Have you ever thought about what it feels like to be told, “Don’t yuck on my yum?”

I’m not a fan of “Don’t yuck on my yum.” I understand why parents teach their kids to quash expressions of food disgust. It’s not pleasant being around that negativity. And, most parents worry that yuks are contagious.

Still, imagine being the yucker and being told, Stifle it.

Thanksgiving is 17 days away. And no one wants to see your child clutching his throat, sticking out his tongue and/or yelling, “Gross.”

So I understand if you’re tempted to teach your child not to yuck. Manners are important during the Eating Season. But still…

I recently addressed this topic in a post on Psychology Today. I wrote:

“Don’t yuk on my yum” tells the yucker, Your feelings aren’t as valued as the yummer’s. Yummers are free to say anything they like. The reason for this is obvious. Parents want children to like a wide variety of foods so yucks are discouraged while yums are encouraged.

Imagine how this feels. Telling yuckers that it’s ok to have an opinion but that they have to keep their emotions to themselves is hardly the way to validate children’s experiences. Instead of, Bottle it up, don’t we want children to tell us how they feel? Not just about food, but about life?

Read the rest of the Psychology Today post.

The good news is that you can teach good manners and allow your kids to express their feelings.

Don’t let your kids get away with a generic, Yuk. Get them to be more specific. Ask:

  • What don’t you like?
  • What does it look like to you?
  • Does this remind you of some other food you have had before?
  • Have you done a texture test?

Increasing food acceptance requires multiple exposures. Multiple exposures can’t happen once a child decides a food is off the menu. You can keep your child coming back for more samplings by developing your child’s food vocabulary. Read Two Hundred Tantalizing Terms to Move Beyond, “I don’t like it.”

There’s also handy vocabulary guide in the Super Food Explorer Kit.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~