Big and little devils

I've noticed a universal trend: All parents force their kids to eat vegetables.

I should say "try" to force. Kids are notoriously resistant to force, and will sneak, fight, or throw a fit to avoid it, like the cake story from hyperbole and a half.

I have seen this disturbing trend (even among awesome parents that Kathy and I admire and try to emulate) often enough to realize something was wonky. Then Elder Bednar spoke at stake conference a couple weeks ago, and his wife told a story about, you guessed it, forcing her kids to eat vegetables (It goes all the way to the top!). The prophet had come to eat at their house, and, it turned out, he didn't eat his vegetables either.
if you can name the game this picture came from, we can be friends
This reminded me of an article I read in college by Melinda Sothern, Ph.D. Here's her ten steps to getting your children to eat healthy. My favorite are:

1. Don't restrict food.
3. Don't label foods "good" and "bad."
5. Don't nag.
6. Don't use food as a reward or punishment.
7. Eat family dinner.
9. Give your kids some control.

We may think our kids are little devils for disobeying us. But when we use force to compel people, even children, to do as we want, then we use Satan's tactics. And really, his tactics suck. So when your kids disobey your sucky tactics, they're really acting like little angels, or, more appropriately, warrior-angels who wield the sword of whining and throwing-fits to fight their demon-possessed parents.

Next time at dinner, when you feel like you're fighting a battle with your children, you are, and it began in heaven.

If you want to win the battle, use God's tactics. Allow your children to choose, have healthy foods available, and your children will develop a healthy relationship towards food.


janel said...

Uh, how did we not notice we were in the same stake as you? Did you notice Mark playing the organ for the Elder Bednar conference? That was a great meeting. Hope to see you guys soon!

C-|-W said...

There were a lot of people there. We didn't even see people from our own ward. People probably even snuck in from other wards to get their GA fix.

Nicholas West said...

How about "don't feed your kids a pure junk-food/processed food diet?" Then they learn to love fruit and veggies naturally.

Nicholas West said...

And, SMB2 of course!

Bryson and Tara said...

Thanks for your words of wisdom, Christopher. And for the article. I will definitely check that out. Meal times are definitely the most stressful times for us...and I realize that I'm guilty of doing almost all of the things you mentioned parents shouldn't do... Yikes. I'll have to work on that!

Heather said...

I love this!