Why Do Meal Times Feel Like A Battle?

This is a guest post from Tina from The Neary Diaries for my Big Parenting Questions Series.

One parent war against Dinner time

We have all been there, haven't we? Our kid likes or even loves some type of food so you are like yes! an easy meal to do where you shouldn't need to ask if they like it, then bam it happens the dreaded sentence... "I don't like it".

Photograph of a young child in a high chair sipping from a cup with a plate of food in front of them

You stop what you're doing, stare into space while the imaginary audience gasps and then you turn and look into your lovely, child's face and say with so much despair "what do you mean?? you kept asking for these yesterday?

You don't understand how your child can change their mind so often and you know in your heart the meltdown that will happen when you don't buy these again and then they love it again.

It makes every meal time feel like a war zone, the number of times I've asked my son what he wants for dinner 9 out of 10 times its fish fingers but if I do them I can guarantee I will look at his plate once he's gone and finished and there will be at least 4 fish fingers laying cold on his plate.

We all have that one guaranteed meal to cook for our children but then your child decides today they don't like it I seem to always experience this with my son because he tells me he loves fish fingers, but oh no not today the tantrum kicks in then follows the refusal to eat dinner so you try to do a little sales pitch where you try to convince your child that they do love this dinner and have asked for it plenty of times.

It's only been a couple of days when he had cleaned the plate off you now find yourself in a stalemate between you and your 5-year-old but you can't flinch so you leave him with the plate and you're sat next to him with the same exact dinner the same fish fingers and then he starts eating them off your plate, mummy's plate with the same food looks more desirable so what do you do? Point to his own plate and mention he's got the same or do the easy way, swap the damn plates.

Here's a kicker this conversation happened last night between my son and his dad.

"What do you want for dinner?"
"Nothing"
"Fishfingers?"
"No, Chips?, No, Chicken? NOOOOOO"
and do you want to know what he ate in the end? Pancakes, at that point he could have had chocolate for dinner because I know when I see a losing battle and that was a battle I was not ever going to win and lately, dinner time has started feeling like a one-man war that I cannot ever hope to win.

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