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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