As a parent, it is natural for you to remain concerned about your kid’s diet and ensure that he or she eats healthy. But raising a healthy eater can be a challenging task in itself. It goes without saying that feeding is one of the most tiring and thankless responsibilities of parenthood. However, what you may not be aware of is that your feeding style can determine your baby’s relationship with food and impact his or her health. It is interesting to note that out of the four known feeding styles, only one can influence your baby’s physical and emotional health in a positive way. Read on to know if you are following the right parental feeding style for your kid.
This is a controlling or parent-centric feeding style in which a parent tends to direct the eating behaviour of the child. The parent may insist the child clean the plate or take a few extra bites or even restrict access to non-nutritious food. In other words, the kid may not exercise his or her choice or control about food. As a result, the child may not be able to regulate his or her appetite well. Also, he or she may overeat or eat less than the requirement when under too much pressure. Consequently, the child may suffer from overweight or underweight issues.
In this feeding style, the parent exerts few restrictions on the child as far as food is concerned. The parent may start with a ‘no’ for a certain request for food by the child but eventually gives in to the child’s demands. The downside of this feeding style is that the child finds it tough to exercise control over his or her intake of food, especially indulgent items like non-nutritious snacks and sweets. With few restrictions on the intake of food, this feeding style increases the risk of weight gain.
As the name indicates, the parent is neglectful about feeding the child. Such a parent may not shop for food or plan meals on time. When a child experiences this neglect, he or she may become insecure about food. If the child isn’t sure when the next meal will be served or whether it will be enough to satiate hunger, he or she may concentrate more on food. This may pave the way for overeating and weight gain.
This feeding style encourages self-regulation and independent thinking in the child. At the same time, it lays the boundaries within which the child may operate. As such, it is also known as the ‘Love with Limits’ feeding style. In this style, the parent decides what, when, and where to serve. But the parent allows the child to decide how much or how little he or she will eat. This enables the child to understand his or her appetite and determine when it’s time to stop eating. A child raised in this feeding style feels secure about food and forms a healthy relationship around eating.
The authoritative feeding style delivers the most positive outcome. As such, it will be in the best interest of your child if you adopt this feeding style.