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The notion of controlling kids' food intake


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So since the Turpin thread I've been thinking about this. It was brought up in that thread by some how it is wrong to try to put limits/ controls on kids' food intake. The whole Turpin story has me feeling uneasy anyway because it's being blasted to the world that basically this is the real face of homeschooling. I always want to be careful to look at what I'm doing and why and food is one area. I guess I can pose the question in examples to get feedback. 

 

So there varying scenarios but here is one: our family had a rather large stash of Halloween candy. The 7 year old would live on sugar alone if she could. She is also very small in stature. Real wholesome foods are offered to her all the time. She mostly refuses. If left to make all her own choices she will eat plain white bread for every meal  (I buy white bread so she'll eat pb ad j sandwiches... she won't eat other "weird" healthy bread) and then candy for dessert . Is it wrong to tell her "no" when she asks for candy 15 times a day? Is it wrong to encourage her to eat things she doesn't want to eat? Is it wrong to let her be hungry because she's not getting a chocolate chip granola bar instead of the chicken and vegetables that we're eating? 

 

 

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So since the Turpin thread I've been thinking about this. It was brought up in that thread by some how it is wrong to try to put limits/ controls on kids' food intake. The whole Turpin story has me feeling uneasy anyway because it's being blasted to the world that basically this is the real face of homeschooling. I always want to be careful to look at what I'm doing and why and food is one area. I guess I can pose the question in examples to get feedback.

 

So there varying scenarios but here is one: our family had a rather large stash of Halloween candy. The 7 year old would live on sugar alone if she could. She is also very small in stature. Real wholesome foods are offered to her all the time. She mostly refuses. If left to make all her own choices she will eat plain white bread for every meal (I buy white bread so she'll eat pb ad j sandwiches... she won't eat other "weird" healthy bread) and then candy for dessert . Is it wrong to tell her "no" when she asks for candy 15 times a day? Is it wrong to encourage her to eat things she doesn't want to eat? Is it wrong to let her be hungry because she's not getting a chocolate chip granola bar instead of the chicken and vegetables that we're eating?

I disagree that people are saying or thinking this is the real face of homeschooling. The Turpins were not homeschooling regardless of what they called it or how the children were registered. They were sadistically starving and torturing their children.

 

And no you are not withholding food from your dd. You are withholding excessive sweets which is what a good mother does.

Edited by Scarlett
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Having experienced two different levels of pickiness, I say it depends.

 

A child who will starve themselves rather than eat healthy foods needs real help and accommodations.

A child who would just rather have empty calories is pretty normal, and that's why parents do the food shopping.

 

A parent who doesn't provide adequate sustenance is a problem.

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I see nothing wrong with denying a child candy, or with a parent choosing which types of food are brought into the home and served.

 

The problem would be denying the child access to a sufficient quantity of nutritious food the child will eat.

(I have a picky eater/supertaster; forcing him to eat only foods he despises would border on abusive.)

Edited by regentrude
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I don't think it's wrong to steer children into healthy food choices.  Fwiw with the unhealthy food options, our solution was to have very little of it around in the house. 

The other thing we did is talk about serving size on the packages & how that serving size is usually for an adult male eating 2000 cal/day. A woman eating 1500 cal/day has to cut that serving size down by 25%.  You can work out the math for a child's serving size and we would say ok, you get one serving (your sized serving) of this a day. You have it when you want it but that's it - no more after that. 

We also talked about how some foods are necessary for our bodies, the bones, the muscles etc. And how some foods are just "fun mouth foods" but not really good for the body - so are we nourishing the body or just having a treat? 

Mostly I tried to make things easy for everyone by keeping lots of foods on hand that they liked & that were healthy & that I didn't care how much of them they ate.  My kids went through a period of loving oranges - I'd be buying oranges by the giant sack. Same with grapes. They also still love frozen blueberries. I stock the freezer with tons of blueberries when they're in season. 

 

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So if you had a young child that was heading toward obesity, would it not be reasonable for a parent to gauge the portions? And give only certain snacks between meals that wouldn't contribute to weight gain? Even if the child complained? I've never been in this situation so I really don't know what I would do. Naturally, parents can control what and how much a child eats when they are young. Most of the time it's for their own good. Some parents give in more than others and some children eat less healthful diets than others. I think a part of being a good parent is trying to teach our kids how to make healthy choices. When they are adults, maybe they will or maybe they won't. I know with an older child approaching adulthood, there is only so much you would be able to do at that point. I did have two picky eaters and I was picky (still am). But I just don't think that the "normal" things we do with our kid's food compares to what was going on with those 13 children. I was told to sit until I ate my hamburger meat, which would have made me gag. Sometimes for 30 to 45 minutes. I don't think that was a normal and healthy thing for a parent to do. I would not eat that meat no matter how long I sat there,and I still don't today. But what the Turpins did was on a whole different level, IMO. 

