January 10, 2020


Meal times can be hard enough, but one mum has been criticised by her mother-in-law for feeding her daughter leftovers.

Dealing with fussy eaters can be difficult at the best of times, but one mum has come under fire for serving her daughter the same meal twice. After her daughter refused to eat the Sunday roast prepared for her lunch by her grandmother, the mum told her mother-in-law to serve it to her again for dinner and got an unexpected response…

Try, Try Again

Posting to popular parenting forum Mumsnet, the mum said she was shocked at her mother-in-law’s reaction. “Partners mum gave me a funny look and said it was ‘cruel’ to just give her a meal she doesn’t want to eat,” she said. “I said just to put it in front of her and if she doesn’t want to eat it, then she can go home and go to bed hungry as she won’t be having anything else.” The mum said that on the second attempt, her daughter ate the meal without complaint, but she still couldn’t ignore her mother-in-law’s disapproval, asking other parents if she was being unfair in her approach.

Mixed Response

Replies to the mum’s story were mixed, with many saying that she had done the right thing. “I’m with you,” said one mum. “It’s how I was raised and I’ll eat anything these days. A number of my friends though who present choices, allow children to dictate the menu or turn food down all seem to be producing very fussy eaters who expect to always be pandered to.” Others were critical of the mum’s strict stance. “I would never allow my children to experience that,” wrote one mum. “Never use food or lack of as punishment.” “There is nothing to be gained from turning food into a battle ground,” said another.

It’s a tricky issue, and there’s a fine line between effective discipline and creating negative associations with mealtimes and food in general. We think if you can at least get your child to try the meals that are put in front of them, then you’re onto a winner!

Have you got a top tip for dealing with fussy eaters? Let us know in the comments!

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  • My parents were always really strict with me come meal time. I had to eat what was in front of me and even at pre school I had to eat whatever was served or I’d go hungry and get no dessert.
    I’m a bit more lenient with my toddler and give into whatever she wants as I’d rather her eat than not but hubby doesn’t feel the same. He grew up where if you didn’t eat then you go to bed hungry and you’d learn your lesson.


  • I was always bought up to eat what was in front of me. However if I tried something and I didn’t like it my mother usually gave in. Do what you feel is right. There is no right or wrong answer.


  • My boys knew they had to at least try what was put in front of them. They would eat the meat but not the vegetables so they had to take one small mouthful (and swallow) and if they still didn’t like it they would have a piece of fruit. My boys now love vegetables more than I do.


  • This is not the mother-in-law’s concern and crosses boundaries. I’ve had both my Mum and Mum-in-law involve themselves unnecessarily, in front of my child, which is not on. They’ve had their go at parenting, and funnily enough, would have played that same game above. Ironic!


  • We insist kids try things, and they know if they don’t like it, they’ll be asked to try it again another day. But we don’t force them to more than a decent taste.


  • Green eggs and ham. I tell my kids to try everything once. The next time I pop it on their plate, they need to try one piece again once. If they still don’t like it, that’s fine but I make sure I have other food for them to eat too. I know what they would eat and not eat anyway, but they need to try


  • Nothing wrong with left overs! My girls have them often if they don’t want or don’t like the meal being served they will get something left over from the fridge.


  • There is nothing wrong with leftovers.


  • Experts always say that you should present any food a few times with a break in between before accepting a child may not like it.

    I think the part that would have been “cruel” was going to bed without food. Personally I ask my kids to taste the food and if they don’t want it, they can have toast or bread instead for dinner.

    That works for us. You have to find what does for you.


  • It’s not cruel at all. My brother’s kids will only eat crap- 2min noodles and chicken nuggets, etc. – that kind of behavior starts somewhere. If I prepare a meal it either gets eaten or they have nothing. If they don’t eat it all I will often give it to them the next day, although this is mostly because my son eats very slow and plays with his food. He knows better than to complain about what he’s given! This being said they can choose what they want for breakfast or lunch.


  • Not at all cruel !!


  • I would, and, did do the same thing as this mum. If the child decides they want something for lunch etc, and it’s not what they want, well that’s just too bad, parents can’t make what each child wants, they get what they are given, and yes, they are going to get it for the next meal, if not, they will start thinking they can always have what they want all the time. I use to discuss meals with my family, and made meals that they liked, but, that didn’t stop them from trying to eat something they wanted instead of what had been made. The grandmother should not have said anything.


  • A child must try the food at least, if one of the parents are prepared to eat it then it is safe to eat unless allergies. I was brought up this and so have my children too. As long as it is safe to re serve it should be ok to eat.


  • I think it depends on what the food is and why they didn’t eat it.


  • I agree with the comment about children being given a plethora of choices creating fussy eaters. This Mum is in no way cruel, but the mother-in-law weighing in with her ideas of how the Mum parents her child certainly doesn’t help matters, nor is it any of her business as a grandmother really.


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