Whether a family member comments on the amount your kids eat, what they eat or how they eat it can really grate on your nerves – and rightly so!
You are the parent and as such get to decide how and what your child eats. So when your mother, sister or friends starts commenting on how they shouldn’t be allowed to eat so much sugar, or they need to finish off their lunch before they have their dessert ‘treat’ it is your job to protect your child from these negative comments and continue to foster their relationship with food.
There are two things you can do:
– Ignore them
This can be both easier and harder to do at times, because you are letting them get away with the judgement. But you also aren’t having to confront or correct their actions which can sometime be a little uncomfortable. If this is the route you choose you go down – that is completely understandable – and one comment by a grandparent about your kids eating choices isn’t going to derail their relationship with food, but it is always a good idea to address it with your kids later and tell them that all foods are allowed – especially important the older your child gets!
– Confront them
When they say something you disagree with you have every right to say so and nicely tell them or educate them how you talk about foods and what we eat to your kids. The benefit of this, is that it might prevent the judgemental comments in the future! Do it in a nice way, it is rare that a family member would realise the weight of their words, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an affect.
Some example on what to say when a family member says:
– THEM: You shouldn’t feed them so much sugar, its so bad for them
YOU: “we don’t talk about foods as good vs bad. It’s Christmas so they are going to eat more sugar that usual and that is completely fine with us!’
– THEM: Geez he is eating so much/so little
YOU: “He is eating how much he needs.”
– THEM: You can’t have that cookie until after you’ve finished all your lunch
YOU: “Yes she can have the cookie, she doesn’t need to earn her sweets’
– THEM: They didn’t eat any of their veggies, and now you are giving them dessert – they hardly deserve it
YOU: “That’s ok, he is still learning to like these veggies and he did a good job engaging with him, besides he never needs to ‘earn foods’ through actions’
– THEM: Give them the cookie, we are all allowed a little treat every now and then
YOU: “please don’t make a big deal about the cookie being a treat, we like to look at all foods as equal and allowed in our family!”
Hope this helps some of those tricky conversations with family members on Christmas day!