Five reasons not to force children to eat

Five reasons not to force children to eat

We explain why you should not force your child to eat whatever you put on his plate

The nutritional needs of each individual are different, regardless of age, and therefore their intake should be as well. This intake cannot be determined by age or gender, because although basic needs can be considered relatively similar – as long as weight and height – not all children are equally active, so they should not eat the same thing.

Reasons why children should not be forced to eat

Why should we not force children to eat?

On this basis, it is very difficult to say how much our little one should eat, but what is most obvious is that under no circumstances should children be forced to eat.

1– Forcing the child to finish the food that is placed on his plate forces him to eat more than he needs. It may be that it is a meal that the child eats with pleasure, and he willingly, even unwillingly, agrees to finish the dish, giving us the feeling that if he wants to eat and if he is hungry, in fact, he is not. It is convenient to listen to them and respect their decisions.

2- Through this procedure, we make mealtime simple daily torture, so the child will arrive with less desire and with less patience, which affects the parent-child relationship.

3- Making the act of eating an unpleasant moment affects the social connotations of the act itself, and may affect the child’s way of communicating and socializing.

4– Taking into account that eating habits originate in childhood, forcing a child to finish food on the plate is the establishment of inappropriate habits. We make the child ignore his instincts and urge him to establish a very unhealthy routine, and finish the dish, which can be the first step towards obesity.

Indeed, the latest studies indicate that weight gain begins to grow in childhood, and more and more children suffer from it, and this, along with a sedentary lifestyle, is one of the main, although not the only, reasons.

5– By forcing the child to eat, we give them the understanding that it is normal for someone else to make decisions about their bodies, we teach them that they are not the ones in control and that it is acceptable for adults to make decisions with them.

We limit their autonomy, slowing them down when making decisions, in this case about their diet, masking and suppressing satiety signals from their bodies, favoring weight gain again, and paving the way for obesity.

The best we can do is observe our children, give them appropriate rations based on what we observe, and respect that their needs may vary from day today. If the food supply is healthy, with foods with a high nutritional density, our children will know how much to eat to meet their needs.

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