Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dinner Dilemma

When I was growing up, the dinner mom made was the dinner we got. If we didn't like it, that was too bad. For the most part, I don't remember having trouble eating whatever she made, though. Vegetables might have been a different story, but overall, we all sat down, had dinner, and then continued down to the family room to watch Nick and Nite together (back when Mr. Ed and the Donna Reed show were the main shows).

She was not a short-order chef. She did not make something different for me and my sister. We had to eat what was on our plate.

I assumed that things would go the same for me when I grew up and had a family.

Because of my upbringing, I do not feel I should make something else if one of the kids doesn't like what we're having. I've tried to just do what I've read - if they don't like it, they don't get dinner. I don't make them sit there until it's complete, if we're all finished and they still haven't eaten, I will tell them, "When it's 8:00 and you're still hungry, you'll need to just remember that you had your chance to eat dinner." More often than not, I will not clear their plates. I will leave it at the table, and when they're hungry enough, they will come back.

But every now and then, even if it's 8:00 pm and they appear to be starving, they will not eat it. The other night, both Sarah and Gabriel did take one bite, which is what I require of them. They have to at least try it! When they've taken a bite and I can tell they genuinely don't like it, that's when I have a hard time not making them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or something. There are foods that I can't stand, too, and I know that if I had a choice (for example) of sauerkraut or going to bed hungry, a growling tummy is what I'd have that night!

So what are your dinner rules? Do you ever "give in" and make something else? Should I stick to my guns and just let them go without eating?



13 comments:

Kassie said...

well..... i make something different if they try it and dont like it. Samuel is my problem child in this area..... he has gone to bed numerous times hungry because he refuses to try it. But as long as he tries it and really doesnt like it then I will make him something else.

Bethany said...

I make something different. I would rather everyone eat. I don't mind the fixing -like last night, Dan had a chicken sandwich and salad, I had salad with chicken on top, DHH had almond butter and jelly sandwhich and we all had corn on cob. Its not the same, but its not too much work. I will always give a different option like ABJ sandwich because I was a picky eater and hated the everyone eats the same rule. That's the plan right now, anyway.

Ashley said...

I don't have time to be a short order chef either. I think part of that comes with being a working momma...heck I don't hardly have time to be a chef period! The rule now is that you must take at least 3 bites. When the kids were little we played a game with them "tell me what your toes think of it...tell me what your belly thinks of it", etc. Generally I was able to get them to take many more than just 3 bites while playing that game. Still, they must take 3 bites, and then then can make THEMSELVES a sandwich if they don't care for what I've made. The boys are all old enough to do this. Just our method...

Wendy said...

Looks like we had a similar upbringing. I do not make something special. Whatcha get is what I made. I require a taste of everything, too. My son used to devour veggies and now decides he doesn't like them. Can't get him to eat them. So frustrating! Anyway, I don't make anything extra for my oldest. I figure if they go to bed hungry a time or two, they'll eat what I make for dinner next time. ;)

Maegan said...

I used to have the same dilemma, until I went to Haiti. When you see people eating garbage, it really changes your perspective on what being "hungry" really means. When you are truly hungry, you will eat anything-even garbage.

Yes, I know we live in the good ol' USA where we don't have to eat garbage and I know we're blessed to have many choices, but I feel for us, it's important for our children to understand that there are worse things in the world than not liking your dinner! Going to bed hungry is not going to hurt them, and if they were TRULY hungry, they would eat the food in front of them.

So, in my opinion, stick to your guns and do not offer anything else! (I also think offering them other options feeds into a sense of entitlement, but I'll save that for another day!) :)

Pam said...

I agree with Maegan. Your children will not starve themselves. They may even learn to appreciate the meals they have more.

Ben is not a picky eater, but there are times when he seems to go days without eating. He used to try to prolong going to bed by saying he was hungry. Bryan and I decided the only thing he could have in these situations were vegetables. He is pretty stubborn though, because some nights he would sit down to a bowl for of broccoli.

Jennifer said...

We haven't encountered this (yet), but I do respect that everyone has different preferences. My parent's rule was to try everything (at least one bite) and then I could eat what I preferred out of what was fixed. My mom didn't push past 1 bite because she was forced to sit at the table until she ate everything off of her plate. Right now I respect that Henry may be hungry 30 minutes after he ate last or he may only want half of a meal. I want him to eat until full and eat a variety of healthy things, but I also know that he may not like everything I like.

Causey Fam said...

We do the same thing Ashley does. If they try it (at least 3 bites) and they still don't like it, they can make themselves a PBJ sandwich.

Amanda, Joseph, and Scottie said...

I don't have a lot of this problem because Scottie is the coolest kid. He has a few things he really dislikes like iceberg lettuce, hominy, and raw tomatoes. We had the three bite rule still do if it is necessary. It took a lot of times of him disliking something before we put it on the dislike list. If we have something he does not like he can make himself a substitute of the same variety; ie. protein for protein, vegi for vegi. We also put his plate in the fridge if he isn't ready to finish it and if he isn't hungry until later he can finish it later if he wishes.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Great dinner rules. Now that my 29 yr. old son has moved back home, if he doesn't like what's on the menu, he goes out to eat. Sooooo much easier.
Rosemary

Andrea said...

There are some things I know Chloe hates, and on those nights I will make her an alternative, but won't go out of my way. For example she HATES fried chicken, so I will George Foreman a piece for her and bbq it. She still eats the same sides. Or I might make mac and cheese with our chicken and cut up a hot dog to put in hers. I'm a softie and understand a picky eater, but she only gets her full choice when it's 'fend for yourself' night :)

Britt said...

We stick to the rule of eating whatever is made. There are a few dishes that Nick and I like that are either too spicy for the girls or they don't like it. On nights that I choose one of those, I make them sandwiches. We always tell them no snacks and breakfast will be served the next morning. Usually they eat it!

The Mama said...

I refuse to be a short-order cook as well. They must try everything on their plate (we call it a no thank you bite). If they've tried it and don't like it, then they don't have to finish it. However, I won't make them anything different. If they have at least tried it, and are starving at 8:00, they can have a bowl of cereal before going to bed. Thankfully, it doesn't happen too often! Good luck!

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