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I see nothing wrong with denying a child candy, or with a parent choosing which types of food are brought into the home and served.

 

The problem would be denying the child access to a sufficient quantity of nutritious food the child will eat.

(I have a picky eater/supertaster; forcing him to eat only foods he despises would border on abusive.)

 

This, exactly.

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No. You are not denying her food - you are making healthy choices for her that she isn't mature enough to make on her own. You aren't starving her. Wholesome food is being provided and presented to her.

Average normal healthy kids...your fine.

 

Also, I had a kid who ate constantly even healthy things if I let her. To the point of vomiting. She loved to eat and was out of step with her body’s satiety signals. So I’d make her stop.

 

Not abuse, not poor parenting.

 

Also with 6 of us on the house I do keep people from eating everything. I monitor who’s had what and tell them to stop if they’re going over board. Because it’s just not fair that the first person to find the yogurt on the fridge gets to eat it all and others get nothing. It’s not that I’m denying them food. It’s more that I want them to eat say carrots or an apple instead of scarfing all the favorite foods.

 

Op, you’re fine. You’re being a good mom.

 

 

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I disagree that people are saying or thinking this is the real face of homeschooling. The Turpins were not homeschooling regardless of what they called it or how the children were registered. They were sadistically starving and torturing their children.

 

 

 

 

This.

 

And they were using homeschooling to hide it.  

 

They are not the real face of anything other than child abuse.  Actually I think it goes beyond child abuse and simple sadistic torture. 

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Thanks, all. I realized after I wrote the op that candy is not food. 

 

This food issue is within the realm of normal, and I realize the Turpins were not within the realm of normal. I realize that homeschool is not even necessarily part of it either. It's just that this being in the media, lumping all these things together into one big bad ball... and food limits is something I struggle with anyway. 

 

I didn't get enough to eat for a few bad years growing up due to a parent making poor choices so I never want to feel like I'm withholding on a child. 

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Sounds reasonable to me.

 

What we do, instead, because I have no energy or time to constantly monitor food intake, is not keep white bread, candy, chocolate chip granola bars, or other things I don't want them to eat in the house.  I buy them on occasion but it is only for that single occasion (so I'll buy a chocolate bar to split when the groceries get put away, or a bag of cookies to eat, or a baguette for dinner, or something).  This way, they can eat anything we have, really.  We just don't have anything I would be unhappy if they ate a bunch of.

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Mine are grown now, but I had one thin girl who was too busy to eat much at a time and was overwhelmed looking at big servings, and liked sweets. My boy ate well and healthily. I just kept fruit and veggies washed and in easy servings sizes with healthy yummy dips available, and one drawer in the kitchen with healthy snacks. When they opened the fridge, the healthy prepared stuff was right in front. :)

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Sounds reasonable to me.

 

What we do, instead, because I have no energy or time to constantly monitor food intake, is not keep white bread, candy, chocolate chip granola bars, or other things I don't want them to eat in the house.  I buy them on occasion but it is only for that single occasion (so I'll buy a chocolate bar to split when the groceries get put away, or a bag of cookies to eat, or a baguette for dinner, or something).  This way, they can eat anything we have, really.  We just don't have anything I would be unhappy if they ate a bunch of.

 

Oh, we do here!

I have kids who have eaten:

a 3lb bag of apples

2 large bunches of bananas

an entire bag of string cheese

several Lara bars at a time (those are supposed to be mine!)

a whole container of hummus

multiple quarts of plain yogurt

a large container of grape tomatoes

entire boxes of buttery crackers (one of the few less nutritious things I try to keep on hand)

several 8oz blocks of cheese

a gallon of milk in a day

and who knows what else I'm forgetting.

 

Sometimes it's a team of 2 kids doing this, but not always.  It isn't for a lack of available variety, and it does not make me happy!

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Not abusive.  You are doing what is pretty typical of parents to do.

 

I have one epically picky kid and trying similar tactics did not work.  So I had to try other things.  What would have been abusive is if I felt I had to "win" and assert that the child will do what I want as the boss no matter what.  Some parents take that quite far (spanking, beating, and even killing a child over dumb crap). 

