U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 08-23-2008, 02:28 AM
 
Location: mass
2,905 posts, read 4,488,411 times
Reputation: 4889
Default Please help! My 7 year old will not eat! HELP!

For years the doctor has told me: Don't worry he'll eat, all of my patients eventually have, except one.

My son is a VERY picky eater. Actually to say that he is a picky eater is an understatement.

Every bite is a fight, every meal a disaster. I can hardly eat at the same time as him because it is so stressful I am sick to my stomach.

He eats:
breakfast: cocoa puffs, fruit loops, trix or toast or pancakes (only homemade, perfectly done like on my griddle, not from restaurants) occasionally a bagel
lunch: grilled cheese, or grinder roll and cheese, or bagel with cream cheese or bread and butter
dinner: pasta with butter and sometimes parm cheese, yes every night.
Milk with all meals.

He also likes crackers, goldfish crackers, cookies, apples, grapes, watermelon, cucumbers with salad dressing, pistachios, orange juice, apple juice

Meanwhile my daughter eats homemade oatmeal with fresh chopped dates and honey for breakfast.

He eats no meat, chicken, eggs, vegetables, fish, yogurt.

I don't know how this happened but even as an infant he rejected meat, jarred meat baby food, and homemade meat baby food. he ate more varieties of food as an infant/toddler but it seemed like every time he got sick he stopped eating some particular food.

Can a person be a natural vegetarian? I am starting to wonder if he has a freak allergy to meat and we will find out that he must have had some kind of miraculous intuition from birth.

as he was my first child and I had no guidance, I am sure a good part of this has to be my fault somehow. It is just not normal and I must have done something wrong. perhaps i should have forced him somehow, but he was so picky i wanted to serve him something he liked to make sure he would eat it.

but I just don't know what to do at this point.

I recently got him to eat PB&J with the slightest bit of peanut butter and also macaroni and cheese (with only half the cheese sauce). He periodically eats other things like trix brand yogurt, gogurt, danimals drinks, but when he does he is very particular about what brand and these likes come and go.

Every year I complained to the doctor as he got pickier and pickier and more neurotic. but they kept telling me, ask him to try other stuff, just put it on his plate and see if he eats it, don't force him....

My 3 year old daughter eats a great variety. I wasn't taking any chances with her, if she didn't like something i kept giving it to her till she ate it. but now even she is starting to give us a problem. "I am DEFinitely not eating that" she sometimes says. she's picking it up from him.

I am afraid if i make him eat what we are eating cold turkey then he will starve himself. but he is so stubborn i almost don't see it working any other way. he has improved a bit since school started but he is so far from normal I am worried. I am also afraid if i say i will take away his things, i will end up taking everything away from him and he will just be a little monster and make life living hell for the rest of us. (he is 7 by the way and very strong willed)

He is not a skinny kid btw, not fat either, just pretty solid. I am worried he's not getting the vitamins and minerals he needs and if he has a growth spurt he will end up a bean pole.

I used to hear about people giving their kids crap like chicken nuggets, fries, hot dogs, all that junky stuff. Now I dream of him eating chicken nuggets, anything other than pasta (by the way i had to work him up from thin spaghetti, not jumping right to elbow noodle, no, thing spag. then reg. spag, then linguini, then small stars, then tubettini, then pipette, then shells, then elbows, then rotini, then ziti)

We cheer for him (even his sister gets in on it), clap for him, compare it to fear factor, praise him, reward him, yell at him, punish him...

Has anyone experienced anything like this? Does anyone have any idea what I should do? Please tell me your story and what worked and didn't work and how your kid turned out in the end. Should I strip his room bare? Take away all the crackers? Shove it down his throat? Beg him? Order him? Pay him? Ground him? Send him away to someone who will make him eat, heartlessly? (I always said when he turned five I would send him to my brother who is heartless and could get him to eat. He turned 5, then 6, then 7 and I haven't the heart to do it)
I am desperate!

