Quoting Quiverfull: No Food Preferences Allowed For Children?

Quoting Quiverfull: No Food Preferences Allowed For Children? May 12, 2014

by Serene Allison – Above Rubies Magazine -An Age Old Tradition

P.S. Although I encourage joy and baby-steppin’ your children towards health, it is my opinion that we should not allow our children to be picky about their food. I believe that children have to be trained and even disciplined out of pickiness. It is the opposite of heaven to have to pick out the raisins or tomatoes or cut off the crusts for each individual child and have to suffer through a huge wobbly if you don’t. The fun comes in our health journey when pickiness is sent packin’. There is nothing worse than pickiness. Ugh!

Read the rest of Serene Allison’s ideas on eating healthy at Above Rubies.

Did you know that Serene and her sister Pearl have written a diet book Trim Healthy Mama and gone out of their way to silence dissenting voices over the book content apparently? Read a review of it at Zsuzsanna Anderson’s blog Are They All Yours?. NLQ requested a review copy but the publisher declined to answer our request. If you’ve read the book and would like to write a review for NLQ please email us at CaluluNLQ@gmail.com.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon


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  • Joyce

    I don’t have much time for picky eaters either (and indulged picky eaters who turn into picky adults are a pet peeve), BUT I suspect that our techniques for handling this are very different. When my eldest was still a baby, a friend recommended “How to Get Your Kid to Eat, but Not Too Much” by Ellyn Satter. Excellent book full of different techniques (you know, so you can find something that works with your individual child) and lots of wisdom. Highly recommended.

    My kids are now teens and still hate asparagus, but that’s okay. Letting your kids pick raisins out of their food is just fine–allowing them to pitch a fit because they are served raisins isn’t. Context and perspective.

  • Sande Ard

    I am one of those adult picky eaters, and I don’t pitch a fit if something I don’t eat is served. I have been known, however, to say that I’m allergic to beets, calamari, etc. but have had to dig in my heels and flat-out refuse to eat chitlins, because chitlins. There is a way to be a picky eater without hurting people’s feelings. I was not allowed to be a picky eater as a child, not because my parents were fundie, (they weren’t- maybe bordering on Lite, tho), but because they just didn’t allow it. I swore to myself that when I got old enough and big enough I would never eat a hot dog that wasn’t all beef and that I’d never eat oatmeal, beef liver, sardines, or deviled ham again, and I haven’t. That said, I admit to being glad they made me try shrimp, oysters and crawfish because they are favorites to this day.

  • My approach was to let my son be have his food preferences but to insist he be polite about expressing them. It was okay to say, “no broccoli, thank you” but not “yuck, broccoli” and it was especially forbidden to make fun of what someone else was eating. (Actually he loves broccoli.) I would have at least one item at each meal that I knew he liked (not too hard, he wasn’t that picky) and then I would cook what my husband and I liked and wanted and he could either eat it or not.

    I grew up having to eat everything on my plate and I hated it, but once I had to buy and prepare my own food, I got much less picky and there are very few things I don’t like. It was the same with my son. Once he was out on his own, if he came home for a meal, we’d hear things like “Yay, catfish, my favorite!” (Who are you, again?)

  • Jayn

    I do wonder how many kids become less picky on their own as they get older. I was a fairly picky eater (thankfully my parents weren’t too pushy about it–though I still feel bad for them having to deal with it), but as I became an adult I expanded my palate on my own because being a picky eater is limiting. Is it nice being catered to? Sure. Is it fun when every time you go to a new restaurant you’re wondering if there’ll be something on the menu you consider edible? Not so much. I’m still fairly picky to be honest, but I’m more willing to try new things just because the limiting aspect of it kind of sucks.

  • texcee

    I was fortunate that my daughter was not a picky eater for the simple reason that she was in daycare while I worked and she ate the meals they served. I never made an issue out of it if she expressed a dislike for some foods. (Personally I can’t ABIDE even a bit of raw tomato in my mouth! I’ve hated them as far back as I can remember and I’m 61 now.) My daughter doesn’t like certain foods that I do like. I don’t like certain foods that she does (sushi being one example). Forcing a child to eat will set up meal times as battle grounds and just make the matter worse. If the kid is getting enough nutrition to be healthy, let ’em eat what they like.

