Nutrition Arguments All Parents Have
When you and your partner have kids, you’ll face a lot of decisions like whether or not to buy them the designer clothes so they can fit in at school or the generic clothes since they’ll just grow out of them. You’ll argue over bedtimes, which kids the child can hang out with and what school to send him to. A lot of these issues can be resolved in one discussion (if not a few, maximum) but there is one topic that will bring up constant arguments and choices, several times a day, every day, and that’s your child’s nutrition. Every time you sit down for a meal or your child asks for a snack, you and your partner need to have some discussion about food. Childhood is when someone develops some of the eating habits they’ll have for life, so naturally, food can be a tricky subject. Here are nutrition and meal arguments all parents have.
Monitoring what they eat at a friend’s house
Your kid will want to eat at his friends’ homes sometimes. You may want to ask those friends’ parents what they serve. You work hard to keep your child eating healthy, and you don’t want that spoiled by another family who serves their kids fast food three times a week. Your partner, however, may think it’s rude, embarrassing and ungrateful of you to try to monitor the free meal another parent is giving your child.
Keeping treats in the house
In an attempt to prevent sugar addiction, you may have a no-treats in the house rule. You want your child to associate things like candy and ice cream with special occasions, rather than regular grocery items, so you don’t want those things in the home. Meanwhile, your partner might think this stance is too strict and try to sneak these items into the pantry.
The school-served lunch
The school-served lunch at your child’s school may be quite popular. In fact, if he brings his own bagged lunch, he could be the only one. Maybe you want him to bring a bagged lunch because it’s more nutritious than what the school serves, but your partner might not want your child to feel embarrassed or left out.
Using treats as rewards
In an attempt to create a balanced and healthy relationship between your child and food, you may never want food to be a part of rewards in your home. In other words, you don’t want your partner promising your kids candy if they do their homework or ice cream if they go to bed on time. This could cause long-term binge-eating issues. But, your partner may just be out of ideas when it comes to disciplining your kids without food.
Sitting at the table until the veggies are gone
Maybe you grew up in a home where you didn’t get to leave the table until you’d eaten all of your vegetables. You didn’t love it, but it did work and you developed a taste for vegetables. In your partner’s eyes, this tactic could be too harsh.
Indulging picky eating
What do you do if you’re dealt a picky eater? You don’t want your child to starve, but you also don’t want to give into his tantrums when he begs and screams for chicken nuggets. Your partner may say you should just give in, and that the child will appreciate different foods later in life. You may insist that if the child just sees he has no choice but to eat the healthier items, he’ll come around.
Following the parent’s habits
So you and your partner are vegetarians; does that mean your child should be, too? Or, should he come to that decision on his own, since vegetarianism is a serious commitment and about much more than simple food preferences? You and your partner could bump heads on this issue.
Feeding each kid their own dish
If you have two children, it’s very uncommon that they’ll want the same food at the same time (unless that food is macaroni and cheese). It doesn’t take you a whole lot of effort to make spaghetti and meatballs for one and fish sticks for the other, but on principle, your partner says the kids should be forced to eat whatever you’re making.
Technology at the table
While one parent might say there should be absolutely no cell phones, tablets or laptops at the table because they take away from bonding time, the other might believe it’s better they’re on their phones, at the table, than not at the table at all. Or worse, at the table and throwing tantrums.
Eating together as a family
Schedules can get chaotic starting at a young age. Before your children hit middle school they could be juggling three after school activities. Do you insist that the family eats together, even if it compromises one child’s bedtime or cuts into homework time for the other? Or do you accept that everyone will eat at different times?
Letting grandparents spoil them
Grandparents can’t resist their grandkids and they always want to spoil them. While your partner might take a hard stance against the grandparents constantly bringing the grandkids treats or taking the grandkids out for pizza, you might think it’s just important that your kids adore their grandparents and look forward to seeing them.
The good cop/bad cop chef
Each parent wants the chance to make a food the kids are excited about from time to time, but you may not get to if your parent always steals the day and makes the hot dogs/mac and cheese/pizza. You can easily argue about which parent always gets stuck making the healthy stuff.
Graduating from the children’s menu
Some parents make their kids stop eating off the children’s menu at a certain age, while others think kids should only graduate from that menu when they feel ready. The server at the restaurant may be at a loss for what to do when you tell him to get the kid’s menu and your partner tells him to get the regular menu. Don’t put this on the poor server.
Talking about fat and calories
Childhood diabetes and obesity are real issues in America, but do you want your innocent, happy child to worry about things like fat and calories? Neglecting to talk about these things could let him have a happy childhood, but talking about these things could encourage him to develop healthy habits.
Using food as a punishment
Just as you may not want your partner using food as a reward, you may also not want him using it as a punishment. So, for example, you may not want your partner threatening to take candy away from the kids if they don’t do what they’re told. This, too, can lead to an emotionally unhealthy relationship with food later in life.