Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dinner and Battles


We have a battle going on in our house right now. It's a battle of wills between my husband and I against our 3 yr old Rebekah.
She's cute and adorable and doesn't kick and scream about not eating (unlike her older sister, Elizabeth), she just sits quietly in protest of whatever I cook.
Sadly I am to blame in this battle. When Chris is deployed we tend to eat out more often, because I don't feel like cooking as much. I might not have gone this route, but when it's only Sarah and I eating after a while, it gets a little old. Now that Elizabeth is eating what is put in front of her (albeit with some complaining involved from time to time) we have moved on to breaking this bad habit of not eating what she doesn't like, even if it means Daddy forcing her to eat.
So dinner time has become an interesting battle of the wills. While I have complete faith that Chris is much more stubborn than Beka and for the time being he is winning the battle, I wonder who exactly will win the war. It isn't that she is crying, screaming and yelling, it's a passive resistance. And for some odd reason she seems to be happy to just go upstairs and play in her room. This is obviously not the right answer, after all, how does she learn anything by playing in her room. And I hate the idea of reheating her food for the next day again and again until she eats, first because it's not so good for her and second, because I am not certain it is always the best idea. Although I have known a few kids who refused to eat for several days until they caved on the idea of only eating the item they were initially offered. I have found that offering a food over and over again does work to some extent. Beka now eats burritos and tacos - but she's going through a picky eating phase. The child who enjoyed eating spaghetti before doesn't want to eat it now. She'll eat burritos but not her former favorite spaghetti?!
I'd like to tell you she comes by that penchant for eating one food over the other on her own or from Chris' DNA. Alas, I must confess it is from me, I find a food I enjoy and I tend to eat it often. Sometimes I am on an italian food kick, sometimes it's mexican food - but I have found I do better if I cook the food myself and don't go out to eat. I tend to cook w/o a lot of processed items and so when I eat it tastes much better and it doesn't make me feel sick.
So here is our battle, and sadly tonight I resorted to bribery. For every bite Beka ate, I let her have one gummy candy. It's sad, but it worked. Does this make me a terrible mom? Do you have a battle you are fighting with your child? We all have some kind of battle, what is yours? Is your child a picky eater? Do they have problems working in school for their teachers? Do you struggle with getting your child to speak nicely to you and others? Whatever your battle know that you are not alone. Every parent and every child has something that they but heads over - whether it is control of the house or food or school. . . we all have something that makes us want to bang our heads against the wall. The trick is finding what is their currency (or what is important to them) and use it to your advantage. For Elizabeth it is TV time. If she is naughty and you take away her TV priveleges it is like death. For Beka it is standing in the corner and knowing that we are disappointed in her. For Sarah, it's her electronics - take away her mp3 player and you would think you have killed her. No matter what you find out about your child and no matter what you battle is, know you aren't alone and you are not the first parent in the world who struggles with helping their children obey.
Also remember it is a parent who loves their child who is willing to tell their child "no". It is easy to be a yes parent or a parent who is liked by their child by giving them what they want. It doesn't mean that your child respects you though and a parent who loves their child is one who is willing to not always be popular or liked and say "No, you may not go out to the party with your friends without parents there." "No you may not have free reign on the internet." I am not advocating only saying no. I think it's important to sometimes explain why you are saying no to your child. I have found that in explaining to Sarah it tends to go over much better even if she doesn't like our decision.
I hope you all have a good week. I hope you continue to look to God and His Word for guidance.
Love in Christ,
Maureen

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