Fruit: Should We Force Our Kids To Eat It?

by Pamela on October 6, 2009

The Great McIntosh Standoff

We haven’t had a standoff like this since the The Great Banana Standoff of 2006. That was a hard fought battle, but we won, by God. We won. We were facing peril, staring down the barrel of a shotgun. We were faced with a fierce and formidable enemy.

Okay, we went toe to toe with our toddler, same thing.

All we wanted him to do was eat a banana. We knew he liked them, well, he didn’t hate them. It’s not like we put Brussels sprouts in front of him. It was a damn banana! We told him that he had to eat the banana for a late day snack and he said “No.” I brought the banana to my parents’ house and told them “No snack until he eats the banana.” They got nowhere with him. I made dinner and we told him that he had to eat the banana first. “No.”

At this point, we decided that this was a battle of the wills and we knew that a) he wouldn’t starve and b) we were in too deep and we had to win. Losing wasn’t an option.

He went to bed early. I cried at the dinner table while my husband reassured me that we were doing the right thing. My phone kept ringing because news of the Great Banana Standoff had swept through my family. After about half an hour, he called for us. I took the banana with me upstairs. He had finally decided to eat the banana! He took a bite and said “Mmm I like bananas!” He finished the whole thing, and then said “Can I have my meatloaf now?”

Victory!

He is seven now and eats bananas if he has no other choice, but we still haven’t had luck with other fruits and green veggies. After getting a stern reprimand from his pediatrician about his height to weight ratio (my son is thin and has always been solid), we decided to be more persistent in getting him to eat fruit, in particular. Let me be clear by saying that if my child tries something and doesn’t like it, honestly doesn’t like it, I would not force him to eat it. All we ask of him is to try a fruit until he finds one he likes. A bite is all it takes, but he refuses to even try. He eats eggplant parmesan and cauliflower. Cauliflower?? And he won’t try fruit????

Last night was the big night. We gave him a measly quarter of a MacIntosh apple to eat before dinner. We’ve pushed him to eat a little piece of apple here and there, so we know he doesn’t hate them. Needless to say, he refused. We threatened to take away the Nintendo DS. He still didn’t eat it, so we took it away. He pulled out all the stops- the sobbing, the “you’re torturing me – you really are,” and our personal favorite “you’re the meanest parents ever.”

At one point, he came back to the table and we thought victory was near, but he came to me with a handful of money and told me that he’d give me half if I’d throw the apple away! I have to give him credit for creativity.

My husband and I were shocked at how much of a frenzy he whipped himself into over a little piece of apple. Again, we found ourselves in a situation that we couldn’t back out of. We won the Great Banana Standoff, and we were going to win the Great MacIntosh Apple Standoff too!

He chose to go bed early. His beef bourguignon went untouched. I was beside myself. I reached out to my Facebook friends and realized that we had done what ALL the experts say not to do: we tried to force him to eat fruit. We can’t back down now. As my Latin teacher would say: alea iacta est: the die has been cast. As Dr. Phil would say “If you get into a battle of the wills with your kid, for goodness sake, don’t lose.”

The battle rages on. The apple slice remains tightly wrapped in the refrigerator, ready for part 2 of the Great MacIntosh Standoff. Maybe he’ll take just one little bite…

Addendum: It’s the next day and…..victory! He ate the piece of apple and said “Hmm…it’s good.”

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Fred Corcoran October 6, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Man, are you kidding me??? He will eventually eat fruits. Do not worry. MY POOR DREW. What did the family counselor say????

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Pamela October 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

Hi Freddie-
The family counselor has called DSS! They will be awarding custody of Drew to you and Ginny. As you know, he’s really a charming child- you’ll enjoy him. He’ll set the dinner table and even vacuum once in awhile, if he’s in the mood. But, he doesn’t eat fruit.
LOL.
Pamela

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Pamela October 7, 2010 at 10:44 am

Correction: As of 6:03 last night, he eats apples!!!
I know, I’m mean.
I just love my boy and want him to be healthy.

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