Children are a bunch of picky eaters. You place a plate of veggies or milk before them, they’ll find out a million excuses of not having them. Every parent has a different style to deal with their kid. While some use scolding and scaring as a bait to feed their child, others are quite lenient with their kid and give them to eat as they wish. When my daughter turned around 2 years of age, she turned out to be an extremely picky eater with every passing day. I faced a very difficult time handling my daughter’s eating habit, given the fact that she was thin in spite of having a good birth weight. Besides I was also concerned that she wouldn’t be getting all the essential nutrients needed for her developing years. I used to force feed her to the extent that she would vomit at times. Gradually she started refusing food completely. I had committed the same mistake that most parents do, force-feeding children. I had no idea how to get the job done. I started considering myself as a failure mom, a monster mom. I decided to visit her pediatrician to get some vitamins and mineral supplements which could compensate on the food she is not eating. That is when my pediatrician gave me an earful and some piece of advice too.
He first questioned me what my feeding style was? After learning that I used to force feed my daughter, he was extremely upset stating that parents often forget that their children are human beings too and they do have their likes, dislikes, and understanding. After reprimanding me for quite some time, he explained that he encounters a number of patients on a daily basis and each one of them has a different set of complaint regarding their child’s eating habit. Feeding your kid is one of the biggest challenges faced by a parent and remember that your ‘feeding style’ reflects your parenting style. He explained to me that feeding style not just puts an impact on a child’s body weight but also influences their relationship and behavior around food.
So today, I’ll let you parents know all about the different feeding styles of parents and which one has a good impact on your child’s behavior and eating habits.
Authoritarian style –
This feeding style is something most parents resort to and commit a great mistake. This was me at one point too when I had no idea how to feed my kid well. However, doctors and experts say that this is the worst parental feeding style to be adopted as too much control exerted makes it difficult for kids to learn self-regulation and listen to their body’s cues. Jill Castle, a registered dietitian, childhood nutrition expert, and mother stated, “If you are full, you are full, and beyond fullness is overeating.”
Permissive style –
A permissive feeding style is when a parent rarely controls that child’s eating habits. Such children have access to all types of food, especially the unhealthy ones. Jill Castle says, "These parents are a little hesitant to say 'no' to kids around food. ... They seem to have less parenting control over that piece of feeding and eating.” Due to least scrutinizing over food by parents, children usually develop a habit of eating sweets, candies, cookies, burgers, fries and all things unhealthy.
Authoritative Feeding Style –
This is the best approach to teach your children good eating habits. Neither you are forcing your choice on your child, nor allowing your child freedom to choose and eat what they like. Castle has explained this feeding style very clearly, “A parent says, ‘do you want green beans or broccoli for dinner?’ The parent is still in control of the choices, so it’s a reasonable choice.”
Studies on various feeding styles have shown that it is an authoritative feeding style that improves the eating style in kids. A dietitian Victoria Stein Feltman has stated, “Families with an authoritative style have healthy-weight children, and their kids make better choices on their own, and they are more accepting of new foods”.
Let your kids explore different food. Don’t pressurize them into eating monotonous food. Let them choose between healthy options of food. They should never feel that you are forcing them into eating. Also, don’t keep the attitude of being lenient enough to not monitor your child’s eating habit. You should learn how to nurture healthy eating habits in your kids.
What is your feeding style? Let us know!