Eating with families with different approaches

Oh, we're done with all that vegetable-steaming and mess, our children are cutlery-wielding, spaghetti-chomping angels... at least some of the time.

Eating with families with different approaches

Postby sparkling » 12 Jun 2012, 19:04

How do you find it when you and LO are eating with other children & parents? I've felt quite awkward lately when we've been eating with friends, as my laid back attitude and their 'you must eat all your dinner or no pudding' ideas clash somewhat.

A couple of weeks ago we ate with 2 other families with LOs a bit younger than Jiglet. She barely touched any of her dinner, just ate some bread and a bit of sausage and salad, not even trying the pasta (it had a bit of sauce on) or risotto - I hadn't really expected her to but want to keep offering because sometimes she will try. Fine, she didn't want it, I wasn't going to force her (at home we might have urged her to try it, but certainly not to clear the plate). But both the other children were being told they had to finish their meals, and I was asked if she was allowed pudding if she didn't eat more savoury. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have made her eat it anyway, and I didn't want to create a major battle over it.

Essentially I'm not going to change my attitudes and make my girls clear their plates to keep other people happy, but I can see that it must annoy them when my approach kind of undermines them in front of their children as my DD gets her pudding regardless. Short of never eating with other children, how do you reconcile different attitudes towards eating?
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby Louisianablue2000 » 12 Jun 2012, 19:12

Well I think their attitudes are a bit outdated frankly, especially with such a young child. I know lots of people who would insist on a taste of everything on the plate (which is fair enough, especially if you have children who are a bit reluctant to taste new foods) but no-one who insists on finishing everything.

Personally my girls always eat less at other people's houses so I always tell the adults that and say that they aren't fussy generally (which is true) so I just assume they aren't that hungry or are distracted by the new environment when they don't want to eat something.
See DD1's first few meals here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisianab ... 629434614/
See DD2's weaning video here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisianab ... 826217940/

DD1 Dec 07, DD2 June 09, DS Sept 12
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby EmmysMommy » 12 Jun 2012, 19:23

Can I ask a question? Although I also don't believe in the 'clear your plate else you won't get' threats, what happens if LO's refuse all dinner knowing they'll still get the nice bit at the end?
Thanks
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby Morlyte » 12 Jun 2012, 19:30

We have relations who do this too, I never insist on finishing the plate because I always serve up too much and so long as he has at least tried some or ate half of it then I am satisfied.

In answer to your question EmmysMommy; our pudding generally consists of yoghurt or fruit and I havent ever found that main course is skipped in order to get pudding, he will try to say he is full in order to play something or over at our friends house but never to just get pudding.
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby sparkling » 12 Jun 2012, 19:35

EmmysMommy wrote:Can I ask a question? Although I also don't believe in the 'clear your plate else you won't get' threats, what happens if LO's refuse all dinner knowing they'll still get the nice bit at the end?
Thanks

At home we don't necessarily have a 'pudding', although yogurt and fruit are always on offer. So it's only really an issue when we're out.

I do kind of struggle with Jiglet and party buffets as if there is cake on display she's just not interested in savoury, and I think people must think I'm a terrible parent for letting her get away with only eating cake! I usually put some other bits she likes on her plate, but if she doesn't eat it I don't make a fuss.
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby Louisianablue2000 » 12 Jun 2012, 19:47

Another household here where pudding is usually just fruit so not an issue at home.
See DD1's first few meals here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisianab ... 629434614/
See DD2's weaning video here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisianab ... 826217940/

DD1 Dec 07, DD2 June 09, DS Sept 12
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby EmmysMommy » 12 Jun 2012, 20:00

Ok, thanks guys for clearing that up! We've never really done puddings at home, so it would only be fruit & yoghurt type thing here too. Nanna (my Mom) often makes apple crumble or similar when we're over there but it would be so infrequent I wouldn't mind I suppose & it's all homemade!
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby blackberrycrimble » 12 Jun 2012, 20:22

We usually only have fruit or yoghurt but Fluff and Sybil love their fruit, so we do get a bit of this. Usually, we take the line that they have one piece of fruit. If they have eaten a reasonable amount of their main course they can have more, but not otherwise.

Re eating with other families, we went away with a group of friends a couple of years ago and had a situation not unlike this, although because Sybil was under a year I think we got away with it to some extent. Actually only one of the families was really on the other end of the spectrum, the others were closer to us. The family who were really did sit over them and make them eat a whole enormous bowl of porridge etc. It was quite awkward but we just all did our own things, really, and tried to do it quietly.

