A Follow Up: A Major Fit of Attitude

Since posting the other day about my current “mama/daughter” struggle (original post is here), I’ve had several conversations/comments regarding the same and I wanted to clarify a few things.

Jordan’s comment made me stop and consider my motives for this current struggle.  (Thank you, Jordan!  I am always better having stopped to analyze why I am taking the actions I am.)  Having considered the situation, I am still completely confident in my choice to take on this “battle”…and here’s why.

First and foremost, this battle is for my daughter’s health.  No, this isn’t a life-or-death issue.  My daughter would survive quite well regardless of whether I forced her to eat what I put on her plate.  However, two major traits in my daughter transform this into a health issue:  (a) sadly, my daughter has inherited my despised bowels.  I won’t go into details here — that would be embarrassing for more than just me.  Suffice it so say, if my daughter does not get enough natural fiber in her diet (fiber pills have the opposite intended effect on my system and thus the same is probably true for my daughter), BAD, BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN!  (b) my daughter, very much unlike her brother, is a ‘delicate’ AND ‘picky’ eater.  If I told her that, should she decide not to eat what was offered for any particular meal, she could have no snacks until the next meal, she would be quite content with that situation….forever!  And she would never eat a vegetable again in her life.  Instead she would live off of milk, instant mashed potatos and the occasional meal that she liked.  And her bowels would be grumpy for way too much of her little life.

It is first and foremost for her health that I choose to fight this battle.  But that is not my only reason.

Secondly, my husband and I enjoy eating out (very occasionally) and we LOVE getting together with friends to share a meal.  Should we allow our children to dictate what they will and will not eat based upon their preferences, we would have to endure many an embarrassing moment in front of friends where our children refused to eat the food our friends had prepared because it was “yucky”.  Many parents I’m sure will not agree with us on this point, but it is important to us.  Our children will learn that sometimes, they have to eat what is put in front of them because it is polite to the cook/hosts…regardless of whether they like it.

Thirdly, it is a matter of teaching our children to respect authority.  I realize that my daughter is only 3 1/2 and still a “toddler”.  But she already shows a very willful nature.  I am not opposed to her being independent and head-strong.  Those are valuable traits that I value….if they are kept in check.  But, I believe that one of the major problems of our society is that many parents are no longer teaching their children to submit to authority. 

(I know, I’m broaching the dreaded “s” word.  Trust me, I have fought this word to, so please don’t send me hate mail!)

Everyone in life — if they want to lead a successful life — must submit to some form of authority….and my daughter will be no exception.  I submit to the authority of my Sovereign LORD, to my husband (or at least, I am learning to!), to my boss (as relates to the job) and other authorities that come and go throughout my life.  My husband submits to the authority of God, his boss, his professors, and so forth.  This doesn’t mean we can’t question our authority(ies) (and as adults, choose to not follow bad authority!).  Also, my husband and I do allow our children to question (respectfully) because we want them to be strong and to lead.  But ultimately, we all need some authority in our lives.  We need an authority that we know we can trust and that has our best interest in mind.  If we do not teach our children to respect authority now, they will go through life expecting that they can lead the world without any grounding.  And they will be exhausted doing so.  Very Destructive! 

But I am forcing myself off of this tangent….for now.  🙂

So, is this particular battle (eating dinner) crucial to learning respect for authority?  Maybe, maybe not.  The point is, I do have to choose my battles.  I probably allow my children to “get away with” things that other parents would not allow their children to do.  But this is a battle that I feel is important for many reasons and so, for my sweetie and I, it must be fought…jointly and continuously.  My daughter isn’t old enough to understand these reasons.  And so, for now, she must learn that sometimes “Because Mama/Daddy says so” is reason enough. 

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About Sarah

I love being wife to my sweetie, mama and teacher to my three wonderful children, and friend to people near and far. I love to express myself through words. I blog to connect with others and so that someday, hopefully, my kiddos will understand who their mama was...way back when.
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7 Responses to A Follow Up: A Major Fit of Attitude

  1. Steph says:

    I won’t begin to give advice, as we too are figuring out this subject. I came from a finish-everything-on-your-plate-or-you-can’t-leave-the-table family myself. (Hence, my current self battle with portion control.) Praise God Lizzie still will eat at least the portion we tell her she has to eat, though there are often many tears shed when it is zucchini or some form of meat that isn’t a hot dog. Keep us updated on how it goes, and we will pray for you around dinner time 🙂

  2. Jordan Fast says:

    Sarah, good for you! I think it’s so great that you’ve really thought this through and know why your fighting this battle. All that you’re telling us makes so much sense… You are a great mother!!!

    But we’re all dying to know… what happend with the potato from the other night?

  3. Sarah says:

    She ate a little bit of it later that night when we were with friends who were baking fresh pumpkin bread…and she wanted some. But, alas, the bread was not enough of a temptation. 😦 “We” eventually finished the potato for lunch the next day (after I ‘reduced’ the amount a little), and we’ve been sailing a little more smoothly since then.

  4. well said, sarah….. well said……….

    and this all brings back memories at the dinner table as a kid. i remember feeling like my world would end if i had to eat some gross thing my parents wanted me to…. i obviously survived, and now eat/like those things!

    🙂

  5. roset says:

    Great insights on basic human psychology. Your daughter is lucky to have you as a mom. Authority as with anything in moderation will help your child grow to become a responsible adult. I’ve been on the other side, growing up with parents using their authority for their own selfish ends(like to get back at my mom for leaving him, my father ordered me not to accept her calls). I ended up recenting him. 🙂

  6. Ang Baylis says:

    Great post! You are great parents!!!
    I agree, that sometimes we have to say ,”because I said so”! Thank you for sharing your struggles with us! …and kids do need to respect authority! I think that’s a huge problem in our world these days!

    Love,
    Angie xoxo

  7. Karma Wilson says:

    Good for you for sticking to your guns. I make my kids eat at least a bite of whatever I serve unless it causes a gag reflex. I have no picky eaters, and my kids have enjoyed a lot of weird food as a result.

    By the way, since you’ve mentioned my books on your blog, homeschool, and have toddlers, I thought you might be interested in a giveaway on my website for homeschoolers. It’s in the current post on my blog section–no obligations. First homeschooler that emails me gets a signed board book (I homeschool as well BTW) and cute matching stickers.
    http://www.karmawilson.com (just click on the blog link).

    Good luck with your daughter! She sounds like a very intelligent little girl–and they are always the hardest. LOL

    Karma Wilson

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