Force feeding kids?

@Chey1970 (1193)
United States
March 31, 2008 2:04pm CST
No, I don't mean sitting there and forcing food down a child's throat. I'm referring to the fact, of when I was young, we were forced to eat different kinds of food, basically cause we were poor and lived strictly off the land. We ate vegeatbles that were home grown, and wildlife that was killed (deer, rabbit, squirrel, etc.) When I became an adult, I refused to eat a lot of things I was forced to eat as a child, such as wildlife. And when I had my kids, I swore I would never force them to eat things they didn't like. Of course they eat more of a varity of food then I do now. So do you force your child to eat foods they don't like? Or do you feed them things you know they like?
6 people like this
25 responses
@SukiSmiles (1998)
• United States
31 Mar 08
I don't force my kids to eat food that they do not like. But I encourage them to try new foods. When they were little we traveled and ate out quite a bit, so I think that helped them get used to eating things that are different from what we cook at home. Where did you grow up? I think home grown vegetables and fruit taste better than store bought. Deer is pretty good too.
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
31 Mar 08
Yes, there is nothing wrong with getting a kid to try something, it's the only way to find out if they will like it or not. I grew up in the bayous. Just kiddin'. I grew up in the country part of Louisiana (some would call the swamps). I prefer fresh home grown vegetables over store bought any day of the week. However, I will not eat, deer, squirrel, rabbit, etc. anymore. And yes, living in Louisiana, I even ate alligator growing up. I haven't eaten it in over 20 years, and have no desire to.
• United States
31 Mar 08
I can't say that I blame you. I wouldn't eat it either if I was tired of it or didn't like it, especially if that's all you ate when you were growing up. Lousiana is one state I haven't been in yet. I'll get there some day.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Fried alligator is good, if cooked the right way. I just don't see me putting it on the menu, now that I am older. *LOL*
• United States
31 Mar 08
Good question! No, I never force my little one (2 years old) to eat certain foods. I do try to encourage him too, and will sometimes try to "disguise" it - such as once a I made a quesadilla and added a jar of baby food squash - he never knew the difference! He is a really picky eater, so I do make sure he takes his vitamin every day! I think forcing a child to eat certain foods will have negative effects.
• United States
31 Mar 08
LOL - I love disguising food - you might try "faux"-tatos. Cook cauliflower until soft and mash with non fat cream cheese. Has a similar texture to mashed potatoes and my kiddos love it!
2 people like this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
31 Mar 08
In all honestly, I never thought of the idea to disguise the food. I had them try it at least once, and I got my answer from it then. I am more of a picky eater than my kids. They eat every vegetable except spinach and green beans (the oldest eats this one).
@KrauseHome (35503)
• United States
31 Mar 08
I think a lot of people when they Grow up share stories of having to eat certain foods to where some of these they can no longer eat as well. I know I will NEVER touch Spinach again for example because it was an item made to eat. I do like Liver occassionally still though if cooked right and with onions. But it would depend a lot on Finances, and how many kids you have, etc. if you serve items that some like, and others do not. But when it comes to Vegetables, anymore there are too many kids not eating enough of them because they are never made too. I think that there should be some Exceptions to this rule from time to time, but when you know there is something that a child really does not like, if you have to have it from time to time, you could consider doing it less often just so you do not have to see them suffer.
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
31 Mar 08
I am totally with you on the spinach. I don't even cook it in my house. Thank goodness no one likes it here. Yes, I can see where finances can play a factor in the menu, and how much you can afford of a variety to please the whole family. All 3 of my kids, eat more variety of vegetables then I do. The only vegetables my two younger kids won't eat is spinach and green beans. My oldest son will eat anything, but doesn't care for spinach.
• United States
31 Mar 08
Our rule is you have to try it - at least a small bite - if you don't like it that's fine, but at least try it. Course, this goes for the hubby also - he's 56 and just learned he like guacamole - he never wanted to try it because it didn't look good - LOL. As far as veggies and stuff go, I try to always have at least one veggie on their plate they like so I don't have to battle to get them to eat a balanced meal. Once a week I'll make a meal that is entirely kid friendly, chicken nuggets or chili dogs or something like that - keeps dinner from being a battle, and even the adults like a little "junk food" every now and again!
