Kids are a constant source of learning aren’t they?? I was thinking about a lesson I learned from my youngest a couple weeks ago and then realized that I have a lot of things I have learned from the kids- all of the kids I have been around, not just mine.
These kids keep us on our toes that’s for sure. I thought I would just post a couple of related lessons on the blog today.
In my house, I have tried not battling my kids over foods. I have forgotten that one every once in a while and started to worry and fuss about it and have always ended up letting it go. For example, I had one toddler who would not eat his vegetables. Ever. He wouldn’t even eat them mixed with anything. So I started to force it. He fought back. It became a food battle. I demanded he eat them. I tried spoon feeding them to him. I tried forcing them into his mouth. I tried getting firm with him about them. Finally, I realized what I was doing and stepped back. I thought, what am I doing here?? This isn’t working at all! Why am I doing this when in the bigger picture, he is eating mostly healthy good foods.
Now- that didn’t mean I quit feeding him vegetables. That meant I refused to let it become a battle. I put them on his plate and encouraged him to try them. Eventually, without a battle and over time, he did try them.
I realized that my focus was on what he was NOT doing not on what he WAS doing. He was eating good foods generally. He was just choosing to not eating SOME vegetables. Why was I fighting that? Did I need to cause this to be a battle??
Here is the lesson: Food fights are not worth the battle. Yes, I do have some absolutes that are not a battle. They include you must try one bite of a new food and you must sit at the table with the rest of us. Now, with a toddler, we do what we can and don’t make a big deal about the rest. The last absolute is this; I have never allowed anyone to only eat one food in my house. That is just not healthy. If you like something, fine, but you cannot eat it exclusively. Balance is the key here.
2. The biggest lesson I have learned and continue to learn: what I focus on becomes the problem! When I focused on his not wanting to eat the vegetables it became a fight. It became an emotional battle of wills. What I focus on in the negative becomes a bigger problem than it really is!
Take potty training. Its a classic example in my mind. Think about this- ultimately they are the ones in control of their potty habits. Some kids choose to not pee on the potty and it becomes a fight with Mom or Dad. Same with poop. Its Mom and Dad’s will against the child.
Mom and Dad focus on child’s lack of peeing on the potty. They want him to pee on the potty. Child doesn’t want to. He takes time out of his busy schedule to go sit on the potty chair when he just wants to continue playing. He has no interest in leaving the comfort of peeing in a diaper and being able to continue in his play uninterrupted. Parent says yes child says no. It can become a battle.
Parent decides child doesn’t want to ever become potty trained and takes charge and demands that it is time right now and you must learn to pee on the potty. Child says no I don’t want to learn to pee on the potty right now I want to play in my own filth for a while longer I see no problem with this it has gone on for quite a while now and I am quite ok with this arrangement. You can change me when I find it more convenient.
Parents.. Here is my philosophy on potty training; they won’t go to kindergarten not potty trained.
I will talk more about how I have done potty training in the future, but for now, I just want to use this example about focusing on the problem.
What you are focused on becomes a much bigger problem than it really is. Potty training and food fights are not big problems. They are minor issues really. Keep them minor issues. Think about all the things we battle with our kids about, what can we set aside and turn it into a lifelong lesson? Does it really need to be an area of contention? Now I am not at all saying let them along and let them do whatever they want to do! NOOOOOOO WAAAYYY!!!!
Here is what I am saying: give them choices that you are ok with. Would you like apple slices or carrots? I want you to try 1 bite of this new food and then you can have the food at the dinner table I know you like. Its not a battle ground. Don’t make it one!
Blessings on your meal tables!!