This article from the Washington Post describes the different parenting styles that can lead to different issues with children’s eating habits. While it’s an interesting and informative piece, it lays out a plethora of problems without providing sufficient guidance or concrete solutions.
Still, it’s worth a read, and lays out several styles of parenting around food that can lead to problems down the road:
Nurturers: These parents believe that “food equals love” and therefore can overfeed their children, and load them up with unhealthy food.
Food police: No sugar, no junk food, “and restrict sweets to homemade brownies made with black beans and applesauce. They want their children to get all their important nutrients from healthy, unprocessed foods.” Mealtimes become battlegrounds, with consequences that can last into adulthood.
Nutritionistas: These parents have learned so much about nutrition that they fret about getting the proper nutrients into their kids and as a result let them eat unhealthy foods because at least they’re getting some of what they need this way. “These children usually have a very a limited diet of less-than-healthy foods and a parent who is constantly worried about whether their child has eaten enough distinct nutrients.”
Hunger avoiders: This type of parent never wants her child to feel even the slightest hunger pang. As a result, their children tend to eat a monotonous diet of a few favorite foods, snack all day, and use hunger as an attention-getting device.
Comforters/rewarders: They use food to keep their children from having comfortable feelings, after a skinned knee, for example, or a bad grade on a test. This can lead to emotional eating and overeating. “Children will learn that feeling upset is the same as feeling hungry when we’d rather teach them how to deal with those uncomfortable emotions through communication, self-care or even a hug from Mom or Dad.”
Do you recognize yourself in any of these thumbnail profiles?
Try this activity: How to Foster Healthy Habits.