2 people like this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
31 Mar 08
Yes, I have/had the same policy of you have to at least try it before saying you don't like it. And if the verdict came back, "yuck, or I DON"T like that momma". Then they didn't have to eat it. And next time it was cook, for the ones who did like it, it didn't go on their plate. I myself don't eat guacamole, for it looks like $hit. (sorry no pun tended.) *LOL*
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
31 Mar 08
My mother always made food an issue when I was growing up. You had to eat so much or she did the "Think about the kids in 'pick a country' without food" or she'd try to make you feel guilty by saying she worked so hard to make it just for you. The fact that it's something you don't like never seemed to enter her mind. And of course you had to clean your plate in order to get desert and if you didn't eat it was put in the fridge for later when you got hungry. So with my niece we don't make it an issue. We try to get her to try things but if she doesn't want to she can have something else. No we don't make full on separate meals for her. She has a sandwich, ramen noodles, hot pocket or something else easily made. When she's ready she tries things and sometimes really likes it.
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
31 Mar 08
Oh wow. We never got the speech about kids in another country starving, and the work hard for the food, we didn't get either. For we were the ones out in the fields, picking the vegetables, etc. We simply learned the rules of the land, if you don't clean your plate, you go to bed hungry. The food, was then scraped to the chickens to eat. We also learned not to whine about the food served, or it was scraped out of your plate just as quickly. I think what actually helped me, was my ex ate everything, and the kids would see him eat it, so they would try it. I never had to force them to even try it.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
31 Mar 08
I should also state my mom is a lousy cook and she would cook the same things almost every week. I still cannot stomach creamed eggs on toast or chipped beef on toast, the smell makes me nauseous. I think the worst though was Spanish rice. That was just plain nasty. I think the best thing she'd make was a roast but even that had a tendency to be dried out. Everything else was either greasy, majorly dried out and tough, or some sort of mishmash that looked like it came out of someone.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
*LOL* Seems you had it rough growing up around the dinner table. So thankful that my family could cook. The things you mentioned I have never heard of, and well, sorry to say, they don't sound appealing at all. Except for Spanish rice, I don't care for it either.
1 person likes this
@tessah (6621)
• United States
4 Apr 08
the only rule with food in this house is that you cannot claim to not like something if you havent tried it to find out. so everything must at least be sampled, after that, if it isnt liked, i dont force them to eat anything. i do randomly continue to have them try the same foods they may not have liked previously, because tastes change, and one day you dont like something, and 6 months later, you do. ( my kid despised brocolli before, and now cant get enough of it! ) i was also forced as a kid to eat what was put in front of me, regardless, AND to clean my plate, which is something else i dont agree with. if theyre full.. theyre full, they dont have to be a member of the "clean plate club" that only leads to eating disorders.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
4 Apr 08
Thank you for your input tessah. I have to say, I totally agree with your logic. Yes, our taste buds do change as we grow, and I think certain foods, perhaps cooked a different way, we could enjoy more. For instance for me, I will only eat eggplant fried. Being from the South, I love fried foods.
@tessah (6621)
• United States
4 Apr 08
my daughter, doesnt like her veggies cooked.. so if i could her spinach, she doesnt like it.. but raw in a salad.. she will devour. so yeah, same food, prepared differently, makes all the difference sometimes, and i dontmind taking the time to get her to eat healthy
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
8 Apr 08
I totally and completely agree with you. i fix the vegetables in which I know my kids will eat it. As long as they eat them, that is all that really matters.
@heart143 (1204)
• Philippines
10 Apr 08
Just like you, I came from a poor family and we too (my siblings and I) are "forced" to eat anything on the table, otherwise we go hungry. When we grew up and have means of our own, it is then, that we can have the foods that we really want. I became picky and tend to eat the foods I was deprived of during my younger years. My child is very lucky because she will not suffer eating foods that we ate before. I want my child to be healthy that I prepare a variety of foods for her including some of the ones she dislikes. I don't force her much to eat if she doesn't like to because I want her eating experience to be enjoyable. I just have to be a bit creative so that she'll gonna learn how to eat it too.
