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barnwife
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I am wondering how other parents would handle the following situation.

Backgroud: The child in question is a NT almost 8 yo. DC is a person of few words. Even when asked yes or no questions, child often prefers to answer with a thumbs up or down. If 0 words will work, that's what DC will use.

DC goes in phases for what the DC wants for breakfast. For a while it will be granola, then fried eggs, then yogurt, then oatmeal. It is totally fine for DC to choose something different every day. The issue is that sometimes DC will ask for/make something and then not eat it. So...there is a whole bowl of granola or oatmeal or eggs that don't get eaten. How would you handle that, assuming that not wasting food is something you want to teach your children (note: this doesn't equate to cleaning your plate for us.) No one in our family likes eating soggy granola or reheated oatmeal or eggs. 

Would your response be different if, for example, the child chose not to eat the food because DC was throwing a fit (this child's version of a fit...stomping out the room grumpily because the brown sugar for oatmeal wasn't on the table and waiting when he brought his oatmeal to the table, for example)?

This is a seemingly small thing that comes up not infrequently around here and DH and I are out of ideas, so I'm hoping for fresh perspectives.
 

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Does the child feel comfortable saying “no thank you” to breakfast?  Is there any chance they feel they are required to say they want something, even if you haven’t tried to give them that impression?  Kids pick up weird things.  I would start with explicitly telling them that “nothing” is a perfectly fine answer.  

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I throw out the food.  No snacks until the next meal. I don’t think food is more important than my relationship with my dc so I wouldn’t press it more than that. I might just start making what I want and stop offering options, but I do that anyway. 

The only exception is when we had a child in foster care who would manipulate us with food like that snd then tell her parents she was starving because we wouldn’t feed her.  In that case I videotaped her refusing to eat before excusing her from the table to sulk in her room (I did not let her ruin the rest of our meals with her tantrums), and I’d give the social worker a heads up. 

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12 minutes ago, barnwife said:

I am wondering how other parents would handle the following situation.

Backgroud: The child in question is a NT almost 8 yo. DC is a person of few words. Even when asked yes or no questions, child often prefers to answer with a thumbs up or down. If 0 words will work, that's what DC will use.

DC goes in phases for what the DC wants for breakfast. For a while it will be granola, then fried eggs, then yogurt, then oatmeal. It is totally fine for DC to choose something different every day. The issue is that sometimes DC will ask for/make something and then not eat it. So...there is a whole bowl of granola or oatmeal or eggs that don't get eaten. How would you handle that, assuming that not wasting food is something you want to teach your children (note: this doesn't equate to cleaning your plate for us.) No one in our family likes eating soggy granola or reheated oatmeal or eggs. 

Would your response be different if, for example, the child chose not to eat the food because DC was throwing a fit (this child's version of a fit...stomping out the room grumpily because the brown sugar for oatmeal wasn't on the table and waiting when he brought his oatmeal to the table, for example)?

This is a seemingly small thing that comes up not infrequently around here and DH and I are out of ideas, so I'm hoping for fresh perspectives.
 

Is there a chance he wasn't hungry in the first place and took any excuse to not eat?  I think the anger over a small thing like the brown sugar not being on the table is a bigger problem than wasted food.  For the wasted food, I would just not allow any food until the next meal. 

Edited to add I totally made the DC a male in my mind.....I guess because I only have boys.

Edited by Scarlett
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Does the child have the option to choose no breakfast?
 

As a non-breakfast eater my whole life, I've never asked what my kids wanted for breakfast, but rather IF they wanted breakfast. My son is like me and rarely ever eats before lunch time.

Some people are just not hungry in the morning, and being told "you have to eat breakfast" still makes me want to throw tantrums at 45 years old. 😂

So, how I would handle it is give the option to eat now or later.

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This isn’t my hill to die on. We have this issue at our house with a couple of kids. Things I have noticed in my own children:

1. Blood sugars in the morning contribute to moods and how well they cope with them. A glass of milk or something often helps them be able to talk more to tell me what the issue is.

2. Sensory issues have played a part in the foods. We go through weeks of wanting only one thing, then hit burnout. The nausea is real when the kid hits burnout. Not worth a power struggle. To some degree, I have this too at certain times of the month when the perimenopausal hormones swing like they did early in my pregnancies.

