Many families report that they struggle to get their child to eat or eat well so to help them along, they ask them to eat. While logical, it’s counterproductive because it’s a mild form of pressure that can lead to anxiety. We want to avoid anxiety because the result is adrenaline release. This puts the body into survival mode, shutting down hunger and stopping a person from enjoying the moment.
To see how good intentions can be perceived by a child, imagine you’re in this situation:
You’re watched closely at mealtimes. Comments are made about the way you eat, e.g. in what order you’re eating things and how much you eat. And you’re often told to eat more when you’ve had enough or are tired, sick or upset.
Would you see mealtimes as enjoyable? Wouldn’t you prefer if everyone talked about the food and their day instead of focusing on you?