Can you send your kids to bed without dinner?

A gentleman by the name of Max wrote a blog post commenting on one of my own. (Thank you Max, by the way. It was a great article!) At the end of the article he mentioned something I’ve heard come up lately and people have asked my opinion on it. The issue is sending your children to bed without dinner.

Author’s note: I find it, and I’m not sure why, less polite to use the word “kid” instead of “children” or “child.” However, since I seem to be writing about them a lot lately, I’m going to simply state that I’m using the word “kid” because I don’t feel like typing the extra five characters every time I mention it. Hope that’s ok… 

I guess there is probably more than one approach to this question. Qualifying questions have to be asked, such as “What is the reason for sending your kid to bed without dinner?” Is it because they  didn’t want what you cooked for dinner or was it for actual punishment for some misdeed?

The sad thing is, parents across the nation seem to be split on this matter. In my completely-non-official research I see three camps of parents.

  • 20% Oh God no, that’s child abuse.
  • 20% Dang right I’d send my kids to bed without dinner.
  • 60% I’m not sure if I can legally do that or if someone from social services will come take my kid.

Sad, isn’t it? It’s a shame that most parents I’ve heard from are actually scared to use this as a parenting tool because they’re not even sure if it’s legal! Wow.

In response, I’m taking a moment to collect some information in a survey. I’ve tried to collect as much relevant information without collecting anything identifiable from anyone who fills it out. It doesn’t ask your name, where you live, etc. It’s just a few simple yes, no questions. I’d really like to know what you reader’s think of this issue.

Click here to take the survey.

Now, since I’m asking you to tell me your thoughts, it’s only fair that I tell you mine. So here goes.

IS IT OK to send your child to bed without dinner?

Let’s start first with the law, because I don’t like people who haven’t read child abuse laws trying ignorantly to throw them back in my face. According to the best legal definitions I can find from the ”Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect” from the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which I can only assume to be the current “law of the land” on the subject, the answer is YES. You certainly CAN legally do this (at least where I live. Your mileage may vary)

Specifically you can locate the document itself at:

http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/define.cfm

The PDF file is currently listed as being last updated as of February 2011.

Since I live in North Carolina, I’m only able to cite the specific reference for my own state, but all the states laws are located within that document, so you can easily find your state’s regulations there as well.

The NC statute on the issue states:

North Carolina
Physical Abuse
Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-101
‘Abused juvenile’ means any child younger than age 18 whose parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver:

• Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child a serious physical injury by other than accidental means
• Creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of serious physical injury to the child by other than accidental
means
• Uses or allows to be used upon the child cruel or grossly inappropriate procedures or cruel or grossly inappropriate devices to modify behavior

Neglect
Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-101
‘Neglected juvenile’ means a child:
• Who does not receive proper care, supervision, or discipline from his or her parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver
• Who is not provided necessary medical or remedial care
• Who lives in an environment injurious to his or her welfare
• Who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law

In determining whether a child is a neglected juvenile, it is relevant whether that child lives in a home where another child has been subjected to abuse or neglect by an adult who regularly lives in the home.

‘Serious neglect’ means conduct, behavior, or inaction of the juvenile’s parent, guardian, custodian, or caregiver that evidences a disregard of consequences of such magnitude that the conduct, behavior, or inaction constitutes an unequivocal danger to the juvenile’s health, welfare, or safety, but does not constitute abuse.

So, nowhere in that definition of child abuse do I see the mention of the word “food.” Before you start yelling, go read the document. Many states DO mention food in their statutes. North Carolina isn’t one of them.

The beginning definition located on page 3 of the document, seems to be a little vague. It states:

"Neglect is frequently defined as the failure of a parent or other person with responsibility for the child to provide needed food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree that the child’s health, safety, and well-being are threatened with harm. Approximately 24 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands include failure to educate the child as required by law in their definition of neglect.6 Seven States specifically define medical neglect as failing to provide any special medical treatment or mental health care needed by the child.7 In addition, four States define medical neglect as the withholding of medical treatment or nutrition from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions."

I’m going to point out what I consider to be two important caveats in that definition.

  • It seems kind of slimy to use the words “Frequently defined” in a document that’s supposed to explain something clearly.  However, as I read the document through, I saw that some states DO and some states do NOT have certain mentioned stipulations in their codes. Food is one of those. I showed you the NC statute earlier, but you can read the others yourself. California, for example, does have a line that includes the definition to be “the willful, prolonged failure to provide adequate food. (I‘ll also state that skipping a meal, in my parenting definition, isn’t covered under that caveat.)
  • It would seem to me, if I restructured that sentence to discuss only food, it would read “the failure of a parent to provide needed food to the degree that the child’s well-being is threatened with harm.” Again, I don’t think missing a meal is defined as threatening my child’s well being.
For those of you who DO want to jump all over the idea that missing a meal is endangering a child’s welfare, I urge you to step back and use your logical head for a moment before you jump to the comment section at the end of this blog. Have you ever had a child get up in the morning and want to run outside and play with their friends all morning/afternoon? Has that child ever just played right through lunch time and forgotten to come back and get a sandwich or snack or whatever? Have you ever asked you kids “What did you have for lunch?” only to hear “Oh, we were too busy playing. We forgot to eat.” If you have a child that is over the age of about 14 years old or so and you can say that has NEVER happened, then I posit you are probably lying… every kid does it from time to time. As an adult, I do it ALL the time. I’ll get so wrapped up in some project I’m working on that I miss breakfast and lunch, and I’m starving when dinner time finally rolls around. So, unless you’re willing to add “missing lunch due to excessive fun” to the link of punishable offenses, then don’t start sending me bleeding-heart comments that missing dinner is any worse.

WHEN is it acceptable to send a kid to bed without dinner.

There were a few rules about dinner when I was growing up. These rules applied at my mom’s house, my dad’s house, my aunt’s house, and my grandparent’s house. Those rules were:

  • Take what you want and eat what you take.
  • You will eat what I cook or you’ll go hungry.

That was basically it. The first rule was because we kids often had bigger eyeballs than stomachs, at least that’s how I remember it being explained to me. I saw that heaping pile of spaghetti and garlic bread and I wanted a whole plate full and then wanted to try to steal garlic bread so my brother wouldn’t get the “good” pieces. My parent’s broke me of that habit quickly.

