The psychological impact of force-feeding your child
These are some of the things the child understands when you make them eat their greens, even at the cost of reprimand or scolding.
1. That despite it being their body, the choice does not lie with them when it comes to putting food into them. This might just give them body image issues later in life. And they will hate you for it.
2. They must choke on and gag and swallow their greens. They will hate them and other things good for them because the process of ingesting is just associated with things too painful.
3. That health means veggies exclusively. That it is not about the proper fuel for the proper situation, and that being miserable is a price you pay for health. The next logical adult step from this is nothing but anorexia nervosa because of concepts of health change for kids over time.
4. Eat even though you don’t want to because you might be denied what you like later, if you don’t. This hoarding habit does not die easy, trust me. They will end up becoming misers saving and saving for some imaginary unforeseen circumstance, something which will never come.
5. That eating was not a joyful and fulfilling experience. It was one where there was conflict involved. Especially, with people they love.
Children are highly impressionable and imaginative. They will make oceans and seas out of your littlest gestures. Try to be kind to them in these formative years, because every smile, every slap and every hug goes a long way.
So what can we do to make them eat healthily
1. Make sure to cook meals that have everything in them, to help in overall nutrition.
2. Practice what you preach. If your kid sees you eat chips and chocolate all day, there is no way they will eat veggies, because to them, their mommies and daddies are always the best.
3. Practice the policy of Division of Responsibility from Ellyn Satter. This means you give your kid a choice to eat what he or she wants, with advice and not reprimand.
4. Make mealtimes pleasant; make memories by telling them stories of your childhood, concentrate on the conversation and etiquette because those are important social skills to learn too.
5. Encourage them and give them positive feedback when and if they do pick the veggies to eat sometimes. Kids try very hard to get the approval of their parents, and that includes eating things they don’t like sometimes. Make picking out veggies difficult, by mixing them up or mashing and combining, or mincing.