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Walter, Consultant
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Mentoring Parents on Understanding and Accepting the Challenges of Parenthood.
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I am so frustrated with my family I have four sons ...

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I am so frustrated with my family I have four sons ages 5, 9, 14, and 16. The older boys are not as bad but the younger ones are very picky eaters and they are convinced that everything I cook is disgusting and they cry and have all these issues over food. The youngest just will refuse to eat and only requests sippies of milk all day long and when I don''t give it to him he will finally eat only food that has no color, But if he is at his grandmothers house he will eat and try different foods and likes what she cooks, which is nothing different than I cook. The 9 year old complains as well along with my husband whom I think they learned it from.I want to just go on strike and let them take care of cooking meals they like but then I feel guilty and my husband gets mad.He refuses to even try to cook and wont even wait on himself ever I feel like a slave to food and then everyone dogs me constantly. I feel no matter how hard I try I can never make them happy. What do I do. I am fed up


Do you think if you sat down with your husband and told him how you feel he would work with you on this matter?

How do the two older ones act?

Do any of the children have chores, or responsibility's in the home?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I have spoken to him and he just thinks it is my job as the mother and woman around the house and he doesn't give me any real support, in my opinion he is just as bad as the kids are about it. The older ones are more respectful and like most of what I cook and if there is something they are not crazy about they don't put me down they just dont eat it all. They are more appreciative of the effort I put into it, and believe me its alot I spend some much of my time buying and preparing food hoping to please everyone, I am so sick of it that I really am resenting parenthood right now. The older boys are from a previous marriage and are not at my household but half the time and they had a father who shares in the cooking and it isn't a big deal to them. My husband and younger kids make me feel like a failure. As far as chores, not alot, they rely on me for most things and I try to redirect them to help themselves but their dad expects to be waited on so they do too.


Sounds like your household needs a real change in direction.........first off lets take a deep breath. Now you are not a failure, raising 4 boys is a lot of work, trust me I know from experience Laughing. I have four boys as well ages 8,8, 12, and 15 and I am a single father so I can fully appreciate what you are going though right now. The fact of the matter is raising children is not easy, and all the glam on TV about everyone getting along and mom being the superhero is just that.....TV's fantasy world.

Your first step in changing your household comes with changing yourself. First accept and recognize that you are only human and as such will make mistakes. You have a right to respect, love and Patience the same as you give to your family. Though that does not make you the full time cook, maid and slave. In a household everyone should contribute. That includes dad as well as the kids.

I would suggest calling a family meeting, if dad will not participate then leave him out of it. Sit the kids down and let them know that the way the household has been treating you has gotten real old real quick and it is going to stop now. Be firm!

I want you to draw up a chore list. On it each child should have a chore to do....if they bulk let them know that everyone will begin carrying their own weight around the house and should they choose not to, then there will be consequences to their actions. Each Sunday (Or every other Sunday if you only shop every other week) the children should be gathered at the table to help work on a menu. This means asking what they want to eat.....the key is they will be cooking a meal once a week. Yes mom......every single one of them are old enough to learn how to cook. Even the Little one.

Though the little one may want something simple like Hot Dogs and Macaroni and Cheese. You will be there to supervise the meal they make of course but they will be cooking it. Now for the fun part.............

Any child that complains about the meal must take the cooking child's duties the meal. So if it is the 5 years night to cook and the 9 year old complains about the taste the 9 year old will then have to cook not only his meal on his day but the next meal the 5 year old was to cook. (I would suggest keeping a chart to remember who will be doing the cooking each night). Now when you cook if they complain they must take one of your nights.

Most kids love to this will likely be fun for them. If this happens and the children prefer to cook let them switch up and do the other child's chore for the following day. If it is your cooking they are complaining about, then they should do one of your chores such as helping with the laundry or scrubbing the floors. (Just make sure it is a real good chore they will dislike).

One other factor in this, your husband will have less to complain about as the kids will be cooking. Thus he should not make fun of the kids cooking at all.

