Thursday Tips: Hold The Judgement, Sub A Side Of Compassion

apple heart compassionParents of picky eaters often get judged. Judged for not having their kids try enough foods or managing mealtime behaviors, judged for not doing ‘it’ (mealtimes, snacks, discipline etc…) the way someone else has done it or heard it should be done or seen it work.

Eating is central to our survival, which makes it incredibly stressful if it doesn’t go smoothly. It is difficult, complex and different for everyone. Kay Toomey says it beautifully as she disproves ‘Myth # 3: Eating Is Easy,” in her article ‘Top Ten Myths Of Mealtime in America,’:

“Eating is the MOST complex physical task that human beings engage in. It is the ONLY human task which requires every one of your organ systems, and requires that all of those systems work correctly. In addition, EVERY muscle in the body is involved (one swallow for example, takes 26 muscles and 6 cranial nerves to coordinate). Plus, eating is the ONLY task children do which requires simultaneous coordination of all 8 of our sensory systems. Learning, Development, Nutrition and the Environment also have to be integrated in to make sure a child eats correctly.”

So, when we see a parent stressed that their child won’t eat, let’s first acknowledge that we have no idea what this family and child’s history includes. There goes the judgement.

Instead of judgement, let’s offer compassion. First, to yourself (because that’s where it all starts–you can’t be kind to anyone else unless you’re being kind to yourself).

Then to others by recognizing that it’s stressful when feeding your child is a struggle, scary to worry they’re not getting enough or the right nutrition, daunting and exhausting to search for medical answers. And this only scratches the surface of stresses that come with feeding difficulties.

And finally let’s be thankful: thankful if eating comes easily to you and your family and thankful if you have access to the nutrition you and your family need. Wow, that’s a lot of life, right there, to be thankful for!

For food play activities today you could give your child a choice of a cookie cutter, then use it some way in every meal and snack. I like the idea of making it a heart-day in honor of compassion, but whatever your child picks will probably be most motivating to them :-).

Have fun and happy food play!

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18 thoughts on “Thursday Tips: Hold The Judgement, Sub A Side Of Compassion

  1. Love this post. Sometimes, when going to a restaurant, we feed our kids at home before we go. Then they just order dessert for their meal. I’m sure some people think it’s weird when they see our kids only order dessert. But, it makes the kids happy, saves us money, and overall makes the restaurant experience better for our entire family. Great message about remembering you don’t know another families circumstances, so hold the judgement.

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  2. What a great reminder! As the parent of two picky toddlers, I remember that was a stressful time in our lives, especially the mommy guilt! It took one green bean at a time, but now they are two young men with a varied palate and a love of good food.

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  3. Reblogged this on mrsmombie and commented:
    This blog is beautiful. I was telling a friend the other day about a famous chef (I can’t remember his name) that says parents are to blame for picky eaters. How America is the only country with picky eaters. How in Europe they don’t have kids menus or processed foods. For the most part, I completely agree. But I also have a picky eater and I know too well the feelings and struggles and pull my hair out bad days where he’s thrown the 12th strawberry I’ve tried giving him to the dog. That’s effort and money (especially when buying organic) and frustration and the last thing I need in those moments is to be judged. That doesn’t inspire me to keep trying. Compassion is what gives me more strength and empowers me to keep going. And this doesn’t just relate to food. This applies to every aspect of motherhood so today I encourage you to think about a mother you’ve judged (we’ve all done it so don’t pretend you are Mother Theresa) and find a way to show her compassion, love and strength. Tell her what a great job she’s doing and let her know she is not alone. She deserves it just as much as you do. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. People are so judgemental sometimes… but do u have any tips on how can i make my son eat vegetables? He really dislikes them and would spit it out and in some scenario he vomitted. He is 5 yrs old now…and hate vege alot.

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    1. They really can be! I would definitely recommend giving him lots of opportunities to see and touch vegetables and let him see you eating them. I love the game where he can feed you bites of veggies. That way he’s touching them and learning that you think they’re delicious. If you’re concerned about his nutrition, I definitely recommend talking to your doctor or a nutritionist. Also, smoothies are a great way to at least get some veggies into kids as they’re learning to like them. Good luck!

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  5. Great post! Thank you! And yes, let’s drop the judgements, it helps no one! Yet it comes do naturally to many…. It’s so easy to judge myself as a parent if one of my kids doesn’t want to eat or try a certain food. I’m improving daily and love your reminders!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So true, but the same thing happens on the flip side. Our son as a toddler loved eating anything and I would constantly be judged by other moms or day care providers. Chastised one day when I allowed him to eat pepperoni slices as a snack. “That’s too spicy for him.” Really, lady, because he seems to like them? Encourage them to explore with food rather than restrict.

    Liked by 1 person

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