Please only constructive posts here, I am begging you. I get enough crap from the inlaws, who are from a country where the main job of a mother is to get the kid as fat as possible, to take more of it here. I really need help!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-23-2008, 04:35 AM
 
2,758 posts, read 5,654,585 times
Reputation: 2860
I feel for you but there are a lot of things going on here:
1. possible reaction to some foods making him sick making him avoid them and others he percieves like them.
2. Stress of parents and effect his actions have on them
3. Control issues coming in both directions. You want control and he appears to be applying his own control.

I would seriously have him checked by a good psychologist or psychiatrist for OCD issues. They can manifest in food choices and such types of control issues. They would be best able to help BOTH of you come to some kind of arrangement to resolve some of the stress.

Your regular doctor can run a set of full blood tests to see if he has all the normal levels and this should help YOU by showing you he is getting what he needs. If not, then a plan can be established.

This should help both of you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-23-2008, 05:07 AM
 
20,798 posts, read 31,338,303 times
Reputation: 9861
He is eating, just not what you think he should. He has enough variety in his diet that he isn't going to melt away. Back off and stop making an issue out of it. Our youngest is not a big meat eater either. He likes what he likes and we have never made an issue out of it. He is now 13 and is starting to branch out some on what he eats. He has never had a huge appetite (at least since he was a baby). He is average height and weight for his body build. The more you make of it, the more he is going to fight you. Offer him foods he likes and one new thing, if he eats the new thing great, if not, ok. Eventually he will get better about it. Make up a huge pot of pasta, put it in a ziplock bag and warm it each night for him.

His breakfast cereal has more vitamins and minerals then your DD's oatmeal, keep that in mind. When in doubt have him take a daily vitamin.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-23-2008, 07:01 AM
 
Location: In my own little corner... sittin' in Jax FL
589 posts, read 1,047,654 times
Reputation: 324
Take a breath and step back. Read your post and the replies so far. Your child is eating. It's not that he won't eat but more that he doesn't eat what your other child eats that seems to concern you. It seems like you are feeling a lot of pressure from your inlaws and this is creating guilt. Does your husband stand by you in what is happening with your child?

Try not to compare the two children. We all have different likes and dislikes and our tastes, even as adults, that can also vary from day to day. It is possible that some of his actions are feeding off your actions and reactions. I'm not a professional child psychologist but I think you should consult someone.

Your job as the parent (meal provider) is to provide nutritious meals and appropriate meal times. If your child doesn't eat, you have still done your job. There is no over-time or extra credit for providing alternatives or quick fixes. I would certainly try taking away any snack foods throughout the day. Reduce the choice in drinks to only water for a while. But honestly, I would get a second or third opinion from a professional. There may be more to it than the food.

Remember that food is not a punishment or a reward. Too many of us have had that happen or done that. It puts an unhealthy spin on what food is to us.

Most of all, remember the #1 rule of parenting - CONSISTENCY. This is KEY with children. They crave boundaries in all areas, reasonable boundaries. When you say something, stick to it. Even if he is not eating as you feel he should, don't offer substitutes immediately. The next meal time is more appropriate.

Last edited by Sum1Else; 08-23-2008 at 07:17 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-23-2008, 07:42 AM
 
3,364 posts, read 5,642,297 times
Reputation: 4615
My ds used to be a very picky eater. It was not due to allergies or psych problems - the pediatrician said that I was the problem.

The doctor pointed out that I was allowing him to be so picky by mostly serving him exactly what he wanted, when he wanted it. He reminded me that I was a mother, not a short order cook - I was "not put on this earth to be a slave to my children's every desire". Kids won't starve themselves. (My ds did once go 3 days on only water before giving in and eating what he was served, age 3 - very stressful for both of us.)

We follow the guidelines he gave us, which are simple.

1) Serve meals at consistent times each day. Put a little of everything you make on his plate. He does not have to eat it all but if he is not hungry enough to eat it all, he is not hungry enough for between meal snacks. No seconds of anything unless he's tried a full spoonful of everything on his plate.

