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Little Victory

saruhhh_04's picture

This last weekend, my SO's son stayed with us. For those who have read past entries, you know how misbehaved, manipulative and defiant this little boy can be. Typically my SO does not stand up or enforce the rules on his son...but this weekend, he finally started standing his ground!

Here's what happened: my SO wanted to do something fun with his son this weekend, so we decided to go to an outdoor event our city was hosting. It turns out that we arrived a few minutes after the children's portion was over, so we decided to go out to eat instead. While at the restaurant, SO walked around with him and played some of the arcade games that were set-up. Once our food arrived, SS became greedy. He started eating off of his cousin and his grandmother's plates...but he wouldn't share any of his food. His grandma told him to knock it off and only eat the food on his plate. He did not like this and started trying to make her feel guilty for not giving him some of her burger. So she cut him off another piece...about 1/4th of the burger. By now I should tell you all what he has eaten: an ADULT chicken finger and fries meal, some toasted ravioli's (from his cousins plate), some apples and banana's from our friend's babies plate, and now 1/4th of a burger. He is 5 y/o, and about 15lbs overweight for his age/height.

Most of the time that we spent eating, he was asking us about when he would eat next (SS doesn't have a solid eating schedule at his mother's house). I could tell that all of this was starting to irritate SO. SO finished his plate, and stepped outside for a moment. When he returned, SS was still finishing his plate. When the bill came to the table, we gathered our money and prepared to leave. All of a sudden, SO's mother told us that we had to wait because SS wanted the same burger that she had. SO and I stopped and were very confused...apparently his son somehow convinced his grandmother that it wasn't fair that he didn't get an entire burger, along with his chicken fingers. Finally SO told her that SS doesn't need two adult meals and we were leaving right now. When SS heard this, he started trying to plead his case, but SO wasn't having any of it. He used a stern tone (which he rarely does) and told him to stop arguing with us. Of course SS did not give up easily, but we still walked out of the restaurant without ordering him a second meal.

He has done this in the past. He will eat a large portion. And before he is even finished, he will be asking for another meal. Which he has gotten his way too many times. And the most frustrating thing is, when he has gotten that second meal, he will only take 2 bites and then be done with it. He won't even eat it later on if we took the remainder home.

I am thrilled that my SO is finally starting to stand-up and not allowing his son to constantly get his way. It's a small victory, but it is only the beginning.


nengooseus's picture

Good for you that you had a victory, but it sounds like there's a bigger issue at play here.  I'm not sure it's just an issue of wanting what he wants or a set eating schedule.  Are there other issues at play?  Is there a developmental issue or is BM food restricting or negligent?

I'm sorry, but food issues in a 5 year old--that aren't about being picky!--worry me.  

saruhhh_04's picture

We aren't sure. SS is very reluctant to tell anyone what happens at BM's house. For developmental issues, he is behind other kids his age. He didn't start going to school until the very end of last year. Up until then he wasn't able to count to 3 and didn't know his colors (or anything a 5 y/o should know).  He is also very hyperactive and cannot concentrate on one thing for more than a couple minutes. He jumps from one task to another (ADHD is common on SO's side of the family). He also is displaying early signs of possible bipolar disorder and anxiety, both of which his mother has. I've also noticed his food preferences change with each visit. One weekend he will love one thing...the next weekend, he will hate everything that is offered and insist on only eating fried bologna sandwiches. And he eats a lot in one sitting, almost more than his father and I (and he's hungry again an hour later).

We do know that his mother tends to send him off to a friend or family members house so she can go out with her SO when she isn't working. When he is dropped off at our place, the first thing he asks about is food and telling us that his mom didn't feed him before bringing him over...but that is all we really know about what happens when he is with her.

I certainly hope that she isn't neglecting his care or restricting food. Anytime you ask SS about what he does when he's at 'his house', he goes silent or changes the topic...

nengooseus's picture

It sounds like this kiddo has lots of issues on his plate.  Your SO would be wise to step up and start dealing with the bigger picture.  It would probably be wise to get this kiddo with a qualified therapist to try and figure out everything that's going on. It sound slike BM's house might be a tough place to be.

Coco72's picture

Food always seems like such an issue, it is for us as well. 

