Is your child a fussy eater?
I came across an article yesterday by Spanish paediatrician Carlos Gonzalez and its title, “What to do if your child won’t eat” grabbed me because I have two extremely picky little eaters at home aged 5 and 7, which is a source of constant despair and frustration to my husband and me during mealtimes.
I’ve realised that I’m a mum who has food envy. I sit in awe whilst other children demolish their meals and my own two just sit and pick away at theirs. It doesn’t matter what it is, they just don’t ever want to eat a ‘normal,’ child-sized meal. As you can imagine, I’ve done everything from pleading, to bribing, to praising to try and improve this.
But still it makes no difference - neither of them seem to have very big appetites (or care that much about eating), and in fairness, apparently neither did myself or my husband when we were children.
So it was quite refreshing to read the article yesterday, which you can access here.
When asked, “How should you get children to eat?” Dr Gonzalez, who is known for his outspoken advice says, “Never try to force a child to eat. Neither by force nor by persuasion, coaching, bribing, distraction or any other method.”
In his opinion, forcing children to eat (presuming that the food being forced is healthy) means that children end up hating healthy food. His message to parents of fussy eaters is that that we should just leave them alone.
In fact, Dr Gonzalez states that the parent is the problem and not the child. He says, “Your child is already eating well, it's you who have to change”.
It’s tricky though isn’t it? Because at the end of the day we are the parent and know what is good for our children, and eating well is obviously extremely important.
So how can you just leave your child alone to not eat very much? I find it hard to imagine that I could ever just sit there and let them eat as much as they want, without intervening. But maybe he’s right? Maybe some children just don’t need to eat as much and making a drama out of it doesn’t help the matter anyway. I might just experiment with this over the next few days and see how it goes.
Do you have a fussy eater? And if so, how do you feel about “leaving your child alone”? I’d love to hear from you.