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Can school meals be made compulsory ?? Child with food-fobia ...

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My daughter is 6 and has been going to an independant school since she was 4. She had trouble with eating since being born and has some major food fobia's - Luckely being a calm mum I have always m…
scarlet30 Avatar
7y, 3m agoPosted 7 years, 3 months ago
My daughter is 6 and has been going to an independant school since she was 4.

She had trouble with eating since being born and has some major food fobia's - Luckely being a calm mum I have always made sure her lunch never contained anything that would cause any upset (and I do mean major upset). I have seen several specialist etc when she was younger and all adviced me to only give what she wants to eat but still making it balanced (still you can pretty much count on your fingers the items she eats) - which has worked well and we always bring her own food to birthday parties etc ... we have found most ppl to be very understanding with her problem.

Her school has now announced it started warm luncheons, which at first i saw no issues with. Now they have added it is going to be made compulsory for every single child. Naturally a big panic on my part as it is not that i am worried she will not eat it - which she won`t - but the pannic attacks, tears and hand of other issues it will bring. The teachers have made it clear they will push childeren to try a bit of everything.

I am not keen on moving her as she is doing so well and has a great bunch of friends - but i am wondering can a school really make this compulsory by law ?

Would love some advice ? Thank you
scarlet30 Avatar
7y, 3m agoPosted 7 years, 3 months ago
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#1
No I am not asking that - I am asking if an independant school has by law the right the enforce compulsory meals without giving the parents an opt out ?
#2
no still send her with her lunch

bless her, what foods cant she / wont she eat?
xx
#3
Perhaps this could be a good thing, if all children are going to abide with it then perhaps it may help your child to overcome her phobia's, wanting to be the same as her mates.

As it is an independant school I would imagine it can do pretty much as it likes, saying that I am sure they are equipped to deal with all eating allergies/disorders that arise. I'd speak to them before the enforcement starts.
#4
I would say no...what if the meal for the day contained nuts and certain kids had allergies to nuts? They cant force a kid to eat...and they wouldnt want a kid fainting or becoming ill because they havent ate due to not liking the food.
banned#5
any child hungry enough will eat, you havent helped the situation
#6
I am sure your daughter wont be the only one with some sort of food intolerance/allergy etc so a simple meeting with the head would get something sorted out.
#7
No they can't but prehaps you should meet with the head and discuss this so as to avoid an issue forming. Good luck
#8
if it is a medical condition then im sure you could get around it that way but you never know she may surprise you. i only say this as i have an nr 8 yr old boy who has been tube fed since he was two and he eats very little at all but when sat in the dining room setting will pick at his lunch as everyone else is.

go and speak to the head about what foods they will offer and your worries and take it from there.
#9
re reading ur OP - does she actually have a food intolerance or allergy - or is she just super fussy?
#10
i disagree sassie, you havn't met my kids, they would rather go hungry than eat something they didnt want too.
#11
Do the meals have to be paid for? If so, they cant make it compulsory!
I presume that the school already know about your daughters eating issues and they should work with you to find a suitable compromise.
Arrange a meeting straight away.
#12
She eats dry bread - plain pastas - advocados - bananas - boiled egg - drinks only milk & water - and a few other things - but it is very limited. I also have a 4 year old boy who eats everything and anything which is sooooooooooooooo nice !!
#13
sassie
any child hungry enough will eat, you havent helped the situation


that isnt always true either. we have tried this in hospital conditions and it didnt work for us.
#14
jennie-jack
that isnt always true either. we have tried this in hospital conditions and it didnt work for us.
banned#15
splatsplatsplat
i disagree sassie, you havn't met my kids, they would rather go hungry than eat something they didnt want too.


ide rather go hungry than eat something i didnt like, we all would, but thats because we have the luxury to do that
#16
Surely this is something you need to discuss privately with the school due to your daughters unique situation, not with other HUKD users, who (my included), will have pretty much ZERO idea how the particular school works, and what their policies are.

Can a school force feed a child? - No... you can lead a horse to water but... etc.

A school DOES however have the right, (I believe), to dictate what can and can't eb brought onto the premises. they could say that they want NO outside food brought into the school.
They aren't forcing your daughter to eat the school food, and they aren't forcing her not to eat, (the food is there if it is wanted), but they are putting you into a situation you don't want to be in.

