Thursday, October 9, 2008

Food

You can call me a bad parent. Go ahead. Do it! I dare you! Come on! I know you are itching to say how my parenting skills are lacking and my kids are going to grow up kinked! I know it! I KNOW! And I also know that, YOU are a bad parent. So there.

The reason I say this, is because, inevitably, all of us parents do something that messes up our kids, and thus we perpetuate whacked out people through the ages.


This blog was inspired by my son, Joshua. Oh, Joshua...Unfortunately for me (and for him) I made the mistake of listening to pop psychologists on the matter of children. For all of you out there with kids, FORGET about trends and theories on children. I have come to the conclusion that NOBODY knows what they are talking about, and most of them probably don't have children. Just those small, annoying rat dogs that they carry around in their purses. I have never understood why you would want to carry a dog in a purse. I mean, really, that is just gross!



Anyway, by listening to pop psychos, our son wasn't potty trained until recently (I believe I did a series of frustrated blogs on the subject) because they told me that *big goo goo eyes and high pitched voice* " Your child will let you know when he/she is ready, and don't pressure him/her because that will scar him/her and you will have a him/her with no self-esteem blah blah him/her blah blah blah." BLLLLLLLAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!


Today, I would like to address the current Joshua-Issue of "not-eating-what-is-placed-in-front-of-you." When Joshua was young (about Eva's age) he would eat EVERYTHING. No joke. He was willing to eat anything we set in front of him, and we, being the little naive parents we were, thought we were doing miraculous things, and we had created the perfect child. Oh, how so very sorry we were. Well, we were quickly disabused of this when Joshua, being who he is, decided that he didn't want to eat anything except bananas. And that is all he has really liked for the last 3 years. We managed to sneak in bread, carrots, apples, and some other things (he LOVES nuts) but mostly he just likes bananas. And sugar. He seems to be able to smell it in the various foods we serve him. We tried calling other things at the table candy but he didn't go for it (but really, candied yams are, for all intents and purposes, candy.).


The pop psychos say that you shouldn't force the eating issue, and for a long time we didn't. Until we noticed that Joshua was calling the shots. How on EARTH did that happen? It reminds me of something Jeremy says in frustration to Joshua some times: "I am the parent, Joshua!" to which Joshua replies with a glint of satisfaction in his eye poorly guarded by a blank stare. Of course, Joshua, up to this point has been in charge. That is SO messed up.


So, we tried various ways of getting him to eat: bribery ("I will give you candy if you eat those green beans!" "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"), force ("OPEN YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW, YOUNG MAN OR YOU ARE GOING TO BED!" "GO TO BED!!!!!!"), and feigned uninterest ("I don't care if you eat it" *looking the other way, or at anything other than Joshua*). We even tried pinching his bottom to get him to eat, and while that sort of worked, it also made him scream. And I felt like I was being uber nasty by pinching his bottom.






Now, after all of this, we have taken the passive approach. It started yesterday. Whew...
What we decided was we weren't going to force him to eat anything. We just wouldn't give him anything until he ate his dinner. Yesterday's dinner. He refused it last night, and this morning, and at lunch time. I mean, really?! Who doesn't like Beef Stroganoff?!? My one consolation in all of this, is that I am not not feeding him. He is just choosing not to eat what I have given him. Is that bad? Is there a law that says I have to feed him Cheezits day in and day out? Hmm...

I guess I am worried about it because I know people who were like this and they are STILL like this NOW. YEARS LATER. I remember being a kid and we ate what we got or Dad would eat it (mostly that applies to French Fries... We would save the "good" stuff for last, and eat the "healthy" stuff first, but if we didn't eat fast enough, Dad would eat the "good" stuff.) I also remember my Dad telling me that brussel sprouts were good, and YAK, no thank you. He always responded with "Good! More for me!" I could never tell if that was a tactic to get me to eat brussel sprouts, or if it was because he really liked brussel sprouts. Of course, nothing could be more telling than watching the huge smile on his face as he oiled down the HUGE pile of baby cabbages with a pound of butter. Maybe he didn't like brussel sprouts...maybe he just liked the butter...? Which also reminds me of pickled beets, but I will save that for another day.






