Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Take it Or Leave It

Sunday night for dinner I made pork chops on the barbecue for dinner. Nothing fancy. I just sprinkled the pork chops with salt and pepper and threw them on the grill.
Now, I've made pork chops before and my kids always ate them. It's not one of their favorite meals, but they eat them anyway. But something about the flavor the smoke imparted to the pork chops created a problem on Sunday night. My daughter, who had eaten herb crusted pork in school that week and loved it, refused to eat the pork chops. My son also let us know that he didn't like the meat.
My husband and I stood firm, however. We let both kids know that this was the meal and they either ate what was on their plates or they didn't eat. If they chose not to eat, there would be no other food or snacks provided to them until breakfast the next morning. My daughter chose not to eat. My son drenched the pork chop in ketchup and ate it.
I think that too often we obsess so much on kids eating, that we'll just give in to their eating junk. For some insane reasons millions of parents in this country think its better to feed their children processed chicken nuggets or sugar laden yogurt then not to eat at all.
I, however, think parents who do this are doing more harm to their children then good. First, it sets them on the path of having life-long bad eating habits. Second, they're teaching their children to be rude. These children will expect everyone to cater to their tastes. They're not being taught that you either eat what's in front of you, or just sit and be polite.
Needless to say, I won't be grilling pork chops again anytime soon. But, my daughter learned an important lesson, and she survived going without a meal.


  1. I find that a bit harsh. I won't cook a whole new meal, but the children are allowed to make cereal or eggs if they don't like the main course.

  2. My kids are adults, but if I had it to do over, I'd do things a little differently. The kids would be required to taste everything, but if they didn't like something they could eat as much of whatever else was being served as they wanted -- with the exception of meat. With rare exceptions, I only made enough for that meal. If there was dessert (rare) or snacks (often popcorn) later they would be allowed to have those. But nothing else -- no substitutions for the main dish or more substantial snacks.

    As an adult, I wouldn't expect to be told I had to wait to breakfast if I didn't like part of dinner. I also wouldn't expect to be served something in place of the food I didn't like.

    A few years ago I went to a coworkers home for dinner. I'm known to be a good and not picky eater. They managed to serve everything I don't like! I took a few bites of everything and just said I'd filled up on appetizers -- which actually wasn't far from the truth! The funny thing is that while several of us went to dinner, I was the "honored" guest!

  3. This happens at our house occasionally. We are the take it or leave it type as well. No snacks on those days.

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