A few years ago, when parenting my Godson, I was struggling with getting him to eat breakfast before school each morning. He did not understand why breakfast was so important to me. I didn’t understand why he refused to eat breakfast. Every morning was a a power struggle between us that no one ever won.
I simply did not want to send him to school at 7:30 am without any food. I was concerned because his next meal wouldn’t be until 12:45 for lunch. The whole situation made my head hurt and my stomach growl. One morning I decided I was not going to give in, he was going to eat something and I didn’t want to hear any excuses. I didn’t care if we were both late for morning schedules because he was going to eat breakfast.
He sat at the table with a bagel in front of him. I sat across from him and waited and watched. 5 minutes passed, 10 minutes passed, closing in on 15 minutes, I started getting vocal—“you will eat that bagel and you will eat it now!”. Next thing you know, a flying object whizzed past my face—fast, and then cream cheese hit the wall. It was a disaster. He was frustrated. I was frustrated. And, in the end he went to school without breakfast.
Later, I confided in my friend what happened and she reminded me that you cannot make a kid eat. He would learn by his own mistakes and if he chose to not eat then he would be hungry and learn his lesson. It was a power struggle we didn’t need to have. Mornings got a lot better once I learned to take a step back and accept that we would not always see eye to eye. I had to let him make some of his own decisions. We all know nutrition is important, but as parents, all we can really do is provide them with information and guide them to make the right decisions. As they grow up, you have to be willing to take a step back and allow them to make their own mistakes. It is the only way they will grow into healthy, confident and responsible adults.
Do you struggle with your children about nutrition? What do you do to get them to eat?
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