Once I was old enough to be able to serve myself at the table it was an easy lesson to learn. The first time I grabbed a plate full of something I feasibly couldn’t possibly finish I didn’t understand that I was depriving the rest of my family of food they very well could eat. I was just a kid who wanted a plate full of food. Money was tight and my family didn’t have it to throw away, so what we cooked was important and what was wasted on my plate could very well have been lunch the next day if I hadn’t wasted it at dinner.

I remember saying “Mom, I’m full” and she looked at me and said “No, you’re not” and kept right on eating. She made the point to me that since I served it, I was going to eat it. Further, I could choose to sit right there and eat my meal and not whine about it OR I could go to my room for the rest of the night and it would STILL be there come breakfast time.

Now, to be honest, I actually don’t think I ever tested that particular theory. Maybe I did. If so, Mom might chime in on this post and share the truth with everyone. lol.

The point is; it didn’t take me long to figure out I could just serve myself less and then always get more if I wanted it. It’s a real simple lesson in sharing and not being greedy and it’s stuck with me all my life. My kids follow the same rules. If you put it on your plate, you’re going to sit at the table and eat it or you’re going to sit there until you fall asleep face first in it… then you can have it when you wake up. lol. If you don’t eat your dinner, you don’t get dessert. Simple basic rules.

There were times as well that my parents would cook something I didn’t like, or wasn’t in the mood for. I’d throw a temper-tantrum and say “I’m not eating _fill_in_food_here” and they’d quickly say something similar to “You’ll eat what’s put on the table, or you won’t eat.”

I actually remember puffing up my chest a few times and screaming “Fine!” and walking away. They sent me to my room and I stayed there…. all….. night. Truthfully it was probably only five minutes into their dinner that I decided I really DID want to have eaten dinner with them. Sorry. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to jail…

It only took a few times before I got the hint that maybe if I asked Mom or Dad BEFORE they started cooking dinner, what we were having, and if I asked politely, I might have the opportunity to convince them to cook something I wanted. But when you walk in the kitchen halfway through Mom   cooking lasagna and then whining that you wanted chicken, well, too late bud. Suck it up! You can have chicken tomorrow. Only now, as a parent myself, do I know how irritating it is to go grocery shopping for something, spend time making something, only to have one of your kids whine because they’d rather have fish sticks!

So…. I’m sorry Mom, for all the times I know I did that. I know now what you were going through.

My own related story – from about two weeks ago:

It’s amazing to me how a kid can be “full” then be ready to gobble down a gut full of ice cream ten minutes later. I’ve seen my son say “I’m soooo full” then pat his belly and say “Oh, I just don’t think I can eat another bite.” Amazingly one of us can say thirty seconds later – I think I want a brownie and BOOM the monster appetite is back in full force!

So the other night this happened. My son had just eaten enough to feed a starving Somali village and yet asked for more, and a REALLY large amount more. I tried to stop him and said “You’ll never eat all that – don’t get so much”

His response was typical.. “Uh huh. I can too!” About three minutes later a comment about dessert was made. Then all of the sudden.. he’s full to the brim of dinner and can’t stomach another bite. (coincidence right?)

We told him, you can have dessert when you finish that huge plate you just served yourself…. or you can sit there and stare at it until it’s cold, or you can get up from the table now and you can finish it for breakfast instead….

You should have seen the look on his face! His master plan was ruined! lol. Guess what though? I bet we’ll only have to pull that trick two or three times to correct that behavior.

The next time he’ll either eat all his food and not waste the rest, or he’ll eat until he’s almost full on the bet that maybe one of us will make brownies, cookies, or something similar for dessert. Either way, it’s a win-win for our family and an object lesson.

The OTHER reason to send your kids to bed without dinner.

I would think the other reason for a normal parent to send their kids to bed without dinner would be as punishment for some other action or misdeed. Have I ever done this? Not that I can think of, but I would if I felt the need was there.

The day my now-famous-daughter came home – the day of the “He shot the laptop” incident, was almost one of those days. She came home and I sent her to her room. When it came time for dinner I felt bad eating without her and called her to eat. My wife was out in the field working still at 8:30 so we had to go ahead and whip something together without her. My daughter and I both ate in miserable silence and then I sent her back to her room. Was that being a wimp? I don’t think so. Would it have been wrong if I’d kept her in her room to miss dinner? I don’t think so either. I just didn’t in that particular scenario.

If my kids did something bad enough that I thought deserved a severe punishment, but that I felt didn’t warrant a spanking, sending them to bed without dinner would be a good alternative in my book.

At the end of the day, missing a meal isn’t child abuse. That’s my take on it.

So.. one more time.. I’d like YOUR view on it.

Click here to take the survey.

Have a good day y’all.



Comments

Can you send your kids to bed without dinner? — 62 Comments

  1. If my child refused to eat what I made, you bet that s/he’d go to bed without dinner but I would never with hold food as a punishment for misbehaving. I believe in the state of NJ it is actually illegal to with hold food/drink as a form of punishment (not 100% sure, but it was when I worked at a daycare yrs ago).

  2. I was sent to bed without dinner…once. And it was the day I was also grounded from all TV and video games.

    I was failing. 6th grade. Yes, 6th grade. And not because I couldn’t pass a test, or anything like that. It was because I was jackrabbiting through homework to get to tv and video games. The next day, my parents had called to double check my homework. They checked my homework list(to make sure the one they got matched…or rather, the other way around). I was then sat at the kitchen table until I finished my homework. I was then moved to the sitting room. Still couldn’t move until it was done. I was stubborn, and didn’t finish it all. To bed, no dinner.

    And I also remember a “Or you’ll get it for Breakfast” moment. My mother, for as long as I was in the house, would set the table – to include portioning out the first servings. Everyone get a serving spoon full. If we wanted more, that was what seconds were for – after firsts were completely finished. Well, I had a strong dislike of most everything green at that point. And French cut Green Beans was near the top of the list. Especially canned ones.

    So I dug in my heels, and didn’t eat them. The threat was made. I didn’t eat them. I stayed there at the kitchen table, with those beans on my plate, until bed time. Refusing to eat.

    Next morning, my mom beat me awake(probably to make sure I had those green beans). Sure enough, there they were in a small microwavable bowl. The didn’t follow through with the eating them cold part, but I did have them for breakfast. At least the Lucky Charms(yes, thats a trademarked cereal from General Mills. But it was what I had that morning for breakfast) helped get rid of the taste.

  3. When parents say that you cant punish your kids without legal troubles, they are using the law as an excuse for poor parenting.Different kids respond to different things. Dont beat or starve (and one meal missed is Not starved) your children. Provide for them. And love love love them. And teach them right from wrong, along with manners and respect. And always follow through!!!

