The “No, Thank You” Helping

skillet with broccoli and onion cooking

I’ve been chatting back and forth via e-mail with a reader and she asked a question today that reminded me of a trick my own mother used successfully. You know…back in the day when I was little. Well, she had to use it on my sister because I was (of course) the perfect child.

Moving on.

My sister was rather a picky eater when she was little, and often frustrated the family by insisting for an entire meal that she HATED a certain food, only to finally sample a bite at the end of the meal and declare she loved it. By then of course, we’d eaten all the rest of it ourselves and she’d throw a fit wanting more of the food everyone had tried to convince her to eat for half an hour.

Finally, my mom invented the “No, Thank You” helping. Regardless of her opinion on the food, my sister was presented with a tiny (two to three bites at most) helping of each food being served, and she was dismissed from the table only after she’d eaten it.

If sis decided she liked the food, she was welcome to more. If she was having an I Don’t Like That day, no sweat. She was not required to eat any more. This removed most of the power struggle, kept my parents in the position of authority, and gave my sister most of the control over what she wanted to eat. It was a win for all concerned.

I have a few picky eaters here, and the “No, Thank You” helping has been invaluable. I just put the very tiny bit on the plate and let the boys figure out how to eat it. Sometimes they have the bite and want more. Other times they choke down the offending culinary offering and glare meaningfully in my direction.

Either way, I can happily assume that they’ve at least tried the food, and they can reject my cooking [sob] knowing that I’m not going to force them to have a big serving.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who need to utilize the No Thank You helping.

Image courtesy of idovermani via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Single Maria August 20, 2009, 12:09 pm

    Thanks for the post. Haha. What a good trick!!! Your mother is very witty. I try to do such a trick with my nieces. I am sure it will be fun)))

    Reply
  • John @ Curious Cat Investing Blog August 22, 2009, 10:09 am

    I think this is wise on the fronts you mention, especially to get them to try the food. But I also think it is helpful in getting them to learn that living within society requires compromise and respect for those around you. I find it disheartening how often today we see (on TV for example) people act like no one else should be listened to or respected. This is a small way but I think it re-enforces an attitude that you should take small steps to pay attention (eat in this case) what someone else believes in. And I think giving small portions does the same thing – showing respect for their desires.
    .-= John @ Curious Cat Investing Blog´s last blog ..Buffett on Need to Reduce Government Deficits =-.

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  • Stechmücken August 22, 2009, 3:19 pm

    Very nice trick. I love it 😉

    Reply
  • Louise | UPrinting.com September 3, 2009, 12:41 am

    Hhmmm… that’s a pretty neat trick. Moms out there can really benefit from this. Less fuss, less tantrum attacks, more food for the not-very-picky eaters. 😀

    Reply
  • Amy September 12, 2009, 10:47 pm

    Single Maria, it took us a while to convince the boys that they WERE going to eat the No Thank You Helping, but I’m glad we fought the battle.

    John, excellent point! I’m encouraged by your observation. 🙂

    Stechmucken, thanks!

    Louise, thanks. I like sharing tricks and getting new ideas from others. Some of my favorite moms have some great evil, uhhhh I mean amazing tricks up their sleeves.

    Reply