3. My kids have all made their own breakfasts by age 8. Every week before ordering groceries I ask what people want on the list for the week. We always have toast, hardboiled eggs, yogurt, cheese, fruit, and cooked chicken on hand. People are currently choosing to add cereal, granola bars, and ingredients to bulk make and freeze breakfast burritos at the moment.

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I would address the patterns before they happen.

"____________, it is breakfast time.  Do you want breakfast?  You don't have to eat it but I want to know before you or I make it.  If you don't want it, then tell me "I don't want breakfast this morning."  Also tell them if there will be no food until X time if that is how you handle meals.

If they want breakfast.  "____________, I am glad that  you are making your oatmeal.  What will you do if the brown sugar is not on the table?  Stomping out of the room is not the way to handle it.  (If he doesn't come up with an answer then give him one - "If there is no brown sugar then you need to go get it and put it on the table."

 

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Are you sure about the neurotypical bit?  Because stomping out of the room in a huff because the brown sugar wasn’t on the table yet does not sound typical for a seven year old. Unless the child was already upset and that was a last straw. Combined with the preference for no talking I’d want an evaluation. 

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3 minutes ago, Slache said:

Have you asked DC why they do this?

Honestly, no (or it was so long ago I don't remember). I will try that. Although, this child is 99.9% likely to just not answer. A person of few words...

1 minute ago, Scarlett said:

Is there a chance he wasn't hungry in the first place and took any excuse to not eat?  I think the anger over a small thing like the brown sugar not being on the table is a bigger problem than wasted food.  For the wasted food, I would just not allow any food until the next meal.  

So you just wouldn't care about the wasted food? I admit that I do, andnot because we can't afford it (thankfully, we can). Yes, our children know they don't have to eat breakfast. However, to be the best person this child is, DC really, really needs to eat something in the morning. 
 

 

2 minutes ago, Danae said:

Are you sure about the neurotypical bit?  Because stomping out of the room in a huff because the brown sugar wasn’t on the table yet does not sound typical for a seven year old. Unless the child was already upset and that was a last straw. Combined with the preference for no talking I’d want an evaluation. 

Well, DC does have dyslexia. And DC is an extreme introvert, the most extreme introvert I've ever known. But, yes, otherwise NT as far as we know.

@Jean in Newcastle I think I will have DC make sure the appropriate condiments are on the table before making the main dish. 

But I am definitely still listening for other ideas!

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I think it's important to separate the emotions from the activity here.

In our house, ds does best if he eats a bite of something when he first wakes up, even if he doesn't believe it to be true.  Lol.  I'll encourage a few crackers or a piece of fruit if he wants to wait for oatmeal.

Second, I had to take my own issues away from the food and look at it like an allotted meal.  That meal is budgeted into the food area of our lives whether he eats it, rolls around in it, leaves it on the table...that food is still going to be unavailable to anyone else because it's allotted to his "food budget".  So are the next meals.  If he declines to eat and waits until lunch, that food allotment is still the same.

By separating it into "his choice, my organization", I could choose not to get frustrated and let him be.  It doesn't mean he gets anything else until the next meal time (be that lunch or afternoon snack or whatnot).  It means he gets to live with his choice and I get to disentangle myself emotionally.

 

I grew up poor.  It wasn't until I read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and sat through the conversation about each child's cup of coffee that I was able to see food waste in a new light and not stress over it.

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1 minute ago, barnwife said:

Honestly, no (or it was so long ago I don't remember). I will try that. Although, this child is 99.9% likely to just not answer. A person of few words...

So you just wouldn't care about the wasted food? I admit that I do, andnot because we can't afford it (thankfully, we can). Yes, our children know they don't have to eat breakfast. However, to be the best person this child is, DC really, really needs to eat something in the morning. 
 

 

Well, DC does have dyslexia. And DC is an extreme introvert, the most extreme introvert I've ever known. But, yes, otherwise NT as far as we know.

@Jean in Newcastle I think I will have DC make sure the appropriate condiments are on the table before making the main dish. 

But I am definitely still listening for other ideas!

I do care about wasted food.  Quite a lot honestly. But I care more about helping kids regulate their moods.  Stomping off and not eating is not ok, especially over missing brown sugar. With the added info that he needs to eat to be his best self.....I would address the entire situation from that standpoint.  I have many many times explained to ds21 that his mood is due to lack of food.  Rarely have I been wrong.  He is very much the type of person who needs to eat, but forgets or can't be bothered.  

