Support Groups - Do you think that telling a child to eat all their food is bad for them?




Bigkitty
01-18-2012, 02:21 PM
I was told this as a child, I think that's why I eat so much. I ate everything that was on my plate regardless of whether I was hungry or not because I was told to and over time I just got used to the amount.
I think it was made worse for me because my Dad and Mum ate large portions (being quite overweight themselves) and probably didn't know what was suitable so I was eating more or less adult portions as a child.
Even now I feel guilty if I leave food, I just think it's a waste.


berryblondeboys
01-18-2012, 02:36 PM
This one is really tough.

I have two sons. One is 15 and is very thin. He is naturally thin, but he also takes a ADHD medicine which is an appetite suppressant. So, we have to push him to eat during the week when he's not as hungry (at his doctor's insistence). We don't have to do that during weekends when he's off the drug.

My younger son is high functioning autistic. He doesn't want to try new foods and will stick with the same old stuff every meal, so we have to try tonpushnthe new foods which sometimes means asking him to eat more than he would if he had control.

With that said though, we watch. If my older son isn't encouraged to eat more healthy food at dinner, 30-45 minutes latere he's grabbing a less nutritious snack because he's hungry. Same with the younger one. If they get hungry a couple hours later and their weight seems stable, then our amount of pushing is probably right. If they don't seem to get hungry and we see weight gain, then we arer pushing too much food.

Honestly, I think you are darned if you do and darned if you don't as a parent. I think the most important thing a parent can do, above all else is to offe your child, from the beginning, healthy, nutritious foods so they develope a taste for it and prefer it over crap. But other than that.... Who knows what is best.

MariaMaria
01-18-2012, 02:52 PM
I think that's why I eat so much.

You know, your parents did their best.

Part of being a grown-up is accepting that your parents were flawed, and moving on.

You eat too much because you eat too much, not because It's All Mommy's Fault.


Bigkitty
01-18-2012, 03:10 PM
I know, my Mum tried she always gave us veg but I'm just saying what I was taught as a child may have effected my weight. I'm trying smaller portion sizes now too so I'm full when I finish a meal rather than half way through. I find it helps because I've eaten everything on my plate but I didn't over eat.

Glory87
01-18-2012, 03:15 PM
When you grow up with a mentality that you're done eating when your plate is empty, it IS tough to get past the "clean plate club."

I have struggled with this myself, I only put on my plate what I intend to eat and I practice leaving a few bites occasionally. I can see how using smaller plates would also be helpful.

Like any other habit, it can be broken. Now that you SEE the problem, work on fixing it!

ICUwishing
01-18-2012, 03:32 PM
DH and I both grew up in households where the dinner was over when the plate was clean. Fortunately, DS12 is a healthy, experimental eater, so we can safely let him decide how much he wants to eat. The biggest adjustment is making sure he doesn't serve himself more than he will eat ... because Mom or Dad have strong tendencies to clean the plate for him while we're dealing with the dishes afterward! I really, really do not want him forcing himself to eat more than he needs - that habit caused me a lot of grief. Caveat: it would have been a different story if he were a picky eater or of abnormal weight. I am extremely fortunate!

bargoo
01-18-2012, 03:34 PM
Kitty, my mom was like that, there was no argument allowed, we had to eat everything on our plate. It has only been in about the last 3-4 years that I allow myself to leave something on my plate or throw something out.
I don't agree with Maria,what we are taught as children stays with us Even when we are all grown up we remember what Mommy said.

cheering4u
01-18-2012, 03:43 PM
I think it's all relative. Like, my cousin's a fairly stocky girl, at eleven, and my uncle always got after her for not eating everything on her plate. The thing is, from age five and up, she's been given adult sized portions. In comparison, there's me, who never had anyone to show her when to stop, and my sister, who at eleven, is still being given toddler portions by her father, and she's like a string bean.

sontaikle
01-18-2012, 03:46 PM
Just as it's important to explore our eating habits, I think it's important to explore why we have these eating habits. A lot of times it boils down to how you were raised.

I too was raised in a house where we were told to clean our plates and forced to eat things we didn't want. I was yelled at for drinking too much water before a meal because that meant I would be full faster. I was yelled at because I ate too slow and was forced to choke down my meals.

