Social Question

chyna's avatar

Do parents still make their kids sit at the table until they eat everything or most everything on their plate?

Asked by chyna (34497 points ) November 17th, 2012

My parents did this when I was a kid. I could always outlast them. Do parents do this now?

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22 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I spoil my kids and only cook what I know they like. So they eat it all. Being a divorced dad means mainly pizza and hamburgers.

Kardamom's avatar

Thankfully, my parents never made us do that. I was a very picky eater as a child, and they nevever forced me to eat anything. Subsequently, I grew up to like lots and lots of things, although in my early 20’s I decided to become a vegetarian for compassionate reasons. So I like just about everything (except eggplant as many of you know) vegetarian, where as when I was a kid I would only eat Kraft macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and plain cheese pizza (which was a luxury, not an every day item) celery and carrots and that was about it.

On the other hand, my nephew is also picky, but he is allowed to eat all sorts of junk food, including McDonald’s, Cheetos and candy and it breaks my heart. I was allowed my PB & J and mac and cheese, but I was not allowed to eat fast food and candy as an alternative to regular food. As I got older, I developed a taste for other foods and went on to become a food enthusiast.

My 80 plus year old father was forced to eat everything on his plate, especially vegetables, subsequently, he has a very limited diet and now eats virtually no vegetables. I think he would feel better, physically and mentally if he had a more balanced diet.

It think it’s up to the parents to offer a very diverse option of foods. Unfortunately, my SIL is also very picky and outwardly discusses her disgust at common, healthy foods. It’s easier for them to just give junior whatever is convenient, and unfortunately, oftentimes, that is Mickey D’s.

augustlan's avatar

This is a sure way to get into a power struggle. Our rule was that the children had to try everything before rejecting it, but that meant one or two small bites, max. If they didn’t like it, they weren’t forced to eat it. At a later date, we’d re-try foods previously rejected to see if their tastes had changed. Many times, they had.

DominicX's avatar

My parents didn’t, thankfully. It was never really a problem. I can understand if your kids aren’t eating or are wasting food, but in most cases, it’s not necessary. My mom always said that that was one thing she disliked about the way her parents parented—being forced to eat food she found disgusting.

Unbroken's avatar

I was a very picky eater as a child. I used all methods hiding food in napkins mixing it up to look eaten. Feeding it to the dog hiding it under the lip of the table or chair putting it under my plate dropping it on the floor.
It was a battle every night. The rules differed with how much energy. I remember one night i just had to eat one carrot stick, I popped it my mouth didn’t chew it, tried to find a garbage can to put it in, the only one full enough was the kitchen so I tried waiting i kept on running back to check with the stick still unbitten after an hour or two I was asked what I was doing and i couldn’t form words around the carrot stick. I ended up having to eat half.
Now I love all sorts o food. But I can’t eat it.

My nephew is forced a little but mostly they let him eat whatever not a discerniable consistency but at least some vegies though he loves mc donalds. And as he grows up his tastes are expanding somewhat.
Remember being shamed by all the starving children in India and China. Telling your parents to box up your plate and send it to them didn’t win any favors.

YARNLADY's avatar

They don’t in my experience. What I did with mine and my older grandkids was to package up their leftovers and feed it to them for their next meal. My youngest grandson (3) won’t eat hardly anything, so I try to offer only what I know he wants, or what he asks for.

My Dad once made me eat everything, while he sat there and watched me until every last bite was gone. It promptly came right back up, all over him.

jrpowell's avatar

My aunt made me eat everything on the plate. There were many times that I simply put my head down and fell asleep like I did in math class.

I think this actually made me more picky. And the worst was that she would load up my plate. Even if I liked everything on the plate I couldn’t have consumed the quantity. She thought I could eat as much as a seven year old as her boys twice my age.

whitenoise's avatar

Now that they’re older, we do… We didn’t when they were young.

The main asin is that now they decide themselves for a big part what amount ends on their plates and the main reason is that they now need to accept dinner as a social event and eat with the others in some kind of way

The way for them to avoid that is to say that they’ve had enough and be polite about it. We generally give them small portions to avoid force feding them. They are very well aware that they should listen to their bodies and eat modestly.