 

 

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Oh, we do here!

I have kids who have eaten:

a 3lb bag of apples

2 large bunches of bananas

an entire bag of string cheese

several Lara bars at a time (those are supposed to be mine!)

a whole container of hummus

multiple quarts of plain yogurt

a large container of grape tomatoes

entire boxes of buttery crackers (one of the few less nutritious things I try to keep on hand)

several 8oz blocks of cheese

a gallon of milk in a day

and who knows what else I'm forgetting.

 

Sometimes it's a team of 2 kids doing this, but not always.  It isn't for a lack of available variety, and it does not make me happy!

 

Haha..yup.  One of mine can demolish a 3 pound bag of Cuties or granny smith apples.  LOL  I don't stop him.

 

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OP- I have struggled with the same things.  I have 6 kids.  1 of them has no "full" button.  He actually has acknowledged as much.  He will eat and eat and eat.  And when he knows he has overeaten, he will sneak more food.  And by sneak, I mean go to the pantry when we are in another room and eat more there.  This is concerning to me.  I was brought up (and have raised my kids) in a healthy food environment.  We have plenty of healthy foods around and they even have their own snack fridge.  I allow pop when we eat out(once a month or so). Juice is rare.  Milk once a day.  Water the rest of the time.  We eat balanced and not sparse meals.  I have never had an issue with overeating until now.  I buy candy only at holidays.  We make homemade sweets 2 times per week. No one is excluded and food is a "no big deal" in our house. No shame is associated. 

 

I bought 24 of those mini bags of chips for co op.  They were gone after 1 week.  I even said, "these are a treat for co op, please hands off until then..." He can't control himself. (He did not eat them all, just most.)

 

This child is gaining weight. I am having to make his food choices for him.  I show him appropriate serving sizes.  We are doing everything we know how.  He is pickier than the other kids.  With a big family, everyone can not always have their favorites and I make one meal, if you don't like it, you can have PB on whole grain.

 

I am so surprised at the amount of crap kids are given.  At church, at co op...This Friday, I felt like it was Halloween at co op... So I'm compensating with no desserts for a few days... I'm not actually telling them that, it's just happening.

 

I hate when parents think they have the answers to all the issues.  Just don't buy the snacks...give him plenty of water...buy healthy foods.  Some parents have tried this, all to no avail.  I  *refuse* to shame him or make a huge deal out of his weight.  We are increasing activity.  And we got him a  yo-yo.  That seems to help with boredom eating for him.

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Rjand4more, I hear you on all the crap kids are given.

 

It's like literally every place kids go, kind gesture = sugar. Church, co-op, friends, the bank, literally everywhere. You can take them out for Halloween and get to know the neighbors and then throw their candy away? It's not easy.

 

What is it with our culture and sugar needing to mark every occasion small or big.

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controlling a child's intake of CANDY and other sweets =/= controlling their intake of food.

having a super picky child who is regularly offered healthy food (even if they refuse to eat it) =/= controlling intake of food.

my sister used to leave food on a plate for her dd - who refused to stop long enough to eat a meal, but would grab a bite as she ran past.

 

while dudeling loves candy - he's very picky about what candy he'll eat.  when trick or treating - he'd refuse candy he didn't like. he was fine if they didn't have candy he didn't like - he just wouldn't take any.    I don't know how many times I repeated "You take what you're offered, and say thank you."   . . . and you can use it to bribe your brother later.      (he didn't want frosting on his birthday cake . . .ok.)

 

he could also give lessons on how to be a picky eater.  I had two who were picky . . . he could give lessons.

and if I'm honest - I was pretty picky too.

  

I compromise by offering him at least somewhat healthy food he likes and will eat.  I heard all about the "let them be hungry and they'll eat at the next meal."  he could go days if there wasn't something he liked - and his blood sugar would go nuts and make him even more difficult.

he's welcome to make himself a pbj any time.  I no longer eat bread (of any kind), so dh gleefully buys white . . . .

 

have you kept a food diary to see what foods she actually does like?  texture?  temperature?  flavor?

