[Parentsgroup-list] Parentsgroup-list Digest, Vol 589, Issue 1

Sabrina Selk sselk at hsph.harvard.edu
Tue Feb 9 14:31:47 EST 2010


Hi Meeta,


I saw the other posts and I think a lot of the other parents have touched on some important points on how this is a stage that most parents are familiar with as toddlers are notorious for a) not eating and b) saying no, and it seems as if your little boy has hit both these milestones at the same time. The one thing that I wanted to stress was that I would recommend being a little easier on yourself. I don't think it sounds as if he's being 'subjected' to a lot of new changes, instead, it sounds as if you gave your son a wonderful opportunity to travel. While change and transitions can be hard, I think focusing on the positives and reminding yourself that this behavior is normal and NOT reflective of you will help keep you calm in the fact of the battle of wills that only toddlers and teenagers can present to parents. Also, it might help to talk to your son's teachers, I've always found the teachers at my children's daycare to be wonderful advocates for our kids, and they see 
 a lot of range in the typical behavior of toddlers. If they aren't concerned, then likely what your seeing falls within the range of what's considered normal toddler behavior. One last piece of advice, my children's pediatricians have always mentioned that it's not what a toddler eats on any given day that matters, it's how well they eat over the course of a week. It's very common for toddlers to have days where they eat very little, followed by a day where they eat more. As long as it balances it out over the course of a week or so, I've been told, that there's nothing to worry about.


Good luck!


Sabrina
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Message: 1
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 19:15:51 -0500
From: Meeta Sharma Gupta 
Subject: [Parentsgroup-list] Toddler Eating Problem
To: parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
Message-ID: <6B148349-203F-41ED-9347-C19857284D11 at eecs.harvard.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Hi All,

My son, who is 2 years now, is quite picky with food. He has been subjected to quite a lot of changes in the last few months, first  a new daycare, then travel to India for almost 2 months and now back to his daycare. He used to be quite good with food, even try to eat on his own before all these changes started. Now, he will eat with a lot of fuss, and everything is a 'no' 'no'. there are some good days when he eats happily. I try to keep myself as calm about this but I am looking for any possible advice regarding this. Is this a phase which will pass? How should i get him interested in food? 

Also, how should i deal with his saying 'no' to everything problem? His first reply to anything, any activity is a 'no'. Is this a sign of his resentment to all the change he has gone through? He is in general a very happy kid and very sociable. This new changes in his behavior make me feel guilty about all these changes we put him through. 

Looking forward to some advice,
Best,
Meeta
(Mother of Aarush, 2)

------------------------------

Message: 2
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 19:57:30 -0500
From: Sebastian Velez 
Subject: Re: [Parentsgroup-list] Toddler Eating Problem
To: Meeta Sharma Gupta 
Cc: parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
Message-ID:
    <95c4b26f1002081657s27b17f70s86e71f6f80c63fde at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Hi Meeta:

I've got two kids, one 18, one 6.

These are normal phases for kids. Yeah, if you had a whole day to wait
around them it would be one thing, but it's infuriating when you want
them to eat right away because you have to go to class or take them to
school or whatever. You know that if they don't eat now, they'll be
crying later because they are hungry.

My first advice is to drop the guilt. A 2-year old can't know about
resentment. Kids are also very flexible and I'm going to bet the moves
have nothing to do with it. With my own kids, when their mother was
not around, I would take the food away after the first 'no', and then
not offer any more until the next scheduled meal. It's hard because
they will try to get food or candy from the fridge or other places
where you might have easy calories around the house, so you have to be
vigilant. Yes, they cry and go hungry, but they learn quickly that you
ain't kidding when you say "eat now or you're not eating for another 2
hours".