  • texcee

    Adults who are picky eaters are a bigger PITA than picky kids, to my way of thinking. My late mother would turn up her nose at any sort of ethnic food … without even trying it. An ex-friend got pickier and pickier as she aged and would make a scene in a restaurant over the silliest things you can imagine. (Guess why she’s an ex-friend.)

  • “There’s nothing worse than pickiness.” Really? The thing I thought worst, that I worked hardest to keep my children from, was cruelty or bullying towards others.

    Anyway, child pickiness is biological; it comes from not having as many tastebuds as adults have. If you don’t force your kids to eat things, they’ll eventually grow up to find that a lot of the things they didn’t use to like, they like now. Of course, there will always be some things they don’t like. As has been said here before, individuality in children is a feature not a bug.

  • Trollface McGee

    There’s a line between indulging a child so they never try new foods and forcing them to eat foods they clearly don’t like and I don’t trust them to be on the rational side of that line.
    That review though… she seems to be mad because of censorship (legitimate but she does the same thing on her own blog) and because she’s convinced that stevia, which the book promotes, causes infertility/abortions. And some of the commenters have the gall to ask for proof or links to proof to that claim (or to her claim that there’s something good about raw honey/milk/butter because Bible or whatever) after which they are yelled at. Lovely, just lovely.

  • Nightshade

    I had the impression that according to these people gay marriage was much worse. Silly me.

  • Nearly every picky adult I know was forced to eat as a child. I actually know one woman who is now in her late 30s who will not eat anything new simply because no one can force her to any longer.

    At home, I only cook meals that I know both of us will eat (which is actually a pretty decent number). At restaurants I use something similar to the “no thank you bite” approach (he can order whatever he wants but he has to try one bite of whatever is on my plate just to try to broaden his palate a bit).

  • Jayn

    There can also be the issue of how you’re introduced to a food too. I was never a fan of steak growing up, but I realised a few years ago that’s mainly because my mother can’t cook a decent steak. Moving to the mid-west did way more to change that aversion than forcing me to eat it anyways possibly could have.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Yup. There’s actual science behind child pickiness, and repeated non-pushy exposure eventually helps kids learn to like new foods. I don’t think plumbing supply line is an integral part of that plan. I remember hating most vegetables as a kid. Now, there’s hardly a vegetable I won’t eat. I just watched my own 12-year-old discover she liked eggs after years of “hating” them.

  • Mel

    About the THM sisters vs. Zsuzsanna Anderson:

    I’ve read Z’s review. My take away was that Z single-handedly decided stevia causes miscarriages based on some truly sketchy anecdotal evidence along the lines of “I had two early miscarriages. I was eating stevia at that time. Stevia must cause miscarriages.” (Ignore the fact that all science on early miscarriages hasn’t found any link between the two)

    I was amused to see that the THM sisters and Zsuzsanna were as rude and unprofessional towards each other as they usually are towards people outside of their little universe.

    Nothing shows the love of Jesus like engaging in a good internet feud….

  • SAO

    When I was pregnant, I had some morning sickness issues that left me feeling nauseated at cauliflower (which I used to like) and Buckwheat (which I used to tolerate). Too many onions can upset my stomach. It left me with sympathy for my kids. I get annoyed when they refuse to try something, but eating something that leaves you nauseated is no fund, nor are gas pains.

    Having a picky eater doesn’t mean you have to cut the crusts off or pick out the raisins. Just let the kid do that.

  • Mel

    I also have to wonder if Z was telling the MFM specialist and OB she was seeing during her last difficult pregnancy that she was drinking raw, unpasteurized milk.

    As a woman who lives on a farm with dairy cows, I know drinking raw milk is very dangerous during pregnancy because the listeria bacteria is common in raw milk and can kill unborn babies.

    Being obsessed about stevia while guzzling raw milk is like worrying about lead contamination from the bullets that you’re playing Russian roulette with….

  • gimpi1

    I have a friend who can’t eat anything in the lettuce family. She also can’t digest any shell beans. Apparently she and her mother went ’round and ’round about this when she was a child. All her mother’s insistence did is stress her out. However, she was oddly pleased when she was able to get medical verification that these two foods were causing her problems. Sort of “Told you so, mom,” feeling.

