"Good parents take very, very good care of their marriage, lest their marriage become a mirage. "

Stop Feeding the Beast

Question

HI there,
We are currently disciplining our 6 year old daughter for not eating her lunch most days. The problem she claims is that they turn on the TV during lunch so she doesn't eat. She also claims she does not have enough time to eat. After a while, I think they are just excuses. School lets out around 1.5-2 hours after lunch in which case she shouldn't be ravenous straight after school. BUT she frequently comes out with what I call 'hollow eyes', the look of a really, really hungry child. There have been many, many conversations over this. I have even cut down morning tea to just fruits, divided her lunch in two - to no avail. Sometimes I look at her lunch box, it looks like she's taken maybe 2-3 spoonfuls and that's it. She usually gets afternoon tea (biscuits or something she looks forward to).
Now, I have banned all treats until she has finished all her lunch for 2 weeks in a row. We've gotten nowhere with this in the last 2 weeks I've tried it. She does see her cousins/brother having treats and she misses out and gets resentful. I feel incredibly mean but feel we need to do something. Are we making a mountain out of a molehill?
I worry that if I stop now, she'll have 'won' a battle. When we choose to battle an issue, this child can be incredibly immovably stubborn (to the point that we sometimes have to abandon it altogether cuz it's not working).

She will sometimes deliberately almost do it right, but not quite right just to win. I have experienced this many, many times. And quite often, we've had to find an explanation for changing tact or abandoning something. E.g. the lying chart. (1 sticker for a day of no lies, and having to go to bed early each time she lies). She used to lie periodically and when we started the chart, she upped the ante and lied at every chance she got to get us to give it up! Well that worked, we could not persist with it.

Well with this lunch issue, She's doing the same thing it seems. She's almost finishing her lunch but leaving 2 spoonfuls (so almost getting a sticker but not quite) - and she seems to be innocently doing it deliberately (if that makes sense). She's very very clever. Now what shall we do? Do you propose we stick with it? I have no problems withholding treats from her till she's 18 but it will then become from an issue to a monumentally large one. If we choose to give it up then how do we put it to her? What's your opinion?

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