My three year old loves sugar! Cookies, candy, ice cream. If it’s sweet, she wants it. This leads to predictable tantrums: “…But I NEEEED something SWEEEEET!” Of course, for her health and our sanity, my husband and I can’t feed her only sugar, and we’ve developed various strategies (some more effective than others) to talk our girl into eating and enjoying a more diverse diet.
One strategy we’ve never considered trying, not even once: Shaming. Never even crosses our minds. Can you imagine saying to a three year old: “I can’t believe you ate that cookie when you know they’re bad for you. Now you’re going to end up fat and unhealthy… What a slob!”
Saying this to a three year old sounds awful, right? What kind of monster would treat their child that way? So my question is: do you talk to yourself that way? Is it effective for bringing about desired change or does it just lead to guilt, shame, and self loathing?
I’m not talking here about what you should and should not eat. We’ll cover that in future posts, and you probably already know much about the subject. The real work for many of us is to develop a healthy and caring relationship with food, so we can feel truly nourished. One of the most important aspects of this relationship is how we talk to ourselves about food. As with most things in life, it’s best done with a whole lot of love.