  4. If a child refuses to eat what is put in front of them and so sent to bed without supper, I can see that. If it’s only done a couple times and they learn a lesson. However, my brother and sister in law tried this “technique” with my niece and now she’s 3 1/2 and when you tell her to eat she says ” I’ll just go to bed”. Now obviously there’s something more going on there. (Long story, not for this thread) So in that case the punishment obviously doesn’t do anything except create an unhealthy child.
    When I was kid if we wouldn’t eat supper it was there waiting for us if we asked for something later. If, at bedtime we still hadn’t eaten it then we went to bed without supper. And woke up the next morning to have it for breakfast. We learned to just choke it down whether we liked it or not.

  5. I,personally, can not think of anything that would make me use going to bed without dinner as puncishment. That being said, it’s certainly not child abuse for a chid to miss one meal. I deal with this on a daily basis as I have two very picky children when it comes to food. My oldest has also puled the “Mom I’m so full I can’t eat another bite” yet as soon as dessert is mentioned all of the sudden she’s hungry again. The way I see it,the child can eat the meal prepared for the family (and all of it if they served themselves) or they can go hungry. I think I may start using the “punishment” of making her eat for breakfast what she dished herself for dinner but didn’t eat. Maybe then she’ll learn portion control.

  6. I have never had to send my little one to bed without dinner, but she knows it’s a viable option. There isn’t any of this whining and ” I don’t like this!” at our dinner table. If you don’t help make it, you don’t get to complain about it. Period. With the exception of certain spectrum disorders, I FIRMLY believe some people are just too lose with their children about what, and how they eat. ” Aww, poor little Jane won’t eat sandwiches without the crusts cut off, so make sure to cut them, ok?!” Yeah. No. If people would stop indulging perfectly normal toddlers and small children into their bizarre demands, we wouldn’t have these people who ONLY eat McDonald’s every.single.meal.

    • I totally agree!!! People cater to their children, going through all this extra work and meal prep time, often making a separate or second meal for the kids. It’s ridiculous. “She’ll only eat cheese if it’s grated,” or “He’ll only eat the banana if it’s cut a certain way.” Bullshit.

      I run a home daycare and I provide all meals and snacks. I serve crust on, peel on, sauce on, with no substitutions ever. I could care less about how their mom makes it, this is how I make it and and your choice is to eat it or go hungry. 99% of the time, the kids eat it.

  7. I have never needed to send my girls to bed without dinner, but my boy is another story. There is one thing I will do “special” for him. He absolutely can not stand ground beef in any form, and he has been like that literally his entire life (he is 5 years old). It literally makes him gag, even if it is hidden in something. Rather than forcing him, if we are having something with ground beef, he gets either left overs or chicken nuggets from the freezer.

    • My son is the same way. He’s six years old and hates not only hamburgers but all forms of ground meat. If we’re having spaghetti, I’ll have to pour a side dish of sauce for him JUST in case some meat might get in it. On nights that I feel lazy and just throw together some Hamburger Helper, I’ll fix him some chicken nuggets or a frozen pizza.

  8. You are awesome! I 100% agree. My mom used the same methods with me and I survived and learned lots of lessons. You give in to your kid too much and they learn to manipulate you and you anre not helping them one bit…Kudos. Keep up the good work.

  9. I was raised to eat everything on my plate and somewhere in my life I lost track of how to recognize when I had enough and routinely went all the way to so-full-I-could-pop. I’m hard at work now trying to lose my excess weight (I know, lots of other factors involved in my food addiction but relearning how to recognize satiety has helped tremendously so I know that was a major component.) I raised my girls to eat what I made or learn to cook for themselves and to save leftovers if they didn’t finish their plate…we didn’t waste it but it didn’t have to be eaten in one sitting. They are both great cooks too! I personally hate the idea of using food or lack of it as a punishment…so much of our culture is food obsessed already, why make it an even bigger deal to our kids/grand-kids?

  10. Greetings from WV(yes we are a state) First -I too shared your video, I loved it! I didn’t think it too harsh especially after finding out you saved the hard drive. Second -anyone with a brain that watched it could see the emotions that were present in the video. Third-You touched a sore spot with alot of fellow parents that has been festering for awile(fear that cps would swoop in & take our children if we decided to discipline them) Fourth-also you made a lot if people realize just how much WE (myself included),have spoiled our children to the point that they are to lazy to bend over and pick up a penny off the street. Anyways that’s my thoughts, I thoroughly enjoy reading your Facebook page & blog, and as a full-time Nurse/educator mother & wife of 4 kids (5 if you count the hubster, which I do) I don’t have alot of spare time for reading, a pastime that I love. Thanks for reading.

  11. One time I smarted off to my mom while we were having dinner and she sent me to my room for the whole rest of the night. We were just filling our plates so I missed dinner that night. I didn’t die AND I learned a lesson. I don’t believe in using food as a punishmentas a general rule but a missed meal never hurt anybody. Sometimes its the things that hurt in life that teach you the best lessons. I shouldn’t mention here tho that if your child has. Medical condition that requires snacks or consistent meals you definitely should never withhold food but I’d provide the blandest thing I could find.

  12. It’s happened a few times that one of the kids has gone to bed without dinner. And we have the same rules you do about food!

    The other reason one has gone without dinner is the stroppy “I don’t want food” thing. Sometimes, the response is “well, I cooked it, so you’re eating it.” Other times, we shrug and say “Fine, suit yourself, but you won’t get anything later.”

    As with everything to do with kids, it’s all about circumstances and context.

  13. I do not agree that sending a child to bed as a way of punishment is alright.There are too many other ways to discipline a child. I do not think “Food” that is for the purpose of nutrition should be used to punish anyone.These parents who are stating they send their child to bed without a meal and say going to bed without one meal never killed them . I have to go deeper in this subject in thought and ask the question, is it really only one meal their kids are missing? Or are they continuously sending their child to bed without a meal. We have to think about how many meals are these kids who are being punished really missing? Some parents punish their children frequently over every little thing. If a child is going to bed frequently without a meal, how can that not be considered abuse. If what these parents are saying is a one time thing how I can how they would say sending a child to be without ONE meal never hurt anybody. Then we have to do deeper and consider the health of the child being punished.Does the child have health issue such as diabetes or other health issues. This is a subject that should be given the proper thought and intelligence to when answering.Tommy hen you wrote the blog, I know you werre talking about “aa punishment. If a child refuses to eat I can see it being their chice and not the parents choice so it is not used as punishment. However, a parent already knows what a child will eat or not eat so if a parent cooks squash something they don’t eat at all then that is not fair to the child to say for the parent to sat eat what I cook or do without. When I was a child my mother cooked oyster stew every saturday night. I did not eat it ever. She did not cook anything special for me but my mama let me have a bologna sandwich. She already knew I don not eat oyster stew and cooked it anyway but she was loving to let me have a sandwich. I rather would have a hamburger but her choice for me was that sandwich.So, Tommy I have to ask if you were sent to bed frequently without dinner or was this an every once in a while thing. I do not agree with it being used ever as punishment but to the ones who do use it, how often do they send their kinds to bed without a meal. Is it an every night thing, once a month, do their kids miss more than one meal a day? Whether or not this is abuse would definitely depend on the degree this method is being used to punish the child. Thank you Tommy for posting the blog.

