I have a 6 YO DD with eating issues. DD was born premature at 30 weeks. Had oral motor issues due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids (adenoids) at age 3 (now removed). Major texture issues (would not eat anything with skin, crunch or mixed textures). Food allergies to dairy protein (casein, whey), eggs and peanuts and sensitivity to soy. As parents, we always put too much pressure on her to eat and she now has huge control issues (per psychologist) and very anxious nervous behavior at table. Distracting attention getting behavior at table forced us to allow DD to eat in front of tv which caused more problems. She is easily distracted, suspected ADD, eats when she wants on her terms and now in Kindergarten, does not eat lunch at table. She very lethargic at school and the more pressure we add, the worse it gets. She is a very picky eater - eats mostly chicken tenders, rice, pasta, seasoned beef, chocolate pudding and snacks but gets bored easily. We cannot sue Pediasure, Carnation Breakfast or Ensure due to dairy and she hates smoothies due to texture. We are currently trying all meals at the table with limited success. New rule is all meals at table. No talk of food at table. Trying to encourage conversation but DD is nervous, constant chattering, won't sit in chair, attention getting behavior. Once we correct behavior, the battle begins. Often eats 3-4 bites of meal. Often says she won't eat if she can't eat in front of tv. Trying to be casual but very difficult when we don't understand why she doesn't want to eat. What is best strategy to encourage her to eat and eliminate need to control food? Also, how to you address a child who doesn't eat because there are more interesting things going on? Time outs and withholding fun things has not worked.
This is not a straightforward behavior managemnt issue - there are too mnay variables involved and it would be irresponsible of me to offer you simple guidance. The situation should be assessed in a comprehenisive manner, and I would begin with a developmental pediatrician and then go from there contingent on what the developmental pediatrician thinks.
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