6 thoughts on “Give Me Strength: Outlasting a Toddler

  • November 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Our son also started pushing away traditional meals when he was about 3. He would go to bed without eating to get what he wanted. From about age 3 to age 13, he ate creamy peanut butter on ritz crackers, 2 wrapped cheese slices for supper and lunch. Breakfast was dry cereal, milk in a glass. I felt like an absolute failure as a parent. Age 8 I took him to a psychologist. She said he was fine, not autistic or anything else and peer pressure would eventually force him to eat traditional food. He is 18 now. A very healthy 6 ft. Still goes for ritz n peanut butter and cheese slices. However, occasionally he will eat pizza, shrimp, chicken and fries. He still doesnt eat fruit except a banana once a year maybe, no veggies yet.

    • November 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      One of the challenges of parenthood is figuring out how to be okay with what we can’t change, despite all our best efforts. If we wind up with finicky eaters who are otherwise happy or healthy, we need to count ourselves lucky (and I’m hoping you’re in that lucky category, even if your son won’t yet eat a veggie!)

  • November 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I brought my children up in an era where there wasn’t much money around. I made really healthy meals and a filler dessert, only if they ate their meat and veg, and there was never any question about alternative food being offered.
    We live in a different era. What I’d like to offer is this. A toddler’s developmental task is to assert themselves, to feel empowered so that they can move on safely to explore the world. They constantly read everyone’s non verbal communication. My face said, “Eat it up, then you can have dessert (pudding to UK friends) but if not you’ll be hungry. ” it wasn’t being cruel, it was just the socioeconomics of the era, so my children never ever fussed at meal time. They were grateful to satisfy their hunger.
    So my response to toddlers eating habits is this : children learn how to behave in order to get what they want and need. They read the panic, frustration and irritation on your face when they refuse to eat, and subconsciously the power changes at that point. The way to deal with this is to give it as little attention as possible. You sit at the table with your food, hopefully the same as the toddlers food and make loud “mmmmmmmmm” noises. When you’ve finished get rid of your plate ask ask your child if they have finished with their food. They will throw a fit but just toss their tray into the trash can/ bin and ignore their protests when you don’t obey their wishes. Let them go hungry, although offer water all the time, and during the hours before the next meal, ask your toddler to help cook, safely. Then at the next meal, prepare a plate with everything on it and totally ignore your child’s response, and just dish up plates of food for your child and place it I front of them… Do not cave in, totally control your non verbals, eat the same as your child and show how much you love it, then you give them psychological permission to carry on. Good luck!

    • December 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

      I love this! Thank you!

    • December 1, 2013 at 9:10 am

      All of your suggestions are very good. We tried most of them. We are a normal 2 parent family that sits at the dining table for meals, work, home school, normal stuff. This was a kid when he was 2, he could open the fridge and get out the lefover beans, carrots, peas and eat them cold. Then he stoppped. I tried wrapping small gifts, matchbox cars, super heroes and attached them to certain foods and he was not interested. He decided bananas and strawberries had seeds and he couldn’t eat them. This week (age 18) at Thanksgiving, he socialized, sat at the table, had a glass of water, but not one thing to eat. I’ve watched him turn white and start heaving with the attempt of new food. He is currently in college, has a job, friends, girlfriends, just a weird thing about food. He’s happy, we’re happy. Would I like it to be different? Yes, but at this point it’s up to him. Our families are used to it and so are his friends.

      • December 1, 2013 at 9:52 am

        Seems like we can try our best to make something happen with/for our kids, but ultimately, as parents, we have to learn acceptance and adaptation. We have to be grateful for what we get: He’s a happy, sweet kid, and a lousy eater. Not a bad trade-off.


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