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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

I’ve been chatting back and forth via e-mail with a reader and she asked a question today that reminded me of a trick my own mother used successfully. You know…back in the day when I was little. Well, she had to use it on my sister because I was (of course) the perfect child.

Moving on.

My sister was rather a picky eater when she was little, and often frustrated the family by insisting for an entire meal that she HATED a certain food, only to finally sample a bite at the end of the meal and declare she loved it. By then of course, we’d eaten all the rest of it ourselves and she’d throw a fit wanting more of the food everyone had tried to convince her to eat for half an hour.

Finally, my mom invented the “No, Thank You” helping. Regardless of her opinion on the food, my sister was presented with a tiny (two to three bites at most) helping of each food being served, and she was dismissed from the table only after she’d eaten it.

If sis decided she liked the food, she was welcome to more. If she was having an I Don’t Like That day, no sweat. She was not required to eat any more. This removed most of the power struggle, kept my parents in the position of authority, and gave my sister most of the control over what she wanted to eat. It was a win for all concerned.

I have a few picky eaters here, and the “No, Thank You” helping has been invaluable. I just put the very tiny bit on the plate and let the boys figure out how to eat it. Sometimes they have the bite and want more. Other times they choke down the offending culinary offering and glare meaningfully in my direction.

Either way, I can happily assume that they’ve at least tried the food, and they can reject my cooking [sob] knowing that I’m not going to force them to have a big serving.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who need to utilize the No Thank You helping.

Image courtesy of idovermani via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.