Parents worry about their children. Believe me raising three kids has made this clear to me! I also know that worrying about what and how much your kid eats will backfire. Small children can control very little of what happens to them during the day. But there is one thing they can control – whether they eat the food we offer them. So, when we pressure them to eat, they will often push back.
The more we worry, the more they refuse to eat what we want them to. We press them to have another bite or to try the broccoli and they firmly dig in their heels. Ellyn Satter states this well:
Trying to get a child to eat more than she wants makes her eat less. Trying to get her to eat less than she wants makes her eat more. Trying to get her to eat certain foods makes her avoid them.
You might say you worry but that you don’t pressure. But, they feel our worry even when it is “hidden.”
In fact children are from infancy excellent at detecting our true emotions. My first baby cried lots. He cried in the morning, noon and night. He cried outside and in. He cried fed or hungry, wet or dry. He cried in my arms or his dad’s. Once at a large family gathering he was fussing and a sweet sister-in-law offered to hold him for a bit. I watched as he settled from a full bellow to a calm sleep with in moments in her arms. Well, geesh. Even at that age he sensed her own calm and lack of worry and was soothed.
If you are concerned about your child’s weight see their pediatrician. If you are concerned about your child being a picky eater also read my soundbites. Try to let go of your worry through following them. And take a look at Ellyn Satter’s discussion of parental pressure and how to avoid its effect on your child.
Worrying will not help. In fact Erma Bombeck again had wisdom for us on this issue:
Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.