It was 8 am and my son had just slept 12 hours and woke up H-U-N-G-R-Y. I wanted the first thing to go into his stomach to be protein so I grabbed some all-natural turkey slices. These used to be his favorite but recently he would eat everything else on his plate and just a little of the turkey.
So at 8:05 am I put a few pieces of turkey down and blessed the food and he sat there for awhile just staring out the window and I proceeded to make our family morning Balance Complete Powermeal Shakes and some Ezekiel toast with all natural peanut butter. He still had not eaten his turkey so I decided I would not feed him the rest of the food until he finished his turkey.
8:15 am and still no turkey eating. So I say, “eat your turkey” he shakes his head no, I say “eat your turkey”, he shakes his head no and says NO, I pick up a piece of turkey and try to feed it to him, he adamantly shakes his head no and says no no no no no no no no. I let him sit for a bit.
8:20 still no turkey eating and whining and crying over the other food sitting there. I spend the next five minutes pointing to, picking up the turkey and saying “EAT THE TURKEY”. He cries and yells and does some kind of Cookie Monster eating where the turkey doesn’t really go in his mouth but all over his lap and floor. The cats are happily eating what hits the floor.
8:25 am I offer the toast and say, “If you eat your turkey just a few bites, I will let you have your toast and shake.”
8:30 still no turkey eating and it hits me WOW this is not about eating his turkey. He really may not like the taste anymore it is a battle of his will against my fortitude. And that same moment I realized why I see so many parents give into their kids. I am relaxed in the morning but what if I had 15 minutes to feed the kids and get them ready for school or off to daycare. It can’t be easy. I am not condemning parents for giving in, but I think we need to look at the bigger picture.
In the book MADE to CRAVE, it talks a lot about overcoming our desires for unhealthy foods. I am taking a group class based on the same theme. We are talking about how our childhood experiences influence our relationship with food. From everything to turning to food for comfort, to hide the pain, to my Italian upbringing that food was everything.
Learning to deny ourselves and developing self-discipline
The other day I heard a woman say she never drinks water. She said if I have a glass of tea a day that’s a good day. She has gained 40 pounds and has Irritable Bowel Syndrome. She said, “I started gaining weight when I started on these medications.” I said to her, “I bet if you had been drinking water, many of the ailments you take medications for would have been diminished or not even there.” She knows she needs to drink water but developing the self-discipline to do it is another thing.
As our children grow into young adults what we have taught them and expected of them will really matter. Will they have self-discipline when it comes to food, alcohol, sex, money management and the list goes on. If we have taught them about the power of self-discipline (which is a fruit of the spirit and we can all have access to that) we will find (my opinion) pretty happy, healthy and most likely successful kids.
It’s not going to be easy
I myself have struggled with self-discipline in my adult years. The result led to enormous amounts of debt, 40 pounds of extra weight, and difficulty in general. Maybe your story is the same. You may feel that you can’t expect your kids to eat healthy when you don’t. And yes it’s important to be the example and leader in your family when it comes to things like food, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start today.
I have to eat gluten free right now otherwise I suffer some bad health consequences. That isn’t easy even when you make healthy foods. I love Ezekiel toast in the morning but I now have to make it for my family and not eat any myself. I deny myself and in the end I am a lot happier than if I eat it.
From the book Made to Crave, “Living in victory tastes sweeter than any treat”.
Start in your home
My husband just reminded me that he attempted to out will his son to eat some of his eggs at a restaurant recently. After about 15 minutes of him acting out he decided to leave.
I am no expert but I do know in all the parents I have interviewed who have awesome kids they all say don’t give up, be consistent, and don’t give in. So I am going to do my best to follow these parenting principals knowing that I am not perfect and even my parenting could use a good dose of self-discipline. So I will do my best starting in my house in the hopes that when we are out that the standard I set there will come natural to my child.
8:45am My back was turned and when I turn around there is my son quietly eating his turkey
Joshie happily eating the rest of his breakfast after his Turkey Eating Refusal Battle. He lost but still shows remnants of this battle of the wills by the turkey slices on his head.
Please go over to my Facebook Page and tell me some of you stories about the Battle of the Will.
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