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Don't Stew Over It


What do you do with all the advice out there about parenting. Some of it is really valuable but not all of it works they way the experts say it will.

I use to listen to a popular radio show that often talked about parenting issues. They had a guest speaker who had the answer to getting your children to eat the food you placed in front of them. Maybe this hasn't been your experience but what I found is the more children we had, the pickier they got about eating certain foods. The younger siblings watched their older ones complain and decide they hated it before they’ve even taken a bite. This expert suggested when the kids don’t eat their dinner don’t fuss about it but cover it and place it in the frig for breakfast. I decided to give it a try. When you have a large family, things like soups and stews are great cost-effective meals. My children had an aversion to them. So frustrating. One night I made a lovely stew. Each of my four children (at that time) were given one small piece of potato, a piece of carrot, a piece of roast and a little of the sauce. That’s not unreasonable, right? They turned their noses up and sat at the table for a long time. I tried to encourage them to take a bite but it was a no go. They all refused to even touch the delicious meal I worked so hard at. Calmly I wrapped it up like I was instructed and put it in the frig. You can imagine the next morning the kids, ranging from two to six, were starving. I warmed their little bowls of stew in the microwave and place them before my pajama clad crew. Some were on their knees, the smaller one’s stood in their chairs looking down into their bowls. It was a very somber group for sure. Eventually, they picked up their spoons and pushed the pieces around. The picture of what came next is forever embedded into my mind. Tentatively, one took or at least attempted to take a bite. Her stomach protested and she gagged into her bowl. But wait, it gets worse. The next thing I know all four kids are now dry-heaving over their bowls of stew. Total fail. I only tried this one other time with Hue. He finally ate his spaghetti after nap-time the following day. His little shaking body made me sad. I decided this was poor advice and just stuck to a piece of bread and glass of milk if they refused to eat. On a positive note, they all did eventually learn to like stew.

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