 

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OP- I have struggled with the same things. I have 6 kids. 1 of them has no "full" button. He actually has acknowledged as much. He will eat and eat and eat. And when he knows he has overeaten, he will sneak more food. And by sneak, I mean go to the pantry when we are in another room and eat more there. This is concerning to me. I was brought up (and have raised my kids) in a healthy food environment. We have plenty of healthy foods around and they even have their own snack fridge. I allow pop when we eat out(once a month or so). Juice is rare. Milk once a day. Water the rest of the time. We eat balanced and not sparse meals. I have never had an issue with overeating until now. I buy candy only at holidays. We make homemade sweets 2 times per week. No one is excluded and food is a "no big deal" in our house. No shame is associated.

 

I bought 24 of those mini bags of chips for co op. They were gone after 1 week. I even said, "these are a treat for co op, please hands off until then..." He can't control himself. (He did not eat them all, just most.)

 

This child is gaining weight. I am having to make his food choices for him. I show him appropriate serving sizes. We are doing everything we know how. He is pickier than the other kids. With a big family, everyone can not always have their favorites and I make one meal, if you don't like it, you can have PB on whole grain.

 

I am so surprised at the amount of crap kids are given. At church, at co op...This Friday, I felt like it was Halloween at co op... So I'm compensating with no desserts for a few days... I'm not actually telling them that, it's just happening.

 

I hate when parents think they have the answers to all the issues. Just don't buy the snacks...give him plenty of water...buy healthy foods. Some parents have tried this, all to no avail. I *refuse* to shame him or make a huge deal out of his weight. We are increasing activity. And we got him a yo-yo. That seems to help with boredom eating for him.

How old is this child?

 

And I agree it is upsetting to be told to try normal things that of course you have already tried.

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Oh, we do here!

I have kids who have eaten:

a 3lb bag of apples

2 large bunches of bananas

an entire bag of string cheese

several Lara bars at a time (those are supposed to be mine!)

a whole container of hummus

multiple quarts of plain yogurt

a large container of grape tomatoes

entire boxes of buttery crackers (one of the few less nutritious things I try to keep on hand)

several 8oz blocks of cheese

a gallon of milk in a day

and who knows what else I'm forgetting.

 

Sometimes it's a team of 2 kids doing this, but not always.  It isn't for a lack of available variety, and it does not make me happy!

 

 

Mine do this exact thing too; if I buy fresh blueberries in season, they are gone in 20 minutes no matter how many clamshells I buy. Bananas, even 2 dozen bananas, are gone in a day (4 bananas a kid).  An entire container of hummus can go in half an hour.  If I buy a box of crackers that is what they are eating for their next meal/snack (though usually with the hummus, or with canned tuna, or something).

 

We don't eat dairy so I dunno about that :)  I just figure they get good nutrition over the course of a week and don't worry too much if lunch is bananas and hummus.  kids are weird.

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Oh, we do here!

I have kids who have eaten:

a 3lb bag of apples

2 large bunches of bananas

an entire bag of string cheese

several Lara bars at a time (those are supposed to be mine!)

a whole container of hummus

multiple quarts of plain yogurt

a large container of grape tomatoes

entire boxes of buttery crackers (one of the few less nutritious things I try to keep on hand)

several 8oz blocks of cheese

a gallon of milk in a day

and who knows what else I'm forgetting.

 

Sometimes it's a team of 2 kids doing this, but not always.  It isn't for a lack of available variety, and it does not make me happy!

 

All of my kids would do this if given a chance.  Which is why they are not allowed to take food without checking.  I don't really care if one kid wants to eat 5 bananas for breakfast but he can't do that until everyone else has at least had the opportunity to have some and he can't be trusted to check with others.  My kids love fresh fruit and veggies (even without any dips or sauces) so I can't even say go ahead and eat celery or cauliflower etc, if I need it for something else because they will demolish the whole head/bunch.  I would love to not have to think about what the kids can/can't have for snacks and just send them to forage but I would never be able to put together a decent meal if I did that because they would for sure eat up some of the components.  I think the only thing I could really let them self regulate on his oatmeal because I buy it in 50 pound bags (so there is always plenty on hand) and it cooks fast enough that it's easy enough to make more if we are short.

 

 

Edited by cjzimmer1
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If your child would really starve rather than eat something other than candy, than withholding food is abusive. That's a situation where you've got to back off, see it's an unusual situation, and get help.

 

And I think having a rule like "If you don't eat your oatmeal, you'll get nothing for any meal but that oatmeal until you do eat it" is definitely, if not abusive per se, teetering on the edge.

 

But what you describe is not abusive and I don't think anybody would claim it is.

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Having experienced two different levels of pickiness, I say it depends.