If the children refuse to eat what has been put in front of them then allow them to do so. Since we do not want them to go hungry then they may have a cold sand which instead or nothing. Eventually a cold sandwich will get boring and they will begin eating. Since this is only a problem at your house, it sounds like they know how to work you. I bet you ten to one that grandma would not tolerate the behavior for a moment and this is why they do not do so at her house.

Now for the consequences, as I am sure they are going to try and buck against you. They may refuse to do the daily chore or refuse to cook. If this happens you should escort them into their room and remove a possession for the week. This can be a favorite toy, TV, video game or all the toys, freedom to call friends, or to go out of the house.. If the child begins doing the chores then he can have the items back. If not the next week you take something else. Eventually they will reform Laughing

Now we are left with your biggest problem..........your husband. A marriage is about give and take. It sounds like you are doing all the giving and he is doing all the taking. It is time to sit down and have a talk with him. Let him know how this makes you feel and what you want and need out of him. As of that more hand and foot waiting. He needs to get up and take care of his own needs. No more making his plate, cleaning up after him or grabbing him his drinks. Let him fend for himself. If he says anything, let him know you love him but you married him to be a partner not his slave. If he makes fun of your cooking.........give him a good hard look and tell him if he does not like it then feel free to starve. Then change the subject. In reality he needs to man up and help you out.

Changing the kids is far easier then changing your husband. With them you can withhold things and punish them. With him your options are slimmer. You can leave of course, but it does not sound like this is what you want. But just because you are there does not mean you have to be his punching bag (Mentally). Allow him to fend for himself, it is not going to hurt him any.



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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I asked my 9 year old how he would feel if people treated him the way they treat me and he didn't really want to answer. I told him that I wanted him to get out the recipe books and find something that he thought the family would like for supper and that he could prepare it tonight and let him start making his own breakfast in the morning and he started crying and saying he wasnt going to cook that, that would never happen. He says we can just all eat cereal.


Thats a good start............but the best way to handle this is in a group. Your older children can help show the younger that this is something that everyone will be doing. If you want to push this tonight then look at him calmly and explain to him that cereal is a breakfast food and so he will be making dinner tonight. Let him know if he wants cereal every morning that is fine.........since he is making it he can eat it if he likes it.

Explain to him this is not a option........he will be making dinner or he will be punished! Be firm, but nonchalant. Do not show any weakness or fear that he will not do it. Tell him to go into the kitchen and decide what he is making. Let him know you will be helping him, so not to be afraid. If he still says no, then let him know what the consequences are. Does he have a favorite thing? Maybe sports he plays? Or a video game? Let him know that if he fails to make dinner then you will remove this item or items from him for one week. Let him know he may have it back when he is ready to make dinner. Also explain to him that should he not make dinner before next week you will be removing something else.

There is also another route you can take. It is a little more drastic, but works very very well with children this age and older. As a parent we are required to do a few things by law. We must provide a roof over the child's head, a area to sleep and bath and food. We are not required to make that stay comfortable or fun.

I sometimes advise in serious situations a total strip down. This means a bed, linen, and the necessary bathing things. This means remove all toys, TVs, games, books (Except educational) etc from him. Inform him that he has no right to these things and these things are given to him to make him comfortable and happy but if he insists on being unhappy and making everyone around him unhappy then he has no right to them.

With this being summer this is far easier then while school is in session. Explain to him that once he begins following the rules consistently you will begin allowing him to have his things and rights back. For every week that he has shown marked improvement (And again allow for small slip ups) he may choose one thing he wants back. Should he have a bad week you may choose the item you are taking back. If he has 3 consistent back to back weeks then all his things are removed again.

Once he begins doing his chores, the one night cooking and not making fun he can earn his things back.

As for your little one, he is far easier to manipulate. You simply sit him down and make him sit in time out when he refuses to do as told. You can also remove his toys and things as well. At five years of age he is old enough to learn how to do things for himself. He will be going to Kindergarten soon and will be required to do these things.

If your older children are not following the rules you can do a strip down with them as well. The fact is they have learned that they can tell you no and you will not do anything about it. The see dad disrespecting you and think they can get away with it as is time to take back control of your home and your children and let them know that you are the adult and they must follow your rules.