We all went out for breakfast yesterday, SS11, DH and I. Theres a fun little diner in the town next to us that we like to go to, SS sees there is a line (there is always a line) and starts complaining that he can't wait, hes staaaaaarving, and wants to go to McDonalds. I told him, no, we are not having fast food. The wait was only like 5 minutes. As we are sitting looking at the menus, I say that the kids menu is on the back, but SS insists he is so hungry he is going to eat an adult portion, so whatever, I'm not going to argue, and DH isn't saying anything. So he orders pancakes, eggs and sausage. Out comes our food, and the pancakes are huge, like always, and he starts eating away on the pancakes only. DH tells him he needs to eat his eggs and sausage too, so he takes one bite of sausage and a bite of eggs, then back to the pancakes he goes. Well sure enough, hes stuffed after one and a half pancakes and can't eat his eggs or sausage. I told him next time he is ordering off the kids menu, and he says that it's not his fault, that the restaurant shouldn't make them so big!!! Are you kidding me, this kid takes zero responsibility.

About an hour later, on our drive home I ask DH to stop by Starbucks so I can get a tea, SS pipes up that he wants one, and I tell him absolutely not, he then says that he is hungry, and I tell him Starbucks isn't food, he says, they have cake pops, I again tell him no, he didn't finish his breakfast, and all he has had to eat was pancakes and syrup, that he doesn't need more sugar, so then he says he is thirty, and I tell him that frappachinos don't quench thirst, DH grabs a water bottle and hands it to SS and says if your thirtsy drink this, and stop talking back to Coco, she said no, it's no.

saruhhh_04's picture

It's incredibly frustrating at times. There's some battles that aren't worth fighting. Anytime I'm asking SS to do/not do something, he doesn't listen at all. I'm just wasting my breath. He always tries to get around what anyone is saying or asking. He's very good at manipulating his father and grandmother especially, and he always got his way. It's a breath of fresh air to finally see SO not giving in.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

theoldrenhen suggested something to me about the skids being deprived of food. We were having issues with them sneaking food. And she suggested I take a look at kids that have been deprived of food and neglected and how it affects them... A lot of them will gorge on food when they get it, stash it, and sneak it...

Thankfullya lot of those have been solved. We have a treat box where they can eat snacks during the day and a super set schedule for food with pauses after meals to "let it settle" before they get more have really helped. BM really didn't feed them much, so it changed their mindset. You may be facing something similar, I'd keep an eye on it.

saruhhh_04's picture

I'll definitely keep this in mind. The treat box sounds like a great idea! We don't know a lot about what happens at BM's house, but we get the feeling that he mostly eats fast food/sweets, and is not getting much of the nutrition he should.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

I know for the girls, apples and oranges and cheese sticks have been some healthier alternatives! Smile Also gummy vitamins are something they're excited for and help them get some of the nutrients!

It basically just gives them a sense of security with food. They don't feel like they're not going to get it becuase they have the treat box there as a kind of security blanket. 

Aniki's picture

Kids who are deprived of food or have irregular eating schedules (don't know when/where the next meal is) can develop more serious eating issues in the future. He may become a food hoarder. He could become a bulimic.

And while grandma may be legitimately concerned about the child getting food, she is contributing to the problem. There is NO way a 5yo (FIVE!!!) needs to eat one ADULT meal, much less two. Grandma needs to be shut down ASAP.

Also, a 5yo is already eating adult-sized portions? SO should seriously consider a visit to the pediatrician.

PA makes excellent suggestions with the healthy treat box option and a set schedule for meals. Children need this kind of thing. While SS may not be getting it with BM, your SO can make sure he has it in your home.

saruhhh_04's picture

I agree! His grandmother started ordering adult sized portions for him about a year ago (when he was 4). His father didn't say anything at the time, I'm guessing because he was trying to keep his son happy...he has been very much a Disney dad and allowed him get away with anything. She doesn't even get him a children's menu anymore, she just picks off of the regular menu and let's him decide which option he wants. And when the waiter asks if he would be getting a small, she always says, "oh no, a small won't be enough. He needs a large". It's absolutely ridiculous!

Weight issues are a problem with both sides of SS's bio-family. I'm not trying to put him down, but he is far too overweight for his age and height and he seems to be gaining more and more. His BM tells them that his pediatrician tells her that he is "healthy... which I highly doubt. And if that is what the doctor is saying, he needs a new pediatrician.

