I know you have all had an encounter with a P.E.C member. Some of you might deal with it on a daily basis. Others might be lucky enough to only have to deal with it every once in a while. And sadly, there might even be a few of you who you or your spouse are a member.
What is P.E.C you ask? P.E.C stands for, “Picky Eaters Club”. Every household has its own processes and routines for meals. In addition, each household member can differ from each other as far as what they will eat. Some households only have a few members while others might have a household full of card carrying members. No matter how may members you have in your home it is a very frustrating thing to deal with.
You might be wondering how you can tell if you have a P.E.C member in your home. Well, this can be a very tricky thing to identify. Because, they look just like the rest of us. The only real way to tell if you have a P.E.C member in your home is to feed them. If they refuse to eat, cry, throw themselves on the floor, or anything else that is not normal eating behavior. It is probably safe to say that indeed you do have a member in your house.
We were lucky with our first child. She ate pretty much anything that we fed her. Our second child started out good. He ate very well when he was a baby. However, over time he changed. I don’t know who introduced him to the club but by the time he was four he was a full fledge member.
My next two boys where a lot like my second child. They ate very well when they were babies but as they got older they too joined the club.
Now, my youngest is a totally different story. He is the President of the P.E.C at our house. And sadly to say, he is only eighteen months.
P.E.C members have different ways of reacting to the food placed before them. Our members have gone as far as throwing themselves on the floor and screaming to a full-on eating strike. To make matters worse, you never know when they are going to strike. There have been times at our house when I was making a meal that I thought everybody was going to like it because the last time I had made the same meal all of the members seemed to be happy with it. And then out of the blue, they decide that it is no longer something that they will consume. I have a P.E.C member at my house who will not eat any veggies. The only dairy product he will eat is string cheese (he won’t even eat ice cream). The only fruit he will eat is an apple. If I let him he would live off of chicken nuggets, chips, Little Caesars bread sticks, chips, Ritz crackers, and did I mention chips. Next, there is our president of the club who will be perfectly happy eating something one minute and then he’ll throw it on the ground and will scream for something else.
What is the proper way of dealing with a P.E.C member you ask? Well my husband and I have tried many different approaches to this matter. Some methods have worked for a little while and others have failed miserably! We have tried sending them to their room, making them go to bed early, setting a timer, and grounding them. I am even embarrassed to say that there have been times that we have just had one of those days and the last thing we wanted was to have to deal with their fits so we gave in and let them eat something else. I promise you this doesn’t work. If anything it just makes the problem worse. Because it shows them that you have a breaking point and they know that if they push you far enough, they will get their way.
Lately my husband and I have decided that we are sick of playing their games. So we adopted the “We do not negotiate with P.E.C members” policy. Believe me it is very hard at first. There was a lot of crying and tantrum throwing but after a while, when they realized that we meant business they have started coming around. Now, granted my youngest is only eighteen months so he is a little bit harder to reason with. But even my pediatrician said that this was the approach we were going to have to take if we ever wanted them to get better.
It has been really rewarding to see the P.E.C members at my house discover that the food that they thought was disgusting before really is good. If they just try it, 98% of the time they really will like it. I understand that there are things that they will not like but they have to at least try it.
Another thing I would suggest is that you make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page with how you are going to approach this. Because if one of you is ready to go ahead with the no negotiating policy and the other is still sitting on the fence. Trust me when I say “it will never work”.
To all of my fellow foodies out there who are living with P.E.C members in their home. I just want to say…hang in there. It can be so frustrating and there might be times that you want to just give up. But remember, you need to stay strong and show them who is boss.
Now, it is your turn. What have you found works at your house? Please share with the rest of us. Maybe what works for you will work with other P.E.C members in other homes.
Until next time.