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Kids and Food: Mistake Number One

The New York Times recently reported on 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make. Of these, one stands out for us: “Dieting In Front of Your Children.” As we advocate, kids pay attention to what we adults, especially parents, do. If we are confused, erratic and stressed over what we eat, they see it. And then, chances are high, they will copy it.

No amount of broccoli and whole grain bread shoved down their throats will make up for the fact that you’re choosing to “diet,” and maybe even eat a diet company’s products (or whatever your diet neuroses may be) rather than delicious food. Ditto for the “rule of 15” which was mentioned by Susan Roberts, co-author of an interesting book Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health: Birth Through Age Six (we do like the idea of “metabolic Programming” but would like to see it elevated to “Conscious Metabolism”), where parents try 15 times to get kids to eat something (we can just see the anal among us ticking of the number of attempts: “C’mon Sarah, just try number 13, pleeease!”).

We need to understand, to put it bluntly, our eating problems are rubbing off on our children. Notably, the article quotes Dr. Leann Birch (not sure she’s an MD), of Penn State’s childhood obesity research center, that “Most mothers don’t think their kids are soaking up this information, but they are.” Huh? Can it really be that the kids are more awake than most mothers?
Not to nag, but it’s time to Wake Up! Our kids, especially when they are young, pay attention to everything we as parents do and don’t do.In fact, they take in the world around them more than many adults, who have chosen to remain asleep to the interplay between what we eat, who we are and our greater connection to the earth and each other.