Don't Force Children
One More Bite or No Dessert!
Watch out for those little eyes that refuse to eat something of their disliking, but are forced to eat due to parents' worry, authority, care, control or even power struggle.
Never force children to eat something that they don't like. Forcing will not help them develop a positive relationship with food in the long run. Allow children to learn to bond with food, just like how you allow them to bond with people. It takes time.
Forcing will only achieve a temporary sense of fulfillment in the parents as it won't last, and the task of force will continue in the next meal again. Children associate memories with food just like we adults do and forcing to eat that odd broccoli will only further push away the child from approaching that food because of the prior negative-memory attached with that specific food.
For example- we know cycling and swimming are good, but does that guarantee that every adult will be at it?
As grown-ups, we carry so many food biases, but as parents, we are obsessed with having our children to eat everything that we serve them. It is an authorial bias that we need to address, and that is only possible when we render no importance to self.
I still remember my first experience of being pushed into the cold water by one of my insensitive friend who wanted me to go swimming. She didn't take time to learn if I knew swimming or not; That memory of water gushing through my nostrils straight into my lungs left me never wanting to go nearer the sea ever again.
Children are far more intuitively informed about listening to their inside sensor that regulates their internal needs in terms of hunger, thirst and sleep. Respect that decision when a child refuses to eat a particular food after having made several failed attempts.
Most of the adults eat past the point of being full and as children because we were forced to eat the food of our disliking or to someone else's satisfaction, our internal sensors are no longer that reliable and do not work the way they used to work when we were children. Thanks to all the adults in our lives!
It is worth noting that as adults when we force the children to do something of their disliking at home, we are only preparing them to give-in to control in other areas of their lives by disregarding their choices. Period.
As a parent myself, I'm aware of the series of emotions that often trigger during meal times when I find my child pushing away the food instead of devouring it. I do recognise these emotions stemming out from the worry and love I have for my child. However, please understand that children will eat when they are hungry and will stop when they are full. Allow them to follow their natural body cues. By asking them to take that another bite, you must be guilty of offsetting their innate receptors into overeating.
Children have a very long way to go. They will develop their association with food eventually when they are made aware of the positive benefits of the diet without rushing on them.