago. Se literally will not eat for days unless I can bribe her or hide food in something she likes. The table is turned on its head when you have such a kid. I don't threaten or force my kids with food.

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I make my young kids try things, but if I know they really hate it they are not forced to eat it. My one ds hates corn, so I don't make him eat it. All of my kids hate yellow squash. One child will eat any fruit you stick in front of him, but hates spicey things. Another son will not eat anything if there is fruit in it. They all had to try it at some point, but as they grow up they get to make their own choices.

 

My dh and I both like to try new foods. And I have eaten things I thought I would hate, but ended up loving it. I always encourage my kids to try something.

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My kid would throw up, gag, pass out, etc. I mean after awhile dinner time was just a nightmare. I couldn't enjoy a single meal. I just gave up. I can't live like that. I tried talking to a doctor and he didn't have advice. So what can I do.

 

 

It's a psychological issue and cognitive-behavioral therapy is the solution. Systematic desensitization is very effective in overcoming food phobias. I really wish my MIL had done it with my DH instead of giving in to his manipulation of her. As an adult, his picky eating has caused issues at business functions. I've encouraged him to go to CBT, but I can't force him to go like MIL could have when he was a child.

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Keep serving the same food and nothing else until they finally eat it? If it gets to the point where the oroginal food is spoiled- do you cook up another batch of it and start over?

 

 

Keep serving it to him/her with no other options for food and no screen privileges or anything else fun until the food is eaten. If the parent doesn't cave in to his/her manipulation, he/she WILL get hungry enough and bored enough to eat it eventually (usually drowned in a lot of catsup, ranch dressing, or applesauce). I've never had to throw away any spoiled food.

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I am NOT a fan of forcing children to eat things they legitimately dislike. We have a "two bite rule" in our home that has never been challenged by the children because they know that if they still dislike it after, they are free to leave it (and always have the option to make themselves something else; or, in the case of our 3 year old, I make it for him). We also aren't "clean your platers". Eat what you need to feel satisfied, there's always more (or a snack) later if you get hungry again. To this day my husband cannot leave food on a plate (and had to clean his plate as a child)... and he's overweight. He also can't stand to see food go into the garbage, so he's likely to finish the leftovers even if he isn't hungry. Luckily, he agrees with me with the children - they eat when they're hungry, they are encouraged to graze, and they aren't forced to eat what they dislike (but must try everything several times before it's given the total "ax").

And no, I do not eat what I dislike, although I am willing to try the same thing cooked differently.

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You are all making me feel guilty that I won't make liver for my husband. I can't think of any other food that I don't particularly care for that we might reasonably serve. Maybe haggis for Hogmanay to celebrate my heritage? Oh and my grandmother adored mincemeat pies. I don't like those either. But regular meat pies? Oh my, I haven't had those in ages. I might have to make those soon. Other than those few things I'm drawing a complete blank on foods I dislike. Balut?

 

None of my children are picky eaters, thank goodness. I am having a bit of trouble with my 3 year old just not eating since she finished off a growth spurt. She's hardly ever hungry, and I am having to very consistently correct her for the way she has been expressing that. Black eyed peas with spinach is one of her favorite meals, so it isn't a case of me serving nothing but chicken nuggets and tater tots. (I love tater tots too much to share with the kids!)

 

I don't force my kids to clean their plates. We had an awful time when we visited my in-laws with them stuffing the kids full of snacks and sweets, then expressing their disapproval when the kids didn't clear the adult sized portions they dished out before I could jump in and prepare plates for the kids. I've tried pointing out that continuing to eat when we aren't hungry hasn't done my husband or me any favors in the weight or health department, but all they see is food being "wasted." (When I could solve that particular problem very easily.)

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We have the "5 bites" rule in our house. I'm sorry, but as long as the food is not spoiled, anybody can choke down 5 small bites of even the most dilsliked food. This is where the good parental role modeling on my part comes in.

 

 

 

Why 5 bites?

 

What if i picked the most awful food I could think of and made you eat 5 bites of it on a regular basis. Chances are you are still going to think its awful and would not willingly eat it.

 

40 years later and I still can't eat flounder or filet of sole or most fish. Hamburgers have not touched my lips in over 40 years. My mother was a firm believer in you eat what I like/make.

 

I did not make the same mistake with my children. If you don't like it you don't have to eat it.

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In general, no I do not eat foods I do not like. My dh and I have very similar food tastes to those things are not in the house. I do not force my kids to eat anything. I won't make completely separate meals but if they prefer the spaghetti plain, I dish it out before I put the sauce on. No big deal. DD11 has begun to get more adventurous. She eats a lot more items now than she would eat when she was younger. She enjoys trying new things from time to time.