    • (bangs head on desk repeatedly)

      First, I cook things my kids don’t necessarily “like” all the time. They eat them because we said so, whether they want to or not, because it’s our job as parents to serve healthy food and to be sure they eat it. If I was to make things they liked all the time, we’d be eating Ramen and Fish Sticks seven days a week, with maybe a reprieve once a week for something like chocolate/vanilla pancakes.

      You don’t like peas? Guess what? Neither do I. I can’t STAND the taste of peas, but if my wife makes them, I eat them because I make the kids eat them. The same goes for broccoli, or whatever other thing it usually is. In my house, kids not wanting to eat a specific dish usually means it’s something healthy for them… vegetables, etc.

      If we’re cooking something one of the kids specifically doesn’t like to eat, we do try (within reason) to make sure there’s other adequate stuff for dinner that they enjoy. However, having said that, I’m not going to adjust the menu seven nights a week to make every child in the house happy. We cook things we as adults don’t like sometimes as well… everyone gets their turn from time to time to put their requests in, but that means everyone ELSE sometimes has to eat something they aren’t fond of. It’s life. They learn to get over it.

  14. This was my favorite part:

    ‘Neglected juvenile’ means a child:
    • Who does not receive proper care, supervision, or discipline from his or her parent

    In today’s society, I shudder to think of the number of parents that should be called to the carpet for the lack of discipline. That’s discipline, not abuse or punishment.

    I was a tough parent, too. I cringe at these parents that want to be “friends” with their kids. Our kids can find all the friends they want, but they only have one mother and one father. It’s our jobs as parents fulfill that role for our kids. I must have done a few things right. My kid turned out OK.

    • You know, I hadn’t thought of pursuing that angle of argument… but since you brought it up… (makes notes for another blog post).

      • Sounds like a plan, Tommy! Looking forward to it. If parents are not providing proper discipline to their children (to the detriment not only the children, but of society) out of fear of CPS involvement, perhaps a wake up call that it is exactly the LACK of discipline that these same parents should be sweating. Think of all the well-mannered children that might come out of that revelation!

  15. OK so I’m a parent. I have 4 of my own, then I have 3 step kids, 1 adopted and 23 foster kids since I was 21… thats 31 kids… in 20 years. Should kids be sent to bed without a meal as a punishment, I do NOT see a darn thing wrong with it. If your child is being whiney, rude and plain stuborn when it comes to meals… sure… send them to bed without their supper…(they more than likely had breakfast and lunch, it WILL NOT kill them) If they didn’t show home in time for meals… that’s their problem I firmly believe in our home if you’re not here when supper is served TOUGH… should have ate where ever you were at or come home on time. Like others stated in here “Not a resturant or a short order cook!” Kitchen is closed after 6 pm.
    The times I’ve used this as punishmnet…
    When I have had 2 or more of my kids (I’ve had as many as 7 in home at once while fostering) taking way too long to get chores done and it cuts into meal time. If their chores were not done in time for supper they went without, and believe me our foster kids INCLUDING my own kids are given PLENTY of time to get their chores done! EVERYONE had to contribute to the home and if I was cooking supper and they didn’t show that was their problem because letting them off their chore to eat only lead to them saying “Oh I forgot!” when I asked why the chore was left undone/incompleated (MY foster parents taught me this way and so I taught my foster kids this way to)

    Fights – if one of my foster kids (or more and it’s happened) got into a spat and started hitting each other I’d have to seperate them, (hands are for helping not for hurting!)if they both, in a few hours couldn’t put their differences aside and work things out then they usually went without supper because until they made up and sorted out things; (cause you know teenagers can be sooo damn moody and take forever to tell you what’s REALLY wrong) they stayed in their rooms. If this issue went into the next day, they’d get breakfast (usually on the run, for one of the girls I had living with me it was common place.) but come after school things were sorted out come “Hell or high water” cause I really didn’t want to see them missing another meal fuming in their rooms like a bunch of emo kids.
    So Nope I do not think it’s wrong to use it…

    In the words of my foster dad, whom I adore, “It’s only wrong to “abuse it” because you have the power to use it”.
    because of him (and my foster mom of course) I think I’m a better parent… and PS *for the bashers and haters* … I WAS one of those abused/neglected kids who’s parents abused their power as a parent.. and I turned out just fine and so did ALL my my kids and foster children :) I’m a Proud Canadian Parent.

  16. A thought on picky eaters for what it is worth. I have 6 kids one picky eater who has gone without dinner or sat at the table for hours because he didn’t want what I made after a few years if intense fighting I came up with some great rules one one vegetable for how old you are example he was 6 so 6 peas ect. And as he became older a truce of sorts. He eats most things and doesn’t complain, but there are times I make what he hates and he doesn’t dosent complain makes his own dinner a anddoesall his for dishes and clean up. We all.have things we don’t like.

  17. Sounds like we grew up in the same house! I do have some issues with using food as punishment. I have promised my children I will never withhold food from them. And I haven’t. I provide it. Eat it or don’t. Your choice. But if you don’t eat it now, don’t tell me your hungry 5 minutes before bedtime. The one time I sent my son to bed without supper, was when he chose not to eat with us. He learned that lesson quickly! Now he eats EVERYTHING! (Voted in the poll and commented there, as well.)

  18. Tommy,

    Our youngest child is 19. Just last week he came in with an attitude and was being disruptive and we sent him to bed with no dinner. Most people have this misconception that once your children turn 18 that they suddenly fall under some strange set of new rules. This is not and should never be the case. Your children are your children from the moment they are born until the day that they die. All seven of our children know we are the parents, we are the units of support and structure when they have nowhere else to turn. This is not a job that ends when your children turn 18. In actuality it is really just begining.

