You've had a long day at work. Traffic was bad on the way home. You arrived home only to be faced with the reality that you need to get dinner on the table. You spend the next 30 minutes dashing around the kitchen, putting together a meal that everyone in the family has eaten a dozen times before. You get everyone seated around the table, and are about to congratulate yourself on being a good parent, when you hear your little one declare that they don't like this dish and that they are not going to eat it.
One of the hardest things to remember about having a child is that they have a lot of opinions that change frequently. And food is one of those ares where opinions change without notice. That homemade macaroni and cheese dish that they loved when they were three years old is suddenly too gooey when they are four. That perfect meatball dish you've they clapped with joy over at the age of five is now something they have always hated.
It's late. You were already stressed out. They are stubborn.
In that moment, you have to figure out if it is better to make them eat the food they claim they don't like or to let them face the consequences of their decisions.
If it is helpful at all, you should keep this study in mind: Your forcing food on a selective eater is not helping them become a better eater, but it may be damaging your relationship with your child.
Harsh words, I know.
My son was (and to a certain degree still is) selective about what he wants to eat. Over time, I've made my peace with that: I know he is not going to like some of the dishes I make for dinner, and I plan alternatives for him on those nights. Sometimes that makes me feel like a short-order cook. But it does significantly lower my stress at the dinner table.
I'll take that as a win.
What accommodations are you willing to make for your child when they won't eat certain foods? Tell me in the comments.