I also think that kids suffer a lot when they get to make too many
decisions. For kids, you are a magical figure that can produce good
stuff and reduce their discomfort at will. You can fix things, like
dirty diapers, that for them are impossible. The problem is that they
don't know which things you are doing at will (yes or no toys at the
store, this vs that food, feeding time, bed time, etc.) and which
things are just laws of nature. I remember my daughter crying to the
top of her lungs because I would not make it snow. And when I made
that happen -- yes, I'm that good -- she wanted me to stop the snow,
of course. So you have to make it clear which things are flexible, and
thus they have a choice in it, and which things are just the way they
are. In other words, you don't ask "are you hungry"? You feed them.
And you don't ask for their opinion when you know what's best for
them.

This doesn't mean that you don't let them make any decisions.
Actually, I let my kids make more decisions on their own than most
other parents. It's just that when I let them decide, I am true to
them and I accept their choice. When I say "today we'll do anything
you want", sometimes I get to go to the park with them (what I really
wanted), and sometimes I get stuck inside playing girly games over
pizza and soda (what they wanted). I don't play manipulative games
asking them "what do you think about eating now?" when I really mean
"eat now". And when I don't want them to have a choice I don't give it
to them.

Hope that helps. Hang in there!

-Sebastian


On Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 7:15 PM, Meeta Sharma Gupta
 wrote:
> Hi All,
>
> My son, who is 2 years now, is quite picky with food. He has been subjected to quite a lot of changes in the last few months, first ?a new daycare, then travel to India for almost 2 months and now back to his daycare. He used to be quite good with food, even try to eat on his own before all these changes started. Now, he will eat with a lot of fuss, and everything is a 'no' 'no'. there are some good days when he eats happily. I try to keep myself as calm about this but I am looking for any possible advice regarding this. Is this a phase which will pass? How should i get him interested in food?
>
> Also, how should i deal with his saying 'no' to everything problem? His first reply to anything, any activity is a 'no'. Is this a sign of his resentment to all the change he has gone through? He is in general a very happy kid and very sociable. This new changes in his behavior make me feel guilty about all these changes we put him through.
>
> Looking forward to some advice,
> Best,
> Meeta
> (Mother of Aarush, 2)
> _______________________________________________
> Parentsgroup-list mailing list
> Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
>


------------------------------

Message: 3
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 17:14:58 -0800
From: Joy Geren 
Subject: Re: [Parentsgroup-list] Toddler Eating Problem
To: Meeta Sharma Gupta 
Cc: parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
Message-ID:
    <32b3ae5a1002081714j7243be4bl95f00ab1dee7b6cb at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

This sounds normal to me. Fortunately unless your son is underweight
you probably don't need to be too concerned. Offer a healthy diet
including frequent healthy snacks and he will eat when he is hungry.
Two is not a particularly rapid growth period so he probably needs
fewer calories than you would think, just make sure he isn't getting
them all from one source, for instance only drinking cow's milk (if
you are nursing there is no need to limit quantity). Remember that
both caloric intake and variety of diet should be averaged over the
week, not each meal. So if he eats well for three days and barely
nibbles for two he is fine. If he eats only meat one day and only
fruit the next, he is fine.

One trick that helps sometimes is making food freely accessible. If
you can stand to have your child run around with food leave some food-
crackers, fruit slices, chicken cubes, cheese, or other not terribly
messy snacks- at his level and he can eat on his terms. This is good
both for distracted eaters and when eating is becoming a battle of
wills.

If this is about him feeling like he doesn't have control give him
some manageable, not open ended, choices during the day (i.e. square
or triangle sandwich pieces, blue or brown pants, one story or two).
The choices also help a lot with the 'no' response. "We're leaving
now, okay?" leaves you wide open for a "NO" but "Should we leave now
or in one minute?" puts him in control and doesn't leave open the
option of saying 'no'.

