Avoiding power struggles around food

Watch Video: Avoiding power struggles around food by Julie Wright, MFT, ...
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Avoiding power struggles around food

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Power struggles around food are incredibly common, and the reason for this is that, when parents try to get their kids to eat and urge them and cajole them and praise them when they do eat, the paradox is they get the exact opposite of what they're trying to get. What parents want is a child who eats a healthy array of foods, and who eats well, and, I also think parents would really like to have a child who has what I call an internal monitor. They eat when they're hungry, they stop when they're full, but we get in the way of this by all of our emotional interacting with them around food. The incredible key to avoiding power struggles is to take your emotion out of it. And what this means is: no praising, no urging, no cajoling, no showing disappointment when they don't eat. What you do, is you offer them healthy food and they either eat it or they don't. That part of it's completely up to them. The other things that you can do that really help children to enjoy eating and to eat in a much more natural way is to eat with them, make eating social. Understand that when children are offered a new food they might need to try it up to 15, maybe even 20 times , or be exposed to it before they'll even try it. Don't label a food as something that they hate just because they haven't tried it yet. Children know that eating is something that they have power over. They can close their mouth and they can turn away, and they quickly discover as they get to be around two or three that they can do this. So, by keeping your emotions out of it and letting them eat when they're hungry, you avoid all of those power struggles over food and it really works.

Watch Video: Avoiding power struggles around food by Julie Wright, MFT, ...

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Julie Wright, MFT

Psychotherapist & Author

Julie Wright, MFT is a marriage and family therapist with an extensive background in infant mental health and early childhood development.  She trained at Cedars Sinai Early Childhood Center and co-developed a program for parents and babies from 0-3 at LA Child Guidance Clinic. Julie specializes in mindful parenting, sleep issues and attachment theory.  She also works in private practice with infants, children, parents and adults.  Julie lives in Los Angeles with her son and often visits family on the east coast.

Julie has written the book, "The Happy Sleeper," Penguin 2014 with her colleague, Heather Turgeon, MFT. The Happy Sleeper gives the topic of baby sleep a fresh perspective. Their approach moves beyond old school ideas like “sleep training”—it’s grounded in research and shaped by new thinking. The Happy Sleeper gives you a clear, easy-to-follow system for transferring the role of independent sleep to your capable child, as they have done for thousands of families in their clinical practice.

More Parenting Videos from Julie Wright, MFT >
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