We’ve all been there and gotten advice from some well meaning friend or relative who was concerned about our picky eater… So– How can you deal with those backhanded comments about how your child eats?
Remember to focus on the big picture: you want to help your kids feel safe exploring food without any outside pressure (which could potentially impact their relationship with food negatively.)
So when unsolicited comments or well meaning “advisors” question you or your kids about their eating habits, don’t be afraid to interject.
My go to comeback has been to politely share how my child is learning to eat. For example, if someone says “Try this, it’s so good for you!” or “Doesn’t he need to eat more, he hardly touched his food!”…try responding with something along the lines of: “Thank you for your concern. He’s doing just fine learning to eat on his own terms.” Or, “She’s enjoying learning about what foods feel best in her body. Do you know what else she’s enjoying now, too?” And then change the subject. Or talk about other things your child is interested in that aren’t food related. By supporting your kids in this way, you’re also protecting safe spaces for them to learn about food on their terms.
Another idea is to flip the script – When you find yourself telling friends and family, “My child is a picky eater” train yourself to use hopeful language instead: “My child is learning to love new things.” Instead of “He doesn’t like it,” say, “He hasn’t had it enough times.” Using positive statements helps validate your child’s feelings in your mind while recognizing that their opinions towards specific foods can change and help those worried family and friends stop meddling because you are handling it.
You’re the mom. And just like when the kids were babies and you had sooooo many people giving you unsolicited advice…when it comes to your child’s eating habits you can do a lot by not allowing those well meaning comments.
Here at the picky eater project we’re always looking for ways for you to feel good about your parenting and not feeling overwhelmed. You got this!