They also need to learn to eat things you don’t like and be able to enjoy them, as a social skill and as a method of learning new tastes. However… One of our prime mottos is that we don’t ever pick a power struggle that our kids may win. Eating is therefore a topic where we would never push it to the limits.

In all honesty… Itisnt a real issue, except for their eating speed.

ucme's avatar

This was, to a certain point, the case when my kids were little. Now though, forget it, they eat wherever is convenient for them at any given time.

cazzie's avatar

We were allowed to fill our own plates, so we could take just a tiny bit of what we didn’t like and fill up on mashed potatoes. I don’t remember getting into any ‘waiting it out’ fights with my parents about eating. When I refused to eat something, rather than make dinner time unpleasant for everyone, I was told that later, when I complained I was hungry, I would be given that plate of food to eat and that is exactly what they did. I would be allowed to put ketchup over something and eat it that way. I reckon I could eat just about anything from here to judgement day if I had enough ketchup. ;)

With my autistic step-son, we used to have to prepare ourselves for tears and snot at the table if the tomato soup wasn’t ‘The regular brand’ of tomato soup he wanted. Hubby would INSIST on making really weird food that would end up freaking him out and he had/still has sensory issues with colour and texture of food. He has gotten much better and it seldom comes to tears, but there is a fair amount of moaning and horrible sounds of disappointment he can’t stop himself from making. When it is just me and him, I would only make him things I knew he would eat because I was never up to dealing with another tantrum, especially one I felt I could easily avoid. His mother never forces anything on him and he can do what he likes there, so forcing him to eat what is on his plate at our house seems pointless and unreasonable, because he isn’t learning anything other than: ‘Pappa’s house is mean and Mamma’s house is nice.’ I don’t think he was very impressed at the pizzas I made last night when I used leftovers of whale meat and pineapple, but he picked those off and still ate what was left.

I’m rather nutrition concious with my own young son. His system seems to require higher amounts of iron consumption for it to show up in his blood tests. This is complicated by the fact he really doesn’t like to eat meat. He is generally a good eater and when he isn’t, rather than make dinner time unpleasant, I tell him what I was told as a kid, (UNLESS it is one of hubby’s adventurous dinners where he put chilli peppers in it to his own taste and ignored the fact that me and the kids aren’t too crazy about chilli). He manages to listen pretty well at the table and eat what he is given. The kids are allowed to politely decline being served certain side dishes, but only after they have tried them. No ‘rejection on sight’. Taste first and find out, is the rule. We have managed to expand our autistic’s son eating range quite a bit using this rule and as a result, his diet at our house has improved a great deal, but he is still underweight.

newtscamander's avatar

My parents didn’t.
I ate almost everything and if I didn’t like something I would simply leave it on my plate and eat bread as an alternative. My elder sister became a vegetarian at age 5 (and is still one at age 21) and was a rather picky eater, but now, cooking for herself, she tries more and more food and discovers that she has grown to like variety, so my parents’ rules concerning food seem to have been successful.

filmfann's avatar

My parents did that to me.
When I became a parent, I changed it a little. I knew my kids loved cup’o noodles, so I would let them decide not to eat the prepared dinner once a week, and have the noodles instead.
Early on, they used the CON on Monday, but soon they were trying to save them for later in the week, and ended up eating meals they might have rejected.
My daughter, who now has a son, has gone back to my parents approach.

hearkat's avatar

I feel that kids need to understand that food is fuel and not just an indulgence of taste/texture, and that balanced nutrition is important. I also know that the taste isn’t as bad as they imagine it might be, so they should try new things.

I put small portions of everything on the plate (usually one bite per year of age of the questionable item) and they had to finish that first, but then could have more of whatever they wanted, and/or have dessert.

It was less of an issue with my son, who had tried lots of foods from an early age, than it was with the son of my bf at the time – who only visited every-other weekend, and whose mother gave in to his whining all the time.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My father tried this once with my brother. I was a good eater, it wasn’t a problem with me. My brother was very picky. My father made him eat his carrots once. My brother got through most of them, and then vomited them on to my father’s lap. He never tried that again.

JLeslie's avatar

My parents never did this to us. My mom was annoyed if we took too much food and could not finish it, she expected us not to waste food, but we took or asked for how much we wanted. I don’t know anyone who is glad in retrospect that their parents made them finish their plate when they were already full or hated a food.

