Eating: Discipline Issue or Not?

November 26th, 2013

Sometimes power struggles that seem like discipline issues are not really discipline issues, but are rather issues of autonomy. Whose body is it, anyway? You can’t force your child to eat. Perhaps this is really not an issue of discipline, but an opportunity for fostering independence and growth in your child. Who should have say over your child’s body—you or them?

Often, parents and children engage in power struggles concerning food. It is important to give careful consideration to power struggles over food with your young child as your conflicts over food can become complicated with struggles over nurturance and love. Power struggles over food can be simplified with forethought and planning.

One of the most important food goals for your child is to learn to monitor their own internal physical needs. You can provide healthy options in food choices and family meal opportunities, but you cannot force your child to eat and you cannot force your child to eat certain foods. Power struggles over food are useless and unproductive. Food fights accomplish nothing except conflict.

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