How to change a child’s eating habits? A question asked in this days where obesity is so very common. But not only obesity would necessitate this change, anorexia would. To understand how to change a child eating disorder it is important to understand common these diseases and what causes them.
Eating disorders are a group of conditions that are caused by eating excessive or too little food such that a person’s mental and/or physical health is endangered. Anorexia nervosa: a condition where a child is unable to maintain a healthy body for a child at that particular age. In this condition the child does not eat at all or eats very little food with an aim of not gaining weight, often the child has a mental picture of an ideal body in form of, either; a popular musician, a model, a friend or a relative. The child is compelled by an inner force not only to attain this body weight but also to maintain it.
Bulimia Nervosa: a condition in which a child eat normally -only to impress his/her parents – all the food that’s eaten is later removed from the body system. Removal is done by; vomiting, too much (exaggerated) exercises or use of drugs.
Binge eating disorder: this is a compulsive desire to keep eating. What causes these conditions? Their specific cause is unknown; but, it has been known to be a combination of biological, psychological and environmental disorders.
On how to change a child a child’s eating habit a parent must know that it will take time. The parent must also identify the bad habits. One of the most effective ways is to train the child by reward and punishment. The reward must be valuable while the punishment must inflict some form of pain or unhappiness. An anorexic child can be promised an exotic holiday, on the other hand, if the child does not eat well he or she can be grounded. The parent must also understand and solve the psychological cause of the condition. Is it triggered by stress at home? Is it triggered by stress at school? Some of these harmful conditions have been known to be triggered by constant fighting at home or even constant bullying at school.
The other way to change a child’s eating habit is so simple: live what you say, do what you say. A child learns and does what the parent says. If you want the child to cut down on fatty foods, firstly, explain to the child why you think said food items are harmful, secondly, don’t eat such foods yourself. Thirdly, since the child will only eat what the parent provides, the kitchen should only have the ‘bad foods’ so as not to tempt the child. Fourthly, the parent must provide healthy alternatives to the undesired food. If for example, you wish the child not to drink soda-introduce them to diet sod -the healthy alternative. Where necessary help form a specialist should be sought as some of the bad eating habits can be complex.