Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
For me? I think it's wrong because it teaches children that they can't really know when to be done eating, and that they must rely on someone else to decide for them. Instead of them recognizing and understanding that feeling of "Okay, I've had enough and do not want to eat this anymore." ... It's just not kind, or useful IMO and can come back to bite someone in the booty later... Food issues last a long time. It's just my opinion though, and I understand other people do what they feel is best.
Ok, this is a reasonable point and I can see that you might not want to create food issues (or launch into a parenting debate on this thread). I stand by my decision to encourage her to eat because in our situation (I'll elaborate in a second) it really needs to be done.
DD is four, very tall for her age and barely 36lbs. She has no body fat at all and has a very very very fast metabolism. If given a choice, she would subsist on milk, orange juice and gold fish crackers, peanut butter and bananas. If encouraged (and by this I mean sometimes directed by her father and I) to try to eat other things that appear on her plate (brown rice, protein sources other than peanut butter, and veggies). She will eat them happily but would rather run and play than eat most of the time and she is sometimes a bit choosy. At different times we have left her alone (stopped encouraging eating) for prolonged periods and it has often resulted in her behaviour being significantly affected (she eats 'just' enough to feel hungry and then 10 minutes later is begging for more and/or her behaviour becomes really outlandish the next morning because she didn't have enough dinner and her blood sugar gets all out of wack. And we've also seen her become more susceptible to being cold and tired and run down if we don't attempt to regulate her food intake. She needs to eat properly in order to be healthy and happy. For some children this isn't an issue, our son could eat four course meals or nothing and you would seen NONE of the behaviour and health related issues that we see in his sister.
In that case I would just make sure there was a plate of food/snack available for her as she needs and/or wants it. I would just say "Okay, well lets stick the rest of your lunch in a container in the fridge and you can help yourself to it later if you want it." Or "If you are done for now let's just leave the crackers and oranges on the table for a bit in case you get hungry again." Heck at 29 I am not always terrific at approximating how much of something I need either This way the child is still in control of when she is eating and when she is full, but the food remains available.
Yes, I can again see your point. At lunch I am very flexible about her intake, but when she is having dinner (at 530, before going to bed for 12 hours at 7pm) I don't feel that I can let her away with two bites and then work on snacks to fill her up. Again related to the sort of blood sugar sensitivity that I noted above. if she eats very little for supper and goes 14 hours until she eats again, the behaviour repercussions are HUGE. And for us, I think that my encouraging her to eat more at supper is far less damaging than everyone having to deal with a 7:15 a.m. super melt down over nothing (which is what happens. without. fail. Its nasty)
Again for me, because it's not helpful. If my child is having a problem we discuss it without the label. "I noticed you seem to be angry/upset/frustrated. Is that why you threw the book? Would you like to talk about it? Sometimes I feel like throwing things too." etc.
I'm not knocking myself down, I'm a good parent, but I just sometimes think that a debate about the 'why' of the behaviour does not always work out for our schedules.