What to Do Daughter Now Refuses to Eat..

Updated on October 16, 2006
D.M. asks from Easton, PA
4 answers

If it is not one thing it is another. Vanessa has always been a picky eater and well she was sick for a while and now is feeling better but she is back on this kick of not eating. She will ask for it and take a few bite and say i am done. We give her a variety of food and offer her mainly things to eat. But ever since she started school all she wants is Junk food such as Cookies and Cakes. what should we do?

Should we tell the school no Junk food or should we just fight about eating? I am so losted. when Vanessa gets ill she gets on this kick but it has been a long time since she has done this and Now of all times she begins...

Our daughter is soooooooooooooooooooooooo picky it is not funny Beleave it or Not when Pizza is served Make sure the cheese is off. But when you get it that way they she tells you about the sauce. When having a pasta dinner there is to be NO sauce on the noodles ... and God forbid you have Veal Patties and Put mozzeralla cheese on it that is the end of the world...

How can we get Vanessa to be less picky?

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answers from Albany on

Hi D.!

I recently read an article on Babycenter.com that informs parents on how to avoid making meals a power struggle. It was really interesting and said children know how to self regulate (meaning one day eat nothing and the next day eat a ton). You want to be careful what you take away and what you tell your child they can/can't eat, which could cause eating issues later on. I'm copying the link for you. A friend of mine told me that her pediatrician told her if her child wants to eat snacks, or junk, let him because if you make a big deal of it he may grow up to hate the healthy foods you want him to eat.

You may want to see how Vanessa's pediatrician feels about the article (if there are other pieces we don't know about i.e. needs a certain diet, underweight, etc.) but I found the article interesting.


Take care!



answers from Allentown on

wow, i thought my kids were picky!

I dont know how Easton School District is for their lunches but in Northampton, I can put a notice on Kara's lunch account saying : no snacks or snacks on certian days.

I would also just stop buying the junk foods for the house. Buy more fruits and veggies. When she asks for cookies, tell her you dont have any and offer her a carrot.

Shes 6 now, she will understand if you tell her that until she starts eating more healthy, snacks are gone. Put your foot down about eating.

At one point Kara would eat just the main part of the meal and say she was full just so she could get done with dinner quicker and have a snack sooner. Since we stopped buying the junk, she has been eating sooo much better.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi D.,

It's so upsetting when your child refuses to eat! It's easy to get lost in those power struggles because we so desperately want our children to be healthy and to have good diets!

Have you tried enlisting Vanessa's help in menu planning? It's easy for her to criticize food that you prepare for her, but the dynamics may change if she is given some level of responsibility.

Sit down with her and tell her that you're concerned about her eating habits, explain why healthy dinners are important, then ask her what she thinks would help her eat better. Have her tell you the things she likes, making clear that you are only accepting healthy options for your "menu." Ask her which vegetables she likes, as well as which main courses. Write everything down to make it "official" -- maybe even have Vanessa help draw a menu poster with you. Add stickers or whatever else to make in both fun and a big deal.

At the beginning of easch week, I suggest you make a menu with her help. Tell her that you expect her to eat the meals, as they are things she likes. If you want, you could have a single EASY standby alternative, such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, in case she suddenly decides she doesn't like that night's dinner. Don't give too many choices, as you don't want to become a short-order cook! Actually, Vanessa should help decide what the alternative meal is. Again, that will leave her with no good argument about not liking her food options.

The idea with Vanessa making some of the decisions is that it won't be very easy for her to say she doesn't like something that she's already approved of. You may also want to enlist her help in the food preparation and setting the table. This will give her even more ownership over the meal. If she has a greater role in the process, she will hopefully be a more willing participant at the dinner table.

One challenge is for you to stand firm. If you do create menus and plans with her, she may still try to manipulate you into a power struggle over the choices. You may have to remind her about your agreement, tell her the list of foods can be updated later, but that her choice is to either eat a reasonable amount of the meal prepared, to have the PB&J or to not have dinner at all that night. (Don't worry -- one night without dinner by her choice will not cause her to starve!) If you give in and slip back to the old patterns, this new plan (or any new plan) will probably fail, so stay strong and give it your very best!

Oh, I just thought of something. You may need to make some compromises. If she doesn't like cheese, for example, don't force it upon her. It's easy enough to either eliminate cheese from the diet or just have her servings be without cheese. As long as she's eating something that's within reason, be happy. I think your immediate goal is to get her to eat; over time you can work on expanding her small list of acceptable foods by simply offering them (not forcing) at the dinner table.

As far as the school goes, I definitely think you should bring up your concerns! Tell them the effect it's having at home. Whatever happens in school, you can at least control what you have in the house. Vanessa might like cookies and cake, but if those aren't in your house, there's not much she can do about it! Make sure you have a variety of healthy snacks to offer her.

I really hope this helps! Best of luck!



answers from Allentown on

My son is picky as well... he is a lil backward from your vanessa he prefers the cheese and sauce and leaves the rest of the pizza... I bought a childrens cook book for him and let him pick meals and help prepare. We have been doing this since he was 4 and he is great with eating... We also took away snack until he made a happy plate (ate everything on his plate). It seemed to work well for us. Best of luck.. Beckie Camron 5 and Serenity 8 months...

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