Picky Eater got you down?
ABC's 20/20 aired a program Sunday, June 27, 1999 about a doctor who counsels parents about how to deal with, and cure, a picky eater. Some of the worst cases were aired, with both the parents and the children totally miserable and out of control. He proposes a "tough love" approach, not too different from those mentioned earlier in "Liking New Foods: Helping Along the Learning Curve", "Ann Landers Prints a Picky Eater Solution", and the story, "The Princess and the Pea".
Parents who followed through have gained a peaceful household and cooperative undemanding children who would eat almost anything put in front of them. He states, though, that of the parents counseled, a significant percentage fall out of the program early and go back to allowing the picky routine. Not surprising. First, you have to take care of the problem before a confrontation can result in the child being old enough to storm out of the house and hitchhike a ride to Los Angeles. Also before they are old enough to earn their own money and have transportation to the nearest store. Finally, it will be hard to change the picky routine if the children are in day care all day (not impossible, but difficult), unless the caregiver actively cooperates.
Yours truly didn't have this problem with her own brood because of several factors:
This is not meant as a criticism. In fact, watching 20/20, the proverbial light bulb went off. Almost all the children and grandchildren I come in contact with are incredibly picky eaters and eat a diet greatly deficient in basic nutrients. Was this an epidemic? I had not considered that these were the children of harassed, overtired working mothers.
It's incredibly important for your child's future that they eat a varied diet now, and enjoy and are willing to eat many types of food. Several books provides real tools for dealing with this very serious problem.
I can only suggest that if your child is in day care or school already, you take steps to be sure the food and drink supply offered there doesn't undermine your efforts to cure a picky eater.