Making kids eat what “you” like

clean-plate-clubThis happened a while ago but I wrote it down because I didn’t want to forget it.  Today I was going through all my little notes and thought today would be the day I’d write this.  

Do you make your kids eat?  I never really made my kids eat because first of all, I wouldn’t want anyone to force me to eat something I didn’t like and second, I just don’t think it’s nice. I wasn’t made to eat as a kid either.  Although I did have to eat what I put on my plate.  Neither of my parents thought much of wasting food and we didn’t have to put anything on our plate that we didn’t like but were “encouraged” to eat what we took.

This happened quite a while ago and by coincidence, both incidents involved Trinity and I’m not sure why.  They just did.  Bailey likes almost everything and I’ve never really heard him say “I don’t like that” and Christopher you can get to eat.  He’s very busy and supper is his least favorite meal to eat. But he will eat.  He will ask you how many bites before he “can” be done and we can get him to eat that way.

I few years ago I made eggplant parmesan and Trinity had to “try” it. She didn’t want to but she tried.  She put it in her mouth and it just kind of stayed there.  She was moving it around but couldn’t seem to chew or swallow it.  Before we knew it, she looked funny and like she was going to throw up.  I could see it in her eyes and I stood up and told her to spit it out.  I never do that when the parents are around and I immediately told Toby and Sue I was sorry but NO grandchild of mine was going to sit at my table and puke.  What a great memory that would be for them to carry around for the rest of their lives.  I was forced to eat something that made me throw up at grandma’s.  No, I don’t think so.  We joke about it now but at the time, she wasn’t faking it.  I’m sure it was the texture of it just from the way her face looked.

Another time Sue made enchilada’s and invited us down there for supper.  I had some “taco rice” stuff in one of those envelopes that you basically add water and butter and cook it for 12 minutes or something.  Oh my, was it ever awful.  We love taco’s but there’s just something horrible about taco “flavored” things.  Nobody said anything and I could see Sue was really just kind of moving it around on her plate but didn’t want to say anything.  Toby was last to dish up his plate and he said “is this rice any good” and I said “no, it’s disgusting” and I would never buy anything again that was taco flavored. Then Sue said “oh I’m so glad you said that, it’s not very good.”  But in the meantime, Trinity was told to eat it.  Once I said that, nobody ate it.

We are all pretty good eaters and outside of Mr Fussbudget Jason, we like most things.  But there are things I just can’t get past and most of them are the odd few beans.  I hate lima and butter beans. I think that waxy mushy bean’s texture is awful.  They make me feel the way Trinity looked trying to eat the eggplant.  It’s not the flavor, it’s the way it feels in my mouth.

So here is my question.  What if we had all liked that taco rice? Would we then have made Trinity eat it?  If we like it, it’s okay to make someone else eat it?  Do you make your kids eat things they don’t like.  I’m not talking about “trying” something new but making them eat all of something they said they didn’t like.  Come on, we can tell if someone likes something or not.  I’m not sure I can see forcing someone, anyone, to eat something they don’t like or don’t want to eat.  How many times has an adult not felt in the mood to eat something?  What do you think?

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16 Responses to Making kids eat what “you” like

  1. JavaQueen says:

    I never forced my kids to eat anything or finish every scrap on their plate. I usually cook things they like too and surprisingly they like just about everything. Probably because I never force fed them and they were allowed to explore their likes and dislikes on their own. I surely wouldn’t want someone to tell me I HAD to eat something. In fact, while visiting my sister in NYC, she brought home some sushi and got so angry because I didn’t even want to try it. I can see, I have eyes- it looks disgusting and I wasn’t about to even put it in my mouth. I’d rather eat chocolate for dinner, thank you.

    Anyway, she became super pissed at me saying, “You never try anything new!” and I couldn’t believe how ridiculous her reaction was. What was it to her if I tried it or not? I know what I like.

    When my kids wouldn’t eat much… like, lets say I made them their favorite but they just weren’t into eating… I’d say, “That’s fine, you don’t have to eat but don’t be looking for dessert in 5 minutes either” and they knew not to even ask.

