Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Raising Good Eaters: Some Final Thoughts

For the past three weeks, I've been sharing some of my tips for raising good eaters. If you've missed any of those posts, you can find them here:

For this final part of the series, I want to just review a few main ideas and thoughts:

  • Your child will not starve. I said it in the very first part of the series- as long as you're making healthy, balanced food available to your child, he or she will eat... eventually. It is far more important that your child is getting water than food, to be honest. Don't panic if she doesn't eat for a meal or two... or even more...
  • It is NOT child abuse to not give in to your child's wishes. Some people seem to think that if their child is screaming and crying and acting like it's the end of the world then, well, it is. It is not. You are doing your child (and all future teachers and caregivers too, for that matter) a favor by sticking to your guns and making the decisions.
  • You are the parent and you are (or should be) in charge. Like I just said- you need to make the decisions. It's your job. Quite frankly? It's a cop-out to serve up chicken nuggets every day. And you are better- and stronger- than that.
  • Just because your child is not a good eater now doesn't mean he or she has to stay that way. Ready for a confession? I was a bad eater as a child. Picky, picky, picky. I outgrew it. I'm a fantastic eater and have been for years. There are two things going on here-- first of all, your child may simply outgrow the pickiness over time. Second of all, you can start changing those picky behaviors today... you do not have to keep making grilled cheese every single day.
  • If your child eats well for other people, there is no reason that he or she can't eat well for you. Oh, how many times do I hear this one? "I just don't understand it! He ate EVERYTHING for the (baby sitter, teacher, aunt, *insert person other than you*)" It's not that I don't believe it... I do. But guess what? That means that if YOU stop giving him options, he'll eat it for you too.
  • It does not matter what your neighbor/friend/sibling/etc. is serving their children. There are people out there who will try to make you feel like you're cruel for not letting your kids have Kid Cuisine or Kraft Easy Mac or pizza rolls or bagel bites all the time. My honest opinion is that most of them are kind of jealous of your steel-cut-oat-eating kid while they serve up Pop-Tarts every morning. I'm just sayin'. But, regardless of the reason, do not worry about what they're serving up or their opinion of what you're serving.
  • Be confident and determined. The most important piece of advice I can give you is this... As you set out to raise good eaters, be confident about what you're doing. Whether you decide that you will re-serve a plate until it is finished or you will with-hold privileges until the veggies are consumed... feel good about what you're doing. Know that you are on an honorable mission and needn't feel like a bad person. When it's tough, carry on. The rewards are great.
Thanks so much for joining me on this journey toward raising good eaters! What questions do you have for me? Any specific issues you wish I would have addressed? I'd love to talk about it in the comments!

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

I'm sad to hear judgmental tones in your posts. Why is it so important to you how others feed their families? and what makes any one of us the authority on abortion? Have you ever been in a situation where you could die if you gave birth, leaving behind other children and a dead baby??

JessieLeigh said...

Anon- I'm sad to read that that's how you've interpreted my words. I really do not much care how others choose to feed their families as long as they are content with it. It is the mothers I hear all the time complaining about their "bad eaters" who I'm addressing... those who WANT to change their situation. To those who are content to serve the same thing over and over to their picky eaters? I say, "carry on."

As far as being an authority on abortion? I don't- and never have- claim(ed) to be. What I am is a fierce advocate for the unborn. I replied on my previous pro-life post that I will be addressing the "mother's life in jeopardy" situation tomorrow.

Jennifer said...

I loved this series. So many parents feel their hands are tied when it comes to what their children will eat. It starts in the grocery store. If you don't want your child to have a certain food then don't buy it. If you do want your child to eat more fruits and veggies, then buy an assortment and have them sitting out. When your child walks in the kitchen and says they are hungry point to the bowl of fruit. If they are truly hungry they will usually eat something.

It really starts with the parents and unfortunately most parents won't choose to face the battle. What they don't realize is that if the kids were eating right the other battles would be fewer. Thanks for tackling this issue.

Catie said...

I, too, think is a wonderful series (I just read the whole thing) and I completely agree with! Except for cleaning the plate - we don't do that. :) After reading this, I do think that I need to be more diligent about serving more of a healthy variety. We eat pretty healthy overall, but I'm not that good in the kitchen and I feel like maybe I should take the time to learn a little more so I can serve yummy, healthy meals!! THANKS!!

And as far as the first comment, I just wanted to say that you are not an authority on abortion - GOD is. :) And He says it's wrong. Therefore, YOU can agree and say it's wrong, too! :)

Lisa said...

I also hear mothers complaining about their "bad eaters". At first I thought they meant it and would ask if they wanted so some ideas that worked for me. Then I realized after they shot down everything with an excuse that they have "the princess and the pea" syndrome. Their child is somehow a prince or princess ie special and that is why they eat this way. I just listen now, very closely to see if they are really asking for ideas or just looking to complain. I find that so many people don't know how to converse any more unless it is to complain. I think it might be a result of too many talk shows.

Audrey said...

I am new to your blog and love it. Don't be discouraged by anon's comment. You speak very truthfully. People cop out and make excuses for their kids and lack of parenting all the time (me included). We all need a kick in the pants sometimes to encourage us to reevaluate things. So thank you!!

JessieLeigh said...

Because my comments went all wack-a-doo, I lost a couple of Intense Debate comments...

Here they are:

Amy @ Finer Things commented on Raising Good Eaters: Some Final Thoughts - Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles:

"True, true, and so true! Enjoyed this series."


Laura commented on Raising Good Eaters: Some Final Thoughts - Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles:

"Yes, yes and amen! Ha! I completely agree with everything you've said. I remember, last summer, the kids and I were visiting my family for a few weeks and my mom got so upset with me that I took someone's dinner away and wouldn't just give him what he wanted instead... He didn't get to eat again until breakfast and she just thought I was torturing him - but you know what, the next night at dinner, he ate what he was served (and happily) because he remembered how hungry he had been the previous night. "