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11 minutes ago, Danae said:

Are you sure about the neurotypical bit?  Because stomping out of the room in a huff because the brown sugar wasn’t on the table yet does not sound typical for a seven year old. Unless the child was already upset and that was a last straw. Combined with the preference for no talking I’d want an evaluation. 

I was thinking similar.  Of course it could just be that he is hungry / low blood sugar.  But I'd give it a closer look.  🙂

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Does he not want to eat often?  If so, maybe one of those carnation breakfast shakes would work.  Yeah, not the most nutritious, but when my kid didn’t/doesn’t want to eat, he’ll grab one of those to get something in his belly.   
Would he be happier doing breakfast himself?   He can crack an egg in a cup and stir it, put a little cheese in it, and microwave (my nana did that every single morning).  No mess, no big plate of anything left out.   What about brown sugar oatmeal packets?   Could he do those? 

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I don't care about wasted food. Both my kids have issues with eating (one with ARFID, one with simply low appetite) and a lot of food is wasted here. We do our best. We try to anticipate what we can eat on a given day. I also have ARFID. Sometimes I think I want something and make it, only to be absolutely nauseated by the smell or sight of whatever it was I had really wanted a little while before. We give each other grace around this issue.

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8yo is not an uncommon age for kids to be illogical and emotional, and kids can get "hangry" in the morning due to low blood sugar.

Have you tried requiring the child to make his own breakfast?  Most kids are more likely to eat it if they had the opportunity to make it exactly as they want it.

I would cease cooking breakfast for a child who does not eat what I cook.

As for what I do with my kids' leavings ... honestly, I usually eat them if they are at all edible.  I was not brought up to waste food.  I only wish my kids felt similarly.

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14 minutes ago, barnwife said:

Honestly, no (or it was so long ago I don't remember). I will try that. Although, this child is 99.9% likely to just not answer. A person of few words...

You say he's neurotypical? I would demand an answer. We do not waste food.

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ARFID ... I hadn't heard of that.  Will read up on it.  One of mine has always had a really hard time with eating, and it causes quite a bit of angst around here.

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1 minute ago, Slache said:

You say he's neurotypical? I would demand an answer. We do not waste food.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha to demanding this child ever say anything. He can talk, but if he doesn't want to, he just...doesn't. You can ask a question, know he understands, and he just doesn't answer.

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If a child can’t or won’t use words to tell you what’s going on in their head (and clearly something is because you are seeing behaviors that tell you they are upset), I would give them more agency in their actions. I mentioned my kids make their own breakfast by age 8. They have control over the situation then. We still see the occasional meltdown when the making of breakfast doesn’t go easily, but we are working towards them being able to be independent functional people. So, when things fall apart, I give them words. “Wow, that’s super frustrating that the toast fell on the floor. Let’s get another piece of bread.” “Man, I hate it when my eggs get too brown. Do you want to start over or choose something else?” Giving them words to use in their own head will help them be able to talk when they want to. In the morning my kids just instantly flip to red flaming people like from Inside Out because their frustration tolerance is lower before they have eaten. With enough practice of handling little issues they have grown to be able to manage daily frustrations better. Jean’s modeling up thread of dealing with problems before they happen by listing potential fixes is also a great method of working with inflexible kids.

 

Also, this will be a bit polarizing…but what matters more to you? .50 of oatmeal or the feelings of the kid in front of you? When your focus is on helping the kid manage their own feelings and behaviors, rather than on the food waste, your behaviors and tone are different. Let the food waste matter less and focus on the kid, iykwim. ❤️

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Oh, one thing I used to do back when my kids were that age ....

I would prepare bowls of dry cereal based on my expectation of what they would want.  But I would leave the milk in a cup next to each bowl.  That way the food is fresh and crunchy whenever the kid gets around to eating it, and if s/he doesn't eat it, I can return it to the carton, and use the milk in my coffee.  🙂

With oatmeal (I use instant), I wouldn't add the hot water until fairly sure the child is ready to eat it.

Other options like yogurt, fresh fruit, etc. lend themselves to flexibility and reduction of waste.

