dinner time

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by idohope, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. idohope

    idohope Member

    Dinner has been an ongoing problem with difficult child and I am hoping for some ideas. Earlier in the day in mentioned that we were having hamburgers and difficult child said OK. At dinner time easy child 1 and easy child 2 are at the table and I am serving everyone and she come to the table and starts yelling that she wont eat a hamburger and I need to make her a sandwich now. I calmly say that she can make herself a sandwich but that I am sitting down to eat. She escalates as I continue to not make her what she is demanding. We are now trapped and dinner for me, easy child 1 and easy child 2 is ruined. She will not move away from the table or leave the room and keeps yelling, demanding and calling me names. easy child 2 gets up from his chair and starts handing her stuff that she is demanding because he just wants her to stop. A week or so ago easy child 1 and easy child 2 had to leave the table and go to a different part of the house until difficult child calmed down.

    She is calming down faster than in past years. She did make her self a sandwich within about 15 minutes and we all finished eating but the toll on her siblings is very large. It is hard on a regular basis to have a meal that includes someone screaming and throwing things even for 10-15 minutes of it.

    I am feeling very powerless. I feel that when this happens she needs to leave the room but I can not physically make her leave and I can not figure out what to say to make her leave (consequences etc). But I also feel that the rest of us leaving (and coming back to our dinner plates later) or sitting there and just taking it from her are not OK options.

    Advice welcome
  2. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Can you feed the pcs before or after difficult child? Probably is going to mean you're going to have to eat with- difficult child to keep her away from them while they're eating. I'd probably present it in a more positive light - "difficult child, if you can participate in a family meal without making everyone else miserable, you can eat with the family tonight. If not, you will have to eat alone." Is there somewhere else the pcs can eat if she does start tantruming?

    She's 13. I think it's perfectly reasonable that if she doesn't eat what you make, she should make her own. But... I know it's tough to enforce that while at the same time trying to limit the effects of her tantrum on her sibs. It's so incredibly difficult to get difficult children to recognize the effects their behaviors have on *everyone* around them.

    I wish I had been more protective of my pcs back in the bad old days. Scenes like this were common and so unfair to them. They have the right to eat in peace in their own home.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Different meal times came to my mind also. The only other thought I have is asking difficult child to help you prepare dinner so the two of you can have alone time. (Yeah, lol, I know...I know!) on the other hand if she is a participant there is a chance that the food will be "awesome". Maybe??? Hugs DDD
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I have a poor memory... and no time to go back and re-read your earlier posts.

    Who did the dxes?
    'Cause, it sounds to me like that's not a complete list.
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    How often does this happen? Does it only happen with specific food or is it random?

    The problem could be a sensory disorder relating to food. At 16 and 11 my older kids eat almost anything I make, but I'm still having problems with the youngest. When I'm making something I know for sure she won't eat, we'll decide ahead of time what her substitution will be.

    As far as peaceful eating is concerned, can you set up an alternate eating area that you can all move to as soon as difficult child starts putting up a fuss?
  6. idohope

    idohope Member

    She was initially diagnosed by a therapist but then I had a full neuropysch evaluation done by a highly recommended neuropysch. We specifically discussed whether or not difficult child is on the spectrum and the conclusion was no. Her rigidity of thinking was the only area which fell in line with being on the spectrum. The main diagnosis from the neuropyschologist was anxiety (secondary dysthymia).

    The food issue has been a consistent one (meaning that it has been going on for years and years) but the food is random (meaning that the tantrum could be triggered one day by a food she ate two weeks ago). difficult child does have some sensory issues (another major problem is seat belts and so her siblings are also subjected to her screaming on many car rides) but she does not seem to have sensory issues with food. easy child 1 is also a very fussy eater. He throws up if he smells certain food (like cereal that has milk on it). I always make sure there is something that each kid will eat at each meal. difficult child often has cereal, there is fruit bowl in the middle of the table, she can have an apple.

    I think with difficult child it is less about the food and more about something that she was not expecting was put in front of her (even though I had specifically told her what we would be having earlier) and she just does not know how to handle it and explodes. She has refused medication and refused to participate in therapy to help her learn coping mechanism. You know difficult child logic. She does not have a problem. I am the problem because I am not leaping up to make her whatever food she is screaming at me to make.

    I can not figure out how I could implement two meal times. I dont think difficult child would let me sit and eat with them. For those who suggested it where do you think difficult child should be or be doing while her siblings eat?

    There is not really anyplace that they could go once she starts tantrumming and still eat. She would follow them. I dont want them to lock themselves in a bedroom with their dinner. Her following me or others when tantruming has also been a consistent problem. I lock myself in my car sometimes to get away from her.

    Thank you for the responses