Meal OrdealsDR. RAY GUARENDI
Dear Dr. Ray, My four-year-old daughter is a picky eater. Often she refuses to eat anything at all. Mealtime is not pleasant in our home. ― Fed Up
If you don't want to wait for hunger to drive your daughter to do something drastic, like swallow food, here is a menu of suggestions to help simmer down potential meal melees in your home.
One strategy, usually resorted to out of sheer frustration, is the "Seat-until-you-eat" order, or the "You'll-sit-there-until-you-eat-or-take-at-least-one-bite" stand. This approach has a few drawbacks. One, it may work with some kids, but generally not with those who, as long as you are upset over their fasting, are determined not to take a single bite until their wedding rehearsal dinner. Two, you may be forcing yourself to sit and supervise. In other words, you too must seat until they eat. And I'm sure you have better things to do with your time than stare at a four-year-old mindlessly stirring squash throughout his mashed potatoes. Three, invariably Cookie will whine and fuss ad nauseam. Isn't it amazing the energy those little tykes have on an empty stomach? Invariably, we don't stay fussless either. A food fight erupts, with us pleading, arguing, and finally threatening to force-feed Cookie intravenously. All this just prolongs the ordeal. During such standoffs, the only consolation we have is knowing that someday, twenty-two years from now, Cookie is going to have to live with the realization that she once had the chance to eat with reckless abandon and not gain weight and she let it slip by.
More effective, less prolonged, solutions to meal melees are these:
I think the major difference between grown-ups and preschoolers involves eating and sleeping. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood we grow to crave both.
Ray Guarendi "Meal Ordeals." kidbrat.com.
Reprinted with permission of Ray Guarendi.
Raymond N. Guarendi, aka Dr. Ray, is a practicing clinical psychologist and authority on parenting and behavioral issues active in the Catholic niche media. Guarendi is an advocate of common sense approaches to child rearing and discipline issues. Guarendi received his B.A. and M.A. at Case Western Reserve University in 1974, and his Ph.D. at Kent State University in 1978. He is the author of You're a better parent than you think!: a guide to common-sense parenting, Good Discipline, Great Teens, Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It; Straight Answers to Hearfelt Questions, Discipline that lasts a lifetime: the best gift you can give your kids, and Back to the Family.
Copyright © 2005 Ray Guarendi
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