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Three kids in the woodsI can be what some call a pushover mom or a softy with some things that have to do with parenting my children, or being in charge of any children for that matter. I firmly feel that there is a different between choosing when you can be somewhat “soft” and when you have to be firm with a child. The theme that comes to mine is “pick your battles”, obviously if you have said no and the child continues to ask why or debate the topic with you then you stand firm. With that being said if you chose not to quite give a solid yes or no to a question, bad idea by the way, then you can be soft on the topic if it’s not some major thing.

There is a few areas where I am firm and simply tell my kid that this is how it is. There is no negotiating. There is no changing my mind. My decision has been made. That is when it comes to meals, I work from home. I don’t make that much money each year when you consider the size of my family. If I were not a Mom and simply just a woman working from home, well I would be made financially probably. That is not the case. I am a Mom of three. My money is hard earned and I buy food to keep the kids healthy and nourished but cannot afford to have many extras all of the time.

With breakfast and lunch there are usually choices. Basically for breakfast I let the kids order from me as if we are in some restaurant because I enjoy cooking a nice breakfast for the kids. With lunch there are usually two options laid out because it’s just not as important of a family meal to me as dinner time. Speaking of dinner, that is the one meal where I cook what I cook and you just accept that. There is no ordering as if we are in a restaurant. Deal with it.

Thankfully my kids have grown up knowing that I am this way, that they have some negotiating room for lunch as well as breakfast but dinner is set in stone. The way I deal with dinner is that I do take into consideration what each child likes to eat combine that with maybe a new food option here & there, this enables them to have something they like while also requiring that they at least try something new.

Christmas Tree Cut DownEach child must try a new food before attempting to plead they do not like it. If they do not try the food, they go without. I stick firm by this. There are many a nights where my youngest went to bed that night without dinner. Being that my youngest is super stubborn there were weeks where he would go 4-5 nights without dinner because he would flat out refuse to try anything new. Then finally once I stood my ground forever, he finally started to try new things, just to determine that he truly doesn’t like anything.

It is difficult to find any meal that my youngest actually likes because every sort of meal option I serve for dinner, he has tried without successfully liking it. My oldest and middle child usually like whatever they try, even my six year old will admit “well I don’t really like this a lot but it’s okay” and he will eat it.

I love that I have taught my kids that in some areas of life I stand firm and they accept that without question. There isn’t a fight about it, there isn’t this big issue over the food, nothing. They simply accept the rules and are just fine after trying the meal.

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Written by brandyellen

Brandy is a born and raised New Hampshire resident who loves to spend extra time laughing & smiling with her three children. Brandy runs multiple blogs & she loves to tweet daily and ramble on Facebook. Author, with her daughter, of Positive Girl - The Power of Your Thoughts Question about this post or something found within it? Read my Disclosure Policy as well as Terms of Use.

This article has 7 comments

  1. Rosey (1018 comments)

    I suppose I should try something like this w/my youngest. He is the world’s pickiest eater…or one of, I am convinced of it.

    • brandyellen (380 comments)

      It was a nightmare honestly Rosey! While he still barely eats a thing, he has learned that he must try something like it or not … and even though he doesn’t like much, he has tried at least everything I have offered now.

      • Rosey (1018 comments)

        Sounds like the nightmare was worth the end result. My son ewwws and wrinkles his nose even at the foods he likes sometimes.

  2. Jennifer (86 comments)

    With my younger two (5 and 8) there is no negotiating homework. It must be done, no excuses, nothing.

    With my older two (12 and 18)–it’s tricky. I think I’m a huge pushover however, there are a few things that I find inappropriate. For example, I am strongly opposed to boy-girl sleepovers. STRONGLY. I am also very opposed to too much media contact. It’s a huge struggle, a daily struggle, but I do the best I can to limit screen time for all the kids.

  3. Dianna (@oyveyaday) (3 comments)

    My kids have hit the “I-won’t-eat-that-even-if-it-was-my-favorite-food-five-minutes-ago” phase. I try to stand firm in this area, but my husbnad will just keep bringing new food to the table. It drives me crazy!

    I tend to stand firm when it comes to being polite and respectful of other people and their property. I also agree, that sometimes, it is about being firm simply because your first answer was no. Sometimes, I think I just say no as a habit – but once you’ve said it, you have to stand by it. I just remember that I can always say yes the next time.

  4. TerriAnn @ Cookies & Clogs (42 comments)

    I think kids need their parents to be firm so they know what to expect and what is expected of them. One thing we will NOT allow is being disrespectful. We know that kids have tendency to be a bit sassy here and there but talking to my husband or I or in a condescending or rude manner is unacceptable. Thankfully, this has helped her to be polite (most of the time) with others and to, well, not be a brat.

    • Brandy (1594 comments)

      Oh that too! I was pleased when I ran into someone who has known me since I was 5 yrs old. She was substituting in my daughter’s classroom and just had to commend me on how well behaved my daughter is. While my DD will act all tweenish with her friends she noted that she is super respectful to the elders (teachers, etc) in school. I was proud but sad that my daughter was noted as the ONLY one who showed respect to elders. More parents need to teach respect and be firm about being respectful to others as well as your elders! Kudos to you!