I’ve tried all sorts of approaches to get my children to eat the things they don’t like. From the classic tricks like mixing it in with their food in a finely chopped manner, to more complicated things like promising them rewards if they ate this or that. But in the end, I’ve found that those tricks are just that – tricks. They may work here and there, but they don’t solve the fundamental underlying problem.
Which is that my kids have simply decided that they don’t want to eat their broccoli and eggplants, and that’s the end of it. Or at least I thought so, until I read some opinions by other parents who were claiming to have had great results by simply being more honest and open with their kids about their situation, and the way they should be eating.
I’ve decided to try that for myself. My older boy has strong aspirations to be an athlete when he grows up – he’s taken a liking to watching various sports on the TV, and while he hasn’t made up his mind about what sport interests him the most, we’re pretty certain that this is the direction he wants to go in.
However, I asked him how he imagined his body would look like in five or ten years. He confidently pointed to a poster of a sports team on the wall and smiled, explaining that this is how he saw himself. I shook my head and told him that he was wrong. Oh, so very wrong. He didn’t seem to believe me at first, but quickly warmed up to the idea when I explained some basic details of how the body works and what kinds of foods it needs.
My younger boy, he’s never shown any interest in sports or that sort of thing. But he’s always looked up to his brother as a role model, and he was clearly interested in what I was explaining to him as well. And from that moment, the two had a change in attitude in the way they approached their food. They realized it’s not just about the pleasure of eating, but also about building a healthy future for yourself.
Which somewhat surprised me, because I honestly didn’t expect them to understand that at such a young age. Yet here we are, and I’m grateful that I took the time to try a different approach.