Before I had children, I always said I would never be the type of parent who forced her children to eat. I grew up with a mom who didn't make us finish everything on our plate. My sister and I were super-picky eaters, so from time to time my mom would make us a different meal than she made for my dad and her to eat. Then I had quadruplets....
Sorry, but I'm not a short-order cook. I make my girls one meal and that's it. OK, from time to time if I make something that I KNOW one of them dislikes, then I may offer an alternative, but it's always leftovers.
Sue Sue is my pickiest eater and she and I are currently engaged in a battle. Lately, she has refused to eat breakfast. What?! It's the most important meal of the day. I finally figured out that it's because for awhile I was in such a rush that the girls were only being served Pop Tarts (yeah, yeah, not the healthiest, but whatever). Now that I've had time to give them choices (waffles, cereal, French toast, fruit), she has started eating again.
Last night, though, the battle carried over to dinner. I made spaghetti, which all four of the girls like. Sue Sue was on board... until she found out there wasn't any bread. I usually throw a Pillsbury French loaf in the oven, but didn't plan ahead and ran out of time last night. First, she wouldn't sit at the table. Then when I coaxed her to the table, she refused to eat. I made a tough decision: she didn't have to eat, she just had to sit at the table while her sisters ate. She didn't eat a crumb.
I hate sending my daughters away from a meal with an empty stomach... but I have to take a stance. If my daughters take one bite of something new and truly don't like it, then, yes, I ignore my rule of not being a short order cook. But when my daughters refuse to eat just because... then I have to be "that mom." Not eating for one meal won't damage them. If they're truly hungry, they'll eat. I don't want my daughters to have issues with food. I don't want them to think they have to eat every morsel on their plate and I don't want them to think eating is the only way to make Mommy happy.
Still, I'm open for suggestions. What do you do when your children refuse to eat?