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7 minutes ago, barnwife said:

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha to demanding this child ever say anything. He can talk, but if he doesn't want to, he just...doesn't. You can ask a question, know he understands, and he just doesn't answer.

This needs to fixed. I don't know if he's upset, a brat, autistic or what, but without proper communication skills he will not be ready for adulthood.

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5 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

If a child can’t or won’t use words to tell you what’s going on in their head (and clearly something is because you are seeing behaviors that tell you they are upset), I would give them more agency in their actions. I mentioned my kids make their own breakfast by age 8. They have control over the situation then. We still see the occasional meltdown when the making of breakfast doesn’t go easily, but we are working towards them being able to be independent functional people. So, when things fall apart, I give them words. “Wow, that’s super frustrating that the toast fell on the floor. Let’s get another piece of bread.” “Man, I hate it when my eggs get too brown. Do you want to start over or choose something else?” Giving them words to use in their own head will help them be able to talk when they want to. In the morning my kids just instantly flip to red flaming people like from Inside Out because their frustration tolerance is lower before they have eaten. With enough practice of handling little issues they have grown to be able to manage daily frustrations better. Jean’s modeling up thread of dealing with problems before they happen by listing potential fixes is also a great method of working with inflexible kids.

 

Also, this will be a bit polarizing…but what matters more to you? .50 of oatmeal or the feelings of the kid in front of you? When your focus is on helping the kid manage their own feelings and behaviors, rather than on the food waste, your behaviors and tone are different. Let the food waste matter less and focus on the kid, iykwim. ❤️

I love this. 

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Does this only happen at breakfast time?  Or, does it happen with other meals?  Does the child just decide not to eat or does the child want something soon after refusing to eat what was fixed?  

I had a child with chronic GI problems and problems that we did not fully understand.  Since the child had always experienced these problems he did not know it wasn't normal and could not really tell us what was happening.  He could choose a meal, be one bite or half-way through it and say "Yuck, this is raw" or "Yuck, this is spoiled"--or a number of other statements (that we would objectively say was not the case); he could go days or weeks without it happening and then it could happen several days in a row--and it could come out of nowhere.  When it happened he was also often grumpy and difficult to deal with.  Now that he is older and we understand more we realize we would be grumpy also if our stomach was feeling as bad as his was.  

 

 

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53 minutes ago, hippymamato3 said:

I don't care about wasted food. Both my kids have issues with eating (one with ARFID, one with simply low appetite) and a lot of food is wasted here. We do our best. We try to anticipate what we can eat on a given day. I also have ARFID. Sometimes I think I want something and make it, only to be absolutely nauseated by the smell or sight of whatever it was I had really wanted a little while before. We give each other grace around this issue.

I was going to mention ARFID, too. My dd has it.

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27 minutes ago, barnwife said:

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha to demanding this child ever say anything. He can talk, but if he doesn't want to, he just...doesn't. You can ask a question, know he understands, and he just doesn't answer.

For a neurotypical child, this would not fly here. If someone asks you a question, you answer. Even if that answer is "I heard you but I need to think about it for a minute." or "I don't know". Even sign language is appropriate in our house as we do have non-neurotypical children who prefer to sign when possible.

It is considered rude in our house, and in our part of the world really, to not acknowledge, or ignore, someone who is speaking to you. Any child over 5 and able to speak appropriately is expected to give some kind of answer to any question asked of them directly. In our house, this is right up there with please and thank you and is therefore non-negotiable.

As for the food, if you ask for it or make it, you eat it. If you change your mind or throw a fit, it will be put in the fridge for you to eat when you are hungry or at the next meal time, which ever comes first. It doesn't take too many times of eating cold oatmeal or eggs or soggy cereal before they take the hint that wasting food is not tolerated. Don't like cold oatmeal or soggy cereal? Maybe you should have eaten it when it was fresh and you wouldn't have cold oatmeal or soggy cereal.

Of course this is all considering a perfectly neurotypical child who is just going through a stubborn streak and needs some work on attitude and not a child with communication problems or other issues that may cause them to act inappropriately for their age that they cannot help.

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1 minute ago, sweet2ndchance said:

For a neurotypical child, this would not fly here. If someone asks you a question, you answer. Even if that answer is "I heard you but I need to think about it for a minute." or "I don't know". Even sign language is appropriate in our house as we do have non-neurotypical children who prefer to sign when possible.

