BiPolar (BP) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)


Active Member
Breakfasts have been awful at our house. difficult child 1 needs flexibility or he goes into meltdown. difficult child 2 needs structure/routine or he goes into meltdown. So we've been eating in shifts. difficult child 2 goes first if they both want it at the same time. Most of the time though difficult child 1 gets up early enough that he can be finished by the time difficult child 2 gets up. This has reduce the meltdowns. For example; difficult child 1 got up today and played gameboy until difficult child 2 was done eating. difficult child 2 eats cold cereal everyday. He gets to pick between 2 different kinds. After difficult child 2 was done I asked difficult child 1 which kind he wanted and he yelled NO, I want leftovers. I said o.k. and difficult child 1 got himself leftovers. If difficult child 2 had been still eating the presentation of a third very different choice would've caused a meltdown. (Some times the presentation of 2 similar choices causes a meltdown.) Its not perfect but its starting to help. I just had to give up on family meals in the morning.


Well-Known Member
Oh, my! Well, sounds like you've come up with-a brilliant, creative solution. I wish you the best. Let us know if it's still working in a few months or if you've had to tweak it.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Yes I can relate a bit... oh the drama of eating. I tried to explain this to a friend of mine one day who has easy child children. She was struggling over getting hr easy child to eat enough and I was letting her know that the "family" meal doesn't always have to be what we are told by society. The pretty picture doesn't always fit everyone, and that her daughter might be one of those and that by backing off she might eat better. "If I make a meal we are sitting down and eating at the table like a family"

She thought I was crazy.... I have had to change the "rules" as well... easy child/difficult child 2 is very strict... lots of "no's" and difficult child is pretty easy going about breakfast as long as I feed her, I know what she likes... but it is always chaotic with tears usually... something spilling.
Lots of drama...
Sounds like you are doing a good job at least keeping your sanity...


Well-Known Member
in my humble opinion, a small price to pay to ensure everyone has a decent morning with no stress.

Way To Go!


Active Member
My view - if it works and it's not hurting anybody, then do it.

Our evening meals - nothing like my childhood. And that is maybe a good thing because for me, evening meals were awful. Family meals were awful. I was a fussy eater (when I look back I can understand why - my mother was cooking in bulk, for economy, and would hide certain cheap but nasty ingredients in meals like stew or pies. With fruit pies she made them with a crust so thick you needed a microscope to find the fruit. Plus, my father would finish his dinner early, would skip dessert and would smoke instead. As the youngest I had to sit next to him. Asking to eat my dessert in the kitchen brought discipline for being rude to my father.

For our family, it's evening meals where we've had to make adjustment. Breakfast has always been on the run for those going out to school or to work. We each eat what we choose from what's available and what time we have. For me and difficult child 3, it's still sometimes a rush but often we have the time for me to cook him a breakfast.
Evening meals - I cook some basics in bulk (such as bolognese sauce, which can be used for spaghetti bolognese, chili con carne, lasagne, OUR version of burritos, nachos and tacos and so on. It's beef-based so it's been good for those in the family needing to keep their iron levels up. It means that we have a lot of variety already there. Plus I cook other stew-based meals (only I make sure the kids know EXACTLY what's in them, I won't try to smuggle things they don't like into their meals and then insist they eat it all if they really don't like it). We eat leftovers, but presented so they are enjoyable. With a lot of my stews and curries, they taste better after being kept cold in the fridge for a day. I'll serve them with rice, and if there is rice left over then we have fried rice the next night. Leftovers don't just have to be warmed over, they can be turned into real, and alternative, meals (like mashed potato being turned into gnocchi).

The end result - we eat together to a certain extent, but we each get choice. difficult child 3 gets fed at different times (generally a lot earlier) because if we wait until everyone's home from work, he's too tired to eat a good meal and he then wakes up early next morning because he's hungry. Plus, meal times with him can still be trying affairs, especially at the end of the day when the other difficult children in the house are less tolerant. So if he's been fed when we sit down to eat - we enjoy our meal so much more. Meanwhile difficult child 3 will be in the bath, or getting ready for bed.

People visit us and think we're strange and antisocial. We often read at the table, especially if we're being informal. It's not antisocial because we tend to share bits of what we're reading with everyone else. Or we stop reading and talk. But it helps us relax, makes us enjoy the meal more and I think for informal situations, for US, it's healthy.

Basically, it's not good etiquette but it works, for us. The kids are capable of eating politely in formal situations, so we've not missed out there.