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Thank you soooo much for being supportive, heather and DollarIQ and Janet (and anyone else who might respond later). I thought everyone was going to tell me my kid is a spoiled brat and needs discipline (I've been hanging out at the LBYM board too much, heh). In fact his behavior is exemplary (straight-A student, good citizenship awards, not greedy for toys, etc.). The food thing is not exactly a behavior problem; it's more of a psychological (and perhaps partly physiological) issue that we have to accept and deal with.

DollarIQ, I'm sorry to hear about your negative experiences growing up. What do you mean by force-feeding? I tried to imagine what it would entail, and had a vision of my husband holding our child down while I stuff tofu in his mouth. . .how else could you "force" a kid to eat? I can't think of anything, short of corporal punishment, that would make my son eat beans. And even then I'm sure he would gag and vomit involuntarily.

Janet, I'll definitely try getting him involved in cooking more. Unfortunately then he will see me putting tofu in his smoothies, but he should know the truth anyway. The "one-bite" rule is also an excellent one; I always ask my son to take at least one bite of whatever the adults are eating, and he usually does, because he really wants to please us. I suspect that he is is holding his breath and not tasting the food, however.

I don't like him eating meat at friends' houses and school, but you're right, I can't control his choices completely. What makes it difficult is that we are veg for ethical reasons; I like to eat healthy food, but that's a completely separate and less important issue (if I found out tomorrow that a vegetarian diet was going to kill me, I would still refuse to eat animals). At the same time I don't want my son to lie to us or conceal the fact that he eats meat occasionally. So I have to hope he will come to the right decision on his own, when his reason and willpower are better developed. I myself wanted to become a vegetarian in my teens, but my commitment did not become firm until many years later. It's very hard to buck cultural norms when you're young.

Thanks again,
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