2) Only allow snacks 1 hour after or 2 hours before a meal until he's eating more consistently.

3) Keep small (2 oz) yogurt drinks on hand for middle of the night stomach cramps (ie - hunger pains). Do not allow him to eat food away from the table or at times other than mealtimes. If dinner is 6-6:30, then his plate is taken away at 6:30 whether or not he ate. Dessert is only allowed if EVERYTHING was eaten - if you're not hungry enough for dinner, you're not hungry enough for dessert.

I made sure that I served at least one food he liked at each meal, and gave him a "gummy" vitamin each morning. He was a seriously skinny kid then. He's not now.

My son was so good at this game, he got CPS called on me. He went to preschool 2x a week. Apparently, after refusing to eat breakfast, he would go to preschool and tell the teachers I wouldn't let him have breakfast. He learned fast that this would bring sympathy, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cupcakes - generally all he could eat. After 4 months of this (and on those days he not only refused breakfast, but lunch as well - and yes, I did discuss this with the preschool teacher), the preschool called CPS on me and claimed I was starving my child. Only because of my constant discussions with the ped and the WIC nutrionist did I not lose my son.

The WIC nutrionist's advice was what I was taking from the time he was 10 mos old when it started... generally what you see in other posts before mine - give him what he wants, try to introduce new foods, don't force him.

After CPS got involved, I finally tossed that advice out and went with the pediatrician's advice... toughlove. It was hard in the beginning... a toddler CRYING because he was so hungry! But I stuck it out and "won".

He now eats normally. He has his favorites, but he knows he has to try something before declaring he hates it. He loves dessert and snacks, but knows he has to eat his meals to "earn" them.

Good luck to you. My daughter is also a much less picky eater (and less "challenging" to me in general). It's nice to have one child that doesn't fight everything you do.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-23-2008, 08:01 AM
Status: "New user name, still old self!" (set 29 days ago)
 
4,473 posts, read 5,830,122 times
Reputation: 3629
When I first read your post I thought, "What's the problem - he's eating, and he's not eating horribly!". I really do agree that you need to back off and not let it stress you.

My son lived off of pbj's for quite a few years. We always joke that we don't think he would be alive if it wasn't for that.

Don't let meals become a battle ground. Serve dinner - if he doesn't like what you made, then that's that - put it in the fridge and if he gets hungry later, that's what he gets. Kids won't let themselves starve to death believe it or not!

What's funny about our son is that he doesn't like more normal things - pizza, melted cheese, etc. If we would go to a restaurant, he would try weird stuff - and like it. He's loved calamari from a small age! Even now at almost 15, he doesn't eat a ton and can tend to be picky. But what I serve is what he gets. I still make him try certain things that he's always said he hated (but we love - such as grilled asparagus). The other night, for the first time, he actually said, "not bad". Didn't eat much, but didn't totally dis it.

By the way - my son might have strange tastes and be picky still - but....he LOVES to cook and will make elaborate meals sometimes. So don't lose heart!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-23-2008, 09:04 AM
 
Location: mass
2,905 posts, read 4,488,411 times
Reputation: 4889
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
I feel for you but there are a lot of things going on here:
1. possible reaction to some foods making him sick making him avoid them and others he percieves like them.
2. Stress of parents and effect his actions have on them
3. Control issues coming in both directions. You want control and he appears to be applying his own control.

I would seriously have him checked by a good psychologist or psychiatrist for OCD issues. They can manifest in food choices and such types of control issues. They would be best able to help BOTH of you come to some kind of arrangement to resolve some of the stress.

Your regular doctor can run a set of full blood tests to see if he has all the normal levels and this should help YOU by showing you he is getting what he needs. If not, then a plan can be established.

This should help both of you.
Thank you! The blood tests are good, the iron was a little low, though. After all the posts here I think I will ask the ped. for a psych referral. It can't hurt.

He did see a nutritionist a couple of times but to me it was useless. It was once a month. Not the kind of help I was looking for.