 

A child who will starve themselves rather than eat healthy foods needs real help and accommodations.

A child who would just rather have empty calories is pretty normal, and that's why parents do the food shopping.

 

A parent who doesn't provide adequate sustenance is a problem.

 

Right. There ARE kids who will starve if they are not offered food they like. These are kids with true sensory issues, etc. That doesn't mean you feed them candy, but it might mean you cater to them more than with other kids. My niece will only eat certain foods. If those are not available she will not eat. Period. She is too thin already, so that can't be allowed. So no, she can't have candy, but my sister will make one of her 4 preferred foods for every meal, because she needs to eat. 

 

So, if you know your kid won't eat chicken, and you have no other offering they will eat, that's a problem. But it doesn't have to be sugary, if there is something else like PB and J they will eat. 

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What I think about this issue is that this is not the time to focus on it.

It's kind of like when someone is raped and people focus on modest attire.

There is a time and a place to focus on modest attire.  That's not the time.

 

But the OP is asking because she wants to make sure she is not doing something abusive. She says she comes from a background that doesn't provide a normal frame of reference. She's trying to make sure she's not like those people in the case in ca. All these people are trying to help her understand what normal looks like. When would be the time for that if not now when she's asking? 

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  You can take them out for Halloween and get to know the neighbors and then throw their candy away? It's not easy.

 

 

Just focussing on this one tiny aspect, I did throw a lot of my kids' Halloween candy away. Well, gave it away. After the first excitement wore off, the candy went on a shelf, and they could choose it for a treat. Because it wasn't right in front of them, they often chose something else.

 

It was always a tremendous pile, and then you have Valentine's Day, Easter, and so on, all adding to the pile. 

 

So I would just remove handfuls of candy, bit by bit, putting it in a bag for dh to take to work. It was like, some for you, and some for you, and some for the giveaway bag, lol. If they didn't eat any for a while, I would still be removing some every couple of days, starting with the taffy and stuff that was awful for their teeth.

 

I didn't tell them I was doing it and they never noticed, because there was an abundance of candy. I didn't tell them because I don't think you can expect a young kid to be happy about giving candy away, they don't quite understand that there will be more than enough left over. By the time supplies got scanty, the next holiday would arrive. If we still had a lot from the previous holiday, I gave it all away in favor of the new stuff. Again, no one every noticed. 

 

My kids ate too much candy, for sure, but at least they didn't eat all the candy there were given! 

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didn't tell them because I don't think you can expect a young kid to be happy about giving candy away, they don't quite understand that there will be more than enough left over.

 

This is why some people trade the candy for something else - a toy, a book, a much smaller quantity of better candy. You can do this using a ruse or game like "The Switch Witch" or as a straight-forward exchange. But I suppose it doesn't work for all kids :)

 

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Oh, one more thing, pinkmint. I'm sure you do of course know this, but since many people don't it's worth mentioning - if your child will really only eat a very small number of foods (I think the formal cutoff is under 20, but I'm not googling to make sure) then it may be worth getting a referral to a therapist to help handle this. You'd speak to an SLP or perhaps an OT.

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This is why some people trade the candy for something else - a toy, a book, a much smaller quantity of better candy. You can do this using a ruse or game like "The Switch Witch" or as a straight-forward exchange. But I suppose it doesn't work for all kids :)

I asked my kids on Halloween to split up their candy in "keep" and "sell" piles. I'd give them $5 or whatever for the sold pile, and sure enough within a few days they'd want to sell more. I just brought the candy to work and put it in the break room.
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This is why some people trade the candy for something else - a toy, a book, a much smaller quantity of better candy. You can do this using a ruse or game like "The Switch Witch" or as a straight-forward exchange. But I suppose it doesn't work for all kids :)

 

Oh, yeah, this is definitely a good idea for kids who keep track of their candy. As mine never noticed the pile diminishing, they missed out on this, lol. 

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I don't have free access to food. I didn't as a child so it didn't occur to me it was something people did. I think a lot of it is money orientated - it is not a problem for the kids to eat 2 bunches of bananas if you can get more or have something else. If that 2 bunches of bananas was your fruit budget for the week it is a major problem if 2 people ate then all on the first day.

Edited by kiwik
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I don't have free access to food. I didn't as a child so it didn't occur to me it was something people did. I think a lot of it is money orientated - it is not a problem for the kids to eat 2 bunches of bananas if you can get more or have something else. If that 2 bunches of bananas was your fruit budget for the week it is a major problem if 2 people ate then all on the first day.