  • Trollface McGee

    Some of the comments mentioned raw milk/honey which seemed to be praised by everyone because milk and honey are in the Bible (while stevia is some evil African plant used by Africans). No evidence, except anecdotal or “it’s in the Bible” and bacteria? Psht, bacteria, pasteurisation, that’s all nonsense.
    Edit: It is South American in origin.

  • gimpi1

    My husband is a very picky eater. (No cheese, no cold foods except ice-cream, few fish, no asparagus or artichokes) He firmly believes it was because of the food-wars he had with his mother. He says, “One of the great things about being an adult is if I don’t like it, I don’t have to eat it.” I think he would be less picky if he had been given more latitude as a boy.

  • tulips

    I think it’s actually South American, but point taken 🙂

  • Nightshade

    I had the impression stevia came from South America, could be wrong on that though. Either way, maybe it’s just not white enough in origin, bit of covert racism there?

  • tulips

    Or like panicking over having possibly ingested a molecule of artificial sweetener while your unvaccinated children freely roam the gen pop.

  • tulips

    “How to create eating disorders out of thin air: A guide”

  • tulips

    Is Trim Healthy Mama’s solution to obesity living at starvation level poverty without modern conveniences like heat, indoor plumbing, and a usable ground floor? If so, pass. Nice try getting on the band wagon though, can’t say I blame you. Winter is coming.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Is it all unpasteurized milk that’s bad or just cow’s milk. I drink raw unpasteurized goats milk every now and then when I remember to bring my gallon pickle jar to the Mennonite store. I don’t want listeria…

  • Brennan

    I’m studying veterinary medicine and the first thing we learned in pet nutrition was that you never ever force feed. We’d really like to see our patients eat, especially when they’re sick or have just had surgery, but we don’t shove it in their faces because that’s the fastest way to create a learned food aversion and then they might never eat that particular food again. And even before we knew that, we were never dumb enough to try fundie-style “discipline” in getting them to eat.

  • Nea

    Except that over and over again, the quiverfull PR people show that they completely lack an appreciation for context and don’t even know what perspective is.

    Do the authors think that they can beat their kids out of food allergies? Because when I say “I can’t eat that, it’ll make me sick” I am not exaggerating!

  • persephone

    No, no, uppity feminist women are even worse.

  • Mirella222

    I think pickiness isn’t THAT big of a deal, so long as it doesn’t harm the kid’s health or make them rude. The fact is, you need to eat a balance of foods to be healthy; vegetables are not negotiable. However, how you eat them is. I hated salad, but I would eat cucumbers and peppers and such if they were just cut up (like when you cut them up for a snack). Instead of insisting on salad, my parents would just cut up the stuff for me, and then make their own salad. It wasn’t a big inconvenience, and to this day I eat vegetables mostly like that. And about being rude, it’s a matter of “you can say you don’t like asparagus, but not that it’s ‘disgusting’ “. Also, if you are a guest at someone’s home or event (dinner party, wedding, etc), then it is very bad manners to turn your nose up at their food. I absolutely HATE sushi, but when I was at my friend’s house and it was for dinner, I ate it anyway. (it’s one thing if you have a food allergy, or if you eat most of the food but maybe skip one of the side dishes; but I have seen people outright reject all the food served, and it was just horrifically rude. Eating one meal you don’t like won’t kill you, and it will make the host feel appreciated and like they have done a good job). Still, I don’t think you need to “train” a child out of pickiness; just make sure they are eating in a healthy way, and teach them some basic good manners.

  • I was a picky eater. I’m still a picky eater, harassed by my family…”Well, just what will you eat?” I remember one epic battle between my mother and I. I was maybe 10. It was over peas. I had to sit at the kitchen table until I ate one pea. I did, then spit it out into a napkin. To this day I cannot even abide the odor of peas. Same thing happened with squash. I don’t eat it – any form of squash. When it came to the squash, I sat there for two hours. One bite, that I spat out. I took the bite. I never took another one.

    Battles just don’t work, or didn’t with me. I refused to eat eggs – fast forward about 45 years – I’m seriously allergic to eggs. I refused to eat seafood. I’m allergic to it. There are reasons kids don’t eat certain foods.

    By the time I was in junior high, my mother was learning that you do the opposite with me. The family was having pizza. I loathed pizza. So, I was allowed to go to Burger King. The pizza smelled so good. Just a little taste – which was wonderful. But – I was only allowed one little taste. Yep, right about now, I’m starving and would kill for a pizza!

