There is no shortage of information out there on how to deal with picky eaters, but what I want to know is
Why do picky eaters even exist?
Are picky kids born or raised?
And here’s something else I wonder: Do kids all around the world complain about the color of their plate or that they didn’t get a certain colored cup?
I understand as kids grow into independent adults, they need to challenge and test limits, but must it be through complaining about food?
When so many go hungry in our world, hearing my children complain about a home-cooked meal deeply saddens me. And hearing them fuss about a cloth napkin pattern or fork downright annoys me.
The fact that my kids are cute great kitchen helpers and happily eat a good variety of vegetables doesn’t outweigh those moments when they arrive at the table and the first thing they have to say about a lovely meal is that I cut something the wrong way.
Having four kids only increases the chance of this happening on a frequent enough basis for me to question myself. Where have I gone wrong? How do I fix this? Can I fix this?
I do remember complaining as a kid, but not much. I hated milk, cream of wheat, scrambled eggs, and certain kinds of meat. What I don’t remember is my parents preaching to me about starving children.
That’s what the TV was for because I clearly remember my shows being put on hold by ads requesting donations for the starving children of Africa. I remember the emaciated skeletal bodies of babies, and their swollen but empty bellies. I remember feeling sad and guilty, and processing my life compared to theirs.
Well, my kids don’t have TV. Do these kind of ads still come on? One day, I was so frustrated with their complaints at the table that I turned to youtube. I found those TV ads from my youth and so much more. I made my children watch them with me. And you know what? I cried. I let them see me cry. We saw homeless and hungry families living in very harsh conditions, many in our own country. We, or I, talked about being grateful for all that we have versus complaining about not getting enough maple syrup on a pancake or asking for seconds and then not eating them.
To this day, I’m not sure if that was a good parenting moment or not, but so much of parenting is thinking on the fly, and that’s what I did in that moment.
I can preach all day (believe me), but ultimately, my kids need to see and experience first hand what I mean about feeling thankful for our many blessings and our responsibility to help those in need.
There are few times that I wish we had a TV, but the recent introduction of a poverty-stricken muppet on Sesame Street has my interest piqued. I am going to find a way for my kids to watch this primetime special which comes out on Sunday, October 9 at 6 p.m.EST on PBS. You can watch the trailer for Growing Hope Against Hunger below.
If the complaining and fussiness happens to be part of their development, then so will the values of giving thanks and helping others less fortunate.