Stepson won't eat anything but pizza?!

posted 1 year ago in Parenting
Post # 31
Member
84 posts
Worker bee

There’s a really good documentary on YouTube about couples with kids that have severe food adversions and how to deal with them. It’s British–maybe BBC. I’m on my mobile so can’t find it but try searching and see if it comes up, otherwise I will try later. It’s mostly toddlers/babies in the documentary but what’s cool is that they show strategies for coping and expanding food choices. One of them is encouraging “playing” with food. Maybe you could encourage him to touch/feel other foods, or what you’re regularly having for dinner, to get him more used to them? Then progress to putting them in his mouth but not swallowing, etc. Then one bite only. Or maybe enroll him in a cooking class so he’s smelling/feeling/working with food but not necessarily eating it. I’d look to a professional to help you with this. He may just grow out of it. But some encouragement to eat more normally might help. 

Post # 32
Member
2154 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’ll suggest 3 things – 

1 – encourage him to help you to cook, help you to touch food (like for example help you to make a fruit salad even though he may not want to eat it), see if he’d like to join a cooking class while he’s staying with you – basically get him comfortable around food and let him work his way up to tasting it.

2 – talk to him, he’s 13 – talk to him like you would talk to an adult, tell him what your concerns are, don’t be patronizing and don’t ”baby” him, don’t terrify him, but just give him facts. 

3 – get your husband involved. It sounds like your husband is opting out of parenting because ”he never sees the kid” and ”it’s too hard”. Even if he only saw him one day out of the year that is NO excuse to not parent your child. It doesn’t matter how bad of a parent his mom is – by effectively ”staying out of it” your husband is absolutely no better!! Tell him this!! He needs to step up.

Post # 33
Member
1480 posts
Bumble bee

My brother has weird food aversions too. When he was around that age he only wanted to eat plain ham subway sandwiches with mayo and that’s it. It was annoying af. He thankfully grew out of it but I think it was related to anxiety at the time. 

I wouldn’t make a big issue of it bc the last thing you want to do is make food an issue for any young person. Boys have body image issues too. Maybe start with snack items. Like put out a plate of carrots and celery with dip so he may be more apt to eat that instead of chips.

Post # 35
Member
373 posts
Helper bee

jbeebee :  I was never this extreme, but I was a very picky eater as a child and texture of food played a big role in it. I’ve progressed a ton, but texture still gets me sometimes and I get a gag reflex. One thing I strangely liked as a kid was avocados – they’re smooth/consistent and tasty with a little salt – maybe try that?

I know my parents never made me eat a full meal I didn’t want, but they did make me try a bite of everything. Some of the things I was forced to try a bite of were not horrible and eventually I grew to like 😉   

It sounds like you’ve made progress with the smoothie! 

Post # 36
Member
13533 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

My Darling Husband doesn’t eat fruit, vegetables, seafood, peanut butter…  When I met him, he didn’t eat chicken or turkey.  He ate, and still eats, pasta for dinner every night.  He’s not on the spectrum; he’s a picky eater.  He doesn’t like to try new foods unless they look appealing to him.  

Maybe it’s because I know what it’s like to liev with an exteremly picky eater and you didn’t explain any other behaviors, but I think it is rude and incredibly inappropriate to assume he’s on the Autism spectrum because of his picky eating.

Post # 37
Member
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2018

amanda3334455 :  These are all really good suggestions.

I would suggest not panicking and don’t give up hope that he’ll change. One of my cousins was THE pickiest eater ever as a child, and a close family friend pretty much only ate hot dogs for a year or so… Now both are very adventurous eaters – one even works on an organic farm. My aunt and uncle just kept offering my cousin different foods and eventually he tried stuff bit by bit. 

Post # 38
Member
198 posts
Blushing bee

As with another poster, both my sister and I were extremely picky eaters as kids.  My sister was known amongst our family and friends as subsisting primarily on chicken nuggets – this was an exaggeration, but not by much.  It has certainly hurt me in the sense that I didn’t develop good eating habits and still don’t like most vegetables.  However, I just wanted to provide some (obviously anecdotal) reassurance that we both did grow out of it to a large degree, and I didn’t have any obvious health problems from having such a limited diet.

Sorry if I’ve missed this (didn’t read every post), but have you tried juices?  Obviously juice has nothing on real fruits and vegetables, but it might be a good gateway to a food group he seems to leave untouched. ETA – just saw that you JUST mentioned this, sorry.  Hopefully you can build on the smoothie theme!