It is considered rude in our house, and in our part of the world really, to not acknowledge, or ignore, someone who is speaking to you. Any child over 5 and able to speak appropriately is expected to give some kind of answer to any question asked of them directly. In our house, this is right up there with please and thank you and is therefore non-negotiable.

As for the food, if you ask for it or make it, you eat it. If you change your mind or throw a fit, it will be put in the fridge for you to eat when you are hungry or at the next meal time, which ever comes first. It doesn't take too many times of eating cold oatmeal or eggs or soggy cereal before they take the hint that wasting food is not tolerated. Don't like cold oatmeal or soggy cereal? Maybe you should have eaten it when it was fresh and you wouldn't have cold oatmeal or soggy cereal.

Of course this is all considering a perfectly neurotypical child who is just going through a stubborn streak and needs some work on attitude and not a child with communication problems or other issues that may cause them to act inappropriately for their age that they cannot help.

We are the same way. And a natural consequence of this is when someone does throw a tantrum, refuse to eat or whatnot, I know something is wrong. Not that my children never misbehave, but if I had the issues OP is having I would see a doctor, but under the circumstances I cannot tell what's happening. This is why I said demand an answer. There is no way to move forward without knowing his side.

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We too have struggled at times with kids not responding.  If it doesn't come naturally, I make suggestions for common situations.  "I hear you but I'm ___ right now" for example.  My 14yos still need a lot of reminders at times.

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16 minutes ago, Slache said:

This is why I said demand an answer. There is no way to move forward without knowing his side.

So, here... just so the OP can mull over the ways things might look... demanding an answer in no way guarantees getting an answer, not because the dc is defiant or anything one could call a bad character trait, but because the ability to articulate thoughts vanishes under stress. Adding to the stress is counterproductive, and does not produce an answer.

For us, this is part of the ASD. Again for us, it has no relationship to intelligence or even verbal comprehension, which are both high. It's expressive language as opposed to receptive language.

I like the ideas of modeling possible answers, in an uncritical way and at a neutral time. 

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1 hour ago, barnwife said:

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha to demanding this child ever say anything. He can talk, but if he doesn't want to, he just...doesn't. You can ask a question, know he understands, and he just doesn't answer.

DS16 is that way. He would nod or shake his head though. In his case, his breakfast is just a cup of chocolate malt drink since he was a small kid so he can finish that cup at leisure while I do my stuff. 

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I think demand was a poor word choice for me. I would execute my "demand" by bringing it up casually over dinner or a game. I wouldn't sit at the breakfast table and stare him down. 

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He sounds like one of my nephews.  He got diagnosed with severe autism at age 10.  We were both surprised (he had no delays) and not surprised (he didn’t like to be held or make eye contact as a newborn, and hated speaking as an older kid). He had a lot of therapy and homeschooling. He got a degree and now works part time in a very social field. 

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1 hour ago, Slache said:

This needs to fixed. I don't know if he's upset, a brat, autistic or what, but without proper communication skills he will not be ready for adulthood.

Oh, he can communicate perfectly well. He just thinks that much less communication is required for life than basically all of the rest of humanity. 

 

54 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

Does this only happen at breakfast time?  Or, does it happen with other meals?  Does the child just decide not to eat or does the child want something soon after refusing to eat what was fixed?  

RE: food specifically...if we are eating something he doesn't want at that moment, he often chooses to just not eat, even if it's something he likes. (He's been known to eat 4 brats for dinner. But other times, he just doesn't want them, so he either just eats whatever else we are eating, or doesn't eat.) He really does eat a wide variety of foods. And if he doesn't eat, he doesn't usually ask for anything until the next meal approaches. He is just sometimes grumpy.

45 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

For a neurotypical child, this would not fly here. If someone asks you a question, you answer. Even if that answer is "I heard you but I need to think about it for a minute." or "I don't know". Even sign language is appropriate in our house as we do have non-neurotypical children who prefer to sign when possible.

 

You know, I would have said the same thing, until we were blessed with this child. But, in his mind, if he needs thinking time or doesn't know, saying nothing suffices. Yes, we have discussed such things. Yes, we have done some simple signing, especially as infants. I often say things like, "Do you want toast? Give me a thumbs up if you do." I know that otherwise I may or may not get an answer. 

