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Is your child a picky eater or just spoiled rotten?

Is your child a picky eater or just spoiled rotten?

Friends without kids suggest, “Let him not eat a while. See how picky he is then.”

I love parenting advice from friends without kids. (No, really.)

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Picky eater or spoiled brat? [Popcorn magnified. A lot.]

Picky eater or spoiled brat? [Popcorn magnified. A lot.]

They often have dogs, so that’s closer and, well, sometimes not too far off at all. How many dogs are picky eaters? My dog can be a picky eater. Until he gets hungry. Then he doesn’t seem to complain anymore.

Is your child a picky eater or are you just a pushover? How many times have you tried to get them to just have a single bite of something new? Is it you?

  • “I’m hungry!”
  • “Here you go, dear, we have some fresh sliced nectarine.”
  • “No thank you, I’m good.”
  • “Oh, I see. I guess you’re not really hungry.”
  • “I guess not.”

It depends on the child if they’ll ask for something else. That’s what fun about car trips or train rides or airplanes. You get to see what’s really going on. Are they really hungry, just want something to munch on, or just want some junk?

When you remove choice from the equation, the equation changes.

Disclaimer: I grew up on carrots. I had so many carrots when I was a kid that my dentist said it hardened my gums to the point where my tooth wouldn’t come out–nothing a quick slice of the dentist scalpel couldn’t fix. I had carrot cake for my 7th birthday.

We live in a prosperous country. We have supermarkets overflowing with choice. We just watched a program on how much food we waste, throw away and goes into landfills. It was eye opening.

I’ve actually heard this complaint from a parent, “Yeah, my son doesn’t eat anything but chicken nuggets. He won’t eat anything until I give him that. So I just give him that or he won’t eat.”

Does it just come down to parenting techniques? Is it a battle of the wills? But why do we want our children to eat a more varied diet? Is it just to make them suffer and eat fresh fish from a street stall like a seal?

We want them to be healthy, to try new things, to expand their worlds, to get them nutrition from a variety of food groups.

So is the child picky or are the parents just pushovers?

You know the answer. So does your child. It’s up to you to admit it. Or not.

  • Possible: always serve pasta
  • Impossible: get them to love stuffed bell peppers
  • Repossible: have a single bite of something new


  1. Kathy Burgos

    Another great topic. Yes, people love to give advice about parenting even when they are NOT parents. Each child is unique and at the end of the day it’s better to know they ate something vs nothing, especially during the fussy toddler years. I also agree with the comment about eliminating choices and changing the equation. Very true! Growing up, we had fewer choices and were forced to eat what was offered. Despite it all, we survived.

    • Bradley Charbonneau

      Thanks for the note, Kathy. You mention “the fussy toddler years” so I think I should have been more specific: the friend who’s over right now is 11. He doesn’t have the luxury of being called a fussy toddler anymore. But it’s worse: he’s been spoiled for so many years now and “accepts his identity” as a picky eater that it makes it more and more difficult to steer the ship in a new direction.

      This is classic, “Despite it all, we survived.” Ha, we did!



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