    So, there ya have it! oh, btw- Award for you at my place 🙂

  2. javajunkee says:

    I gave up on that one a long time ago. Our daughter was a pretty good eater and her favorite stuff came out of the garden we had back then. RAW. Now she HATES enchiladas..says it’s the sauce on them..makes her puke. LITERALLy.
    My son is convinced anything green and/or in vegetable form will kill him so he won’t eat it. SIGH!

  3. trishatruly says:

    Nah, I never made my kids eat stuff they didn’t like. I always encouraged them to try it. “Just one bite.” ..but I didn’t get upset if they hated it! That’s just crazy to think everyone has the same tastes.

    I was made to eat things as a child because there was very little money for food and whatever my mother made had to nourish us. There was no choice! I learned that I like most things but dried lima beans are something that can still make me puke thinking about them. As a child I would drink 2 quarts of water just to get them down without losing it! YECHH!

  4. pammy wammy says:

    I never forced a child to eat something they did not like.I will not expect a adult to eat something they dont like either.My kids were not too fussy.If they really didnt like something,I would not force it on them.As wee babys,first trying out food,if they made a yuk face and spit it out,I found that so funny.They already no at that young age what they dont like.
    You see as a child I was fussy.Hard to believe now.I guess I grew out of it.I was told at christmas,I didnt want any of the food spread out,so I got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my meal.
    As an adult,I love what I love to eat.I will try new things.But at my age if I dont like it,then please dont force me to eat it or make me feel bad cause i dont like it.
    We all have our own minds and likes and dislikes.Others just need to accept that fact and leave it at that.

  5. mssc54 says:

    We “MAKE” our children do lots of things they would rather not do.

    I like to think of it as actively PARENTING! lol

  6. starlaschat says:

    A babysitter once made my brother eat spinach I told her don’t do that he hates spinach. She didn’t listen to me and he puked it all over good revenge. I always ask family when they are visiting is there something you can’t eat or hate to eat I guess I’m not a big fan of having people eat things they don’t like.

  7. starlaschat says:

    I’m glad you had Trinity spit out the eggplant. The spinach story is something my brother and I both remember and that was years and years ago. Your a good Grandma Joy.;+).

  8. nikki says:

    Well if I’m not going to eat it I won’t say anything to Bailey. I will have him try it and make his own opinion about it. I do like him to try most everything. If I don’t think it’s something he would normally try I have to tell Jason to keep his mouth shut about it until Bailey tries it for himself. If he hears his dad say he doesn’t like it chances are he won’t try it. I like most everything, I’m SO not picky! I think a lot of Bailey’s good eating habits come from me giving him everything under the sun when we first started “real food” out when he was young.
    I’m glad you had Trin spit that out too!! What a horrible memory that would have been!

  9. Karen Joy says:

    This topic reminds me of a story from my childhood.My sister Bonnie would look after and cook for myself and our brother when we were young.Well,she liked liver so she figured we then should too.NOT!!!She tried so many different ways of disguising it in casseroles and lying to us about what it was..but there was no fooling us!!Yuck to liver..she was not successful in changing our minds about liking it.Theres no forcing a person into liking something.Its a funny story now that we bring up from time to time.I must say that through the years I have tried eating it thinking maybe my tastes have changed..NOPE they havent.But its good to give things a try!

  10. joanharvest says:

    When Sarah was about 2 years old she ate strawberries and cheese for almost the whole summer. I never forced her to eat anything and now she eats everything.

    My sister-in-law used to force her daughter to eat everything on her plate to the point that the little girl would vomit before meals because it made her so nervous.

    Granted my son ate very few vegetables. I once offered him $5 to eat a cherry tomato. He put it in his mouth, chewed it and threw up all over me. He eats a few more vegetables now.

  11. tessa says:

    I like this idea I read- have the kids help pick out foods in the grocery store, help you cook, and set the table. Make it fun too. This way they are more likely to try new foods if they helped pick it and prepare it. I will try this. Forcing kids to eat things just makes them like it even less! I eat mostly healthy foods, buy very little unhealthy, so I expect the same from my hubbie and kids. Works w/the big kid Eric so far.