 

6 minutes ago, Slache said:

I think demand was a poor word choice for me. I would execute my "demand" by bringing it up casually over dinner or a game. I wouldn't sit at the breakfast table and stare him down. 

No worries...I didn't think you were sitting on your kid while yelling, "Answer me!" Trust that we have many, many conversations (is that the right word if I do 99.9% of the talking) about communication. But, in the end, he has agency over whether or not he actually talks. 

 

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One of my kids had a meltdown over breakfast several days a week from around 3 until...maybe 9?  I don't usually fix a hot breakfast but have a bunch of options based on what the family requests - various granola and protein bars, instant oatmeal, cereal, bread for toast, peanut butter, nuts, fruit, cheese, maybe yogurt or leftovers from dinner if they'd prefer that.  Kid would, at different times, ask what they could eat and say 'Not that' as I listed them all, or say they had no idea what the options were if I refused to list them (all cereals and bars were kept on the same shelf in the pantry so they'd be easy to find, and fruit is on the counter).  Sometimes I had success with listing 2 options on a chalkboard and telling kid that those were the choices, so pick one.  I did finally tell kid, who acted this way in part because they were hangry, that they had to do something but I didn't care what.  A glass of chocolate milk or OJ, a mug of hot chocolate, a smoothie.  

It's a different issue, but similar morning crazy, so you have my sympathies.  I didn't force kid to eat, but I did say that we weren't leaving the house or starting our school day until kid had consumed some calories, even if was just some juice.  Once kid had something in them, they seemed better able to figure out what they wanted.  

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2 minutes ago, barnwife said:

 No worries...I didn't think you were sitting on your kid while yelling, "Answer me!" Trust that we have many, many conversations (is that the right word if I do 99.9% of the talking) about communication. But, in the end, he has agency over whether or not he actually talks. 

 

I'm all for kids having agency where possible. But this isn't going to serve him well in the real world. If he were mine I'd want him learning yesterday that he has to respond verbally to direct questions. He has agency over how many words he uses to respond. But a verbal response would be required. I say that as someone who has a DS on the spectrum, who is a slow processor, and who is a now a well functioning grown man of very, very few words. Which is fine. But he wouldn't be very well functioning in the real world if he refused to verbally answer direct questions.

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2 hours ago, SKL said:

ARFID ... I hadn't heard of that.  Will read up on it.  One of mine has always had a really hard time with eating, and it causes quite a bit of angst around here.

It is very very challenging, even as adults. 

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@Pawz4me I agree. I know and I agree. But I can't physically make the words leave his mouth. I (and DH) have been trying to impress that upon him for his whole life. Will we continue to model/teach/reinforce that? Of course. 

As for the real world, DH and I have often talked about how this child in particular will need to be his own boss so that he doesn't have to talk if he doesn't want to. It would not at all shock me if he grows up to be self-employe. Actually, when there is something this child desires, nothing stops him. Give him a problem/issue to solve, and alone space/time to solve it, and he is as happy as a clam.

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2 minutes ago, barnwife said:

@Pawz4me I agree. I know and I agree. But I can't physically make the words leave his mouth. I (and DH) have been trying to impress that upon him for his whole life. Will we continue to model/teach/reinforce that? Of course. 

As for the real world, DH and I have often talked about how this child in particular will need to be his own boss so that he doesn't have to talk if he doesn't want to. It would not at all shock me if he grows up to be self-employe. Actually, when there is something this child desires, nothing stops him. Give him a problem/issue to solve, and alone space/time to solve it, and he is as happy as a clam.

I’ve never had success telling my kids that such and such won’t work in the real world.  Maybe my kids are extra stubborn but it’s never once helped. 

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Expressive language warning flags are going up in my mind, fwiw.

I had a neurotypical kid who had selective mutism when stressed.  I'm going to share this here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_mutism

I have another kid who has language drop off also, but it's a social/pragmatic communication issue. I'm going to drop a link with more info: https://www.autismspeaks.org/expert-opinion/social-communication-disorder

Do you think either of these are at play? From what you describe, it sounds more like the latter.  I'm not trying to put an autism label on your kid. I'm saying that responding to others is a skill, and that I suspect what you have going on with your kid is more than "stubbornness".