 

This.  I set limits on what my kids eat and when and don't care if people like it or not.  I'm not buying twenty boxes of crackers because that's what my kid wants to eat each week.  He can have *a* serving, and then pick a serving of something else if he is still hungry - preferably from a different food group.  I figure my job is to provide a variety of nutritious food, my kid's job to eat it.  I'm not going to confuse this set up by catering to a gluttonous desire or withholding all options.  But as kitchen witch I have to be able to plan appropriately for 3-4 days at a time for the whole family.  If we ever get to a stage like I see one woman doing, encouraging her kids to take turns fasting to "know the Lord better", which frees up food for the rest of the family, then I could see it being a problem.  But telling my kid to eat a banana after a bowl of crackers and cheese if he's still hungry isn't going to harm him any.

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Oh, one more thing, pinkmint. I'm sure you do of course know this, but since many people don't it's worth mentioning - if your child will really only eat a very small number of foods (I think the formal cutoff is under 20, but I'm not googling to make sure) then it may be worth getting a referral to a therapist to help handle this. You'd speak to an SLP or perhaps an OT.

 

I really wish it was easy to get that though. With my ds who would eat literally three foods for a while it was just dismissed as fussy eating and the usual parent chooses the food kid chooses how much advice was given. So frustrating!

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My DD5 had texture issues with meat like I did. She will eat fresh fruit and veggies plus grain's like bread and cereal, she loves dairy. I just feed her like a quasi vegetarian. Pediatrician is happy with that. She has a picky eater too.

 

My child would love to have sweets all the time and lobbies for it. I tell her to be thankful that I'm not Grandma or she wouldn't be getting any at all. My mother didn't think children should have sugar. LOL

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I'm another who doesn't let her kids free range on food. We sit down together to eat 4x per day. I take requests into account when planning meals and generally try to provide healthy and tasty food in proper amounts for growing kids.

 

When I have experimented with allowing the kids to get their own food, I keep finding wrappers, half-eaten sandwiches, banana peels, and apples with 2 bites missing scattered around the house. Sometimes swarms of ants find these bits before I do. Bleh. When I let the kids help themselves to food, I also found that they did not eat as much dinner and there was a lot of waste.

 

We don't have any food allergies or extreme pickiness, so I can't speak to how I would handle those. Three of my kids are rather skinny, but not too the point where their doctor is concerned. The other three are more solidly built.

 

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I would say, given a neurotypical kid, that letting a child eat only trash is abusive. You are not withholding food. I tend to the old Ellyn Setter idea of parents decide what food and when and the child decides how much. Making accommodation like the white bread is ok. Making a whole separate meal is another.

 

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I did not have free access to food as a child, and I grew up rural and on free/red lunch so there was no daily bread and little access to candy/chips. What I craved was greens.  It was a good thing access was denied because we did not have the land to plant enough crops to supply the missing nutrient my body was craving.  What I do have are genetic variations that mean I can't make enough B12 or D.  The food and daily mutlivitamin I had access to was enough to keep me away from rickets, but not enough for normal growth as a preteen.  It developed into fatigue as a young adult.  Problem solved when medicine caught up with science.  I take supplements now (much more than is available in a multlivitamin) and eat like a normal person since I am no longer constantly hungry.  So, I'd be talking to a ped or family practice doctor that understands genetics and epigenetics  if I had an abnormally hungry child who was being fed whole foods.  For a processed carb diet, I would first move to whole foods and see what happened with hunger. 

 

I do have one dc that inherited a mutation from me; he has to supplement, but since he didn't inherit the mutation from his father, he hasn't experienced the symptoms as severe as I did.  Normal growth throughout teen and young adult years, but other associated symptoms arose as a young adult and convinced him he needed to stay on his supplement...typical of a ya, he didn't think the bloodwork was an indicator until he had other symptoms.  Because he was raised on whole foods, he didn't binge on sweets when he had access in other parts of his life...he thinks most sweets are too sweet in comparison to fruit based sweets.  The halloween candy here was used as pattern blocks, then thrown away.  Just no interest in any sweet aside from chocolate.

 

 

Edited by Heigh Ho
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So since the Turpin thread I've been thinking about this. It was brought up in that thread by some how it is wrong to try to put limits/ controls on kids' food intake. The whole Turpin story has me feeling uneasy anyway because it's being blasted to the world that basically this is the real face of homeschooling. I always want to be careful to look at what I'm doing and why and food is one area. I guess I can pose the question in examples to get feedback. 

