Food and feeding often seems to change our parenting. We feel very confident in how to react, support and discipline in all other areas. Then it comes to food and we are not sure what to say and do.
There are a few reasons for this:
1. Feeding is very biologically hard-wired.
2. If we can't feed our child what we believe they need for optimal health and growth we can feel guilt and even that we're failing on some level.
3. It happens 5 x per day, 7 days per week. It's relentless!
4. Food is often very public, with all the associated issues. Embarrassment, guilt, inability to participate ...
5. We don't know what we don't know. Feeding is not something that is discussed much past babies. If something is going wrong there isn't the road map for us to follow.
6. Often we have been struggling for a long time. We have tried everything, we are feeling frustrated and lost. Every time we enthusiastically try something new it fails. That is demoralising.
Suddenly our child seems to be in charge. Whether they are 3 or 10 food decisions revolve around them and we get more and more sidelined.
One of my key tips to reverse this feeling that we've lost control is to ask "am I supporting or enabling?".
Let's look at some examples:
- Our child demands pretzels for morning snack and we serve them = enabling.
- We offer some pretzels and some crackers for morning tea = supporting
- Our child is hungry after breakfast and wants some chippies and we serve them = enabling
- We explain that we've just eaten and we'll be having more food very soon and can include some chippies = supporting
Judith is passionate about good food and is even more passionate about enabling other people to enjoy the wide variety of fresh food available today.