"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with one small step" Lao Zu
Helping your child overcome issues with food is no different from tackling the other myraid of parenting challenges that life throws at us. The real beginning of the journey is about acknowledging that you have a problem. If you have a picky eater in the family, there are so many reasons why you may not yet have sought help. You may be unsure of where to go for support, you may have complex feelings about your child's eating, perhaps secretly suspecting that you may be part of the problem - facing up to these emotions is not easy.
Sometimes, the status quo does not seem too bad. Almost without exception, the families of fussy eaters that I have worked with have established certain ways of doing things that allow them to make mealtimes as tolerable as they can be. For example, they may have become accustomed to sticking to a small repertoire of foods they know their child will eat; they may have rules that they go along with, like not having any foods touching.
Maybe you are genuinely happy with your child eating a limited diet, but in my experience, this is unlikely. It can just seem so hard to imagine things being any different. If any of the following things are true for you, you are on the road to happier and healthier mealtimes:
- I want us to eat a wider variety of foods as a family
- I want us to be able to all eat the same things
- I want to be able to enjoy meals out together
- I want my child to find social situations involving food easy
- I want my child to be an adventurous eater who enjoys food
If you can say "I want my child to have a better relationship with food and I'm ready to make some changes" take heart, because you have already begun your journey.
My next post will help you with what to do next.