The Distracted Child: When That’s a Useful Thing

Aug 15, 2013 by

Anger-free ways to keep the peace & neutralize resistance in a picky eater or other strong-willed child

The other day, I noticed a dad with his toddler on a sidewalk. The little tot, about 18 months old, was trying to go in one direction. The dad, towering over her, was looking down at her and moving right in front of her each time she tried to go that direction. She would move to go around him, and he would step over to block her way, over and over. No words were being exchanged. She had no understanding of why her dad was preventing her from going that way. Dad was making no effort to explain the situation to her. His mind seemed to be elsewhere. Naturally, the little girl was getting a seriously frustrated look on her face. Maybe she was too young to understand why she couldn’t go there,…

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The Best Way to the Stomach is Through the Heart

Jan 2, 2009 by

When my first baby started wanting to feed himself around age one, he made such messes that I made the short-sighted error of continuing to spoon-feed him myself rather than just go through it. I missed the window of opportunity when he wanted to do it, and when he turned three, I was still feeding him. I really wanted to stop but didn’t know how.

Dr. Spock to the rescue! The almost instant solution he provided required little more than me getting out of the way to naturally shift the force of will from me to my son.

Putting good food in front of him when he was hungry and then casually being unavailable to spoon it into his mouth revived his desire to do it himself.

Such a “wise…

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The Good Eater

Dec 6, 2008 by

“He’s a good eater,” I hear parents say. A father once told me that his child “did great with the food” on a trip to Europe. “She’s not bad about trying new vegetables.” “Good job! You ate it all.” Extra points for cleaning the plate.

Do these evaluations suggest that eating good food is a satisfying delight or that it’s a praiseworthy act of self-denial? The body is created to crave and enjoy the food it needs, as the mind is made to go after knowledge. Because of children’s genuine need for nourishment, both mental and physical, we have only to give them opportunities to naturally treasure what’s good for them.

If we don’t enjoy what’s good for us more than what’s bad, something’s wrong. As Aristotle asserts, the point of education is to learn to take pleasure in good things. What happens when something…

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