So, am I truly a bad parent? I am wicked for not pandering to my son's taste buds?

12 comments:

leafhopper said...

I feel like a bad mom everyday!!
We too have struggled with this. When Caleb was younger we would force him to eat but he had a strong gag reflex.
So then we resorted to you have to eat at least one bite of each food before getting down. Now he has reached the age where he complains and has a tantrum if he doesn't like what I made, making me feel bad and angry. His friend told him "you get what you get and don't throw a fit" - I like that!
So recently we have resorted to telling him if he doesn't like it then he has to sit with us but he will have to wait until the next meal to eat. He missed out on a movie with smoothies and popcorn with the rest of us that evening. Needless to say he then wanted to eat his dinner, but when we are done eating, dinner is over! I felt horrible that he was so sad sitting up in his room all alone quielty playing. He was very hungry when he went to bed, and I forced myself not to give in.
But, it seems to have worked so far......He even apologized to me for being mean.

shydandelion said...

Wow. I conceded and Joshua had to eat one bite of each thing. And he did it gladly. I think I may just do that from now on. I just hope he will comply...we shall see. That is a good idea to just make it the one meal. I should try that tactic...

shydandelion said...

You know, the more I think about it, that is a REALLY good idea. I should just make every meal, and eventually he will just eat it! Yay! I love you, Tammy! Such good ideas... :)

DebbieLou said...

We do the one bite of each thing too for now. We saw this show called: The Truth About Food(I think) and they said that the average person requires 20-30 tries to acquire a liking for most flavors, and some people may require even more. According to them, it's about exposure mostly. (With the acception of allergies of course.)

I can't say that we have any major break throughs, but things are improving a little each day. They also had an interresting lab result on that same show (series)that showed that the more something is prohibited, the more it becomes desired, taste buds aside. I gave things a whirl one time by letting the kids eat as much of their Halloween candy they wanted for 1 night. Needless to say, they were more moderate after that. Matthew even decided he didn't like some of the candies he ate lots of anymore. Hope that helps! :)

Jen said...

Just wait. This is only the beginning of your troubles. Pretty soon he won't wear the clothes you buy and will argue with everything you say or tell him to do. . . There's more to come. . . for ALL of us!!!

Hello. My name is Jennifer and I'm a Bad Parent.

Zaphod said...

I like brussel sprouts and pickled beets. I hate french fries. I like tormenting children. Those are my three rules for parenting.

wmvidigl: The magic word you say just before you want a child to eat something.

Trillium said...

"You get what you get and don't throw a fit" -- HIRE that kid for a week to say that at every meal. He's worth his weight in gold!

With a world-wide economic depression staring us in the face, who knows how long any of us will have the luxury of being picky about what's on the menu. The future "menu" may be whatever you can concoct from what you have in your food storage. Rice. Beans. Wheat. Powdered Milk. (yum????)

omolkvis= what you mumble as you choke down food storage gumbo.

Katscratchme said...

Currently getting Audrey to eat isn't a problem... though she does have a soft spot for deep fried foods.

I'm a bad parent because I let Audrey watch TV... of course, I turn the channel to Nickelodeon or Noggin. She LOVES The Backyardigans. I do draw the line at her standing 2 inches away from the TV, but watching her dance in front of the TV is priceless.

Savannah Weech said...

At least you're getting started on this now! I have a friend who's married now, and her mother in law never made her son eat anything healthy, and how he won't eat a thing that his wife cooks. Besides, you're not a short-order cook, you don't work at Dennys! I think the world would be a better place without all those stupid "experts" telling us what to do....I think it's a great idea!!

shydandelion said...

Sigh...all such wise advice...Unfortunately, watching my son lay weakly on the couch broke my heart, and so we stuffed him full of pizza and bananas. :) But, hey, since he usually eats good stuff, perhaps I will lay off a little until he is five. I mean, he is only 3...

Trillium said...

BTW--that butter looks like it was chewed on by a cat ... or ... SOMETHING!!! Eeewwwwwww!

shydandelion said...

Yes, I know...that is why I picked it! I thought it was fitting. :)

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