Do not force a child who does not want to eat unless in an exceptional case we tell you about
Why doesn’t my son want to eat
The answer to this question is usually categorically negative since we can make the child associate the act of eating with an unpleasant moment, with the negative connotations of his social relationships that may ensue.
In addition, if we insist that the child finish everything we put on his plate, we may force him to eat more than he really needs and also to do so without wanting to. However, there is an exceptional case in which we must force a child who does not want to eat.
Reasons why children refuse to eat
Loss of appetite or food refusal can occur for various reasons to be taken into account:
1. Because the child is going through some diseases. When this disease disappears, the loss of appetite will have more desire to eat.
2. Because he eats all kinds of things like candy, potatoes, chocolates, etc.
3. However, it can also be due to a lack of appetite. In this case, the child’s weight is less than normal for his age and the condition must be treated so that the child acquires appropriate eating habits.
It will be in the latter case where we “force” the child to eat. We put quotation marks around the verb ‘strength’ because we are not referring to this word considering its true meaning, but rather as a word indicating that adults in a child’s environment should do everything in their power to acquire healthy eating habits.
What do we mean by forcing children to eat?
We tell you when you should force children to eat
I want to be completely clear about what meaning I want to give to the word “strength” so as not to create confusion in this article. To do this, first of all, we look at the Orthodox meaning of the word in question. For the Royal Spanish Academy of Language, “commit” is a verb that indicates:
– Make with the authority that a person achieves a certain thing, without leaving him the possibility of choice.
Gaining a person’s will through gifts or services.
This definition provides us with a kind of tool that, rather than facilitating our work to help the child acquire proper eating habits, can complicate them and even have negative effects on the child. These tools are:
Many adults use phrases like, “If you don’t eat this, you’re out of candy.” Using this type of punishment is a strategy that only leads to quarrels, does not have a positive effect, and can lead to food refusal.
It is a form of blackmail. Many parents regularly reward a “rich dessert” (generally sweet) if they eat everything on the plate. It’s a mistake because the awards have to be very accurate. If the child is in the habit of always receiving the reward, he will never realize that eating and doing it in a healthy way is in his best interest.
Ultimately, from an educational point of view, food can never be used as a punishment or as a reward. Eating habits are part of the basic needs in a child’s development and should be left outside the negotiations or the consequences of their actions.
That is why we give another meaning to the word force.
5 keys to your child to eat better
We have already made clear our rejection of the Orthodox meaning of the word compulsion in the context of feeding children.
For me, the word ‘power’ when it comes to helping children learn eating habits should convey other kinds of intrinsic tools that give us the ability to accompany the child in a meaningful way. These are some of them that we should pay more attention to.
1. Patience and serenity be upon you
To let the child himself eat only with a fork and an accompaniment, but without his insistence, distraction, reward or punishment for eating more. In the long run, the child will start eating the amounts he needs (therefore, he must adjust to the actual amounts he should eat) and with the patience of adults he will notice affection, not rejection. In this way, your child’s healthy relationship with food and the act of eating is fostered.
2.Lead by example Parents’ example is the first step in helping children learn to eat well and develop healthy eating habits. Therefore, we must realize that if we want our children to eat well, we must be the first to have proper habits on which the child can focus.
When the child eats enough, you can clap and congratulate. That is, reinforcement is always before punishment. This way, the young child will understand that he has done a good job.
4. Insist on
Serving the same type of food cooked in different ways is a way for you to experience things you “don’t like” without having to force yourself. To do this, take a look at one of the many delicious recipes designed for kids to eat everything in the right amount.
5. Understand that
Put yourself in the children’s shoes and notice that if you yell at them and get angry because they don’t eat,
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