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June 05, 2012


Gail, in northern California

This may sound a little harsh but my mother would be astonished to hear how some children are permitted to dictate the content of meals. If we didn't like what she fixed, "So be it, there'll be another meal about 4-6 hours and you can think about it." I should add that we were poor and didn't have the luxury of being finicky so this seldom happened. ;-)

Is there sometimes a tiny little niggle in the back of your mind that some of these tussles are power ploys?

Meg D

I grew up like Gail, in that we had NO choices on dinner whatsoever. Fortunately, we did have resources we just had no choices. Lunches at home were a bit more flexible, but not by much.

As a teen and then again as a 20-something I struggled with an eating disorder. Though they are very complicated and far beyond explaining through something simple as getting what you want for dinner, I do know that having no control over what I was eating created problems for me.

Our 7-year-old son gets a mix of choice (which vegetable or chicken vs. pasta) but we also have a limit and structure to meals (no short order cooking!). He is at a healthy weight and loves to try new foods, even if he doesn't like them the first time.

This is a toughie, each family is different. Being in tune with each other is the best way to try and navigate this one.


I had no choice growing up either (outside of breakfast, then we had a choice).I am not a particularly picky eater (though I very clearly like some things waaaaay better than others) but my mom was a poor cook. I had the choice to eat her (terrible) food or not eat it and be hungry. I usually ate it, but sometimes I just couldn't stomach the thought of burnt tuna casserole so I went hungry until morning. I lived.

Allison P. Hurst

what is he doing? seems very challenging

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