Examine your relationship to food and find your soul.

That’s the essence of Geneen Roth’s new book Women, Food, and God, who says:

  • The way you eat is a reflection of your core beliefs about who you are.
  • Your relationship to food mirrors your feelings about love, fear, anger… about everything, including God.

Oprah says Women, Food, and God has changed her life and that she’ll never diet again.  Read what Oprah has to say.

But food can help you discover more than your own soul.  It can also reveal the depths of your children’s personalities, beliefs, feelings…

Want to really get to know your children? Look at how they eat. 

Examining the feeding experience can teach you a lot more about your kids than just what kinds of foods they prefer.  It can actually shine a light into their souls.

How your children eat reflects both their personalities and their stage of development.

It’s tempting to think that how well your children eat at any given moment is simply a product of how hungry they are, how tempting the food is, and whether the environment is distracting, but there’s more to it than that.

Kids eat how they do because of who they are.

  • Cautious kids eat cautiously.
  • Adventurous kids eat adventurously.
  • And those who are going through a controlling phase – you know, the one that starts around 2 and ends…hopefully sometime before college – usually try out their muscle when it comes to food too.

Instead of freaking out about your children’s bad eating, or gloating about their gastronomic glories, revel in the learning.

And then parent accordingly.

Here are some of the things you can learn from examining how your child eats:

  • How your child copes with new experiences.
  • How your child manipulates (or tries to manipulate) you.
  • How your child responds to pressure.
  • How your child deals with temptation.
  • How food-centric your child is.
  • How controlling your child is.
  • How moody your child is and what that mood is today.
  • How your child copes with emotions.
  • How your child deals with peer pressure.
  • How your child responds to limits.
  • Whether or not your child is a conflict-avoider.
  • How curious your child is.
  • How your child’s fine motor skills are developing.
  • How much routine your child desires.

The more you know about your children’s temperament and development, the better they will eat.

So, for instance, if you discover your child is going through a control stage, you can redirect his control away from what he eats by offering him choices around where he eats, when he eats and how he eats.  Read Curbing Your Child’s Craving for Control and House Building 101.

If your child isn’t terribly adventurous, help make new foods less frightening.  Read Look Into My Crystal Ball and Mind Over Matter.

And if your child needs help coping with emotions, teach him how to separate emotional hunger from tummy hunger.  Read Feeding the Hunger Within and Help! My Kid is Food Obsessed.

Knowledge isn’t a magic bullet, but it is the first step in figuring out which tools you’ll need to teach your kids to eat right.  You need a big tool bag because every kid is different.

And perhaps it goes without saying, that how you feed your children tells you a lot about your parenting style too.  But that is a topic for another post.

~ Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits. ~