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1 hour ago, Slache said:

This needs to fixed. I don't know if he's upset, a brat, autistic or what, but without proper communication skills he will not be ready for adulthood.

This is quite a bit harsher than I would put it, but I agree for the most part. We require responses to reasonable questions in our family. Our eldest has fairly severe ADHD and often does not respond. We continue to call her name until she does. I took this child to the audiologist because I was convinced that she couldn't hear me. She could, she just wouldn't listen. I would amp up the penalties until the kid communicated. And then I would really REALLY listen to the response. Because I think there may be more going on here than just changing mind about breakfast.

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I want to add, these are the kinds of questions I would ask:

Can you tell me what is happening in your brain when you refuse to eat your breakfast?

Can you tell me what is happening in your brain when you don't want to answer our questions?

Can you describe how you feel when you no longer want to eat what you've prepared?

Is there something I could do to make sure you aren't wasting food?

Do you think you need to go to the doctor? (code for, are you physically sick?)

Could you help me understand what's going on?

Could you explain to me why eating your breakfast is hard?

Could you explain why talking to us is hard?

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On 7/13/2021 at 12:39 PM, Danae said:

Are you sure about the neurotypical bit?  Because stomping out of the room in a huff because the brown sugar wasn’t on the table yet does not sound typical for a seven year old. Unless the child was already upset and that was a last straw. Combined with the preference for no talking I’d want an evaluation. 

This sounds very much like reactive hypoglycemia. 

On 7/13/2021 at 12:48 PM, Scarlett said:

With the added info that he needs to eat to be his best self.....I would address the entire situation from that standpoint.  I have many many times explained to ds21 that his mood is due to lack of food.  Rarely have I been wrong.  He is very much the type of person who needs to eat, but forgets or can't be bothered.  

This. At one point, we had a daily alarm to remind people to eat before they became unreasonable. It got better after the last major growth spurt was out of the way.

My DH is very inconsistent about how much he eats and wants to eat, but it doesn’t affect his moods. It can affect his energy level. After nearly 22 years of marriage, he is still surprised that sometimes he needs to eat something small to realize that he’s hungry, even ravenous. I figured this out about him within the first couple of years of marriage. Self-awareness is a problem that can wreak havoc with life skills. I am fortunate that food doesn’t do that with DH, but other things do.

 

On 7/13/2021 at 2:43 PM, barnwife said:
On 7/13/2021 at 2:55 PM, Pawz4me said:

I'm all for kids having agency where possible. But this isn't going to serve him well in the real world. If he were mine I'd want him learning yesterday that he has to respond verbally to direct questions. He has agency over how many words he uses to respond. But a verbal response would be required. I say that as someone who has a DS on the spectrum, who is a slow processor, and who is a now a well functioning grown man of very, very few words. Which is fine. But he wouldn't be very well functioning in the real world if he refused to verbally answer direct questions.

All of this!!!

As for the child in question being NT or not, stubbornness, nonconformity, etc. can fly under the radar until it starts to limit life choices. 

Basically, I am not necessarily seeing ASD, but it could be. I am seeing maladaptive and unhelpful behavior that could be unconsciously manipulative or lead to a pattern of passive manipulation (as in, not purposefully manipulative but works, gets them out of things, so they hone this skill while staying “nice”). At any rate, it is not functional behavior, and he seems to be not bothered by it. Nice people who aren’t bothered by their own quirks often seem to end up being nice people who don’t succeed but no one wants to say bad things about them. Bosses struggle to even give constructive feedback because it’s hard to pinpoint the problem. They just sort of float through life being obliviously annoying or genuinely upset that they are unsuccessful but unwilling to really listen to why that is. Sometimes they literally define being stubborn as digging in their heals and refuse to see their own passivity as stubbornness (or as control, etc.). 

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3 hours ago, barnwife said:

Well, DC does have dyslexia. And DC is an extreme introvert, the most extreme introvert I've ever known. But, yes, otherwise NT as far as we know.

Well just for good measure, you could get an eval with an SLP who specializes in literacy to see if the language issues of the dyslexia reflect larger language issues that are making him a person of few words. What you're describing are language issues and the person to answer whether they're happening is an SLP, not a psych. 

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