Is this a parenting problem or a parenting choice?


Is this a parenting problem or a parenting choice?

I was at the local fruit and veg shop last week and got talking to a guy that worked there. When he found out that I was a parenting author, he said, ‘Oh god! Our toddler is driving us mad because he just won’t eat fruit and veggies’.

The irony of working at a fruit and veg shop and your child won’t eat veggies!

I made a comment about how you can sometimes hide veggies within dishes. When I make a bolognese, for example, it has almost as much veggies as meat. I’ve always made it that way and it’s my kids’ favourite dish. We have it once a week without fail.

The guy at the fruit and veg shop sighed and explained that the problem is that his son doesn’t eat much at all so it’s difficult to use that strategy.

Then he said, ‘But…’ And I waited…

‘But he does love his bottle.’

Aaah. Now we’re getting a clearer picture.

His toddler does eat. He just doesn’t eat a lot of food because he prefers his bottle. He fills up on his bottle and doesn’t want to eat anything else.

This is quite apart from the fact that toddlers are at a developmental stage where they can seemingly live on air. That is, they seem to pick at things and not eat very much, which can sometimes lead to us worry about whether they’re getting sufficient nutrition.

Back to the bottle…

I asked, ‘What about taking away or limiting his bottle?’

The dad raised his eye brows at me and said, ‘If we try and do that he loses it!’

Of course he does.

So it seems like we have a parenting problem. You want your child to eat their veggies but they prefer their bottle.

This dilemma requires a parenting decision. Do you want to encourage your child to eat their vegetables or do you want to keep the peace? It’s a choice.

The problem isn’t necessarily that his son won’t eat his veggies. That’s the presenting problem.

The real problem is the choice. Do you deal with the possible consequences of limiting your child’s bottle, which you know they won’t like, because it’s important to eat veggies or do you let it slide and just get frustrated by your child’s behaviour?

This seems like a parenting problem. But it’s actually a parenting choice. The problem isn’t the child’s behaviour. The problem is the choice.

With a full understanding of the situation, see if you can make a parenting choice that you can live with.

Jodie Benveniste

2 Responses to “Is this a parenting problem or a parenting choice?

  • Love this post. Thank you Jodie. I still struggle with this concept. With my first born I make the choice to keep the peace a little too much and when I do want to change a certain behavior they lose it so much that I crumble and they win. I find it’s a matter of being strong mentally and emotionally in order to make those changes and sticking to it. It’s still hard

    • Jodie Benveniste
      10 months ago

      You are so right Justine – we do need to feel mentally and emotionally strong to stand firm. Our kids can fight back with such force! I think it does help to know why you’re doing it. Sometimes that can give us the fortitude we need.

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