Right now I struggle with not cleaning my plate and how fast I eat. I naturally had healthy habits but they were taken out of me by my upbringing. In exploring how I was raised, I've concluded that I probably wouldn't have had a weight issue had my parents just left me the eff alone.

I'm still angry about it, even though I've managed to get down to a healthy weight. There was no reason to FORCE me to eat if I was full. There was no reason to rush me along when I was eating at a perfectly healthy pace. I had to work hard to overcome a lifetime of bad habits, and I'm not sure I'll ever completely forgive my parents. They were good parents, sure, but that was a big mistake that shouldn't have been made, ESPECIALLY when they saw me gaining weight as a child.

I still live at home and I don't let my mom force things on me if I don't want them, which was a hard thing to do and I've only managed to do recently. If I say I have enough of a portion, she's great for putting more on my plate even if I don't want it. Before I probably would have just eaten it to be polite. Now if she does that I throw it back in the pot, plate, etc. She's yelled at me, but I just say "well I said that was enough. You didn't listen." I don't let her serve me any kind of desert, because if I tell her how much (say a sliver of it) she'll give me double. So I get it myself.

It's hard to overcome a lifetime of habits that were taught to you by your parents, but I think it's important to explore them to find out WHY you're the way you are.

mizzie
01-18-2012, 04:58 PM
I don't think it's necessarily bad to tell a child to clean their plate, but if you are going to do that you need to be responsible about what and how much goes on the plate in the first place.

We do often tell our daughter to finish what she has or "take 3 more bites" because we know we are serving her healthy foods in proportions that are reasonable for an 8 year old. She's perfectly healthy, exactly in the middle of the healthy weight range for her age and height. She's also very active and we encourage that also.

If I saw her gaining unhealthy weight though, I would back off. As it is, I know usually she isn't actually full. She's just bored and wants to go play or just doesn't want to eat what we have. We will also often just pop the leftovers in the fridge and when she comes back "starving" in a hour because she didn't eat much dinner, we heat it back up. That way, we didn't force anything AND no waste!

We are actually very lucky, she's a great eater. She actually eats better than I do! Veggies are some of her favorite foods and she'd rather eat brussels sprouts (YUCK!) than pizza.

Bigkitty
01-18-2012, 05:40 PM
I was yelled at because I ate too slow and was forced to choke down my meals.

Me too, I was the youngest and obviously the slowest but they made me eat faster, mainly so every one could leave the table.

PrairieGirl
01-18-2012, 10:07 PM
There are so many damaging things that parents do in terms of healthy and diet. I never knew there was a problem when I was a kid though, I just thought that the world was unfair and I was cursed to be the fat kid. I didn't know anything about healthy eating or activity, because my parents didn't know anything about healthy eating or activity.

My parents are probably tired of my diatribes when I visit them, but I try to share with them what I have learned about eating healthy and being active. My mom has been off and on diets for 30 years, but doesn't take any of my advice to heart. I wish I could show her how life can be when you're not obsessed with food, but she has to make those changes for herself.

It makes me angry that my parents fed my brother and I the way that the did when we were kids. Everything my parents eat is processed, they deep fry a lot of things, meals never include a vegetable (well corn, potatoes, and french fries are vegetables in their books), meals are low in protein, fibre and nutrients, and usually topped off with ice cream. They also serve very small portions, which I know now looking back is the reason I was always hungry. When I visit them now I'm starving if I don't bring my own food with me. I remember as a kid always eating soooo fast because if you were done first you could get the last spoonful of something. It's funny how you end up fat by not eating enough when what you choose to eat is garbage.

Nadya
01-21-2012, 12:42 AM
I think it's bad when their plate has been overloaded and/or contains more junk than healthy food. They should be taught what an appropriate portion size looks like and what is healthiest for them.

My parents never pushed my brother and I to clean our plates. Even still, weight is an issue in my family anyways due to lack of activity and eating all the wrong foods at all the wrong times in all the wrong ways. =/

sontaikle
01-21-2012, 06:59 AM
It makes me angry that my parents fed my brother and I the way that the did when we were kids. Everything my parents eat is processed, they deep fry a lot of things, meals never include a vegetable (well corn, potatoes, and french fries are vegetables in their books), meals are low in protein, fibre and nutrients, and usually topped off with ice cream. They also serve very small portions, which I know now looking back is the reason I was always hungry. When I visit them now I'm starving if I don't bring my own food with me. I remember as a kid always eating soooo fast because if you were done first you could get the last spoonful of something. It's funny how you end up fat by not eating enough when what you choose to eat is garbage.

