By Beth Bonfiglio
It’s fair to say that parents love their children. It’s also reasonable to note that no matter how much love you have for someone, there are things they do that can drive you to despair.
No place is this clearer in the modern family than the daily battle over the dinner table between the child who really doesn’t want to eat anything and the concerned parent who wants them to eat in a healthy fashion.
A Parent’s Instincts
Parents don’t engage in this tussle with their children out of spite. They know that it’s their role in life to ensure that their kids turn out right.
It is clear that eating a balanced, high-quality diet is a recipe for life success. Food ensures that children grow to be as tall as they can be, that their brains are operating at tip-top capacity and it ensures emotional stability too.
So, parents prepare meals with this in mind. We select our ingredients with love and seek to get some vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy, etc, alongside the sugary nonsense that so many children love.
A Child’s Instincts
Children don’t get given an instruction manual for life at birth. It’s important to remember this when you’re dealing with a fussy eater.
They’re not being spiteful or mean when they refuse to eat what you put in front of them and demand chocolate ice cream or fish and chips. They are obeying their basic urge for pleasurable sensation.
Sugars and fats taste good. For most people, they taste better than broccoli or spinach do the first time we put them in our mouths. This should be self-evident. It can take time to acquire the taste for things and that means repeated exposure to those tastes.
Giving In Is The Wrong Path To Take
It’s mid afternoon. Your child refused to eat breakfast. You are just about to walk out the door and your child announces they want to eat. They want a slice of sugary awesomeness and they start crying and wailing for it.
It’s very easy and very understandable that many parents give in. They go get the cake, cut off a piece, throw on some chocolate sauce and let their kids eat. The kids then get into the car peacefully.
Unfortunately, while this may solve the short-term problem of wanting your child to do as you ask… it probably won’t solve the long-term problem of teaching your child to eat healthy food.