 

Dh was required to eat what was put before him when he was a kid. Now, as an adult, he has many things, he will not eat, particularly vegetables. I wasn't required and I have a much more varied diet now.

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Of course I eat foods I don't like. It is simple manners (IMHO). I politely eat everything from liver to crickets (yes, really). I have even learned that I was wrong about foods I previously thought I disliked. For example, my mom always made DRY pork, so I thought I hated it. I tried making it after I was married, and love it. Same thing with brussel sprouts - I thought they were awful, but now sautéed brussel sprouts are actually one of my favorite foods.

 

Oh, here's another example. When I first had coffee I thought, "huh, what's the big deal?" It was bitter and just awful, but I kept drinking it because it was sociable to have a cup when visiting friends. Now I have it every morning.

 

Our palates change, just like everything else. I'm glad I haven't denied myself coffee or pork simply because I decided never to try them again.

 

Oh, and I feel obligated to say that I never "force" my kids to eat anything, but they are served a small amount and are required to eat that before they are allowed seconds of their favorites. If they dislike the food enough that they choose to leave it on their plate, then they know not to ask for something else.

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I don't make my son eat food he definitely doesn't like, but I do make him try it a few times to establish that. I am willing to try new foods as well, and I even revisit things that I didn't really like before. Nobody is forced to eat anything that they absolutely cannot stomach, but in our small family we have very different food preferences, so there has to be compromise sometimes.

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I do make my kids periodically retry foods that they have previously stated they do not like. Palletes change. In general, the rule is, if you do not want to eat what is being served you can go have some cereal or a yogurt.

I make myself retry yogurt every once in awhile because it is good for me and I should like it.

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I expect dc to taste new foods, within reason. That is to say, vegetables, fruits, and grain should be tasted. Well, maybe not a durian. I would not even ask about liver (even in pate), raw clams/oysters, cooked mussels, etc for ds, although dd likes all these. I get when someone finds things repugnant, as opposed to not tasty. I also do not ask dc to taste very hot or spicy foods, unless they want to.

 

If no one wants a certain vegetable, I try it again with lots of butter, cheese, whatever. Usually, after a while, dc have then ended up liking the vegetable on its own.

 

I don't limit food or force kids to clean their plates, as both my kids have pretty good built-in appetite regulators. I don't want to destroy that.

 

I grew up with parents who ate kidneys and all kinds of innards. As a kid I thought tongue was just a name for another cold cut -- boy did I freak when my parents served a whole one and told me it really was an animal's tongue. As a kid, I was also a bit freaked by whole animals, like whole little birds on my plate. Or fish with the heads on. Or lobsters with their eyestalks waving around (although now I like lobsters). I would never make kids eat stuff that freaked them out!

 

No one here has gagged, but if they did, they wouldn't have to eat the gagging food, obviously.

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Well, that depends. Honestly, I'm not terribly fond of vegetables, but we have them every day. I make the kids eat them. THey're good for them. I eat them, too, even though they are not my favorite. But, DS does not like mac & cheese (I know, it's not a healthy food, but it's an example) so I don't make him eat it. My kids don't like sauce on their spaghetti or gravy on their mashed potatoes. So, no, they don't have to have spaghetti sauce or gravy. Some things people just don't like and I can accept that, but other things we eat because they're good for us. And I don't make the kids eat weird veggies - just the basics: corn, peas, carrots, zucchini, that kind of stuff. I'd love it if they'd eat salads, but they don't.

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I also grew up with a mother that forced me to eat things that I did like (gagging kind). She was the person that would purposefully make the ONE dish I hated the most on Halloween, and I couldn't go trick or treating until I sat and finished it. She was evil.

 

There are foods that I don't like and would hate to be forced to eat. For example, I can't stand celery, the flavor makes me gag. I don't mind it if it is cooked in something and I can't taste it, but in salads and such...YUCK! I won't eat it. There are a few other things also. As far as my son, he grew up a wonderful eater and will eat just about anything. The ONLY two things he doesn't like are sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie (similar taste and texture), and I don't make him eat them. He has no problem eating anything else, though. If he did have something else he truly didn't like, then I wouldn't force him to eat it either.

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I DO make my kids try things, but I don't make them eat foods they strongly dislike. I happen to like pretty much everything except brussel sprouts and liver, so eating foods 'I' don't like isn't really an issue.

 

I think that trying a few bites of something new, or something you don't really care that much for CAN develope your palate, so I do push exploration. However, one kid is much pickier than the other and I have no issue with her meal being salad, bread, and one or two bites of the main dish.

 

I've never made anyone clean their plates. I have made them finish their dinner before they could have dessert when they were little.

 

My kids are 12 and 15 so this is one of those parenting issues that we don't have to deal with anymore. Even the kid who was insanely picky until she was 10 eats an impressive variety of real food now.

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