I have seen my friends make their children eat the food on their plate, but it is never a lot of food, it is always food the children like, but the children want to get back to playing and are in a rush, the parent might make them take a few more bited knowing their children and in half an hour the child will be “starving.” I don’t think this type of circumstance makes a child look back and feel as though they were force fed.

I don’t have children, and I can completely understand getting frustrated with children who say they don’t like so ething just because they think they won’t, or because their friends don’t, or because they just want macaroni an cheese again. But, adults also have to remember that a large portion of children have many more functioning taste buds than an adult, and flavors are much sharper, stronger, for children, which explains like most kids like “white” foods like pasta, bread, chicken, foods that are breaded, cereal, etc.

JLeslie's avatar

Explains why not explains like.

cazzie's avatar

Yes, @JLeslie, we fight that a lot in our house with the attention span for eating problem and then 20 minutes later they complain they are hungry. Knowing that it isn’t a second helping and that they haven’t had much to eat that day, I will insist on ‘x’ more bites before they say they are done.

One of my pet peeves is always running out of ketchup. My step son will squirt masses of ketchup on his plate if we don’t watch him. I think he just likes the look and feel of how it comes out of the bottle, but he only dips a little of it and the rest goes into the sink. I try to catch him (or if little man is doing it) and say… Hey! Stop! You can always squirt more on your plate if you eat that up, but I can’t get it back into the bottle once it is on your plate!.’ That usually makes them giggle, imagining me trying to spoon the ketchup back in the tiny hole in the bottle.

digitalimpression's avatar

We try. It doesn’t always happen.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Maybe buy the old fashion bottle ketchup if you can get it, instead of the squeeze?

captainsmooth's avatar

My oldest daughter, age 12, will eat almost anything. She has always been a good eater.

My youngest daughter, age 7, is a picky eater. I have half custody of them and I know that my ex does not put any food demands on her. I get as much healthy stuff as I can into her as she loves different kinds of fruit, occasionally a vegetable such as broccoli, loves pasta, french fries, sushi (philly and cali rolls only), artichokes, baked potatoes, not much of a taste for meat (chicken nuggets, general tao’s chicken, hot dogs). She is picky at breakfast, and likes fruit, cereal and toast occasionally, a rainbow sprinkle cookie from the bakery downtown, Entemans chocolate muffins, or a donut. At lunch she either gets a bagel with butter at school or I pack her 2 or 3 servings of fruit, a bag of chips and a bottle of water.

She is also the same child that will wake up in the morning and go 3 hours without peeing. My ex and I gave her supplements to help her poop when she was younger, she ate fruit all day long, yet she still managed to hold her bowels for days. She is a beautiful person, but can be extremely strong willed for no reason.

I choose not to battle with her over her food choices, (as well as a couple of other things) and incorporate something she likes as a part of everyones’ meal. She eats a ton of fruit, she drinks milk, she is in the 90th percentile on a height and weight chart. She will grow up and try other things.

When my older daughter says that her sister gets away with not eating everything, my response is that everyone is different, my oldest is a good eater, and when the younger one grows up, she will eat different things. There isn’t much of an argument.

Some kids need to control something or things. I am not going to waste our time together battling over her food choices. It would create a negative experience during what is an otherwise positive time for me and my girls.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

My daughters are to remain at the table until they have eaten an “appropriate” amount of food. That doesn’t mean all of it, usually, just enough that my mommy brain feels satisfied that they have something in their tummies.

momster's avatar

My parents did that to us as kids even into our teens and I always thought it was stupid. No one made my dad eat things he didn’t like but we had to eat things we hated or we were punished. I remember sitting at the table crying because I was made to eat chicken livers every single time my mom cooked them. She didn’t have to eat them because she didn’t like them but my brother and I had to sit there and choke down every bite.

Obviously I don’t make food an issue with my own kids but I also don’t go out of my way to do something different for everyone at meal times. I make food everyone likes except my middle son who is very picky. If he doesn’t like what we are having he gets a simple healthy meal he does like. We ask him to try things and he is getting better as he gets older. We treat all our kids the same way and they have different tastes just like adults all have different tastes. I am sure parents still have battles over food but to me and my husband it isn’t worth it. We’d rather spend dinner having nice family time around the table than engaging in a battle of wills.

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