  • I’m that way with eggs, always have been. Then, I learn I’m terribly allergic to them. My father hated broccoli. Now he has Alzheimer’s Disease. Well… he still hates broccoli!

  • Mel

    Milk, in general, is chocked full of proteins and fats in an easily digestible form for baby animals…and bacteria.

    I don’t think drinking raw milk is a great idea, but for a healthy adult with a normal immune system, the risks are pretty much limited to food poisoning. Z was in a much more dangerous position because pregnancy weakens the immune system AND listeria causes fetal death.

  • Trollface McGee

    I don’t see anything about listeria making it specific to cow’s milk, but the wiki link says it travels from soil to animal/vegetable but is more likely to affect those with compromised immune systems/elderly/pregnant.

  • centaurie

    I was never a fan of steak growing up, but I realised a few years ago that’s mainly because my mother can’t cook a decent steak.

    Oh, my, I feel you there. Not with steak, but with a *lot* of other foodstuffs…

  • mayarend

    “Do the authors think that they can beat their kids out of food allergies? ”

    Yes they do.

  • Which isn’t just bad philosophy/teaching, it’s downright dangerous because food allergies don’t just make someone sick. They can, and do, kill.

    So I sincerely hope we don’t ever have to hear of some poor child dying of anaphilactic (sp?) shock induced by an undiagnosed food allergy that had gone ignored by parents.

  • Nea

    We already hear of children dying because their parents would rather pray than get medical help; I’m actually surprised that we haven’t heard of a death by food allergy.

  • As much as I sincerely hope that it hasn’t happened yet… there’s more plausible deniability in “death by food allergy” than “death by medical neglect”. The parents can say that they didn’t know and people will, by and large, believe them. It would look, on the surface, like a tragic circumstance that could not have been avoided.

    Admittedly, the younger a child is exposed to known allergens, the more likely they are to develop an allergy, and growing up with animals tends to shield the young from allergies… so maybe the backwards lifestyle accidentally shields them from the worst of the soy intolerances and the peanut terrors?

  • Astrin Ymris

    I have to admit that I triggered just reading the title! My parents did the spanking– which didn’t work– and the you-can’t-get-up-till-you-eat it– which also didn’t work. By the time I reached school age, they’d given up on the hard approach and moved to the “softer” approach of shaming me verbally for being a picky eater. This also didn’t work… or at least it didn’t work to make me not a picky eater. It DID leave me with a lasting sense of shame in regards to food and eating.

    I ate better as an adult– at least before my gastrointestinal system revolted on me, making lots of healthy foods I liked too painful to eat. But I still react to the thought of trying a new food with intense anxiety. Some part of me expects that if I don’t like it, I’ll be forced to consume all of it. The fact that I “know” this isn’t so seems to mean nothing to my limbic system.

  • texcee

    My mother didn’t know how to cook a steak, either. I grew up thinking that you had to broil it into a piece of shoe leather before it was “done”.

  • texcee

    Allergies are a whole different category and absolutely justify “picky” eating of those foods. Anaphylactic shock is nothing to play around with! Likewise foods that revolt you, as your mentioned chitlins. For me, it’s tomatoes. I don’t eat organ meats, either. We all have likes and dislikes, even as children. I never MADE my child eat things she didn’t like, but I also required that she eat wholesome foods. I was fortunate that this was also the rule at her daycare center, so she learned to eat and like a variety of things without being forced to do so.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I agree. I haven’t sought out raw milk but I’ve had it when it was readily available* (once in a while when I was living in Ireland mostly) but I would not give it to a young child or ever recommend it to a pregnant woman. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in certain health food woo-woo communities (looking at you, Weston Price crowd) that think that these are exactly the people who should be drinking it because of its supposed magical health benefits.

    *Personally, I don’t see the point. I am a crunchy type and I buy humanely/sustainably produced milk from local sources (sometimes certified organic, sometimes not) that is pasteurized and it tastes just as good. And the science behind raw milk being vastly nutritionally superior is weak to say the least.

  • Sara Lin Wilde

    What I’m hearing her say here is “It pisses me off when kids refuse the food that’s served to them and that makes life difficult, so I’m justified in disciplining the picky right out of them. Anything to make those brats convenient!!!”