Food is essential to our survival. It’s comforting. It’s a social activity. It’s fuel for our brains and bodies. Food is an important part of our daily lives.
However, for some of our children, food was scarce. Food was something you got if you were “good.” Food was something you had to steal. Food was withheld. Food was something you had to hide away for fear that it would be taken from you. There were no routines. There were no family meals. They were no table manners. Some of our littlest ones weren’t fed on demand as newborns but had to wait for unpredictable patterns of care.
Many of our children did not experience food within the context of a loving, nurturing, predictable family. And because of this, they have developed beliefs and behaviors around food that are less than ideal.
Hoarding. Stealing. Lying. Eating non-edible items (see information online about pica). Overeating to the point of getting sick. Obsessions and compulsions around the idea of food. Being extremely picky.
If this is part of your child’s story, then family routines and rituals around food might have become stressful for you. Control battles around food might be raging in your home, or your relationship with your child might be stressed due to sneaky behaviors.
Here’s some good news: By providing regular healthy access to food, sharing control with your child in safe ways, and creating overall felt-safety in your home, these food insecurities can diminish for your child. Start by observing your child and how they interact with food and mealtimes. Keep a journal about what you observe and look for trends and patterns. Children are predictable and you’ll likely begin to recognize triggers and realize areas of their daily life where you can intervene to help them.
Check out these tips to get started!