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French parents teach their kids to love food and not overeat



By Michael Hawton

11th December, 2016

French parents teach their kids to love food and not overeat


Some recent research has shown that nearly a quarter of children under two are overweight or obese – yes you read correctly that’s nearly a quarter!  And, the problem with this, is that kids get used  to grazing and more grazing. And, a lot of these children don’t pay attention to when they have eaten enough. Early-on, toddlers emit a special hormone called leptin that kicks-in to tell them when they have had enough but if they are overfed this hormone doesn’t become active. It’s that simple.

Being overweight at an early age can also herald early-onset diabetes - now being seen in children as young as seven. If you have problems with your child wanting more and more food, here are 7 tips for addressing the over-eating problem. The first few of these tips involve how you respond to your child wanting more than they need.

  1. Bad patterns - where you might give in after they keep harassing you for more food – happen because of a phenomenon called reinforcement. Briefly, here’s how it works: Your child presses you and after being pestered enough, you give in. In this case, you both get something from it. The child gets what he wants and you, by giving-in, get relief by succumbing. So, you’re both reinforced

  2. If you go to change a bad pattern like this, there is a strong likelihood that your child’s tantrum behaviour might get worse before it gets better, but usually only in the short term. In other words, if you persist to change them getting more food than they need - they will give-up. But, many parents worry about their child’s distress and give-in.

  3. You need to trust in that bond with them and theirs with you. It is stronger than you probably realise. In other words, it won’t matter that they may not like you in the moment, and their dislike won’t last.

  4. You need to get control of your own feelings of distress at seeing your child distressed, if you want to bring about real change for them. You need to be warm and firm with them about not grazing between meals. If you give in, just to stop them from being upset, they won’t learn how to wrestle with their feelings and learn self-control.

  5. You need to learn how to manage your child’s difficult behaviour, without being tempted to yell at them. I can show you how. In our Talk Less Listen More e-course, I show you a method for making changes or you can read my book which you can probably find in your local library. If not, ask them to get it in for you.

  6. Your child’s being-full-enough barometer gets set-up early – usually under two – so you’ll need to make wise decisions to help them – one piece of fruit a day, instead of two and water, instead of juice – for example.

  7. Your children’s wise part – the part of their mind that can hold-it-together and not spit-the-dummy, needs your help for it to work better.

If you want to make overeating at your place a thing of the past, I can help you do that, but you need to do some initial legwork. Reach out now, by either speaking with your family worker or getting some help through the resources listed above.

About the author

Michael Hawton is the founder of Parentshop, providing education and resources for parents and industry professionals working with children. He has authored two books on child behaviour management: Talk Less Listen More and Engaging Adolescents.


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