Everyone is presented with challenges when we make big changes like
moving from place to place, but learning to be adaptable is important.
He has his parent(s) as a constant and he will be just fine. Being two
is just tough sometimes, you want to be independent but aren't quite
there yet and have a lot to say but may not have all the words yet.
This phase will pass...and then there will be the next one :)

Best,
Joy (Mom of Toby 4.5 and Della 1.5, and G8! in Developmental Psychology)



-- 
Joy Geren, M.A.
Doctoral Candidate
Laboratory for Developmental Studies
Department of Psychology
Harvard University


------------------------------

Message: 4
Date: Mon, 08 Feb 2010 23:58:44 -0500
From: Alexander Macalalad 
Subject: Re: [Parentsgroup-list] Toddler Eating Problem
To: parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
Message-ID: <4B70EB84.1040809 at hsph.harvard.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

The "no" phase is quite common (notorious even) in 2 year olds.  We have 
twin two year olds, so we get it in spades.

As I understand it, children in this phase are developing their sense of 
autonomy in the world, so it is important to nurture this sense, even as 
we maintain boundaries and safety.  How?  A battle of wills usually ends 
with (at least) two losers.  Better at this age to use firmness and 
redirection.  For example, "Yes, we are having macaroni and cheese.  Do 
you want to eat it with the blue fork or the yellow one?"  So I've done 
a few things here.  I've reasserted that the choice for dinner has 
already been made (by me or by them) and is no longer open to 
negotiation.  Then I've distracted them by presenting a different 
choice, and another opportunity to make a choice and assert their 
autonomy.  And in the larger picture, I've modeled for them how the 
world works, and how they can function in the world with rules and 
constrained choices.  Most importantly, I have showed them that I 
support their autonomy and their choices.

There are a few good books that go into more detail, but the one that 
pops up in my mind is "Positive Discipline" by J. Nelson.

As for the picky eating, I make it a point to always have a well 
balanced variety of foods available, and not to worry (at least out 
loud) about how little or how much they are eating.  My five year old is 
picky about foods, which I don't discourage because he has food 
allergies, so it's good that he's careful about what he eats.  He eats 
in spurts, much as you describe your two year old eating, and he is 75% 
in height and 50% in weight on the growth charts.  So it all evens out.  
I do make a point of restricting milk to one glass each meal, and water 
in between, and emphasizing nutritious snacks (fruits and vegetables 
over juices and junk food), under the theory that if they are going to 
restrict their calories, at least make those calories as nutritious as 
possible.  You don't mention whether your family is vegetarian -- if so, 
then you also have to make adequate protein available (as you no doubt 
are already aware).

Hope this helps.

Alex

On 2/8/2010 7:15 PM, Meeta Sharma Gupta wrote:
> Hi All,
>
> My son, who is 2 years now, is quite picky with food. He has been subjected to quite a lot of changes in the last few months, first  a new daycare, then travel to India for almost 2 months and now back to his daycare. He used to be quite good with food, even try to eat on his own before all these changes started. Now, he will eat with a lot of fuss, and everything is a 'no' 'no'. there are some good days when he eats happily. I try to keep myself as calm about this but I am looking for any possible advice regarding this. Is this a phase which will pass? How should i get him interested in food?
>
> Also, how should i deal with his saying 'no' to everything problem? His first reply to anything, any activity is a 'no'. Is this a sign of his resentment to all the change he has gone through? He is in general a very happy kid and very sociable. This new changes in his behavior make me feel guilty about all these changes we put him through.
>
> Looking forward to some advice,
> Best,
> Meeta
> (Mother of Aarush, 2)
> _______________________________________________
> Parentsgroup-list mailing list
> Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
>
>    


------------------------------

Message: 5
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2010 10:05:52 -0500
From: Haihua Su 
Subject: [Parentsgroup-list] 4-br apartment available for sublet on
    April    1st - $2100
To: parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
Message-ID:
    <46246c371002090705p7901e08fu3f2c8e4b683e2326 at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Here's the post on craigslist:

http://boston. craigslist. org/gbs/fee/ 1592162508. html


------------------------------

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