Monday, August 29, 2011


Today on facebook an old high school friend posted this statement:

Toddler tough love...sending your 3 yr old to bed hungry bc she won't eat her dinner (chicken and cheese quesadilla mind you) then making her eat it for breakfast. I was that mom today.

I am having a hard time with this.

When we were kids I remember one sitter who made my sister sit at the table for hours because she would not finish her dinner.

I remember my dad not letting us get up until our plates were empty.

I also remember loving stuffed peppers, just not the pepper I would put mounds of sour cream on my plate so that I could cover the taste of the pepper. And if my grandma was there visiting us, she would 'sneak' the pepper off of my plate so I didn't have to eat it.

I also think that many of the obesity problems with my generation stem from this. I still feel as if I have to finish everything on my plate. Even if I am so full I can't eat another bite, I continue to eat until my food is gone.

I have never been one to make my child finish their plate. Now I do make them at least try a bite of something, but if they are full, I let them get up from the table. However, if they don't finish their plate, they do not get a snack in 20 minutes.

There are a few meals that hubby and I like that one of more of the kids don't care for and they have tried it on several occasions. So I have always given my kids the option of peanut butter and jelly or cereal if they don't like what is being served. I know some parents that go to the complete opposite extreme and cook a special meal for each person.

So I am curious, what is the rule in your house? Do they have to finish their plate? Do you have an optional meal if they do not like what is being served? Do you make special meals for each child?



Laurel said...

I have never made my kids eat something they do not like. I have taught them that when we are at someone elses home for dinner, if they are not sure they like the food, just to take a small amount at first. I would never bring home something I did not like and eat it for breakfast myself, so why would I do this to my kids? But I do not make special food for them either. They are old enough now that I know what they will eat or not eat, so I plan dinner around that.

Lucky Wife/Bookaholic said...

Everyone has to try a bite of everything... If you never tried it, how could you know if you like it or not, and our tastes change, so a bite, one real bite.
I have sent the kids to bed once without dinner. It only took once for them to know that I meant business. I made beef stew, and when I went to answer the doorbell, I returned to find their bowls completely empty! They threw it outside to the dog... I WAS TICKED!

Shannon said...

You have to try a bite in our house but don't have to eat it if you don't like it. I try to cook those things Madison doesn't like {like fish} when she isn't home.

Crystal said...

The rule in our house is that you have to try one bite of everything on your plate and give it an honest chance. The kids usually end up loving whatever they think the don't like. In general I don't make a special meal for each child, however, if I KNOW the kids have tried a food and truly don't like it, I will try to find an alternative to work with everything else we have on the table. This is mostly for my 3 year old though. My 6 year old is old enough to eat what we eat (and she does). Luckily we all tend to like the same things!

Even if I did agree with sending a child to bed without dinner (which I don't), I think 3 is too young.

Jeankfl said...

I am a little of both.. We've had those kids in our family that simply won't eat if they have to eat anything but maybe one thing.. and we've had those that want to throw a fit because they don't like something "today"! I don't put up with the second at all, but I will cater to the first, SOME.. That said.. three is way too young to send to bed with nothing.. even if they don't totally get their way.