Mum Vs. Dad – Mealtime Battles.

We have a notoriously picky eater. Every single day we seem to have mealtime battles. She goes through phases of only eating beige food and it is exasperating. I have done what I consider to be a ton of research online about her eating and I have been handling the problem the way I see as correctly. My husband disagrees. Her eating hasn’t really improved despite my best efforts and so now we are trying things Joe’s way and I HATE it. I HATE it. But annoyingly, it seems to be working.

My Way:

IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE. Offer up the food, always something on the plate I know she will eat. Eat together as a family making yummy noises about the food and just generally being really positive. When she’s finished, if she has barely touched it I say nothing. I calmly take the plate away and she gets nothing else until the next meal. It hasn’t been working, she has just barely eaten anything. Or only eaten the one thing on the plate she likes which is usually potato. I resorted to tricking her by hiding avocados in milkshakes, mousses and muffins (they are delicious and I will still be doing this but this shouldn’t be her only fruit and veg intake).

Joe’s Way:

Bribery and threats. For example: ‘Isabelle, if you eat that piece of carrot you can have some choc choc after dinner’ or my personal favourite ‘Oh, you’re finished? Ok then, time for a nap now’. At which point she hastily starts eating more. Using Joe’s technique has over the last few weeks seen her eat pasta, beef, carrot, apple and numerous other food on the list of things she normally turns her nose up at. He’s cracked it. He wins. It pains me to say it, because as the stay at home parent I kind of see my role in bringing her up as my ‘job’. Not that I see being a mum as a job, but you know what I mean. I don’t want to be crap at it. I’m supposed to know her best and have all the answers. Turns out I don’t. My gentle method that all the gurus recommend was seeing her go hungry day after day. The age old mantra of ‘she will eat when she’s hungry’ just wasn’t working for us.

Are we setting ourselves up for failure further down the line? Probably. But for now, I am just really enjoying seeing her eat. Being able to serve pasta is an absolute game changer for the days when I cant be bothered to stand in the kitchen and make a full blown risotto (at one point the only hot meal she would eat).

Moving forwards my next battle is to get her drinking water. I’m a naughty orange squash drinker. Yes I know its bad for me but I don’t really like the taste of tap water and I have always drank squash since I was a child. It is a bad habit Isabelle has also fallen into and I am now battling to cut out squash and only serve water. Especially now we are potty training, she can down a whole cup of squash in about 3 seconds flat and then she is weeing constantly. At least with water she is drinking it out of necessity rather than enjoyment so she is moderating herself a little bit.

Any tips for a fussy eater or water refuser?


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