      • If I was 19 and my parents sent me to bed with no dinner, I’d simply get in my car and go through McDonald’s drive-thru. No offense, but if he’s 19, shouldn’t he have a job or be in college or even be living on his own? Part of your job is a parent is to make sure he has the knowledge necessary to strike out on his own and make a few of his own decisions when he reaches adulthood. I am not chastising you, but merely wondering what would make you want to treat a 19 year old like a 10 year old. If he’s 19 and being disrespectful to you in YOUR house then why not tell him he is no longer welcome there? That might make him think twice. More so than a missed dinner would. I am 24, have great parents who are both my parents AND my friends and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I didn’t grow up resenting them and I wasn’t one of those teenagers that turned 18 and went wild because my parents kept me in a caged box all of my adolescent life. I just don’t understand the logic behind being too strict on your kids. Yes, food is expensive. If they don’t like it, don’t eat it, and all that good stuff.. but to punish a child by making them miss a meal.. this could cause future eating disorders or worse.

        • Lucy,

          Our 19 year old will not graduate until June. He is still in high school. He took 6 months off of school last year after his sister died. (slight break down). My children have jobs from the time that they are of legal age to work. NO EXCEPTION. They are taught to save and to be VERY conservative with their money. Our children are allowed to stay at home until they are financially prepared to be in the real world. That means that they are able to pay cash for their first home. No mortgage payment. Cash for their first cars (no car payment). And that they feel content in their professions. Hummmmm….. 5 children have left home financially stable and own their homes with no mortgage payments. 2 still remain at home, saving, planning, and preparing for their futures. How many 36, 35, 33, 30, and 24 year olds do you know that have that level of stability? You are 24, do you own your own home free and clear? Our 24 year old does.

          Not one of our children struck out at 18 and went “wild” from our parenting style. All of them have missed at least one meal in their lives for various reasons, and none of them have eating disorders.

          Are we too strict on our children? Well, that would be determined on what you consider strict vs what I consider strict.

          Am I going to boot my kids out on their own when they turn 18? NO, that I would consider bad parenting, because at 18 very few children are financially prepared to be in the “real” world.

          Am I going to dismiss a child from the dinner table if they are being unruly? Yes, I would do so at the age of 2 or 42.

          You said “If he’s 19 and being disrespectful to you in YOUR house then why not tell him he is no longer welcome there? That might make him think twice. More so than a missed dinner would.”

          First, it is his home, not just my house. Home is the place that you know you are always welcome, even if you make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, has a bad day, or just can not get something right. We say aweful things, we hurt the people we love, and eventually we work through it. Can you honestly say that you have NEVER been disrespectful to your parents? Not one single time? What would you have done if they just kicked you to the curb for making a mistake or having a bad day, breaking a rule, being disrespectful?

          The punishment should fit the crime…. his disrupted dinner with his attitude and disrespect, he can miss dinner.

          You said “Part of your job is a parent is to make sure he has the knowledge necessary to strike out on his own and make a few of his own decisions when he reaches adulthood.”

          He makes his own decisions now. And he chooses to give himself every possible advantage in life. He is over 18 and could leave anytime he wanted to, but he made a choice to have a solid plan for his life.

          Last one: you said, “I am not chastising you, but merely wondering what would make you want to treat a 19 year old like a 10 year old.”

          I have no desire to treat a 19 year old like a 10 year old. But when my 19 year old comes in and acts like he is 10, he will get treated like he is 10. If he wants us to show him the respect of an adult, then he can act like an adult.

          At least he does respect us enough not to hop in the car and run off to McDonalds. Instead he went to his room, calmed down, and then came to us with his problem.

          • I completely commend you and your children. You have obviously taught them all amazing values and wonderful lessons. I love your response and your attitude toward your children. Just wanted to say thank you for your opinion and ideas that you provided!

  19. I had this scenario with my stepson, Joshua. He wouldn’t anything unless it was white bread (non toasted and plain). Kraft singles, animal chicken nuggets or those from McDonalds, and Mac and Cheese. He wouldn’t take any vitamins or medications so as you can see, nutrition was a huge issue. So, in order to get him to actually eat healthy food the rest of the family was eating he either had to eat one of those items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (tire him out on it) or eat what we all were eating, or not eat at all. Let’s just say he got really tired of Mac and Cheese and even missed a meal or two (not consecutively). It took about two weeks of this (he is one stubborn kid) and now he eats damn near everything. And where as before foods couldn’t touch and or mix, he mixes everything together all his own and is now in great health.

  20. My phone would not let me finish this truce has only been the last few years he is 18 and a senior the rule now is at least try and be nice to mom. He has learned to like alot more foods because of rules when he was younger . He did go hunger alot but no permanent damage and alot of great laughs as he has gotten older and now eats what he used to cry for hours about having to eat.

  21. I too, would have never ruled out this as a punishment for other deeds, but, I just never used it. The only times I did use it was for the refusal to sit and eat with the family. Demanding something different. It seems we have the same rules when it comes to this. One meal does not harm a child.

  22. I personally don’t think that food should be used as either a punishment OR a reward. I think that connecting the punishment to the violation is much more appropriate and meaningful (ie the whole laptop incident that brought us here).

  23. If missing meals is child abuse, what about medical procedures that can require 12 to 72 hours of no food, or religions that require their members to fast or forego a meal? Abuse?

    • Carole,

      You make a very vaild point. Excellent train of associative thought. You could even add, is it abuse if a child refuses to eat? We have a grandchild that will not eat unless you fix him what he wants. (pizza, chicken nugets, chicken patties, mac and cheese, and that is it!) If a meal is put on the table, and he refuses to eat, are the parents at fault? Is it abuse?

    • I’m with you my poor daughter who is 6 with cystic fibrosis had to do a blood Sugar test no food from midnight hour and half drive to hospital delay at hospital had to drink orange drink didn’t get to eat until after 1 and that wasn’t child abuse I’m sure one meal won’t kill them :)

  24. Missing one meal, thoughtfully invoked for the right reason, would not hurt anyone.

    I learned a valuable lesson working with juvenile offenders- do not piss off the cook. One of two things happened: dinner, whatever was planned, was served layered in a casserole dish (layer of green beans, layer of bread, layer of peaches…hamburger…noodles, all topped with spaghetti sauce) OR a giant jar of peanut butter was plopped on the otherwise empty table with a butter knife straight in the middle. Dinner is served.