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
10 Apr 08
I can totally relate to what you are saying. Once I was able to provide food for myself, I do so with the things I missed out on while growing up. When my kids came along, they had more of a variety to choose from. As they say "variety is the spice of life".
@checapricorn (16066)
• United States
8 Apr 08
I dont have kids yet but Im observing how my friends raise their kids..I only see them forcing their kids eating vegetables but most of the time fighting with their kids not to eat junk food which they prefer...Its not good to force really but if we think it is something that is good for them, we can talk and motivate them to eat it but never force since it will give another tension or develop some attitude which is not good also!I grew up also in a very poor family but I never remember my mom forcing us but I just need to force myself to eat because that is only what is available on our table and she let us understand that we dont have money to buy more food.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
8 Apr 08
Yes, I have to agree. There is a fight with food all the time, whether it's forcing (making our kids eat) their vegetables, or getting them out of the junk food. I wouldn't say I was "forced" to eat anything. For I did have the option of not eating. Basically cause their was nothing else to eat, you learned to eat the things you didn't want to. Or so it was in my house.
@Hatley (164447)
• Garden Grove, California
8 Apr 08
Having been forced to eat a half of a very sour grapefruit when i was a kid no I never forced my son to eat anything. He ate pretty well and did not have any picky food eating habits at all. I swore I would never treat my children like that. My dad would not let me leave the table until I had ate that sour grapefruit which to this day I detest. 'But my mom was clever when he was out of the house she took the half and threw it away and put a empty half on my plate so dad never knew I did not eat the vile thing. From then on my mom did not give me grapefruit but something else instead if they were having grapefruit for dessert no more problems as my dad was much too stern. I was also made to eat wild pheasant and the thought of it now grosses me out also wild duck yuck and double yuck.
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
8 Apr 08
The only way I can eat grapefruit is covered (an dI meaned drowned) in sugar. I never have eaten pheasant. I have tried duck before, I wasn't too keen on it. Maybe if I didn't know what it was, it would have tasted better. *LOL*
@sid556 (31003)
• United States
1 Apr 08
When my kids were small, I did make them at least try everything on their plate....at least one bite. If they didn't like it that was fine. If they didn't like the entire meal...that too was fine. I would give them something else. By the time they were teens, they had learned to like many of the foods that they did not like when they were younger. Over time they broadened their taste buds and became very healthy eaters.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Thank you sid for your response. Yes, I have a friend who told me, that her mother had a two try rule. To try it once when they were young, and if they didn't like it, then that was fine. Once they were older they had to try it again, for people's taste buds do change. The logic seemed to have worked with your kids.
@rowantree (1190)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Some days the menu is things that I know are tried and true. Some days the menu might include something that they haven't tried before. I ask that they take one bite and if they don't like it, so be it. There's PB&J in the pantry, as my grandma always says and I follow her example. There's other days when I am pulling the hair out of my head trying to figure out what to make for dinner because I'm trying to please 4 people who can't all agree.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Oh I know exactly what you mean rowan. It can be a hassle at times to try and come up with a complete menu to please the whole family here.
@jmr201 (183)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Im a very picky peron when it comes to food i hardly eat anything my son is 1 yr old and he eats what ever you give him wich is good i try to give him different things so he can get used to eating alot more things than me sometimes i feel bad for my husband when it comes to dinner since i dont eat much things i ty to make him things he likes even if i have to make 2 different foods.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
I know exactly what you mean. It was the same way with me and my ex. he ate absolutely everything, which I am a more picky with my food. So a lot of the times, there was 2 different meals cooked, one for him and the kids and one for me. As I wouldn't force my eating habits on them, I made sure they had the foods they liked, that I didn't.
@tentwo67 (3384)
• United States
1 Apr 08
I make it a point to insist that my son try everything on his plate. He is not allowed to say he doesn't like something if he hasn't tried it. If he tries it and sincerely doesn't like it, I will not force him to eat it, but I will not make him something special either. I think it is good to put as much variety as possible in a child's diet, and I think that we discover things about our tastes by trying new things. I do try to make sure I have at least one healthy thing in the meal that I know he does like. That way I feel like he's getting something good. I also don't force feed my child in forcing him to clean his plate. I don't let him get other things without eating a good bit of what's on his plate, though.
