Feeding Problems

A common problem that seems to be the bane of most parents can be classified as a habit disorder. It takes the form of food fads, indigestion, excessive or no appetite, or even a perverted appetite where the child will eat just about anything he can lay his hands on. But did you know that the root cause of this problem is emotional instability? 

Have you noticed that your emotional state of mind is directly related to your digestive functions? When you are nervous or tense you tend to lose your appetite and when you have nothing much to do, your hunger pangs seem to be active and this is the time that you could overindulge. The same goes for your child. When he or she is facing a test or an examination, he finds it very difficult to eat. Not only this, sometimes the bowel movements get activated too. The reverse is also true. A hungry child is also an irritated child and will not be able to concentrate on his studies. On the other hand a well-fed child is quite contented and seems to do his work properly.

When does feeding become a problem?

The basics of food problems generally lie in a strained parent-child relationship. Quite often one sees the maid or one of the parents chasing the child around the house with a spoon and a bowl of food. Sometimes playing 'catching cook' when it is actually the cook who seems to be doing the catching. This is not the way to go around feeding the child. The child should be taught to have a little respect for food, and made to sit down in the right place and eat however much he or she wants to eat. You can not and should not force a child to eat more than he can. If he is full and you are trying to force him, he is bound to run away.

Sometimes a child may not like a certain food, or may not be in the mood to eat it at that particular time. It is best to leave him alone for awhile and let him have his way occasionally. If you create an unpleasant scene each time he does not want something, he will begin to dread mealtimes or worse still use it as a weapon against you when he wants to upset you. Or he may even begin to dislike that food item completely. If you leave him be, he may automatically begin to eat it at a later stage. You must remember that your child can not stay hungry and will ask you for something to eat sooner or later. You must keep a lot of healthy snacks ready for your growing child.

Simple solutions

There was a case of a young boy who ate nothing but rice and pulses. His worried mother took him to a child-guidance clinic, where they advised her not to force him to eat, as he seemed quite fit and healthy. Instead, they advised him to take part in a lot of outdoor activities. One day, he returned from a ten-day camp, having eaten three meals a day consisting of various vegetables, fruits and all kinds of pulses. 

Some families see each other only at dinnertime. At this point parents try to find out everything that the child did at school, his grades, etc. They might even discuss unpleasant things that happened at work, or argue, making the child feel uncomfortable. Mealtimes are not the right time to pull up your child for his studies and make him lose his appetite. That can be done later. An extremely nervous child will find it difficult to swallow and might even suffer from nausea. You must try to make your mealtimes pleasant for the full family. Have light, pleasant conversation and play some good music in the background. Music is known to have a soothing effect on the nervous system and will help to digest the food better. You may discuss the good things that have happened in your day and try to make your child feel secure and loved to help him grow into a satisfied and contented human being.

Last but not the least; always maintain a routine for the child to follow. Mealtimes should be fixed from the beginning. In this way, the child automatically gets hungry around that time, and eats to his and your satisfaction. Sometimes when parents come home late or have to go out early, the child's food timings can go haywire. This should be avoided, as the child should be taught self-discipline and respect for food by sticking to a routine. If these basics tips are followed, no parent need complain of feeding problems anymore.

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