He used to be a great eater. My step kids were fussy eaters. Now the roles have reversed. My son takes an hour or more to eat a small meal. The tension at mealtimes is palpable. I have had some major blow-ups out of sheer frustration. Yelling and pleading with him to eat. Trying to show him all of the fun things he misses out on while he's sitting at the table for hours on end. He doesn't care. He continues unabated. No amount of incentivizing, begging, pleading, discipline, etc has worked yet. My wife and I are going on 2 years with this problem.
The problem started when his mother (my ex-wife) began really over-indulging him. He figured out how to manipulate her. When she was picking him up he would tell her he didn't like his breakfast and she would take him to McDonalds or Starbucks. Since this started, he's figured out that he doesn't have to eat my food and all he has to do is tell his mom he doesn't like my food and she will make sure he gets whatever he wants. She definitely has signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, but that's another topic for another time.
What I need is some guidance on how to combat this issue. He's gone entire days without eating and he doesn't complain at all. He is the most stubborn child I have ever heard of. He's smart, and sweet, and caring. But he's really dug in on this one issue in particular. With the exception of eating, he basically does anything he's told. However, we do expect him to get himself dressed and make his bed in the morning. He often won't dress him self or make his bed unless he's told to do it.
I suspect he may be just feeding off the negative attention he gets for not meeting our expectations. I just don't know how to break the cycle while still modifying his behavior. I know many will say that in order to get him to stop seeking negative attention give him more positive attention. If I do that he would be stuck to my hip 24/7. He's very clingy and I love him to pieces. But I don't want him to become so dependent on myself or my wife. I want to make sure he has the chance to gain some independence.