The Codependent Mom: Feeding Your Child’s Food Addiction

Oct 17, 2010 by

When your baby started to scoot around the house, you probably changed your decor. You moved breakables or dangerous items out of reach. You covered your electrical outlets.

You may have also cleaned up your personal act in various ways to make a healthy, safe, positive environment for your dear baby.

You kept careful watch over your little one, and with a sensible combination of environmental adjustments, vigilance, and training of your baby not to touch those dangers that couldn’t be removed, you made your house a place where your darling could play and learn and enjoy freedom and safety.

You limited your child’s choices, without offering dangerous fun in order to get her to do beneficial things. You wouldn’t, for example, say she could chew on the electrical cord if she would play with her blocks first.

You wouldn’t…

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Picky Kids and the Codependent Mom: Three Tips to Break the Cycle

Oct 10, 2010 by

It’s taken me awhile to figure out what “codependent” means.  What I’ve learned makes me think that codependency is actually pretty common among us parents.  If we aren’t living with an alcoholic or an addict or an abuser (yet), we may think, “That’s not me.”  But parents of picky eaters may be just inches away from falling into the role of a codependent.

Codependency is more complicated than the joke I’ve seen about you and your cat falling into those roles: he likes being petted and you like petting him. In its classic form, it’s rather that your daughter is an addict and you bail her out, cover for her, fail to hold her responsible for anything, maybe even give her money for her fixes so she doesn’t suffer, making it easy for her to continue her habit,…

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Making kids eat vs. making them behave

Sep 21, 2010 by

This recent Dennis the Menace cartoon shows a breakdown in a mom’s attempts to make her kid eat.  After trying to make Dennis eat carrots, his mom thinks he has complied but then finds the carrots hidden in the laundry basket. So Dennis is in the corner.

His question is a good one. Is he punished for hiding carrots in the laundry or for not eating them? Is it fair to punish a child for reacting in a natural and normal and to-be-expected way to being over-controlled? The outcome is typical of force feeding.  You can lead a kid to carrots but you cannot make him eat.

The proper groundwork for good eating wasn’t laid, and not knowing what else to do, the weary, desperate mom forced Dennis. Dennis appeared to comply, but Dennis got his revenge. Then Mom got hers.  It’s…

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When healthy kid foods pose as junk food

Sep 3, 2010 by

It all started with desperate moms pureeing veggies and concealing them in brownies or other nutritionally depleted foods that “kids will eat” without a war. Instead of leading kids in the education of their tastes and affections, we let them lead us, by the nose. Our only hope is to trick the little beasts.

Then today I read a mom’s recommendations on how to buy better-for-you packaged stuff so kids can feel like everybody else at school. The key is that it be in real, store-bought packages with attractive logos and brand names. If we can fool kids into thinking they’re eating the processed junk their friends eat,…

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Five DOs and DON’Ts of Dealing with Dessert for Kids

Aug 30, 2010 by

Fresh Fruit Cake

You’d like to have a calm, peaceful dinner where everyone eats the meal, and cheerfully and without fanfare enjoys a little dessert afterwards at least once in awhile. Instead, you find yourself in a battle over eating the meal or not, or if we can just eat dessert, and how much dinner has to be eaten, or how much dessert can be had and who got more. It’s enough to make you wish away their childhoods.

Here are a few tips on reaching a peaceful coexistence of children and dessert.

DON’T:

  1. Don’t differentiate too much between dinner and dessert. Be casual about dessert, rather than acting like, “Wow, at last something we can enjoy after the drudgery and duty of dinner!” Show equal and genuine enthusiasm for a good meal, without going overboard and being manipulative about it. If…
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How to deal with food tantrums

Aug 25, 2010 by

Every middle of the night, Tina’s dog woke her up to get a treat. She complained about it, but the dog didn’t speak that language. He understood what she did better than what she said. He listened to the language of the treat. She was giving him what he wanted, and that’s why he kept doing it. He probably thought she liked being woken up in the night. Why else would she give him a treat for doing so? That dog had her well trained.

Along come Tina’s kids. All day, any time they want something she doesn’t want them to have, they scream. If they want candy, they scream. So she gives it to them. She says, “I wish my kids would quit that screaming. I hate that screaming.” But whenever they scream, she scrambles to give…

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