Jun 3, 2011

Eating difficulties in young children

Category: Food-Based Issues
Posted By: Kerry
picture of boy refusing foodI have a three year-old-daugher who is an extremely fussy eater and mealtimes have become a battleground. This has been going on for over a year. Please help!


Eating, like sleeping, often becomes a battleground for families. The reason that these two areas are so commonly difficult for young children is that they are two of the few areas that children have any real control or leverage. In most other areas the parents are unquestionably the ones in control, they can give, take away, physically pick up and move and generally have overall control of the child. What we, as parents cannot do is force a child either to sleep or to swallow. Children who are struggling with control quickly discover this and the 'battleground' which you describe is the result.

You have given very little information so it is hard for me to give you an idea of why this is going on but I suggest a deep breath and a change of approach. To look at the eating difficulty less as a battle and more as a symptom of a problem that it is your job to solve. Try talking to your child about why she doesn't want to eat, from there perhaps you can find a solution for her. You could also think about why your daughter is wanting to gain control in this area, what other areas of her life is she feeling helpless in? If you can help her to feel more secure about the other areas of her life, the eating battle may subside.

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