My wife and I used to tell our kids that they had to eat what was on their plates because they were in training to be good guests in other people’s homes. The only exception to that, of course, is when the child has a food allergy, in which case the host should be informed in advance.
“I don’t like it” was not an acceptable excuse at our table. We told our kids that they could eat what they chose when they were old enough to prepare their own meals. Before they had turned double-digits, they were eating sushi.
It is not “forcing” to use your son’s fondness for fruit as incentive to eat what you serve as his main meal. It’s obviously time to tell him about the Universal, Intergalactic Rule of Fruit: Fruit is what we eat when we’ve finished what’s on our plate.
Or, as Pink Floyd put it, “If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding!” (If you’re familiar with the song “Another Brick in the Wall,” you know that’s as far as the analogy extends.)
Next week, I will lay out my fail-safe, money-back guaranteed formula for getting kids to eat everything on their plates. Stay tuned.
Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parent questions at johnrosemond.com and parentguru.com.
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