As I said, discuss it with the school. A policy change is not a good reason to disrupt your daughters school life, a lack of understanding from the school and / or compromise from yourself might be though.
#17
how did i quote mysself. thats wierd.

i do agree with whoever said you havent helped the situation by letting it happen but i am also guilty of this. we gave jack anything he wanted just to get him to eat so then he only wanted what he liked and its a whole horrid circle.
#18
schools are being very unfair, at my school my son didnt eat anything whilst on school dinners, so he has to have packed lunch which still gets thrown away mostly, he'd rather play instead. When i was a nipper, my school had a buffet where you could choose each food individually, so if you wanted rice and fish fingers you could, you didnt have (like now) cottage pie OR spag bol (which mine wont touch both so would go without) but he would eat mash potato on its own, and he would eat spaghetti on its own also.
I'd rather my son eat something, than nothing, but Jamie Oliver & School governors disagree, they want to stop fat kids binging on chips, but they are making a lot of super fussey and mildly fussey children go without, which is not good at all.
#19
Believe me i have tried all the cards in the book - but i cannot test starve her - one only pushed so far.

Yes the meals are going to be 3.50/day - but that is not the point ... I just don`t want to go back to square 1 with her. She has come so far from only drinking milk to now actually eating a pretty ok selection of healthy foods ... yes she might get better but i have learnt the hard way not to push that. I hope that makes sence ?
banned#20
jennie-jack
how did i quote mysself. thats wierd.

i do agree with whoever said you havent helped the situation by letting it happen but i am also guilty of this. we gave jack anything he wanted just to get him to eat so then he only wanted what he liked and its a whole horrid circle.


that was me, we allow our children to become fussy, picky eaters, we dont allow our children to be hungry as in true hunger
#21
Easiest solution here is to speak to the head.
#22
scarlet30
Believe me i have tried all the cards in the book - but i cannot test starve her - one only pushed so far.

Yes the meals are going to be 3.50/day - but that is not the point ... I just don`t want to go back to square 1 with her. She has come so far from only drinking milk to now actually eating a pretty ok selection of healthy foods ... yes she might get better but i have learnt the hard way not to push that. I hope that makes sence ?


I think people are being hard on you, some kids are soo fussy and some just wont eat it! seems to me she only eats and drinks the plainest of foods eg, boiled pasta, water, milk.

if it was fussy surely shed want chocolate, crips, sweets.

i hope it works out for her (and you)
:)
[helper]#23
The reason the school is making them compulsory is probably so that the meals are commercially viable ie if not enough children have school meals they can't make them available to others who really want them at a reasonable cost.....

I wouldn't worry too much but as others have suggested discuss your concerns with the school.

(ps I believe you are right not to make mealtimes a "battleground" - thats what the experts advise anyway)


sassie
any child hungry enough will eat, you havent helped the situation


Maybe in your experience but one of ours is a fussy eater and franky that statement is rubbish.........
#24
sassie
any child hungry enough will eat, you havent helped the situation

i wish it was true my little one would starve first i have tried leaving him to get very hungry but it didnt work, was told just to wait and hopefully he would get better, im sure it runs in his dads side of the family his gran lives on fags wine and haribo and his isnt much better although he does make an effort when little one about
banned#25
and not one mention of the childs concerns here, this is all yours, has she even mentioned it, have you even give it a go?
#26
jack eats plain foods and manages with school meals. he eats potato so gets mash most days and they do have pasta. jack is fussy but not for crisps and chcocolate sometimes i wish it was so he would gain weight. if they cant comprimise with you then take her out of school for lunch times and you feed her. not ideal though i admit.
#27
freddysmum
i wish it was true my little one would starve first i have tried leaving him to get very hungry but it didnt work, was told just to wait and hopefully he would get better, im sure it runs in his dads side of the family his gran lives on fags wine and haribo and his isnt much better although he does make an effort when little one about


thats a great diet lol
#28
When people say that they have pushed their kids to eat other things it makes me wonder how far people push, (and before anyone starts I'm not having a go here).
I've seen situations where someone takes a plate into the child with veg on it, to get them to eat it, but has also prepared a plate of their 'choice food' in the kitchen already. A few moments of bickering and then the veg gets taken away, uneaten, and the 'choice food' comes out. This is not 'pushing' the kid, this is TRAINING them that if they stand their ground long enough they WILL get their own way.
Humans can go for a surprisingly long time with no food with no ill effects, (other than the feeling of hunger etc), and especially kids, will generally get 'bored' with not eating long before this.
If the choice was given to the child that you eat this, or nothing, and it was STUCK to, and was repeated at the next meal, and the next i wonder how long it would take them to eat.
At the moment they KNOW they can pretty much safely refuse a meal that they don't fancy, because they know that it will be time for another meal in a few hours...
I'm sure it would be hard to do, and noone like to feel like they are being hard on their kids, but in the longterm which is worse for them.... missing a few meals on the trot now, or getting stuck in a rut with regards to food for the rest of their lives?
#29
i would personnally give it a trial period ask the school to note what she eats and see if she will surprise you, if she is still struggling after a week or so then talk to the head about it.

