Picky Kids Have Disagreements with Parents Over Dinner

Dinner time is not always as enjoyable as it could be.

When the occasional dinner guest has a few food restrictions you make due.  When your own family demands only a select handful of food is acceptable there is bound to be friction.

Managing to get all six kids together for dinner is socially fun and worth it even with the limited personal diet of Jonathan and Alex. We always made exceptions for them during the early years.

With Jonathan in particular, you could count on one hand how many things he would eat:

- Chicken fingers
- French-fries
- Broccoli
- Ham and pineapple stuffed crust pizza

Beyond specific foods, Jonathan only eats what he wants to eat…when he wants to.

Alex would eat pretty much anything.  However, he would do so in one sitting, going without for the other meals.

Yes, we have tried to get Jonathan on the “fruits and vegetables” train. Having learned that “going to war” over food is just not worth it we backed off. Broccoli happened to be a pleasant exception of Jonathan.

Vitamins are key.

We make sure Jonathan and Alex get their nutrition one way or the other.

They will be fine.

What finicky food issues have you had to deal with?

How do you make sure dinner time is a good time?

Please share your story with me, leave your comment below.

I look forward to hearing how you make dinner time family time.

Karen Simmons
Mother, Wife, Author, Founder & CEO of AutismToday.com

P.S. Tips, strategies, and tools I recommend for finicky food issues will help you understand and cope. Download this video presentation to understand the nature of and simple solutions for strange dinner time behaviors: http://www.on2url.com/app/adtrack.asp?MerchantID=22629&AdID=616175


  • Gary says:

    Another one of Kyle’s funny tidbits: 1in110.com/?p=3921

  • Stacie Wyatt says:

    Brad loves meat and cheese. he will eat this all day. He also has high cholesterol. I try to cook him a lot of white meat, while other relatives buy red meat. Brad does not care what meat he eats, but he will try to eat it all day long. For example, sunday before church, he went downstairs and fixed him about 10 slices of baloney and about 3 -12 inch sausages. I had to put most of that back. Can not be healthy

  • Caprice says:

    my son has an approved list that contains: smoked cheese slices, chicken flavoured crackers, lasagne, pasta with beef, broccoli, sausages, sandwiches with jelly, peanut butter, vegemite or banana, apples, green grapes, blueberries, cheeseburgers, chocolate icecream, cheese pizza, baloney and french fries. could be worse I suppose… Bread or bread rolls must not contain any seeds or visible grains he calls this ‘dirty bread’ or ‘crumbs’

  • Clarice Kloezeman says:

    My Aspie daughter is 21 and STILL picky. She’s been picky since she was an infant: she gagged on meat from the first mouthful of baby food. Over the years we have identified the trigger. She has an extreme sensory avoidance of certain textures: anything slimy or mushy, mixed textures, gritty textures. Strong smells also affect her. I still make a separate meal for her, or rather, I cook using the same ingredients as the family meal, but I cook them plainly. For example, tonight we had meatloaf with potatoes and sauteed green beans with roasted almonds. For my daughter, I made a giant meatball using only the meat, and I microwaved her portion of the green beans. She likes to receive her food so that nothing is touching – so she’ll have the potatoes/pasta/rice in a bowl, and the meat and veggies separated on a big plate. She only eats chicken ( and only if it is very tender)and hamburger.
    She is also affected by mood, so if she is extra anxious, she can not eat. She gets anxious when she goes out, so she rarely eats food outside the house. She has come to “trust” SUBWAY” and TIM HORTONS, but aside from an occasional Wendy’s hamburger, that’s it.

    The ONLY time she has ever been willing to try new things is when she is out with her peers and she fears embarrassment more than her own discomfort with the food. She’s learned to make it look like she is eating by moving her food around, bringing the fork to her mouth, and then talking and putting the fork back down. Eventually she covers the plate with a napkin. Sometimes she’ll tell people that she’s already eaten, or that she isn’t feeling well enough to eat.

    We rarely eat at restaurants with her as she does not enjoy the experience. ON trips, when we have to eat out, she will accept plain rice or pasta or bread, and broccoli.

    HOpe this helps,

  • Clarice Kloezeman says:

    Oh – I missed your main question: how do we make dinner time a pleasant family time? Well, it was never easy when she was younger, but we’ve persisted and it has paid off. We have carefully arranged seating so that she is more comfortable (against a wall with only one person beside her – me) We serve her the food she will eat, and we learned to anticipate her reactions to various distractions – out of milk, chicken over cooked, rice too wet – and rather than arguing, which never ever helped, we tell her it is ok not to want it – she can then make herself a peanut butter sandwich or leave the dinner table if she is getting upset.
    Teaching her table manners one rule at a time over time seemed to have some success. She still wants to be ‘served” rather than get things (like ketchup) herself, but we let her decide if she’d like to get it herself or go without and wait until someone can help her.

    The biggest challenge is the social challenge. She tends to dominate dinner conversations with long lectures about her various passions. She worked on this with a counsellor as have we, so now we have cues and scripts to use to allow the rest of the family to converse on topics she may or may not be interested in. She still gets huffy when given the prompt, but at least we’re not all screaming at each other. ( family of 5) We have become quite adept at recognizing that a topic is heading towards one of her obsessions (elephants, horses, reptiles, photography) One of us will then quickly interrupt with a distraction. Sometimes, it works.

  • Lisa McCullough says:

    My son is also a very picky eater and how the food is presented to him makes a big difference. For example, if you make him toast I have to cut the across at the corners. If I do not then he wont eat the toast at all. If Robert is eating fishsticks and the fishsticks were cut, he wouldn’t eat them. I would have to start all over and cook new ones. One of his favorite foods are as follows:
    Cheese, (he eats this everyday)
    bread…(toast or a cheese sandwich)
    hot dogs(without the bun)
    corn (cut from the cob)
    eggs (scrambled)

    He does eat when he is hungry. If I were to sit him down and put food in front of him he would not touch it and you can’t force someone to eat when they are not hungry. I have to keep Robert on a schedule in fact the whole house runs on a schedule and we do not adjust it if we can help it. Sometimes we do make exceptions in order to teach him how to handle change. However, the change is not that dramatic. When there is a big change he does have meltdowns and he may do something like beat on his head with his fists. So as you can see keeping a schedule for us is a very big thing. We eat supper at 5pm everyday and he does expect it. Now if we have a guest for supper than he might act out of sorts. I think it’s due to the change. Once we get back on track again and he understands this then he goes back to acting as he always does. Anyway that is what I do.

  • Melissa Haas says:

    My son was not too picky when he was a baby, but as he got older, he became pickier. He only has certain foods he likes and it is rather difficult to even get him to think about trying anything new. His main choices are: chicken nuggets, hot dogs on a bun with nothing else, pepperoni pizza, grilled cheese, most fruits, only vegi is corn. One time at Mc Donalds they accidently put a hamburger in his Happy Meal, and he cried, he has never eaten one before. We hardly ever get to eat together at the dinner table because he prepares food only when he is hungry and never eats what I fix for my older son. At holidays he will eat his chicken, lots of rolls, jello or fruit salad and that is it. And he will only take a PB & J sandwich for his school lunch everyday, with some kind of fruit, and a capri sun juice. I keep hoping that he will change these habits someday, but they may remain even when he becomes an adult, who knows. Do you have any suggestions? Please let me know. Thanks.

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