Saturday, March 19, 2011

What a Plan. Simple, Yet Insane

Seldom have I encountered a situation with less solutions than the situations that parenting brings everyday. No...that's not quite right. Seldom have I encountered a situation with more solutions than the situations that parenting brings everyday. That's the frustrating thing: There are too many solutions to each tiny little problem.


Problem: Toddler will not eat carrots.

Solution: Just cook them with brown sugar and butter and they will gobble them right up!
Solution: A toddler's taste buds need to adapt to new food; keep giving her plain, raw carrots until her taste buds adapt and she will love them! Adding butter and brown sugar will only make her always HAVE to have brown sugar and butter.
Solution: She's not ready for carrots. Try again in a few weeks. Until then, don't give her any carrots so the novelty will make the appealing.
Solution: If she doesn't eat them for lunch, offer them to her as a snack, and then for dinner, and then as breakfast, until she's eaten her carrots.
Solution: It's because she's been psychologically traumatized by carrots. Don't offer her any carrots of any form ever, she'll learn to accept them when she's ready; on her own terms.
Solution: You're vegetarian? Not eating carrots is her way of rebelling against you. Think of it as her pre-teen rebellion. Give her a thick slab of red meat. That will dissolve the issue so she can eat carrots without betraying her cause.
Solution: She's asserting her power. Give her a choice between carrots and peas. If she chooses peas, don't make her eat carrots.
Solution: Carrots aren't in season right now, she doesn't like them because it goes against her internal clock. You shouldn't be offering non-season vegetables to her.
Solution: You're the parent. She's the child. She needs to listen when you tell her to eat her carrots. FORCE HER.
Solution: She has some sort of allergy to carrots. She feels bad when she eats them, so she's learned not to eat them. You should trust her.
Solution: Have her eat one bite for every year she is old.
Solution: Forcing children to eat food, even one bite, gives them eating disorders. Never push food on children.
Solution: If you eat your carrots, your child will eat her carrots.
Solution: You never gave her raw carrots as an infant because she didn't have teeth. She sees you eating carrots and assumes carrots are adult food. If you stop eating them, she will start eating them.
Solution: It's because she has anxiety at the dinner table. Are there problems at home?
Solution: You should read books and watch movies about eating carrots! Monkey see, monkey do!
Solution: She's not getting enough sleep and night and is too exhausted to chew raw carrots. You need to adjust her sleep schedule so she has energy to eat.
Solution: It's because you are a bad parent. If you were a better parent, she would be a better toddler. Obviously.

And even if I pick a solution, and she does start eating carrots, I don't know if I picked the right one, if it was just a phase and she would have done it on her own, or if I made the wrong choice and have now damaged her beyond repair.

It's just so frustrating! Why isn't there one simple answer? Why isn't there a "how to raise your child step-by-step" with pictographs? Why can't my toddler tell me the reason she isn't eating carrots so I can make an informed decision? Why is it that the more information I gather the harder parenting becomes?


  1. I am a believer in not making toddlers eat raw carrots and I like solution 3. By the time a child is 4 or 5, we say, "Try one bite. Then if you don't like it we won't make you eat any more." Mr. T. has eaten whole servings of many new foods that way, and occasionally stuck his nose up at others after one bite. It helps if they see the parents trying one bite first! We also taught that "No thank you, I don't want any more" is much better than saying "Yuck, I hate it!"

    I don't like raw carrots either but have you tried baby carrots for her? They're a little more tender, a little sweeter, and they're "cute little baby carrots."

  2. Incidentally, don't forget the source of the very best information about parenting. He will guide you. He also sets the perfect example about agency, health choices, etc.

  3. I don't know if you want it but here is my advice anyway.
    1. If it's a big concern, pray about it. Pick what you think is your best solution and ask if it's right. Heavenly Father knows our kids better than we ever will. I've gotten great parenting advice through inspiration.
    2. If it's a little concern, don't sweat it. It's harder than people think to damage kids beyond repair.
    For Ellie, we use a family tradition from Dave's family, the "No Thank You helping." It means that the child has a small (one or two bites) serving of whatever they dislike when it's on the menu. That gets them to try new or disliked things without being overwhelming. I know toddlers often go through phases with eating so I wouldn't force the issue, just offer occasionally and maybe someday she'll discover she likes them. Good luck!

  4. Hence the reason I stopped going to and soliciting advice from other parents. I still forget this rule from time to time. Toby is different from their children - they have no idea what will work for him, so it's just going to cause more problems if I start farming out for solutions.

    Personally I think it's because it's a Sunland carrot. If it was a Utah carrot, she would gobble so many of them she'd turn orange. So you should move back here, and then you will have a happy, carrot loving orange baby.

    Hey, maybe this is the reason my Arkansan child is such a pain in the butt.

    Well, sucks to be him.

  5. Actually, the carrots were just an example. Ash eats her carrots just fine. It's EVERYTHING ELSE that we're having problems with. EVERYTHING in her life is a question with too many solutions. Still, I agree you guys. The answer is prayer and maybe stop reading reading so many freaking books and forums. But how can knowledge be bad? I just don't get it.

  6. Consider the source of the knowledge. And relax! You're a good mom and you will find your way through.

  7. It's funny, right? Wouldn't it be great if humans came with a manual?

    Well, no, I don't think so because this is far more fun.

    My main suggestion (besides agreeing with what is already here) would be to use those solutions to look at the problem a new way. FORGET the reasoning behind them, that's psychology right there and 90% of the time people make that stuff up (just like statistics).

    My mom had the hardest time getting my big brother to drink milk as an infant. She tried everything and anything and one day forgot to heat up the milk and he sucked it down. Turns out it didn't matter if it was breast milk or goat milk or soy milk, he just liked cold foods! I was the same; didn't matter if it was pudding or sauces or whatever, I didn't like cold foods and would gobble down anything hot.

    If you use those "solutions" as a sounding board to look at the problem from a new angle, great. But Ash is your baby and you know her better than any other human on this planet. Raise her the best you know how and don't worry about it. She'll forgive you someday.

    PS Those solutions about giving babies independence are interesting to me. Not to spark a big debate, but babies doesn't really need that much choice just can make it available, but sometimes it's nice for kids to know that there are some things that they just have to do.


If, in your comment, you do not use code names as I do in my blog, I will edit your comment before I post it.