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…and there will be tantrums continued…

Posted by on Jul 15, 2011 in Blog Posts | 8 comments

From a comment on my last post…

But then I read this article which again emphasizes only trantrums when parents are doing things wrong (not doing the DOR). Katja can you please clarify on these points?

Kids will pitch fits, some way more than others. When parents are stuck in feeding wars, those fits and behavior problems dominate. Clients tell me, “Dinner is the worst part of my day,” or “I get anxious about supper when I pull into the driveway,” and “It’s like 45 minutes of hostage negotiations!”

Most of my work with families is helping them transition to the Trust Model, helping get out of the power struggle over every bite of greenery. Behavior may worsen temporarily, but most often what I hear first from parents is relief. The table is no longer a battle zone, it is not approached with any more dread than the rest of the day with an ornery toddler. :)

I remember those days, the lability, the swinging from delightful to wailing for the slightest perceived insult or attempt at control.

No, the DOR will not turn your family into a Rockwell family, or turn your little ones into Stepford angels, but it will help. It will improve behaviors around the table.

Here are a couple of my older posts to help you relate :) (rice melt-down), and darn it, I can’t find my favorite where she literally lost is in the hall at school pick up because I didn’t pack a ham sandwich for snack… (This one continued in the car, complete with me reasoning with myself, “it’s just a ham sandwich!” holding firm and enjoying the pears, crackers and cream cheese at the park 20 minutes later…) Add on my awareness that people are watching how the kid of a feeding specialist reacts, and much fun was had by all!

So, thank you for the reminder. Kids will be kids. I still get asked pretty much daily if ice-cream is for dessert, we went through an intense interest in candy and all things sweet, that is waning (note she is able to self-regulate with candy and takes my matter-of-fact “we’ll have that again soon” in stride, but doesn’t mean she doesn’t stop asking.)

Did that cover it? Imagine, with how strong-willed many of our children are, how much WORSE it could be if we engaged in battles around food :) Tantrums and mood swings and the work of separation and individuation aren’t always much fun, but if we allow it to spoil the feeding relationship, then we’re in real trouble…

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8 Comments

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  1. jessidehl

    I think it’s so funny that you posted this entry about tantrums because last night my five-year-old daughter had a major meltdown. When my husband told her it was time for bed, she started saying that she was hungry and started sobbing and demanding food. This is very much unlike her and I knew she wasn’t really hungry. When she is actually hungry she will ask for a banana matter-of-factly.
    What she really needed was me to sit next to her bed and rub her back so she could go to sleep. We’ve had a very long week of her best friend staying with us and doing tons of fun things so she was exhausted.

    • katja

      So lovely… How wonderful that you are so tuned in and knew what she needed. M is fairly predictable, or “readable” right now. One breakfast a few weeks ago she was really grouchy and crying on the couch. I sat with her a few minutes and cuddled and talked with her and she calmed down. It is so much easier with an almost six year old than a 2 or 3 year old though! I will check out the book. I’m also reading “parenting the hurt child” for my adoption work, and they mention this book over and over! I have read “nurtured heart” parenting, and will be interested in this one! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Kahla

    My daughter has been interested in sweets lately and we have been following our same routine of sometimes dessert is fruit and sometimes it is ice cream or a baked good. It appears to be working because we went to DQ for her free cone from the library summer reading program, she stopped eating before she even got down to the cone. We told her she could finish it later, took it home to the freezer, and she had it for dessert two later times to finish it off. I find myself trying to learn these same skills we are teaching her, and I think that I am making progress too. So thank you for the ideas and feedback you give!

    • katja

      Yes, M was certainly a major inspiration to making the total transition to internally-regulated eating. If she can stop half-way through a cone, maybe I can have chips in the house! You know what? I can. it’s all been such a gift. Have you seen “secrets to feeding a healthy family?” Also online is ellynsatter.com with the HOW TO EAT section, kind of a “self-study.” Good luck, and great work helping raise a competent eater!

  3. Michellers

    We are going through a period with my 5 year old of extreme interest in sweets. Every day is a balancing act. Because I don’t know what she eats for lunch or if they had something sweet for snack, I can only evaluate what I offer her. I still am not sure if I am being too strict or too lenient, it doesn’t feel quite right yet. She doesn’t have tantrums about it, so this comment is not exactly on topic, but your comment about daily requests for ice cream reminds me of my daughter. How do I handle this phase without inadvertently cultivating her sweet tooth forever? If I didn’t have these issues myself maybe I would be more relaxed about it? Maybe she’s genetically destined to crave sweets? Argh.

    • katja

      Yes, I have another mom who recently asked this. M has gone through phases, more interest, less… Though she asks more these days, and seems more tuned in (this includes lemonade, and sweetened drinks) she still seems to be able to handle them, she can self-regulate, she doesn’t sneak or hoard… She gets her small treat with lunch at school (all the kids have a treat apparently…) and we have dessert about 4-5 nights a week. About once every 10 days we go out for ice-cream in the summer. I try to stay neutral, sometimes indulge an interest if it really seems to be a flash-point (like the sweet cereal issue, it might help to review those.) Also don’t forget the “sweet” snacks about every week or so where she can eat as much as she wants. Possibly they are hearing about it more with their peers (this seems to be the case in her camp) which triggers the interest. Also, the intense focus by the teachers about “eating your real food first before treats” etc may be heightening their interest. Stick with it, reread the sections in Child of Mine, or handling forbidden foods on ellynsatter.com and be open and curious. With your own issues, you either may be more sensitive to her comments (as in it’s normal level of interest,) she may be picking up on your concern (they are darn smart) or it’s probably just a phase. Good luck and keep me posted!

  4. Jennifer

    Yes that clarifies. :)