I was never one of those mums who got too worked up when their toddlers wouldn’t eat. And just as well too as all four of them went through fussy periods and refused to sit up at the table and eat dinner at the ‘proper’ times. They preferred to snack little and often and I found myself to be pretty much okay with this as I truly believe that small children won’t let themselves starve.
Sure enough, once they started school, and lost the opportunity to eat when they feel like, they all settled down to eat well at ‘meal times’. I know this is more convenient for adults but I’m not sure it’s actually better for the kids. Anyhow, my point is that I made a choice early on to try not to turn the dinner table into a battle ground.
This doesn’t mean I don’t get p*ssed off when my kids won’t eat whatever I’ve lovingly prepared for them, especially when it’s something healthier than their preferred fare of pizza, pasta or something with chips. But I try not to show how annoyed I am when no one will even try the beef casserole that has been simmering in the slow cooker all day, and settle for telling them that they can make themselves a sandwich instead.
But lately something has been happening that worries me a whole lot more than non eating toddlers ever did.
My newly 11 year old DD1 has started refusing to eat breakfast. At first it was just ‘I don’t feel like it’ now and again and I managed to persuade her to eat something. Gradually it’s become more and more common until now pretty nearly everyday we have a breakfast battle.
She’s tall and skinny, and she seems to be eating normally at other times of the day, but she has started to make comments about having fat legs ( she doesn’t) and wanting to be skinny ( she is). Of course I’m panicking that she’s going to develop an eating disorder but I’m willing to be told I’m over reacting.
How should I deal with this? Should I be insisting she eats something or should I trust her to eat what she needs, the way I trusted my children as toddlers? It just seems a lot more serious at this age.
Has anyone else had this problem? Does anyone have any words of wisdom for me?