My kids are not the best eaters. I am the first to admit this. I have learned over the years and with various children that the best thing I can do for this problem is to not let the eating issues at our table interfere with the personal relationships I have with my children. I try my best to provide healthy food with enough choices at each meal that I know no one will starve. There's always a slice of bread, and when I am feeling particularly generous, the cereal cupboard they can help themselves to. If they want any dessert, they have to at least try everything on the plate. Sometimes I will enforce 2 bites if I know it's not a hard thing and they are just being silly about not wanting something as delicious as green jello with pears. (kidding- I never make jello. I had a bit too much of it in my youth).
I grew up in the generation where parents forced kids to eat all the food on their plates. I was told I could sit there all evening until my plate was clean. Or I was given the same food at the next meal if I didn't eat it. I was forced to take on bites of food, gagging until my eyes watered. And I still don't like brussel sprouts. Bad memories those... I really get a bit angry when thinking about all that wasted fighting my parents did with me at the table. I think they could have gone a bit easier on me. Shown some compassion. Not forcing me into a life of deceit when I would ask to be excused to the bathroom where I would then spit out the food I disliked. It worked well when telling my mother I had the stomach flu and had just thrown up as well. Hardly felt any guilt over it. Later I once took a 20 from my mom's wallet and spent it all on candy at Carson's market down the street from Wasatch elementary school on my recess. Now that was naughty! Where were the staff members at recess anyways? I've come clean on this issue now so please, no judging. But you can see where depriving a child of things and forcing foods they hate on to them can lead can't you? I won't even mention that I used to get my gum fix from discarded ABC gum off the street and roll it around in my mother's sugar canister for extra flavor (delicious!). That's what having a DDS dad who takes away all your Halloween candy for a nickel a piece will get 'cha. So basically when it comes to food- I need therapy. Or maybe as a child I did. I don't find myself doing those things too often nowa days. Although I do need to have a chocolate stash in the house pretty much all the time.
Currently the funniest eater at my house is the two year old. Two is such a fantastically miserable age. They don't know what they want and they don't know how to tell you once they know, and mealtimes pretty much heighten those characteristics for her. Even sitting her in the booster chair is sometimes enough to start her into hysterics. Ask her if she wants something and most of the time her answer is "NO!" a big overused word for her. Present her with something and she shoves it away. Most of the time. But one trick that has worked well with her is to offer her something, wait for the anticipated refusal, then say nonchalantly "okay I will eat it them." or even better "I'll just give this nice plate of food to your sister." Suddenly she wants it and wants it bad. Yes it's food/mind games here at the T household.
Good times, noodle salad...