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Thank you for your input tentwo67. I completely agree with you. A child needs a variety in their diet and for them to atleast try it before they discard it. I too never forced my kids to eat everything in their plate, but if they didn't, they couldn't get any junk food either.
@alexigne (903)
• Philippines
1 Apr 08
I don't force my baby to eat. If she doesn't want i just put it away. On the other day i will try to give it again and if she still don't want it, i'll give another food that she like. I just try and try until she like it. `Because they say saying no on the first attempt doesn't mean that she will not like it all the time. Note. But i try or force her to give a little bite or taste to know her reaction because more often she like it.She has an attitude of not eating the food that is new on her eyes. If she doesn't really like it, she maybe feel she's full or doesn't really like the taste of the food.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Seems like a good policy. You mentioned baby? I take it you are trying to get her acquired on the baby food? That is a bit more tricker to find out if they truly like it or not.
• United States
1 Apr 08
If my daughter dont like it I wont make her eat it. I feel sometimes she should at least try different things. For the most part she does without even having to ask her. I would never make her eat wild life esp, or seafood. Both are something you have to be into. When I was a child we never really had food cause we were poor also and parents didnt hunt. I think at the time I would have liked to have at least deer but we didnt have nothing! We lived off cakemix, eggs, peanut butter. My daughters father is a big hunter and fisher. I does get fish and deer meat a lot. My daughter likes it somewhat but not really. I dont make her though. I dont think I could. So for the most part I make things I know she will eat, even if its a side dish for the rest of us.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Both wildlife and seafood, is more of an acquired taste food. I love seafood, but I was raised on it. I will admit the wildlife wasn't nasty tasting, I just grew up and refuse to eat it now. I prefer to watch the wildlife in it's own habitat then have it on my plate. I could have handled peanut butter growing up, we didn't have any foods that wasn't home grown, hunted, or caught. So we wasn't privilged to such things as peanut butter.
@chiyosan (30205)
• Philippines
1 Apr 08
well we weren't forced to eat anything, but we had everything we wanted to eat as a child - my mom wanted us to eat anything we like so we will not be like other kids who would look pitiful wanting something we cant have... so when there is something we dont like we are not forced too. i guess that's what i will be too with my kids someday. i will not force them but will ask the to try so they will know what it tastes like and its up to them to decide.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Yes, I think kids should make the choice to decide if they like something or not. Such as Spinach for example, I don't know too many people that like it, but it wouldn't be for me to decide if my child would like it or not.
@aretha (2538)
• United States
1 Apr 08
i hate that and would never do that to my kids. i was never made to eat it but i am a picky eater anyway so i know i wouldn't eat what i don't like so why should my kids have to. the rule in our house is you have to try it. then if you don't like it spit it in the garbage and don't eat it again. but they have to try it.
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
I have to completely agree with you. There is quite a bit of different foods I don't eat. So why would I force my kids to eat them. Although like I said, they eat more of a variety of food then I do.
@mrpippo (756)
• United States
31 Mar 08
as for me my kids are spoiled rotten especially when it comes to food ,i'm a chef by trade and my kids take advantage of that even at home ,at dinner time its like i'm at work everyone wants something different to eat ,but i dont mind it cuz i love to cook ,so i make them whatever they want
1 person likes this
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Well, I can't say I blame the kids at all. I would be the same way, if I knew I could get exactly what I wanted. It must be nice.
• United States
31 Mar 08
We have our kids try new foods at least once so they no how they taste. If it is a new food we only give them a little to try but tell them they must try it.
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Yes, I have to agree with that policy.
• United States
31 Mar 08
I agree with the first commenter, I would have a you have to try it rule. When I was young my mom never forced me to eat what I didnt want but she had a three bite rule and most of the time once I passed the second bite I ate the rest of it. Kids are too picky these days and their diets aren't varied enough!
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
1 Apr 08
I totally agree with you enchanted. Kids have gotten picky about foods more so now. I think a lot of it is because of all the fast food joints they have now a days, compared to when I was growing up.