  25. Carole Eudey makes a good point.
    As an educator, I spend plenty of time teaching good eating habits and polite table manners. Food is energy. With that said, skipping a meal, in my opinion isn’t abusive or even harmful. However, to the point that withholding dinner becomes an “effective” form of punishment or providing it becomes an effective reward, I would be inclined to think that this is harmful in that food is not thought of as fuel for the body, but a form of shame or pride. This country already has horrible eating habits and ideas about food as evidenced by the percent of the population labeled obese. Positive/negative consequences. Intrinsic/extrinsic rewards. All part of parenting and hoping we choose the right ones.

  26. As a reply to Carol Eudy. Medical procedures that require no food 12 to 72 hrs is not abuse bc it is bc of a test or surgery. The subject is using food as a punishment. The christians who fast are generally adults and not children.I have never heard of a medical procedure that called for 72 hrs with no food or water. If it no food after a medical procedure then an IV is given to keep hydrate the body. a person without water for 24 hrs can dehydrate. As parents we should know when our children are sick and can not hold down food or liquids it is time to go to ER to get hydration. It is dangerous to dehydrate. I idnt see in the post that water would be given so I have to assume no water or food for punishment.I am a healthcare provider. I have 29 yrs experience and I have lots of training on how to take care of patients in need of nutrition.The client I work with is on a feeding tube. If the client becomes unable to tolerate food and liquids, I seek hospital care if I have done all I can do to keep the patient safe from dehydration.Tommy was talking about overnight discipline or that is what I understood from his post. Our body has to have water and food..medical reasons are a whole different circumstance.Some people dehydrate faster than others and this is why the time limit going without liquids would need to be monitored.

    • Where did I ever say starve a kid for three days? Good lord. lol. I said “sending your child to bed without dinner.” Nowhere did I insinuate it was OK to deprive your child of food for an extended period of time. I love how some people (not you Gayle) can find any ridiculous extreme to argue their point. My God, people. Get a grip.

      • You didn’t Tommy. I think the problem is some people read the subject line and never read the article or the entire blog.I thought it was pretty far out there when it went from bed without dinner to 72 hrs….and you know me, I had to go there….LOL…Interesting blog.

  27. I would like to add to the parents ho think long lengths of time without food or water is alright, keep in mind that deydration cause cause your heart rate to go up. A high pulse rate can lead to heart damage, stroke, heart attack …so if you are going to use food as punishment, keep in mind the cautions to take…dont screw up and kill your kids just to get a point across.this comment is not for everyone. I saw a woman post earlier she would not let her child have anything to eat until the child told her the truth. over night and until the child cracks are two different subjects…if a child goes 24 hrs without at least water ,he/she could dehydrate. We love our children. Let’s use common sense along with the discipline measures. I believe Tommy is a very good parent, a loving parent and I think he would not let Hannah’s health be jeopardized in any means.

  28. yes it is !!!! if i serve food, and they dont eat and fool around or say they dont like or whatever yes!!! they will go to bed w/o dinner… have i taken wtr/milk and slice of bread to them later to let something sit on tummy of course… but i cant let them get away with not liking or just playing and not eating…. they need to learn to eat when the time is given…and eat what they were given…. i went through a full month of my 5 year old lil girl telling me all that was wrong with what i cooked…. i told my husband …. i quit… you cook!!! insults were hurting my feelings…. then finally after sending her to bed a few times…. well were down to ” well this isnt my favorite , but im grateful for it anyway… ” lolol i’ll take it!!!

  29. The problem with what you say is not so much whether it’s right or wrong, but the fact that there are so many self-righteous psycho-babbling parenting experts out there who intend to project their methods onto anybody who doesn’t parent according to their standards, and Child Protective Services has taken away our right to discipline our kids in a way that we see fit by labeling half of what our parents did to us as abuse. And whether it’s going to be determined to be child abuse or not is not written specifically in any law but will be left to the CPS Agent to decide. They are also very good at exaggerating things and making it look like one skipped meal is an every day thing.

  30. Can you hold ur kids breathe for sixty seconds whn hes not behaving? Why not? One min is ok it takes 12 minutes to die…..

    Same with food one meal wont kill em but its the fact that you dont deprive children of daily necessaties you can take away luxury i.e shoot the laptop dont let them Play, but never take away vitamins, starch, protien from a human being.

    How can u judge for all children? Some can tollerqte skipping a meal and some cant…. It is wrong to tell people its ok when you know theyre childrens blood levels etc… To know if they can tollerate it.

    • Agreed Jackson… I was assuming that people would use common sense in their interpretations of the example into their own lives. If you have a diabetic child, one with low-blood sugar, or who has some other food-related malady then OF COURSE it’s not a suitable punishment. That’s like making a one-armed kid do push-ups. C’mon people. Use your heads here… really. Stick to the point rather than jumping off to worst-case scenarios…

      • You might want to do a blog explaining what ‘common sense’ is. People generally can’t utilize something they don’t understand. I’m constantly surprised at people my age (46) who seem to have never heard of the concept. However, I do give the blondes a break since, being one myself, I know how the simplest things sometimes seem to make no sense what-so-ever. :-)

  31. As you know, most things like this are personal to the parent, child and situation. My short answer? It depends.
    And, now my long one:
    I am likely biased because of my own eating disordered history, and I’ve done A LOT of research on children and nutrition, getting them to eat etc. Having said that, I feel strongly that using food as a form of control or punishment may not be our healthiest bet as parents. That’s not to say it’s abusive but simply that I think we can do better.

    For example when I had kids in detention, if they didn’t have a sack lunch, they didn’t get to choose from an elaborate menu. It was basic, nutritious and they were free to perform a hunger strike if they so chose. But so sad when they were hungry later and I wouldn’t allow the to buy a granola bar or fruit snack. I’m about natural consequences. So there ARE times where it would make sense a missed meal is part of the lesson. For instance, if my kid was always late to dinner due to simply screwing around and not making it a priority, it might happen that we say “dinner is served at 6 p.m.” And if they roll in after that, better luck tomorrow, bub. Same with breakfast. I’m not going to be the mom begging my kid to eat “just one bite” so I can say I fed them breakfast. I do see it as my job to provide a nutritious option and try to be reasonable that it’s something appealing. I see it as my job to make sure my children have a clean place to sit and eat and an appropriate amount of time to do so. Beyond that, it’s up to them. And they are 4 and 2. They are awesome little eaters except when they’re feeling picky and cranky in which case they are hungry at bedtime and somehow manage to make it until morning. Rarely happens.