hopefully when she realises that this is what there is to eat then she might try things. if you speak to the school about these issues they wont push her to eat anything she hates and they would let her pick only things she liked. our will let jack have 2 scoops of mash and no main. for us that is his meal and we are so greatful to them as he will eat it
#30
OP i have every sympathy for you my 6 year old is a horrendous eater....slow is not the word and fussy to the point of gagging if i offer her something outside her range of "eatables"..........anyways she had school dinners in p1 and was left to sit staring at a plate of food,that she would never eat......they never stuck to the menu that we had ....so i never knew what they would get....and she told me her chicken was "pink with red bits in"...urgh...anyways she has packed lunch,and at least she eats something...i would be phoning the school right now to clarify this!!they cannot force a child to have school dinners...the packed lunch/home dinner option should still be available
banned#31
Funder
When people say that they have pushed their kids to eat other things it makes me wonder how far people push, (and before anyone starts I'm not having a go here).
I've seen situations where someone takes a plate into the child with veg on it, to get them to eat it, but has also prepared a plate of their 'choice food' in the kitchen already. A few moments of bickering and then the veg gets taken away, uneaten, and the 'choice food' comes out. This is not 'pushing' the kid, this is TRAINING them that if they stand their ground long enough they WILL get their own way.
Humans can go for a surprisingly long time with no food with no ill effects, (other than the feeling of hunger etc), and especially kids, will generally get 'bored' with not eating long before this.
If the choice was given to the child that you eat this, or nothing, and it was STUCK to, and was repeated at the next meal, and the next i wonder how long it would take them to eat.
At the moment they KNOW they can pretty much safely refuse a meal that they don't fancy, because they know that it will be time for another meal in a few hours...
I'm sure it would be hard to do, and noone like to feel like they are being hard on their kids, but in the longterm which is worse for them.... missing a few meals on the trot now, or getting stuck in a rut with regards to food for the rest of their lives?


Not long, both of my children have done this, and no doubt thousands of others, its a pretty natural part of childhood
#32
Surely a quick word with the head teacher would sort this out as its obviously something wrong with the way the child views the food? Special circumstances, if not take the matter further. As you said it causes distress to the child.
#33
funder i understand what you are saying here. we did try this, in hospital with a dietician and jack didnt eat for 4 days.

infact he didnt eat for about 6 weeks once but was tube fed at night. this was done while he was asleep so he wasnt aware of it in the sense of saying i dont have to eat im tube fed.

i know jacks case is different and probably rare but some kids would make themselves ill before eating.
#34
on the flip side. there is a clinic in austria that helps children wean off tube feeds and they withdraw all feeds and get children onto drinking or eating there calories instead. it actuaslly has quite a high success rate.
#35
Clearly we all have different opinions and i understand your comments based on my question.
I really don`t think starving a child is not an option - patients will get me a lot further i believe.
I will speak to the head and if they stick with their plan i might seek some legal info.

If i should mention this to my daughter she will not go to school again unless i drag her and i would be sitting at work waiting for a call any minute to come and pick her back up. The school has a policy that any child who vomits has to stay home 24h ... she will get so nervous that it will not even take her 10 min to get that far.
#36
scarlet30
Clearly we all have different opinions and i understand your comments based on my question.
I really don`t think starving a child is not an option - patients will get me a lot further i believe.
I will speak to the head and if they stick with their plan i might seek some legal info.

If i should mention this to my daughter she will not go to school again unless i drag her and i would be sitting at work waiting for a call any minute to come and pick her back up. The school has a policy that any child who vomits has to stay home 24h ... she will get so nervous that it will not even take her 10 min to get that far.


So you not going to bother talking to the school regarding her having a packed lunch? They can't force you to force your child to do something that's making her ill in whatever shape or form.:)
#37
I meant => I really don`t think starving a child is an option (sorry)
#38
OP i hear u with fussy eaters. my son is/was terrible but manages to eat at school for some bizzare reason.

maybe u could give it a try...tell the school she will find it difficult but ask them how she gets on. if she is showing signs of eating (by seeing her peers eat) then woop woop uve made some headway. if after a week or two shes just not eating and is very upset i sure u can have packed lunches.

my son goes to a private school (same as an independent right?) i know they can be old skool but im sure some kids there have packed lunches..those with certain food diets etc x
#39
Yes I will speak with them - will make an appointment today and see what they say
#40
have you spoken to a doctor about this. it isnt normal behaviour. taking to a dietician or a speech and language therapist could help with getting the diet more varied they work on introducing textures and getting other things in like if we make shepards pie we blend peas and carrots and add them to the gravy. we also add cheese triangles to our mash. it adds tastes to foods he will try and also calories that he needs.

you cant live like that especially if she would make herself sick to avoid it. im sure my son would do the same if he could be sick but it doesnt help anyone.


child psychologists can also address the fear and panic, i would get an appointment with the gp if this is going to be affecting her daily life.

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