 

So there varying scenarios but here is one: our family had a rather large stash of Halloween candy. The 7 year old would live on sugar alone if she could. She is also very small in stature. Real wholesome foods are offered to her all the time. She mostly refuses. If left to make all her own choices she will eat plain white bread for every meal  (I buy white bread so she'll eat pb ad j sandwiches... she won't eat other "weird" healthy bread) and then candy for dessert . Is it wrong to tell her "no" when she asks for candy 15 times a day? Is it wrong to encourage her to eat things she doesn't want to eat? Is it wrong to let her be hungry because she's not getting a chocolate chip granola bar instead of the chicken and vegetables that we're eating? 

​If you are offering healthy choices, it is she who is denying herself.  I don't even offer candy, but once a week(and that is only if grandma isn't already planning something).  Sugar addiction is hard, but you doing her a favor by breaking the daily cycle fix- she will eventually attain a healthier appetite.

 

I offer my kids free range of fresh bananas, apples, and oranges.  Sometimes there is yogurt, nuts, and healthier bread for nut spreads/honey or jam.  I also give my children a few simple granola bars, fruit bars, or baked chips for their lockboxes each week, as if left out to share, it probably would be eaten by the teens before the littles even awoke.  My toddler/baby has a little stash of puffs/ vanilla wafers (shock sugar-lol) in my pantry for his special snacks.  

 

I require my children to sit during the entire dinner whether they eat well or not, so that tempts my little eaters to eat a bit more (my six year old is tiny and just doesn't have a huge appetite and she eats more by sitting at the table with everyone else eating).  I hope my children go for seconds- I never limit food, until it is gone-lol.

 

Brenda

 

ETA- I am writing this for a neurotypical child, I am not talking about a child with sensory issues or ocd (who will only eat a couple things in a certain way).   After reading more of the above post, I thought that I should clarify.  I do believe in teaching children basic boundaries- 1. It isn't healthy to eat sugar daily 2. Mom isn't cooking more than one meal at a time (pb&j is over there).  I would never not feed a truly hungry child, if a child will truly not eat anything but sugar I would mention this immediately to their doctor, as something could be going on-kwim.  

Edited by homemommy83
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I agree with the above. Limiting sugar/ expensive food is not the same as limiting all food.

 

I am a bit appalled at how much sugar my kids are given out of my house. It's so much that I limit much more at home than I meant to. The more sugar/junk my kids eat outside the house, the more picky my younger ones become at home (looking at you Christmas season.)

 

In our house you may freely eat apples, oranges, bananas,plain yogurt, nuts and pb and j sandwiches btwn meals ( it used to be toast, too, but some of mine stared just eating carbs.)

 

Every week we get other fruits in season. I do often ration those as a couple of mine would eat all the strawberries and leave none for anyone else and we don't have endless funds. It's the same with raisins, crackers and things like granola bars. I think it's good for kids to learn that you can't have endless amounts of treats or expensive food and leave none for someone else. They need to consider others needs. Granola bars are a want, not a need. A tummy can be filled with apples and peanut butter as much or better than with a granola bar. If you've eaten your share of almonds, peanuts are available.

 

And for children with a limited palate, I agree about seeing a doctor and an OT if it's sensory. Honestly, in my world, the kids I know who truly would not eat more than white bread, hot dogs, nuggets and pudding did not thrive physically. I get not forcing a child, but they do need nutrients.

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Nope.

 

It is wrong to make healthy, nutritious food unavailable to her.  It is wrong to allow her to only eat exactly what and when you decide she should.

 

It is right to restrict unhealthy, non-nutritious edible items (I don't consider them food) to times and amounts that won't interfere with her ability and willingness to eat food that will fuel her body.

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I don't think it's wrong to limit candy and junk.

 

I've never been one to force kids to eat something they don't want, though. Everyone here can make a sandwich or cook something else if they don't like what I made. They usually opt to make scrambled eggs with cheese if they don't like or get enough at dinner. I pretty much always buy eggs every time I go to the store so that's never been an issue. 

 

My kids have always had free access to food. Dd would sometimes go through several apples a day but neither dc ever went through stuff so much that it became financially difficult for us to replace. We have pretty much always kept single serve bags of chips and a candy dish in our home but they don't empty it out too frequently. I buy candy to refill it about every two to three weeks. We never have dessert here though so if someone wants something sweet they grab fruit or a small piece of candy. 