    Wanna know what I think qualifies as legitimate abuse? Feeding kids crap food as a substitute for real food. I could go off on that one but will save that for another day. Interesting topic.

  32. The real problem is knowing the difference between child abuse and discipline and obviously it is a question that does not seem to have a black and white answer and everyone’s common sense seems to have gone out the window. If the kid don’t like what’s for dinner and money is tight well then he can just wait for breakfast unless there is a medical reason for that child not to skip meals. The whole point in raising children is to let them experience hard knocks for themselves while they are small so they can learn from them and not make life altering huge mistakes when they are adults. They don’t do their homework: no playing or other form of entertainment until its done; there are many creative ways to discipline a child the best way is to let the natural consequences teach them for you. For example they clean up their own messes, they suffer the consequences of not doing their homework when they get to school (and DO NOT let those school official bullies make you think you are failing as a parent if your kid refuses to do homework. It is the child’s responsibility NOT YOURS. you can lead a horse to water but can’t force him to drink…besides I am a firm believer in thinking these kids get waaaaaaay too much homework these days now anyway.) If you always let the punishment fit the crime in creative ways of thinking that you know will teach them a lesson and NOT because they are afraid of what you are going to do to them. Children should NEVER be afraid of their parents.

  33. I agree in principle only.I grew up very poor and went to bed without dinner not by choice. We simply didn’t have food.I never turned down what was served as I was often hungry. My children have never suffered that fate. I just couldn’t do that to them. I know it is spoiling them, but if they didn’t like what was served, I’d make something else and eat the leftovers myself for lunch the next day.
    I know what going hungry is like and it would be me that suffered more than my children if I’d have sent them to bed without supper. I’d turn angry. An angry parent isn’t a good parent. I’ve raised two fine respectful boys that do have some spoiled food issues, but they do try new food things and I respect that they don’t like to eat certain items. My discipline would come in different ways than withholding food. I know too well the pain of starving and what that can lead to. It just isn’t worth it in my opinion.

  34. Thanks for the “nod” at the beginning of this article, Tommy! I don’t know how many people actually read what I wrote, and it was really meant as a reply just for you, but I’ve recieved more than 70 click thoughs from your site, which is a lot for my little blog!

    I mentioned that I dated a lady that had three younger children for over a year and I once sent her eldest to bed without dinner. He was around 10 years old and he’d been acting like a ratbag all afternoon. We’d gone to watch him play cricket that morning after his dad pulled out from having him for the weekend. He missed his dad doing this kind of thing with him, which is understandable, but the way he was talking back to his mother, and to me, was unacceptable, but we gave him a longer leash than usual given the circumstances.

    When we got back to their home after the game after lunch, he refused to get out of his cricket gear and was sulking. His mum (my GF) was a bit upset too, we’d made plans for the weekend assuming their dad would have the kids, and while she loved having them for an extra weekend, our weekend alone had to be cancelled. I took him outside and tried to shoot a few hoops with him, and to chat about the whole thing, and of course I got the whole, “my dad is awesome, mum shouldn’t be bad mouthing him … you’re NOT my dad!” The kid (I mean child!) was understandably ratty, emotional and tired.

    They had an open door policy on the kitchen pantry and all afternoon, in a foul mood, he was helping him self to various snacks, popcorn, and lollies – leaving them all 1/2 unfinished, on top of being a rude little brat. Nothing would get through to him and after an insult to his mother around 5pm, I sent him to his room. I then apologised to my GF, fearing I’d stepped over the line. But she thanked me for it. Then I heard noise coming from his bedroom, so I went in there and removed the TV from his room and told him he was sent there to think about what he’d done, not to play or be distracted. He said, through tursed lips “… FINE, I’m just going to get another snack.” I then kindly and gently said that that was not going to happen, there are a number of food items that he’d thrown in the bin half eaten, and as far as I was concerned, he was done eating for the day.

    His mum didn’t normally treat him this way and was a bit surprised by it all; being a single mum she found it hard to discipline her kids, especially the eldest as he remembered the “Full Time Dad” more than the others who used to take on the disciplinarian role more than her. So, she was happy that I’d done “something”.

    He came out around dinner time and asked for some food and I asked him if he was ready to apologise. “NOPE” … “Well then, NOPE”. He turned on his heel and returned to his room. That was all we saw of him that night, although his mum did go in to kiss him good night a few hours later, but he was already asleep.

    The next morning he surfaced, still in his cricket gear, wanting breakfast. I told him to come outside for a chat first and we shot a few hoops. After a while he apologised to me, I told him that I appricated that, but he really needed to apologise to his mum and siblings. His head held low, he kind of nodded and went into the house. I started making French Toast for everyone and he appeared a little later from his mum’s room and offered to help.

    So, I think, all in all it was the right thing to do. He went to bed hungry, but not starving, and with his distractions removed. He had no choice but to stop and think, and being uncomfortable he had to think harder. I think that is the point of sending older kids to their room without dinner, your forcing them to stop and actually think not just about what they’ve done, but for them to somehow rationalise why they did it.

    So, in (another lengthy) reply, on the whole I think it is okay to send a child to bed with out dinner.

    Max.

  35. Not only did we get sent to our rooms without dinner, we always got what we didn’t eat for lunch the next day, a meal is always better hot and the first time round. A more standard punishment in my house at least, (and I do this with my children as well), was the bread’n butter with a glass of water and straight to bed. Man i disliked bread and butter when I was a kid lol.

  36. I don’t believe it’s right. There are better ways to discipline your children without depriving them of one their basic needs, IMO.

  37. If you refuse to eat what I cook, then you can go to bed hungry, and it will be waiting for you for breakfast in the morning.

    Aside from that, I wouldn’t withhold food from my children if they were hungry, no matter what they’d done. I good butt whoopin or some time out in the corner, or getting grounded from something that they didn’t need but enjoyed would happen, but not getting a meal is extreme, IMO. I have told my kids that, if they were good, we would grab Mcdonalds for dinner. Usually, they don’t earn it well enough, and I end up fixing them something at home. No, they don’t get their mcdonalds, but they still get to eat.

