I currently have two small kiddos at home (3 years old and 16 months old). Not to mention the additional 4-5 kids I have in daycare daily. So when I say ‘I understand the struggles’, believe me – I do! I can only imagine what parents go though when feeding issues aren’t corrected at a young age. How draining that would be if power struggles lasted years… or decades. (If that is the case for you, please contact me so I can help!)
My 3 year old is rounding a corner and behaves well at the table, understands how to pass food around family style, is able to try new foods when he chooses and also knows how to politely say ‘no thank you’. But my 16 month old… boy is he testing his boundaries! Family meals aren’t always fun with him right now – but he will get there!
I think part of our issue is verbal communication. He doesn’t yet have the vocabulary to tell us what he wants or needs, so he gets frustrated and will show his anger by throwing his sippy cup of milk or turning his plate of food over. He is also at the point where he is learning how to be a part of the family. Instead of being the ringleader like he was when he was an infant, he is adjusting to the family schedule. I constantly have to reassure myself to stick to my guns.
This parenting thing is hard – especially when it comes to food! But the thing is, doing the “right thing” may not always look “right”. Children aren’t going to congratulate us for providing them with limits – more than likely they will throw a fit. Teaching children to operate in the constructs of family structure is a lot like disciplining a child, they don’t love it while it is happening but they will be better for it. Ellyn Satter says, Children are like “night watchmen, checking all the doors not really wanting to find any open.” I love that! Children thrive under structure and limits. If they don’t have it, they will walk all over us. We need to know our role as parents and stick to our guns!
Let me help! If you need help knowing your role as a parent when it comes to food, please contact me so I can point you in the right direction!