 

Dh grew up in a home with a locked pantry and never had enough to eat. There were times he snuck dog food. He found out later in life it was that way because his parents donated a lot (A LOT) of money to charities. Good for them but they had truly hungry kids at home and they really didn't get it. Dh has no hard feelings toward them now as he thinks they just didn't know any better. They really didn't get how hungry, especially teen boys in sports, they all were. It's a sore spot for him though with our family so everyone has access to food whenever they want. Fortunately, mine have never over done it and none of them have weight issues. 

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I see nothing wrong with denying a child candy, or with a parent choosing which types of food are brought into the home and served.

 

The problem would be denying the child access to a sufficient quantity of nutritious food the child will eat.

(I have a picky eater/supertaster; forcing him to eat only foods he despises would border on abusive.)

100% agree with this.

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I'm noticing that no one is describing a kid that is eating an excessive amount of leafy green vegetables.  'My kid ate 2 heads of broccoli!!' or a head of lettuce, or a massive pile of kale.  :tongue_smilie:

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Not abusive.  You are doing what is pretty typical of parents to do.

 

I have one epically picky kid and trying similar tactics did not work.  So I had to try other things.  What would have been abusive is if I felt I had to "win" and assert that the child will do what I want as the boss no matter what.  Some parents take that quite far (spanking, beating, and even killing a child over dumb crap). 

 

This.

 

And the "dumb crap" for a LOT of parents is food-related. Because abuse is about controlling another person, and everybody has to eat.

 

Trying to keep the little people entrusted to our care healthy-- to take care of their bones, teeth, hearts, and brains, including the part that needs nourishment that goes beyond what food provides-- is the job of every parent. And the reasons behind our choices doesn't have to be a huge Grown-Up Secret. We're all in this together. We have the same rules for ourselves and our kids, and we explain to them why, and we don't shame them for what they like or don't like.

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I'm noticing that no one is describing a kid that is eating an excessive amount of leafy green vegetables.  'My kid ate 2 heads of broccoli!!' or a head of lettuce, or a massive pile of kale.  :tongue_smilie:

Well I did have one who once ate an entire head of cooked purple cabbage.  However, due to the aftermath, she now knows it's not wise to overindulge on cabbage.

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Yeah, my kids have to check in with me when they want something. Usually they just holler that they're grabbing an apple or something. This helps me keep track of how soon I'm going to need to order food, and also gets them to vary their snacks. After 3 cuties, you need to grab a cheese stick or granola bar, no, you can't have 2-3 expensive kids' Z bars a day, just one. We have a similar rule on chips - one serving a day. We don't have dessert at home if we've had a lot of added sugar during the day. 

Mine are little (and have no out-of-ordinary food issues), and I'm hoping the snacking rules of the house will get ingrained enough that when they're bigger I won't have to worry about it. 

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Right. There ARE kids who will starve if they are not offered food they like. These are kids with true sensory issues, etc. That doesn't mean you feed them candy, but it might mean you cater to them more than with other kids. My niece will only eat certain foods. If those are not available she will not eat. Period. She is too thin already, so that can't be allowed. So no, she can't have candy, but my sister will make one of her 4 preferred foods for every meal, because she needs to eat.

 

So, if you know your kid won't eat chicken, and you have no other offering they will eat, that's a problem. But it doesn't have to be sugary, if there is something else like PB and J they will eat.

Agree.

 

If she only wants cookies, I'd be in the kitchen alone at midnight inventing ways to sneak healthy stuff into a cookie she would eat.

 

I really would think about tendencies and texture and try to introduce healthier items that were sort of similar to the things she is willing to eat. I might also make a big batch of something she finds agreeable and portion it into individual servings. That way you can just pull a serving out of the freezer and quickly reheat it for her; this keeps you from feeling like a short order cook and keeps the rest of the family from being held hostage to her slim range of acceptable foods.

 

I am usually a tough mama, but when you have an extremely stubborn child who's falling off the growth charts (as one of mine was), you've got to get creative.

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Mine are little (and have no out-of-ordinary food issues), and I'm hoping the snacking rules of the house will get ingrained enough that when they're bigger I won't have to worry about it. 

 

yeah... maybe. There will be a time when the active teenager requires 4,000 calories per day, is ravenous half an hour after a big meal, and there is absolutely no way mom wants to be told every single time the boy needs to eat a food, and just managing to ingest a sufficient number of calories is the goal. 

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