My fiance doesn't have a weight problem, but this sounds like his house. Everything is processed and I avoid eating a meal from his house as much as possible. I grew up in a house where we had fresh things all the time, so I just can't stomach a lot of processed things

Also, one side of my family is of Italian descent. My fiance's mother uses store-bought sauce. Those of you who who are Italian know why I just can't eat things made with that sauce ;) (I can't even stand the SMELL)

My fianceóbecause of meóis now angry at his parents for not buying REAL food. He's been introduced to just how good and healthy unprocessed food is and he rants that he can't get a freaking apple in his house because his parents don't have any. If he buys stuff, someone else eats it. It's frustrating for him...but at least I know that when we get married he won't want processed stuff in our house.

saggzz
01-21-2012, 08:55 AM
I have 2 children ages 9 and 7. I have never made/told my children that they must eat everything on their plate. Both of my children are currently in the
50th percentile for weight. My parents always encouraged me to eat everything and let me have seconds of whatever I wanted and I have spent my whole life being overweight. I serve my children healthy meals and let them have occasional treats. My children are mostly water drinkers and can have a sprite here or there when at bday parties or out to dinner. I think it's important to teach kids to listen to their body cues. When your belly feels almost full then you are done. You do not have to eat everything on your plate. If my kids get hungry before bedtime they know they can grab a yogurt or some fruit. My kids are a normal weight. When I take them to school I am amazed at how many kids are overweight. My best friend encourages her kids to eat everything on their plates. 2 out of her 3 kids are overweight. For my kids, I prefer for them to listen to their body cues and if they need to eat 4-5 mini meals a day, that's ok with me.

Telorida
01-21-2012, 08:59 AM
You know, your parents did their best.

Part of being a grown-up is accepting that your parents were flawed, and moving on.

You eat too much because you eat too much, not because It's All Mommy's Fault.

I vehemently don't agree with this. I think it's patronizing, borderline insulting, and it doesn't recognize that some people had a different upbringing than you. Some parents did NOT do their best, and part of understanding our flaws is understanding where they came from and learning tools to move past it. Some tools include talking it out, and resolving not to repeat mistakes. I experienced the same thing sontaikle did:


I too was raised in a house where we were told to clean our plates and forced to eat things we didn't want. ... I was yelled at because I ate too slow and was forced to choke down my meals.

[...]

I'm still angry about it [...]

I experienced the same thing. If I didn't clean my plate in a certain amount of time, I got "the belt". This is just one more chapter in an abusive upbringing. It's not like I was underweight and finicky... I remember being fat from as young as 5. I was full to the point of gagging and heaving and still forced to clean my plate, which was loaded up with adult-sized portions.

I have NO CONCEPT of "just enough food to be satisfied" as a result. I'm trying to learn it now, but it's difficult.




If your physician says you need to feed your child more in order to keep them healthy, ask them how much, and ask them for tactics that won't create an unhealthy relationship with food. Yes, it's a fine line to walk where you can feel damned if you do, and damned if you don't. I think being aware enough to ask the question puts you way ahead of the game.

zenor77
01-21-2012, 09:56 AM
I do think our childhoods contribute to food behaviors. Yes, most of our parents tried their best. In my case this was true. No one is perfect though.

We were always told to clean our plates. For the starving kids in... (insert current famine area.) We were also told to not take more than we could eat, which was a hard concept to grasp as a child. I think the most damaging thing, for me, was how much my father over ate. He would eat 3-4 large servings, not just seconds. I wanted to be just like Daddy, so I over ate too.

I think it's really important to model the behaviors you want your kids to have.

Nadya
01-21-2012, 07:12 PM
I vehemently don't agree with this. I think it's patronizing, borderline insulting, and it doesn't recognize that some people had a different upbringing than you. Some parents did NOT do their best, and part of understanding our flaws is understanding where they came from and learning tools to move past it. Some tools include talking it out, and resolving not to repeat mistakes.