There is definitely a control issue going on here.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-23-2008, 09:26 AM
 
8,424 posts, read 23,806,424 times
Reputation: 5885
Sounds like a lot of 7 year olds. I agree to not make a big deal of it. If his iron is low cook in a cast iron skillet. Give him a multi-vitamin to make up for it.

I know this isnt healthy but my litle brother was the same way. He's still a picky eater.
He got chubby at 13 and then grew to beanpole size.Now a normal sized adult. It is NOT the mother's job to make a kid as fat as possible. He sounds normal sized and thats good. Not eating a lot of meat can make you low iron. Have you looked at vegan meal shake replacements? That is something he could have...And everyone is picky about those so that would be normal to not like certain ones.

My friend would spit out meats as a baby. She is an adult vegan. I do think some people just dont need or dont agree with meats naturally.

You just have to watch the nutritional size of things like iron and b vitamins with that way of eating.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-23-2008, 09:40 AM
 
Location: mass
2,905 posts, read 4,488,411 times
Reputation: 4889
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sum1Else View Post
Take a breath and step back. Read your post and the replies so far. Your child is eating. It's not that he won't eat but more that he doesn't eat what your other child eats that seems to concern you. It seems like you are feeling a lot of pressure from your inlaws and this is creating guilt. Does your husband stand by you in what is happening with your child?

I would certainly try taking away any snack foods throughout the day. Reduce the choice in drinks to only water for a while.
I am going to get a box where I can lock up the snacks. Snacking is definitely a huge problem. In the morning, if he gets up before us, he is snacking on anything from crackers, to smartfood, to chips, cookies. I need to limit access to them. You are right about that. And the only way to control it is to get rid of it or lock 'em down.

He doesn't drink a lot of juice, because IMO its just sugar. But I am reluctant to eliminate the milk as a beverage because it does give him valuable protein.

Thank you so much for your reply! All of this is so helpful!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-23-2008, 08:07 PM
 
516 posts, read 1,198,808 times
Reputation: 566
Wow! I'm sorry to hear what you're going through but I do feel a little better knowing that I'm not alone. I'm in almost exactly the same situation with my daughter. She just turned 8 and is the pickiest eater I have ever known (and friends and family often confirm this). Her typical diet consists of mac and cheese, fruit, some veggies (mostly raw), bread, yogurt and we recently added chicken nuggets, peanut butter sandwiches and grilled cheese sandwiches to her "approved list". She also likes noodle soup, cereal, pancakes, cashews and crackers/snacks/cookies.

She was incredibly picky as a baby and ate only certain favorite baby foods until she was 3. She had practically no interest in table food whatsoever (except maybe cereal) As for baby food she could not eat the meats or anything chunky (stage 3). They would make her gag.

She's now one of the tallest of her classmates but also one of the thinnest. Her doctor has not seemed overly concerned about her diet because her height and weight are increasing at a similar pace and she seems to be getting a wide range of healthy foods (except meat... iron concern perhaps). Last year we took her to a nutritionist who asked me to keep track of her meals for several days. She determined that my daughter's diet was acceptable in nutritional standards but suggested I continue to introduce new foods often. I have tried this and every now and then we stumble upon something she "doesn't hate". I recently tried to put her meals in sectioned plates and put something new in one of the sections and old favorites in the other sections.

I cannot do the "cold turkey" thing and only offer to her what we're eating and nothing else. I don't have the heart ... and I know how stubborn she can be. I don't want her to starve herself even though many say this won't happen.

I, too, have old-country in-laws who believe in fattening up the kids and are very up in arms about my daughter's diet. Unfortunately, my husband is in their corner on this one (but perhaps that's a subject for another board!)

The problem is every time she gets sick (which happens to be the case at present) it becomes my fault for not ensuring that she has the proper diet which compromises her immune system.

It's very frustrating and I too, like the OP, want what's best for my child. Thanks to all those posting their experience and advice. It's especially encouraging to hear from those with older kids who have successfully outgrown this!

Good luck to everyone else out there is this boat!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top