Last week's post (about Feeding Picky Toddlers) brought up some interesting issues in the comments section!

Girl_take_a_bite
I always enjoy comments that challenge my thinking and bring up great topics for discussion, and this post had several! :) I thought that this week, rather than writing another post, I would post some of the points made and questions raised by others, and get some discussion going about the issue!

(Side note- I want you to know that I really, truly value your opinions, and some of these comments I am posting are from women that I have become friendly with, so this is honestly a forum for discussion and learning for us all!)

Mrs.Taft (who is a very dear, thought-provoking commenter!), said this:

1. Toddlers and babies have VERY sensitive taste buds. They taste
things far more strongly and variedly than we do. What may seem mild or
even bland to you may be overwhelmingly pungent or spicy to them. I
remember not liking raw onions because it burned my mouth. Now I eat
them fine.

2. To that effect, and sometimes in a greater measure, they often
have real aversions. Physical, psychological, or both. It's not always
a matter of obedience, it's a matter of ability.

3. We must always be careful of how we present food struggles,
because eating disorders are very real, and there has been research
done over the last decade or so that has shown links to both over and
under eating and tracing it back to childhood and infant experiences of
food… (you can read the rest of what she said in the comments section of the post)

Tami left this comment:

We have 3 kids (4, 2 and 7 months). I have always served the older two
whatever the rest of the family is eating. And, while my 4 year old has
an adventurous palate, like his daddy, our 2 year old is fairly picky.
We have not figured out how to make him take a bite without forcing it
in his mouth. He will sometimes put something in his mouth and then
spit it out. And we do use the rule that you have to take a bite of
everything on your plate. My husband and I are getting very discouraged
with trying to get him to eat.

And here's what Kimi had to say:

I do think that it is very true that young children's taste buds are
very sensitive. I remember there were certain things that I could
hardly eat when I was young. Sour cream tasted extremely tart and
disgusting (I hated it-

though I love it now), tomatoes were very strong, bell peppers were
also extremely strong to me, though now I think they are sweet!
Spinach, cooked, I really couldn't swallow because it would make me gag
so much. All to say, I think that children's adverse reactions to food
are very real, and not necessarily something one can always overcome
with mere obedience and repetition.

But on the other hand, I think that what my mother did was good. She
was always having us try new things, and we always had to have at least
a few bites. She didn't feed us our least favorite thing everyday, but
would have it on the menu occasionally. It worked great for me. I
turned from a very picky eater to one who always likes to eat new
things! So keep up the good work of having your children try new
things, I bet it will pay off for you and your children. :-)

On the other side, I had a friend who's father would make him eat
something he didn't like once a week for 6 weeks. It didn't work for
him but only made me HATE the food with a passion. An example of
forcing food gone bad. I think my mother's way was better. Introduce
foods, but not force it all down.

Like I said, I think there is a balance there.

And now, I open it up to you! What do you think?

Do you require your children to eat foods that they particularly don't like? How much of an undesired food do you require? What about children with strong texture aversions, or gag reflexes? Do you believe it is ever okay to physically force a child to eat something? In your opinion, at what point is discipline appropriate (if ever!)?

Alright. Discuss. :)