  12. Doraz says:

    All I do is have them try it out, if they do not like it….they do not like it. Why would I let them eat it? I would not eat beef, even if someone said I had to, or else!

  13. Sue says:

    I don’t feel I force my kids to eat. I want them to try different things, but I don’t make them sit at the table til dark to finish something on their plate. That to me is forcing them to eat. Asking them to try something new is not. I don’t make them clean their plates. Toby tries to get them to and since he doesn’t comment, I think I should. He’s much more weird about supper than I am with the kids and it drives him nuts if they don’t eat. I don’t remember making Trinity eat the taco rice. I’m sure we told her to try it. Isn’t telling kids to eat their supper or no after dinner treats/games/or staying up late forcing them to eat?

    The eggplant story…I do remember that and she was having a fit in the first place about it b/c it was eggplant (even though she didn’t know what eggplant was) and said she wasn’t even trying it. She didn’t want to smell it or anything and sitting next to her while she’s crying over eggplant was a little much. She did finally take ONE bite, and like Joy said, she moved it around in her mouth instead of chewing and swallowing it. So, I’m telling her to just swallow it and she won’t and then she’s got this big lump of mushy stuff in her mouth that doesn’t taste very good and then she started to gag. No, I don’t want my kids throwing up at the dinner table either and having a memory like that. And now we know she doesn’t like eggplant. We all remember things differently too.

  14. Just a Mom says:

    I grew up with having dinner last for 5 hours because we had to eat things we did not like and we couldn’t leave the table until every bite was finished. Probably because of this my kids get to figure out for themselves whether they want to eat something or not.

    My youngest daughter hates hamburg because of the texture so when I make something with hamburg I give her a hotdog or chicken nuggets instead. This totally drives my husband insane because he thinks I shouldn’t make meals to suit the kids.

  15. SKL says:

    I am somewhat of a militant mama. I don’t believe in wasting food. But, I do draw the line where my kids “don’t yike it.” They are pretty good eaters so this is not a constant battleground area. And I don’t serve stuff I know they don’t like. If one likes it and the other hates it, I will either serve accordingly or let them “share.” I know you’re supposed to at least force your kids to try a new thing. But I don’t even do that – not yet. Maybe when they get a little older. If they don’t like something, I will eat it or give it to someone who does like it, so it still doesn’t get wasted. And I do insist on them clearing their plates under normal circumstances.

    I remember when I was little and was forced to eat rigatoni and that went over really bad (turned out I had the flu and that was why it seemed disgusting to me). I also remember being forced to eat stuffed peppers even though everyone knew that I found the taste of cooked green peppers disgusting. I was told I had to eat everything on my plate to get any dessert, and I really wanted that dessert. The main dish stayed in my mouth as I could not swallow it. I ate the dessert “around” the other food in my mouth and still couldn’t swallow the yucky stuff. Finally after a long time, my parents let me spit it out. I know from that experience that being unable to swallow has nothing to do with obstinance. Sometimes we just can’t. I still have a point beyond which I won’t eat because I know I literally won’t be able to swallow another bite.

  16. Tosha says:

    I was forced as a child to eat things I didnt like. To the point of throwing up at the dinner table. My mom made me sit at the table one time for 4 hours because I wouldnt eat the cabbage she had cooked. I hate cabbage the smell makes me sick and the texture makes me sick. I can not eat cabbage but she was determined that day that I was going to eat that cabbage and there I sat for 4 hours and then I threw it up all over the table.. Not on purpose but b/c it made me sick. I have a huge issue with textures. There are lots of things I can’t eat b/c of it. B/c of that I do not force my kids to eat anything they don’t like. How would that be fair..

    However! I do force my kids to try everything. I refuse to accept that they don’t like something b/c I don’t like it or their daddy doesnt like it or their friend doesnt like it. They will TRY it and come to that conclusion on their own.

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