Adventures of a Non-Parent: Dinner

Things have been going well in the Summers household. Or at least things have been normal... Attitude and tantrums are par for the course with an almost 11 year old girl, right?

Jane has been doing better in school, thanks to increased studying at home and enrollment in an after school study program. She's actually doing well in math! She's also been going to a counselor weekly with her dad, which I think is a good thing. My current issue is Jane's attitude at dinner, and I'm hoping you guys can give me some guidance.

Before Jane moved in, I cooked dinner every night for me and Man-dy Summers, and I have continued to cook for the three of us. We eat a home cooked dinner at the dining table every night, without the tv on (much to Jane's disappointment). Jane usually has a bit of an attitude at dinner. Even though we have talked to her about helping out with dinner by setting the table and such, she just comes into the kitchen rudely asking, "where's my plate?" It makes her seem really ungrateful.

What's worse is that even when I make a food that she likes, if she doesn't feel like eating that day, she will make gagging and retching sounds while eating it. For example, last night we had salad for our veggies. She doesn't like eating veggies, so we've come up with a list of acceptable vegetables that I cook. Salad is usually one that she (relatively) enjoys eating, but last night she sat at the table gagging. The funny thing is that she always eats the food, even after putting on a show.

I'm tired of cooking food that she ostensibly likes, only to have her act like this at the table. So I'm planning on making a new rule: if she's rude like this at dinner, the next night she will be responsible for cooking her own food. We're going to go over a grocery list to make sure that she continues to have input on the meals I'll be cooking, and so that I can buy easy foods which she can make for herself. I'm going to sit her down this weekend to explain how hurtful her behavior is to me, and then explain the new rule.

What do you think GT? Is my new rule going too far? Her dad has already talked to her about being polite and saying "thanks for cooking" but that hasn't had any lasting results (she thanked me once). Apparently she tells the counselor that she likes the dinners, but I wouldn't have known that from her behavior. Thoughts?

Also, I've been busy at work, so sorry for missing the pupdate... I'll post a lot of Penny pics this weekend!