My son is a picky eater. Up until he was about three years old, I thought I had it made as he ate just about everything that was put in front of him. Some of my favorite pictures are a series of black-and-white photos that my mom had framed, which shows him happily eating some green beans. Then he turned three and everything changed. Suddenly, all he wanted was Nutella and carbs and dinnertime turned into a constant food battle.
My husband and I actually eat fairly well. We don’t buy a lot of overly processed food. We don’t buy chips. Wed don’t even eat a lot of carbs. I thought just by offering the same meals that we eat, he would eventually just eat some vegetables. Instead, he often just doesn’t eat. I clung to the fact that despite of all his pickiness, one of his favorite foods was broccoli. Then one morning, while waiting in the drop-off lane at school, he announced that he didn’t like broccoli anymore.
“Why?” I asked.
“I just decided.”
I have tried everything to get him to eat. I tell him if he doesn’t eat his dinner, there will be nothing else. I take away his beloved Nutella. I have taken away T.V. privileges. Nothing has worked. Then I read an article in Slate entitled, “Why Is My Kid Such A Picky Eater?”
Turns out, I have been doing it all wrong. The author explains that it is normal for kids between the ages of 2 and 6, to fear new foods. It even has a name: food neophobia. One of the premises of the article was the more you pressure and threaten kids into eating, the worse the problem becomes. Basically, I’ve created my picky eater.
This realization scared me because it made me wonder “What else am I doing wrong?” Next they’ll be telling me it’s bad to let your kids suck on batteries. I’m just kidding, I only let them suck on the the empty ones. But seriously, is the way I handle bedtime leading to insomnia or fears of the dark? Is the way I discipline turning my kids into psychopaths?
Sometimes I have to take a step back and remember this: My favorite movie at five years old was Flashdance and I didn’t grow up to be a stripper. My mom lost her temper and yelled sometimes and I didn’t turn into a serial killer. My friend and I inhaled bags of candy in one sitting from the corner bakery and I still really like vegetables. Except beets. Those things are nasty.
Sabine Brown is Miss January for Oklahoma Women Blogger’s Inaugural month. You can read more from her at http://www. SabineofSuburia.blogspot.com.