Post # 39
Member
9333 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m no expert but it does sound like he has sensory issues with food. I absolutely would not just take away all the foods he will eat and hope he “gets on board” with eating other things. It’s physically not possible for some people.

I wouldn’t put this all on his mom. Why doesn’t your Darling Husband have more time with him? It’s easy to judge when you’re only dealing with a child’s issues one month a year.

Post # 40
Member
60 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

Oh boy! BTDT! I have 6 kids of my own…each went through a picky stage. I figured it was normal. I however was not a picky eater. I love vegetables so I had a hard time with my children not wanting to eat certain things.

When I met my second husband, I complained to him about dinner time being a hassle because someone would inevitably turn up their nose at dinner despite how much effort I put into it. He told me the solution to that was to tell them to either eat it or they get nothing. Then I met his children.  He had twins, a boy and a girl. The girl is on the spectrum. But she would eat anything and everything and was overweight. The boy was not on the spectrum and would only eat cheese flavored bread products. He would not eat actual cheese. He would eat no meat, no vegetables, no fruit. All he wanted was Cheeszits, pizza without the cheese, cheese Pringles, soda and candy. .  My husband said that this was because of the child’s mother, who would give in to his every whim. But when we started living together, nothing changed. Because our ex-spouses were still involved in the childrens’ lives, we had a deal to just deal with/discipline our own children. I never said a word about step-son’s eating habits, while my husband continued to buy him cheese-flavored bread products, but he always offered whatever we were eating. It was usually declined.

My step-son is now 17 and has expanded his food repertoire to include chicken and bacon. But I’m sure he mostly eats crap (he’s currently living with his mother). He is, however, very muscular and thin (he’s also very active). My step-daughter decided she didn’t like being overweight and went on a diet about two years ago. She’s lost over 100 pounds. I believe her asperger’s keeps her very regimented with her diet and I now wonder if she’s too strict…she’s mostly eating carrots, broccoli, and diet peanut butter. But that’s another story.

My step-son’s food issues certainly made me appreciate what my own kids eat. They’ll eat fruit and some vegetables, meat, etc. they’re not perfect but seem to be healthy. I believe that 13 is a tough age to but heads over food, especially when he’s not with you that much. Just hope that by offering experiences of new foods, he’ll eventually have an open mind about trying things as he gets older.

Post # 42
Member
60 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

chocolateplease :  yeah, it was kind of a joke when we started describing it that way, but we realized it was very accurate. He would literally turn down anything with actual cheese on it and would pick off the cheese on pizza (and he wouldn’t eat frozen or home made pizza, only pizza from a delivery/restaurant – it seemed like such a waste to order pizza and watch him pull off all the cheese). But he was all about fake cheese flavoring. Weird!

Post # 44
Member
2844 posts
Sugar bee

13 is much too old for that level of picky eating, and from your other updates about irrational fears (escalator etc.) it could very likely be part of that. Possibly even an eating disorder (albeit not the kind we’re used to hearing about)

I had a cousin that had an eating disorder from ages 6 to about 12, maybe older, where he would only eat white foods and things without texture. Like he would have white bread and yogurt at Christmas dinner. We thought he was just a really picky eater, but found out much later that it was an anxiety manifestation and he thought that he would be poisoned if he ate anything else.

His brother had muscular dystrophy which took over his parents life quite a bit, so there was understandably a lot of tension in the house. He was too young to deal with it or even understand what anxiety WAS and where the tension was coming from. So he projected those feelings onto food and controlled his food intake as a way to control his fears. 

I’m no doctor obviously, but it’s another possiblity to consider. 

Post # 45
Member
255 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

Short answer: make him eat them. Remove everything else from the house. I find it strange that parents these days (i know he’s not your son) let their kids choose what they want & dont want to eat. Im in my late twenties, & when i was little, if we didn’t eat EVERYTHING on the plate, we had to sit there until we did; i remember i sat there for 3 hrs once, trying not to eat asparagus or brussel sprouts lol. Now i like BOTH those items. 

Again though, i know he’s not your kid, sooo maybe just let him do whatevs, who cares, ya know? He’ll realize soon enough that “hey, im fat compared to my tiny high school friends, maybe i should do something different if i wanna play sports & do what my friends do.” …that’s the dismissive approach though, so maybe that’s too mean. We don’t have kids so idk those feelings :/

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