Sunday, August 15, 2010

Food Control

Ahhhhh Food! Food can be a beautiful thing. It nourishes your body and gives you the pleasure of so many wonderful tastes. Food can gather a family from busy times either around the dinner table or our favorite...on the grass having a picnic.
Or food can be a disastrous, relationship stopping thing. Food can be used as a crutch or used as a form of control from a parent.
I have seen many a fight over food between child and parent. I have heard threats such as these, "You stay at that table until you are finished!", "You won't get any dessert!", You will go to bed without any dinner!" What is this teaching them? My control over this situation is superior to the way you feel. It doesn't matter if you like the food or if you are not hungry.
When was the last time you heard a spouse say to another spouse, "You eat that food or you get nothing!" Hopefully never. So why is this so appalling for an adult but not for a child. One word...RESPECT. When you respect your child you care whether they like a food or not, whether they are hungry or not and LISTEN to and HEAR them.
Now what will happen if you listen? Are you afraid they will run all over you and demand the world? Are you afraid they won't have all of the nutrients they need? Are you afraid they will starve themselves? Or are you afraid of losing control?
Before I had Cohen I prided myself on how my children ate. How twisted is that? Oh my children eat whatever I give them! Until I had Cohen.
From about the age of 1, Cohen has been extremely picky. He will not eat most foods. He would literally not eat pizza if it was cut into a square. If I forced him (which I remember quite clearly doing one time) he would gag and bawl. This left me bawling as well. That incident was everything control and nothing respect.
I respect my son enough to put out the extra effort of learning what he will eat. Enough effort to prepare him something separate. Enough effort to take his feelings and self esteem into account.
He will not eat casseroles, most veggies (umm all veggies), some fruit, stews, meat (except nuggets) and the list goes on. Lets list what he will eat! Bread, peanut butter, jam, grilled cheese, pizza (just cheese), garlic bread, perogies, chicken nuggets, bananas, raisins, grapes, blueberries, apples, watermelon, cherries, cheerios, juice with veggies in it, almond milk. That is the basic foods he will eat. Look how much I have to work with! He will try some food that we are eating and will sometimes decide he likes it. Like this morning he ate a nuts and fruit granola bar! How exciting!
I feel it is more important to instill closeness and respect with my children than control over what they eat. He is one very healthy little boy not only physically but emotionally as well.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Oh yes..the whole food and control issues! I grew up with that "you're not leaving this table until you finish everything on your plate" so I knew that I could never do that to my children!
The result from not being controlled over food in my house, is that my children are open to try new foods as they get older.
Great post Neely :)