We often see my sister and her children and although they aren't that far from us there are differences in how we approach mealtimes (and other aspects of parenting) and we (I mean my sister and I) tend to take three approaches depending on the situation - a) adapting and compromise - so e.g. Fluff and Sybil have juice at lunch, water at other times, my sister's children have water at lunch and juice at snack time. I'm not so bothered about it so we tend to do it their way when we see them. b) the 'unusual' card - so the 'stricter' one will relax rules because it isn't a normal situation and c) telling the children that 'people do things differently', which applies to lots of other aspects of parenting too. F and S are starting to be old enough to understand that people do things in different ways.
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby AB&M » 12 Jun 2012, 21:03

With the littler ones I wouldn't care about different attitudes & would manage my child as I wanted - pudding is fruit & yoghurt plus it's often on the table already so part of the meal.

It gets worse though - after school play dates are a mine field! So I've taken a similar stance as I do on the playing front. In our house the rules are xyz & when Bruno goes to a friends house the rules may be different & he knows now to follow their rules.
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby sparkling » 12 Jun 2012, 21:40

I guess on the whole I'm happy with 'your house your rules' but I don't want to enter into a battle trying to make her eat food she doesn't want. On the whole she accepts different rules in different situations but don't think she'd take to well to that! Maybe I'll only put small amounts of stuff I know she'll eat on her plate in these situations in future, then less likely to cause friction.
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby skip » 12 Jun 2012, 23:14

WTAS really. I was at my dad's the other day and they cooked for us. Pre dinner my step mum brought out a massive tray of garlic bread and said to help ourselves. M had quite a bit, and then of course wasn't that interested in his dinner, which was a stew that I knew he wouldn't eat anyway. He had 4 diff adults trying to get him to eat it and in the end I had to point out they'd just filled him full of bread and told him it was fine to go and play. Someone snarkily commented "I bet he eats pudding though" but lo and behold, the boy actually was full and turned down strawberries, ice cream and crumble too. ("So ner ner ner" I felt like saying ;) )

I usually lame out and make excuses while still letting M off the hook, but only if they're mostly true - like he just ate at home, or he's a bit under the weather etc.
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby Turtle'sMammy » 12 Jun 2012, 23:29

We went to dinner with DH's colleagues a few weeks ago. At their house. Their kids are all grown up, so there was no awkwardness with them being told to eat and whatnot. But afterwards DH told me that his co-worker said they used to make their kids sit until everyone was finished eating (even at Thanksgiving and other long drawn out boring meals) no matter how old they were. But we "didn't have to."
Of course my fella ate nothing and was running around like a lunatic the entire time. He didn't get served pudding, but I shared mine with him ;D
If I had known the expectations going in I would have been mortified. As it was I was fairly relaxed. Not sure I'll go again. I'll feel pressured to live up to their expectations!
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby Riotproof » 13 Jun 2012, 06:58

I was at a BBQ recently where the grandma was trying to cajole 7 year old twins into trying a couscous salad.. it was embarrassing for them, me and her. It actually made me uncomfortable. I did try talking to the mother about how making less of a deal about it might mean they improve with what they will eat, and she agreed but it's not how she operates.

So, my view is to give little portions especially at others houses where they will view it as waste if uneaten, but you don't need to change your whole parenting approach just because you're at someone's house.
I don't even force the last spoon of yoghurt or whatever if DS says he's finished. If he asks for more, I scrape it up and offer it before getting more, but that's it.
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby CPinho » 13 Jun 2012, 11:32

To me the most conflicting aspect about eating out and with other families is not even about that - I just explain to people beforehand where we stand and the way we do things. To me the thing that is more tricky to deal with is the mess - my LO is 15 months and she can be a little messy monster :) Usually we are very laid back about this (in the end she helps me clean up with her own broom) but other families (including DH's parents) are usually horrified with the mess itself and about our approach of just letting her do it.
Your LOs are older, so I suppose you don't have this problem anymore, right?
Mum to R, born March 2011, and S & I, born October 2013
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Re: Eating with families with different approaches

Postby fourweewonders » 13 Jun 2012, 13:19

Im fairly ok with eating with other familys but when they say 'oooh how did you get them to try x' or 'how come yours sit nicly and dont get down from their chairs 50 times per meal' but then wont give our parenting/attitude to eating any credit, thats when i want to slam my head against the table
Mum to B (b.sept 2006) & E (b.sept 2009) and R & A (b.july 2011).
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