I agree that the way you were raised has an impact on your behavior as an adult. It makes it harder to develop good habits after you've been taught terrible ones. The only thing I'd add though is that you can't help how you were raised...but you can change how you live your life today. It's just a shame that some parents gave their kids a crappier hand to start the game with. My parents taught my brother and I bad eating habits, my brother being the worst, but I'm trying to break them. I don't think I'll ever make an impact on my family but my brother is a few pounds shy of being considered officially overweight so we'll see what happens. :rolleyes:

MiZTaCCen
01-23-2012, 12:18 PM
How about making smaller plates for them not putting as much food on their plates as you normally would and see how that goes? (or if they're serving themselves mention it to them that they never can finish their meal so instead of grabbing so much take a little at a time and go back for seconds if their still hungry.) I know sometimes you just can't finish a meal because you're that stuffed (thats when I'd say it's a little unfair to demand your child to finish their food off their plates.)...that being said you shouldn't see them getting up for a snack an hour later because they are "hungry" if they claimed they were too full.

aleksandra
01-23-2012, 12:50 PM
exactly! if you put small/normal portions of healthy food, the child can eat it all up.
teaching your child to leave food or throwing it away is very arrogant in my opinion.

Dawnberry
01-24-2012, 02:36 PM
I don't put much on their plate, and I try to get them to eat most. If they don't they will be in the junk 30 min later. They are both normal weight. My other is a toddler so I just try to get him to eat anything LOL. I try to focus on the health part of eating with them, never the fat/weight issue.

astrophe
01-24-2012, 02:39 PM
I tell my kid to eat til she's ok and put the rest in the fridge for later. There. Leftovers aren't wasted and she isn't being overloaded.

A.

krampus
01-24-2012, 03:41 PM
It really depends. I'd say my opinion lies closest to berryblondeboys - push if your kid is in danger of being unhealthily underweight, and let them do what they do otherwise.

On the flipside, I think pointing out that an overweight kid eats too much can be detrimental to their weight. They may start hoarding and binging in secret, which is never good.

AngMac
01-26-2012, 02:35 PM
I am so glad someone started this thread. My aunt tells everyone that I blame her for me being overweight, and she's right. I spent a lot of time staying with my aunt and grandmother when I was younger. My mother worked a lot. I was forced to er everything on my plate. The bad part about it was she let me fix my own plate then would tell me if I was gonna put it in my plate I had to eat it. I was a child! Why couldn't she fix my plate with what she thought was a normal amount of food and then scold me if I didn't eat it? Anyway, I have struggled with weight my whole life. She says it's hereditary. Just because they always over ate doesn't mean I had to!

mammasita
01-26-2012, 03:24 PM
Without having read all of the previous posts, I do think that telling a child to finish their plate is bad.

I come from a family where it was common to polish off the entire plate and then have all the fixins at the table to get more. It was buffet style every day (and man the food was good - ok lemme stop LOL).

Children have the inherent ability to know when they are and are not hungry. We all do. Environmental factors change that as we get older, i.e. being forced to eat everything on the plate regardless of hunger level, not developing healthy coping mechanisms.....

I honestly feel that if we are left alone as kids (i.e. eat until we are no longer hungry), we wouldn't struggle with over-eating or feeding emotions when we grow up.

ValRock
01-26-2012, 03:30 PM
I have two children. They are 7 and 4. They are both naturally active and thin. My only rule is that they try everything on their plate. I think making a child clean their plate sets them up for a life of needing to feel "full". Children are pretty good at regulating their hunger. Mine eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full. I don't want them to lose the ability to feel that. Sometimes they want seconds. Sometimes they barely eat at all. It's all fine. :) Barring a serious medical condition, a child will not starve himself!

jendiet
01-27-2012, 12:19 AM
I actually was talking about this today. Whereas, I don't think there is anything wrong with a parent encouraging a finicky child to eat, I don't think a child should be forced to eat if genuinely not hungry/not malnourished. My son pulls the "i'm not hungry" card quite often. When he does this, since he is a teenager, I tell him I don't care if you don't eat the sides, but you will eat some protein. I also don't make him "clean his plate". I could not get up from the table when I was a little girl UNTIL all of my food was gone. I hated it and used to sit at the table for HOURS after everybody was done. In the end I just found clever ways of discarding the offending foods (in my pants--on a trip to the bathroom). So I don't think that is a good policy in all, and it made me feel very secluded from my family who would move on to watch movies in the living room together.I felt like it was their way of punishing me for being different/stubborn.