Aniki's picture

Hon, a popular - and accurate - saying around here is that you cannot care more than the parents. If your SO continues to be a Disney Dad and refuses to a) shut down grandma and b) parent his 5yo, it's going to be a long, rocky road.

You can make suggestions (you may want to wait to be asked for them...), but your SO is probably going to do what is easiest for himself and eliminates any drama. Unfortunately, it will be to the detriment of his son's health (physical AND mental).

saruhhh_04's picture

Ugh, I know. I'm still trying to learn how to not care more than them. It's not easy for me to let things go. I'm someone who will take care of others before myself, no matter how difficult that can be. Which I know is not healthy or good for my well-being. It just seems like neither side is doing what is best for SS - almost like they are both trying to be the "favorite". And being from the outside looking in, it's easy to see where the cracks are in the foundation. But no one wants to listen or believe it, so they continue to let SS run the show.

Aniki's picture

I know exactly how you feel. I, too, take care of others before I take care of myself. I will be the first to tell you it is NOT a good thing. I'm still coming out of a deep depression. But it's a difficult habit to break.

There were issues with PigPen15 that had me wanting to bang my head against the wall AND kick my DH in the arse. I had to do 2 things: 1) disengage, and 2) learn HOW to talk to DH about things without upsetting him.

Good luck!

ESMOD's picture

I really don't remember being given any choice of meal when I was 5 years old.  My parents would order for me.  shoot, I remember I was quite a bit older before my mom actually would buy my brother and I our own sandwich at Roy Rogers (roast beef).. we split a meal for a long time..haha.  If he is overloading on carbs and sugar.. his body will not register the full sensors and he will be hungry 5 minutes later.. like the joke about chinese food and the rice makes you hungry again quickly. 

Next time, no menu for the little man.  Dad knows basically what he likes... so dad can order him a meal from the children's section and he needs to learn to keep his hands out of someone else's plate.  If he would like to "try" a new food then he needs to ask politely if he can have a taste (one bite) put on his plate.  This is honestly a behavior that will make him subject to ridicule and not welcome as a guest.  His dad will be doing a favor if he puts a firm hand on this issue early.  And grandma needs to be informed that this is a problem that you are working with and that she needs to support her son's goals of having his child eat without ransacking other people's meals.

saruhhh_04's picture

I was the same way. My parents would choose off of the kid's menu, and whatever I got was what I would be eating. And there was no option to get a SECOND meal. They may have given me a taste of what they were eating, but that was it. SS is definitely spoiled, he always has been since I met him. Whatever he wants, he gets. They don't want to say no to him because they fear that he won't want to come to their house if they start getting tough on him - which is why having my SO finally putting his foot down this past weekend is wonderful.

That's a great idea. His grandmother doesn't even get him a children's menu anymore, she will ask for an adult menu. And then she will give him options...which options can be good. But with his situation, I think SO needs to be in charge of ordering for him (and deciding what portion he should have), even if grandma is paying.


SteppedOut's picture

My dad used to order for us from the adult menu and my brother and I would share, or if it was just one of us he would box half (or more) depending on the portion size. He would ask us, generally, what we wanted - chicken, fish, beef.

One thing that stinks about "Kid's menus" is they are often filled with junk. Grilled cheese and fries, chicken fingers and fries, corn dog and fries. Gross processed fried crap with little in the way of fruit or veggie unless they offer apple sauce. 

Maybe let him get the "adult meal", which likely will be better food... just portion it down for him. 


ESMOD's picture

This is definitely an issue where you can make some constructive suggestions to your DH because you have concerns for the boy.

I would say that you are worried that he will be bullied and not a welcome guest if he acts too greedy about foods that people who are not related to him will not want him taking food off their plates and certainly if he is a guest of some other family they will not be buying him full sized meals or serving him linebacker portions at his demand.  You can also get his height and weight and point it out on the chart that for his age he is beginning to be larger than the average or normal for his age.  This could make him susceptible to bullying also and that his father will do him a real favor if he works with him on his food manners and portion control.


That was always my entry to discussions with DH about his daughter's behavior.. being too picky or rudely turning their nose up at a food.. would make them less welcome guests... that their not being polite will reflect poorly on them and they will not have as many friends... it was all to facilitate them having a better life by knowing better than to do embarrassing things.