Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Free agency

Or maybe I should title this post "battle of wills". Last night for dinner, I made a sauerkraut dish that Ginger did NOT want to eat. We usually give a consequence of "no dessert" or "no other food" until the kids do eat their dinner. This is usually pretty effective, but somehow Ginger chooses to just forego her dinner, and wait until breakfast. She's quickly becoming a picky eater. My philosophy is: if a child is a picky eater, it's because the parents LET them be picky eaters. I'm not one of those parents. Maybe it's old-fashioned, but when I cook something, I expect my kids to eat it. Even if they don't like it.

So instead of letting Ginger get away with skipping dinner, and then just eating breakfast the next morning, I told her: "you don't get ANY other food, until you finish this". She skipped breakfast without a beat. Around 11am, I could tell she almost caved. By lunch time I fully expected her to cave (by this time I had gotten the quantity down to just "2 bites"). Nope. Man, that girl is stubborn! In the afternoon, she was starting to complain that her stomach was hurting. I nicely reminded her that she was more than welcome to eat anything she wanted, cupcakes, cookies, bread, or whatever, AS SOON AS she just finished those 2 bites.

As I was cooking dinner, I started to get worried. She hasn't eaten anything for over 24 hours (I did let her drink as much water as she wanted). So I made it a point to cook something for dinner that she loves: pasta. We all sat down at the table, and all she did was frown and say she didn't want to eat those darn last 2 bites. When will she crack? Am I being too stern with a 4 year old? At what point do I give in, and let her "win"? Surely she won't go much longer without eating. Or will she???

2 hours later: I just couldn't stand by any longer. I think that child would die before giving in. So her 2 bites went down to 1. Then, I added bread to make it more enticing. Then I even offered to take off the one piece of red pepper. In the end she had a bite of bread with some sauerkraut juices. And she just gave me the biggest loving hug! I feel like I failed as a disciplinairian, but succeeded as a mother.

6 comments:

Nancy Sabina said...

I hate it when I put my foot down and then the kids test me! I don't think you failed as a disciplinarian, I think you stuck to your guns long enough to show her you were serious. I bet she won't let it go that long again. ... At least for a few months...

(I totally remember sitting at the dinner table until after bedtime with orders to finish my meal.)

Hef's Mom said...

My parents used to force us to sit at the table to finish our meal. I disagree with that. I think you did the right thing, make her try it but if she doesn't like it she doesn't have to eat it.

Jill said...

Jessica, I love this!!! We put Austin to bed hungry last night and screaming for a cookie since he would not eat his dinner. (The rest of us made cookies.) It was a fight the whole night and made the night pretty miserable. But you have to stick to your guns or kids will walk all over you! Good for you to go 24 hours!!! WOW!!! I am not that good. And my kids are picky eaters and I hate it. They always choose to wait until breakfast to eat again.

santino, polly and little dude Eli said...

Now that I have Eli I am not sure being a picky eater is the parents' fault... he already turned into one! And I didn't have anything to do with it. Boy, Ginger was stubborn, but what a sweet girl she is!

Wendy said...

I think you handled it good, especially since she is stubborn like you!! on a side note, mom always let us have One thing we could choose not to eat, carlo that was cooked carrots, mine was witlof I don't remember yours, She would just give carlo fresh carrots and I would get a different veggie when we ate witlof, so maybe your next FHE you want to do this with your kids, this way they feel like they have some control while they still eat everything else you make. Every kid is bound to get picky every once in a while, ginger is just extra determined to stand her ground, which she can use well in other areas of her life right?! anywho....
just my thoughts

Inge said...

Wow, I am so not ready to have these fights with my kids. I am exactly like you (and I was raised that way) you eat what mom makes. Later in life (as from 5, I think), we all had one thing we could skip.

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