Hello fellow parents. I know it’s tough. To walk the fine line and balance discipline and fostering growth and independence. Between letting them choose, and choosing for them. Parenting is a paradox and that is a fact, but there are ways to integrate and maintain a healthy relationship with our children and with MEALS! Without further ado, here are the mistakes that hold parents hostage, causing frustration when it comes to choosing what to eat/make, serving it, and having your children EAT YOUR FOOD!
1. Meal times are rushed. not enough time to sit down and enjoy preparation, planning, consuming, and clean up. Mealtime involves a lot of work and team work is key to bonding and efficiency.
2. Mealtimes are used to disciplining your children, without meaning to, being critical, giving negative messages and energies. Parents often don’t have a chance to cleanse from their work day, or get back into their element, and project harmful effects onto their families.
3. Division of responsibility in feeding is BACKWARDS! This is crucial to getting back into what mealtimes used to be before you had children, entailing freedom, fun and joy, rather than pressure, stress and worry.
Ellyn Satter, author of “Child of Mine; Feeding love and Good Sense” talks about the importance of maintaining a division of responsibility in feeding. According to Satter, parents should be responsible for the WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE of feeding, while children should be responsible for the HOW MUCH and the WHETHER of eating. This is important because not only are you teaching your child to tune into his or her hunger and satiation cues, but you are also providing them with nutritious delicious food, and freedom of choice. Yes those aspects can be combined and Satter further describes how. Satter additionally stresses the natural ability of children to eat and grow, and ways for parents to foster that.
You really have to discard the concept of rushing and eating fast meals. Eating quickly is not good for anyone’s digestion and prevents the ability to be mindful of eating. Slow down, enjoy all the senses you are experiencing with your food, and your offspring will surely follow along. Leave “the talk” to another time, don’t be a “parent” during eating, and focus on the present sacred moment of sitting together and having breakfast, lunch or dinner. The division of responsibility principle can be applied during any mealtime, at home or in restaurants, and it simply requires you to only focus on what YOU are responsible for, and leave what THEY are responsible, TO THEM! and if your children decide to skip a meal, that is THEIR choice. Research shows that children who have regular meals with their families do not tend to use drugs and succeed academically. Food is quite important huh? If you need professional and encouraging guidance in applying these principles, especially the division of responsibility, which is quote the opposite of what most families do, please feel free to call us for a consultation! We’d be happy to help!