The Path of Least Resistance

How often are we choosing the wrong battles with our children?

I had a bit of a win today.  My shopping arrived and in amongst the bags of weekly food shopping boringness was a packet of sushi. 

I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Of all the foods in the world, sushi is my favourite.  I even overlooked the fact this was vegan sushi as I scoffed the entire contents.  So good!

Now I haven’t always liked sushi.  I remember as a kid growing up the very thought of eating raw fish was enough to make me want to barf.  In fact I was about 19 when I actually realised I liked it.

My friends and I had gone out for dinner in The Valley – it was the alternative place to The City when I grew up in Brisbane. 

The Valley had a massive Irish Bar, a Church converted into a Nightclub, Gay Bars, China Town and Japanese restaurants with karaoke rooms.  It was edgy but not wanker cool like these places become when everyone decides Orange is the new Black. 

Anyway my school friend had spent a year in Japan on exchange and when she came home she wanted us all to experience a taste of Japan.  So off we went for Japanese food and bad singing.

Tash ordered sushi and all of our other friends turned their noses up at raw fish.  I was 3 rum and cokes in – before the days of developing a wine pallet don’t you know lol – and thought, yeah why not.

OMG!! I was hooked.  And every other week, when my grant money came in while I was studying at Uni, I treated myself to teriyaki chicken and sushi.

It took me 19 years to appreciate it and develop my taste buds to appreciate it.

I have been having a number of conversations recently with parents about food.  How food has become the battle ground.  The dinner table is now a place where much anx is had because their child is point blank refusing to eat what is on their plate.

Now I get the frustration with this.  I get that when you have bought the food, cooked the food only to be met with, “I don’t like that” or “I’m not hungry” It can make us really mad.

Especially if you were brought up with the same phrases as me, “There are dying children in Africa who would love to eat even a mouthful of what you are wasting!” 

We have been brought up to eat what is on our plate, even if we don’t like it and be bloody well grateful that there is food on the table.

And this is often how we approach dinner time, or food in general with our kids.

The problem is, it makes food the battle ground.  It gives power to the food and it becomes something that our children learn that they have control over.

And if they are prepared to dig their heels in , like my brother did when he was 7.  You could be sat at the table all night because you don’t want to loose face.

Food is always a topic that worries parents.  Especially parents of girls.  They are terrified of sending the wrong message because they don’t want their daughters ending up with an eating disorder.  And I get that.

We are often also worried that our children aren’t getting the nutrition that is required to make them grow big and strong.  I get that.

But when your child decides that they don’t like a food, then we have two choices.  Accept that they kind of know their own mind and that they don’t like it – even if they liked it yesterday and will like it tomorrow

Or you can dig your heels in, be prepared for war and start to make dinner time the battle ground. 

Very few children will starve themselves out of choice.  They will eventually be hungry enough to eat.  Offer the alternative of a yoghurt or piece of fruit and then carry on with your dinner.

Honestly it will blow itself out really quickly.