Picky Eater | Allow Kids To Fail
Sometimes letting a kid own his mistake, knowing he will learn from it is the best policy.
From experience I can tell you it’s much harder on the parents! And then making the decision NOT to give him a second chance was even worse. But watching the progress a 6yrold makes after learning a very hard lesson, was worth all the tears.
It’s dinner time in the Rogers’ household. Surprise suprise there’s veggies as part of dinner! What a shock? Hello, we only have some sort of fruit or veggie with EVERY meal, so why is it my 6yrold has slowly gotten worse and worse about eating anything with crunch, or texture, or COLOR! It’s been driving me nuts for a long time now.
This particular night, the side dish was a simple frozen veggie/potato combo. The one thing he can’t stand, is potatoes. I’m talking, make him sit there til he eats one bite and then watch him gag back into his mouth. Not once… many times. (I’m mean that way.) After years of this we’ve all agreed: He hates potatoes. (Let’s not talk about how it pains me as a girl from Idaho that my kid especially hates homemade mashed taters and gravy!)
I decide not to inflict him with the potatoes this particular night. I can only take so many table gags. He has the option instead of 3 mini carrots. But the caveat is he has to eat every one of them (yes dipped in ranch!) in order to go out with the family for Family Home Evening (Mormon speak for a weekly family night almost always held on Monday nights). He whines, I cajole, and he takes a couple flea sized bites.
And then… it’s over? He comes walking out and says he’s ready for Baskin Robbins… huh? My mom-BS-O-meter goes off. I ask him: Did you throw the carrots in the garbage… “No” he sheepishly replies…. (his body language has already given him away). I ask him: if I look in the garbage right now, would I find all your carrots? … Hesitation…. “No”…
I start talking very slowly, and in my most quiet, You-are-in-big-trouble voice.
I make it very clear I will be staying home with him, while the rest of the family heads out for a treat. Little boy crocodile tears start up, and… the rest of the night is pretty much ruined. I send him to his room, he cries more.
He gets a wonderful idea. A brilliant 6yrold plan. He tells me: “Mom, I will get 3 new carrots and eat them! Then we can all go out okay?”
What should I do?
What would you do?
Remember, it’s been months. He’s getting worse and worse. Eating less and less diverse foods. If I give in, it feels like the only reason he’ll be eating those stupid carrots is to get ice cream! Seems like a TERRIBLE reason to me?? And when I tell him (still in my quiet mom empathetic voice) “sorry little man, you made your choice, you don’t get a second chance here”, THIS is when all hell brakes loose, and his world has officially crashed down around him. There is no joy in Mudville.
You get the picture. The rest of the night is destroyed. Family night has been canceled. He was still quite distraught when he went to sleep.
The next night, guess what we had for dinner? ZUCCHINI casserole. Guess who helped stir and pour and make it? YUP. The boy child. Guess who ate his textured, green, many flavors at once dinner? First I’ll tell you my dang older kids were the ones complaining! OY. But the 6yrold?? HE ATE ZUCCHINI.
Amen. Worth every tear.
Photo of TK taken by the amazing Marcel Walker. Recipe of casserole will be featured tomorrow.