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How To Stand Your Ground When Your Child Doesn’t Want Dinner

Briel Garcia's picture
Pasta Dinner

With my Spouse working full time and me being a stay at home mom, it’s crucial to make every bit of resources count, especially when it comes to food. When I prepare meals, it’s important to me that nothing goes to waste, but what’s also important to me is that everything I make is flavorful and filling. While my spouse and I love trying new recipes, my stepdaughters can be skeptical when trying new foods, especially when those foods don’t fit into the sweets category. Because of this, it can cause some friction when it comes to dinner time. No matter the friction, I believe it is important to always stand your ground and have children eat what’s for dinner, even if it may take some work.


Yesterday was the first day in a long time I decided to try a new recipe for dinner called “one pot pizza rigatoni”. Imagine, spaghetti and meatballs topped with cheese and pepperoni. While cooking, I thought it would be a hit with the family, and it was for my spouse and younger stepdaughter (SD6). However, my older stepdaughter (SD8) was not happy with it. Since it was a busy day of chores and errands, we all ate as we pleased until SD8 was the last person to come eat.

Both my spouse and I would ask if she was ready to eat; to which, every time she would politely decline no. Until finally she would come into the kitchen and grab a bowl and box of cereal.

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Upon seeing this, my spouse immediately told her that she would not have cereal, but instead have the dinner that was prepared like the rest of the family. Instantly, SD* was upset and walked off to the room. Throughout the evening, this happened about 3 more times and every time was harder than the next. While it may have been easier to say “ok” and let her eat her cereal and everyone be happy, but there was a lesson to be learned behind this.

My spouse and I are firm believers that you do not always get what you want or even do what you want in life. Depending on the circumstances, you can be offered something and be left to make the choice of whether you will accept it or not. In this case, SD8 was offered dinner, and she had the choice to eat it or not.

While it was made very clear to her that her choices were either eat dinner and be satisfied or choose not to eat and be hungry. While my spouse and I knew what was best for her, it was ultimately her decision to make. In the small scheme of things, this may seem like an irrelevant problem, but on a greater scale, this is a great example of the real world. In our world, things will not change because you simply don’t like something. In most cases, its usually work with what you have or suffer and go without.

I believe this is an important lesson for kids to learn at a young age, and dinner is the perfect way to make this happen. In the end, SD8 decided to have dinner and to her surprise, it wasn’t too bad. While she may not have liked how we got to this result, she was happy to have had a warm, homecooked dinner, and we were happy that we were all on the same page.



This is a great lesson. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure its a situation every family working on healthy eating comes across and has to deal with. Its good to know your results.