  38. Mr. Jordan,
    It’s funny, I actually wrote this for the survey before I finished reading your entire blog. And a paragraph later, we were talking about the same things. So, here it is.
    First off, my Children are some of the healthiest children there are. They are active, intelligent and beautiful/handsom. Personally, I wouldn’t intentionally choose sending my kids to bed without dinner as a punishment. I think it is a perfectly acceptable punishment and there isn’t anything wrong with it, it just wouldn’t work for my kids. But, my children do occasionally miss meals. My daughter can be a very picky eater, so there are times when I fix breakfast and she doesn’t want to eat, well, sorry, but that is what’s on the table. And, sometimes it’s what she asked for, for breakfast just the day before, so I’m not intentionally making something I know she dislikes. Also, what is the difference which meal it is that children sometimes skip, whether it be for punishment or because they don’t like it? Think about school lunches. My children beg me most of the time to make their lunch because school lunches are “gross.” I can’t always do that, even though I try, but what about when a child eats 3 bites of something on their tray and they are done, is that punishment or unacceptable? Should the schools be held accountable for serving something that none of us adults want to eat either? What about parents who send a twinkie, cookies and a soda to school with their children as a lunch. (yes, true story) Is that more acceptable, just because they have something in their stomach? There is nothing wrong with taking a meal away from a child. They will not starve, (and of course I’m not talking about someone who is withholding food consistently and constantly from a child) and they might learn something about others who would be grateful for the food, or appreciate the time and preparation that goes into fixing a meal. Children in this day and age have to realize that it truly isn’t all about them. Sorry for such a long rant!

  39. http://sandradodd.com/food

    Many off you should read this page linked above and it’s stories.

    And maybe even follow up with more of the site.

    The parents who talk about their kids not coming in at dinner so not getting any is absolutely insane. Would you tell your husband or wife if they were out in the workshop or for a jog that sorry you missed dinner you should have known better to be on time now you can’t eat?

    Seems to many people have food issues, food should never be used as a punishment and should always be available. If my kid is hungry there is something provided, whether it be an apple or chips if she needs a snack before bed she can have it. If she misbehaves then we surely don’t denied one of life’s necessities. Food, shelter, water, and safety should never be used as weapons to modify behaviors. Parent are to determined to force there own views on their kids. How hard is it to make a pb&j or ramens with love rather than have a miserable experience that will lead the kids to feel trustingly that the parent will provide them with the necessities of life. I don’t care what my kid does, she will always have food there if she is hungry, even if it is not what I cook for dinner. I don’t seethe point of forcing kids to eat something if they don’t like it, I would not do it to an adult out of respect and I won’t do it to my kid either.

    • That is completely rediculous. A child needs to develop responsibility and healthy patterns. I am a firm believer in spanking and occasionally other forms of punishment. The other day my stepson came home at around 9pm after playing all evening. He knows that in our household, unless previously discussed or he has an after school responsibility that dinner is served at 6:30 when i get home from work and before his mother goes to work. I sent him to shower and then gave him some pineapple and sent him to bed. I know this is acceptable because my wife and i provide for our children and i know what they eat. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because of the needed energy and correct functions of our metabolism and none of our children go without breakfast. We are not farmers or day laborers and 3 large meals aren’t necessary. I am a personal trainer and my wife is a nurse and we eat 5 to 6 small meals daily. (two or three would more likely be considered snacks) But a fruit is healthy and is plenty full of nutrients to get him through the night. (on another note you shouldn’t leave chips or junk food readily available to any child.) I have also punished my daughter and my four year old son for their behavior or actions and have sent them to bed without a meal. Ultimately it tends to be their choice if they don’t like the food or if they are unruly or disrespectful. The reason kids are the way they are nowadays is because we as parents are now hindered on our punishments. All the hype about abuse and CPS is allowing for rebellious, misbehaved children. There is a big difference between abuse and properly disciplining your children. I don’t believe a child should ever have bruises or lacerations but there is nothing wrong with a good spanking. After all, i went to private schools my whole life and in grade-school the headmaster had the authority to paddle us. I don’t feel that i was abused, I just saw it as motivation to behave.

      In summary, I don’t think spoiled brats should be rewarded. If you think that “Ramen with love” is better for your child than skipping a meal, you are way off. They would have been better off with an apple.

  40. I admit I had a couple of incidents where my parents fixed something I hated and I went to bed without supper rather than eat it. Occasionally I’d suck it up and eat the food and grump about it. I was a yougun, and occasionally thoughtless. But I do remember once when it backfired on them. My father bless his heart made oyster soup with bad oysters, I complained it tasted funny, and they said it eat or don’t eat at all. I ate it.. and I was the first one down with a mild case of food poisoning. However.. I was not the only one with it. After that, when I said something tasted kinda funny, it would be given some testing before it was served to the family. :D

  41. My neice puts her children to bed without dinner because they didnt eat what she gave them. I wouldnt see a problem with this but when you purposeley give them something you are sure they hate just so you can send them to bed early because you dont want to be bothered, i think that is abuse. She also gives them a cup of milk it sits on the table for two hours and then when they ask for a drink she tells them there milk is still on the table to finish it. They even say the milk is old. By the way the children are only 4 and 6. I do think the age makes a big difference in wether it is right or wrong.

  42. Ok, so I found this article, because I usually feel guilty sending my daughter to bed hungry. I agree with it, up until the point that she’s crying in bed, and then I usually cave.

    My daughter is 6. She used to eat EVERYTHING. Her favorite foods USED to be sweet potatoes, spaghetti, and Texas style chili. (before anyone condemns me for giving a small child spicy food, she asked for a bite, and then wound up stealing my whole bowl) Then we moved. A LOT. I let myself get into the bad habit of giving her easy food, like macaroni and chicken nuggets, because I convinced myself that she was traumatized from all the moving , and I didn’t want to add more stress to either of our lives by fighting with her to eat foods that she previously loved.

    We’ve now lived in the same place for 2 and a half years. My excuses have run out for continuing to allow her to get away with this. I’ve slowly been getting her to eat more foods, and she will even willingly “try” new foods again.

    She then sticks it in her cheek and leaves it there for an hour while telling me it is yucky. This happens with pretty much every fruit (prior to my daughter I had never met a little girl that didn’t like grapes or strawberries), and tonight it happened with spaghetti. Her old favorite. I tried ignoring her. I tried scolding her, bribing her, begging and pleading, and finally, I just made her spit it out and go to bed. Next time, I’ll just skip to the just going to bed part, because this was ridiculous.

    After she was in bed, she asked if she could have macaroni. I told her no, and she got hysterical and said she was so hungry. I allowed her to have a serving of broccoli (the only veggie she’ll eat!!!) and a glass of milk. I don’t like seeing her hungry, and I never really know if she’s using the hysterics to get her way or if she’s really that hungry, but I certainly won’t give in and make her whatever she wants.

    Outside of being a picky eater, she’s a happy healthy little girl.

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