WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?
The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a number of possible underlying causes or issues going on.
In no particular order, here are just a few that are common to encounter:
>>> ‘Supertasters’ – these children have extra sensitive taste receptors and so they experience food in a very intense way.
>>> Emotional issues – stored up, unexpressed feelings from difficult experiences in the past that have become projected onto particular food or smells
>>> Cautious or highly sensitive temperament – these children may take even longer than the suggested typical number of exposures to new food before they even contemplate tasting it
>>> Extreme food aversions and fear of food that are due to underlying medical/neurological issues
>>> Resistance – to being over-controlled or coerced into following a strict routine or regime that does not suit their internal rhythm and needs.
>>> Indifference to food, tastes, and eating – these children appear to be pretty unbothered about all types of food.
So just from this short list you can see that it’s really not about ‘solving’ one specific problem, nor are these issues necessarily easily addressed simply by things like ‘increasing connection’ or ‘introducing a strict schedule’. In fact, I have spoken to lots of Mamas who feel quite despairing after trying to implement this kind of advice and find it doesn’t seem to make much difference.
Which is why it’s very important to me to really dive deep into all aspects of the child and their environment and experiences when I first start to work with a family.
And when suggesting changes, I find practical implications very important to bear in mind too. For example, one popular suggestion for easing mealtime stress is to spend at least 10 minutes of one-to-one time with your child before each meal.
Yes, sounds good theoretically, I know that strengthening connection in this way is often amazingly beneficial. But in reality?? This is seriously supposed to be possible??
What if you are by yourself, trying to also MAKE dinner, and happen to also have more than one child? If you can do this, I take my hat off to you, you truly are a supermum. But please be reassured I will NEVER suggest things like this to you – I’m here to HELP you, not ADD to your to-do-list and stress levels!!
HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR
I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.
I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.
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