Parents face a number of common problems during their children’s early years. Among them are sleep issues, potty training hurdles, temper tantrums, and – of course – picky eating. All these issues are rooted in normal childhood behavior, and all of them can create intense stress for parents. Picky eating can be one of the worst, because food is the fuel for growth and development, and you need to feed your child three meals plus snacks – every single day. This provides ample opportunity for ongoing frustration. You may feel like feeding issues overshadow every part of your life and put a damper on what should be an enjoyable stage in your child’s growth.
When I polled my group of test parents about their picky eater situations, I found many common themes. No matter where in the world they live, no matter how many children in the household, and no matter what parenting style they follow, the details and emotions reveal similar themes. Parents everywhere where reported these universal stories.
- “My child eats the same few foods every day, and they aren’t healthy choices.”
- “Vegetables are totally off-limits unless they are dripping on cheese sauce or dip.”
- “New food is treated as foreign and suspicious, and my child refuses to try anything that isn’t familiar.”
- “I feel like I’m running a restaurant. I’m constantly making custom meals for my picky eater, and even then there’s no guarantee she’ll eat or even take a bite.”
- “When I fix a plateful of healthy options, I feel like I throw most of it away. Either that, or I end up eating my portion and his too!”
- “Other people have said that my child is trying to control me with his food demands and that I should just ‘be firm.’ They have no idea how impossible that really is!”
- “People say my child is just being stubborn and willful and that I shouldn’t let him get away with it, but I can’t open his mouth and make him eat!”
- “I’ve been told that I’m responsible, that my actions have actually caused my child’s picky eating habits. I know I haven’t been perfect in this area, bu it’s not like I serve him cookies all day!”
What these survey responses demonstrate is how perfectly normal your child is! There are many ideas for encouraging your picky eater to try some new foods. Watch this blog for more tips.