Picky picky

“Pickiness: The Secret Eating Disorder Nobody’s Talking About” – Seriously? They’re actually suggesting the picky eating should be put into the DSM-V as a mental disorder?! I’ll admit I have very little patience with these people. It’s because I used to be one. And through a little effort and experimentation, I got over it. I can’t help but think, “What crybabies.” Ever notice how these disorders only show up in places like the US and UK, where indulgent parents and an abundance of food make it possible for someone to spend their whole childhood eating nothing but – ugh – chicken nuggets?


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  1. I blame the parents. If I caved in to Inigo’s whims, he would eat nothing but rice, noodles, and pasta. Needless to say, I don’t and he LOVES broccoli, olives, and recently got very excited about brussels sprouts for dinner at nanna’s house.

    Picky eating in a child is an evolved survival mechanism. But pandering in parents should be pathologised!

    Oh dear. I do sound a bit judgmental, don’t !?

  2. My cousin’s child eats McDonalds and chicken nuggets and chips. Everything else is “yuck”. Why? His mother caves in at every meal and makes him what he wants. So he now knows to proclaim “yuck” and go on a hunger strike to get what he wants. *sigh*

  3. DSM seems to get filled up with a. Load of cobblers. Things often seem to get in JUST before a drug co gets a licence for some treatment, too…

  4. Well, adults vs. children is an important distinction, as is having preferences over just plain being picky. (I didn’t read the article.) This is a super sensitive issue for me as a parent. I have a strong-willed child, not necessarily an inherently picky one. I recommend we all use caution when talking about other parents “caving in.” Every kid is different, every parent is different, every situation is different…and unless we know it intimately, we should be careful how we judge (or – hey! not judge at all!)

    When I get caught up in an issue at mealtime – whether it be one involving my son truly just being picky or cranky or whatever – and ultimately try to force the food on him (we’re talking basic things like cheese! eggs! things he ate as a baby and toddler!) I engage his will and it becomes an all-out battle. And isn’t fighting about food with a willful child just as detrimental to his future eating habits as would be letting him make all his own food decisions? The talk about parents “caving in” is exactly what I hear on repeat in my head when I let these battles begin. And honestly…I just want a little peace at my table! That involves a pretty intricate dance for us. I’ve got to ignore what others think, resist the urge to compare him to other kids (whether negatively or positively – “Hey, at least he eats vegetables X, Y & Z…So-and-So’s kid won’t touch those…”) and thoughtfully and carefully pick my battles, so to speak. But perhaps most importantly, I’ve got to suppress my own idyllic vision of what he “should” be eating.

    No, parents shouldn’t, in general, roll over or cater to the whims of a 5-year old every time, but we also can’t shove scrambled eggs down their throat. It’s sad there could be a drug to deal with something like this someday, and even sadder that some desperate parents might consider it. Really, WE’RE the ones who need the drugs…….. 🙂

  5. Amy – read the article. We are talking about adults who are being hospitalised for nutritional deficiencies because they literally eat ONLY French fries or chicken nuggets. That’s just atrocious. And while I agree you can’t forcefeed somebody, that behaviour has to start as a kid. There has to be a middle ground between 100% caving and shoving food down their throat.

    (And I still think cultures are a big part of this. I find it really hard to believe that such picky grown-ups can exist in, say, India or Russia.

  6. I read an article yesterday (thought it was in the NY Times, but I can’t find it now) that was discussing picky eaters. It said that parents who were picky eaters are now more likely to have picky children. And children of foodies are more likely to have picky eaters because they’re trying to fead their kids food that’s too “unusual” for their age. I’m not sure that the theory is entirely sound, but I can understand a kid rebelling if the parents are continually trying to shove fois gras and truffles down their throats.

  7. I think the foodie thing needs to be done in moderation. It’s great to expose your kids to different cultures and open their minds, but kids’ sensory palettes are different to adults’. I remember reading about this great study that suggested their brains are actually hardwired to like sweet and salty foods and they don’t develop an appreciation for bitter foods until they get older. So when I see all the hipsters trying to turn their 4 year olds into mini-foodies I wonder if it’s really the best thing.

  8. Sheepie – there is a difference between trying to turn your kid into a foodie and pandering. Kids in most parts of the world don’t get a choice about what to eat, it’s eat or die. We have the luxury of choice, but is it healthy for a kid to be given that much choice so young, while their palates are so strongly directed towards “safe” choices? I don’t have any answers, but I do like having a kid that will at least try new foods without having a nuclear meltdown.

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