I have a friend that went on a cooking strike. When her kids became overly critical of her cooking (which is fabulous, I have to say) and just whiney in general at dinnertime, she called it quits. For a week, she didn't cook one meal for them. Her husband and boys, then ages 5 and 8 (the boys, that is, I think the husband is forty-something), had to fend for themselves for three meals a day. Eventually, the boys apologized and she went back to preparing their meals. She claims that the whine factor at dinnertime has diminished drastically thanks to her little experiment.
Well, I am really close to implementing it myself. At least four out of every seven nights, neither of my boys eats dinner. They squirm in their chairs, poke at their food and complain. Once Liam declares that he's not eating whatever it is, Evan follows suit. The both pull off their bibs and become general disruptions while the other three of us try to eat. We have a rule that you have to stay at the table until everyone is done eating, so letting them down to go play is not an option.
Most of the time, Sydney eats her dinner. She may pick around the vegetables, but she eats everything else. However, last night she was just as bad as her brothers. It's not like I fixed something gross (slow cooker cranberry pork chops, pasta, green beans). She was just in a mood, I suppose.
So after dinner, they asked to go to the pool, which has become our nightly summer ritual. We said "no" since we went in the morning. Then they asked to play Wii. And I just snapped. I told them that children who don't eat their dinners don't get rewarded with fun things and I forced them to go grocery shopping with me after the dishes were cleaned up.
My three children had to march through the grocery store with empty stomachs and I didn't give in to a single one of their pleas for samples or "yummy" (preservative-filled) foods.
Was that mean? Was it mean enough? And what do I do now when they pull their "I don't like this...I don't want to eat this...This is yucky...I want something else" routine? Any ideas?
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