So one of our kids’ jobs is to “individuate” as toddlers: to learn that they are separate from us parents. This often means opposition—to everything it seems sometimes! There can be dozens of mini, and sometimes full-on battles as kids test us and learn limits: no shoes when its 10 below, no underwear, no tooth brushing, sitting at a different spot, etc. We chose our battles while trying to maintain a semblance of order and consistency.
Feeding should be no different. There are limits: about behavior, timing etc., but sometimes we should not pick a fight. Take the power-struggle out of it as much as possible.
Recently, a friend brought a lovely baguette to eat with our spaghetti dinner. M promptly declared “I don’t like baguettes!” Our poor house guest took the bait. So, while M’s dad and I just smiled, “OK” and finished laying the table, our friend tried to convince her of the merits of baguettes. “Just try one! They’re delicious, really! It would make me really happy!” He finally dropped the subject and after a few minutes, M grabbed a slice of baguette and proceeded to eat two more.
Message is, kids will test you and pick a fight. Your Angels may protest and groan about a food you know they enjoy– for goodness sake, M ate some baguette happily earlier in the week! Resist the attempt to rationalize with the child and ignore the comments. Don’t take the bait for a pointless battle where the child then has to stick to her guns and ‘win’ by not eating. Some kids with a more independent or strong-willed temperament might rather fight than eat, and being upset makes it hard for kids to listen to their bodies.
Say “OK”, put the food on the table and move on. Chances are if there’s no fight or attention in it for him, he’ll be more likely to eat it happily.