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Parenting and the Meal-Time Tamasha


Aditi Sarkar Dutta

Aditi Sarkar Dutta

This blog post has been contributed by Aditi Dutta.

Aditi Sarkar Dutta is a full time mother and part time writer. She holds a Master’s degree in Organisational Social Psychology from the London School of Economics. After working for over eight years at multinational consulting organizations, she quit her job to be able to enjoy motherhood and follow her passion for writing. She writes a personal blog, http://mrsdutta.blogspot.in/ and her articles on parenting are published in the White Print magazine. She lives in Gurgaon with her husband and two children.

 

Yesterday, when I went to the park with my kids, I saw my friend painstakingly feeding her four year old his meal while he played in the sand. On numerous occasions I have noticed mothers to small children feeding them while they are busy at play. A common complaint from mothers is that their child refuses to eat and mothers or maids run after them to painfully feed them one morsel at a time. If the child manages to finish the portion, it feels like a big triumph for the mother.

Mothers often feel thankful when their child finishes the meal without a fuss or does not demand ‘junk’ food. Sometimes I see that children of four or even older do not feed themselves and need to be fed by an adult, especially when it comes to healthy foods. Additionally, there are many children who eat only when watching television or are being entertained by other gadgets like a phone or tablet. Sometimes, I feel that parents often prefer to feed children to be able to monitor what they eat, prevent them from making a mess and also find it faster, but in the process we take away the control from our children.

Also Read: Eating, á la française

In contrast, when I visited a house in a village of Rajasthan, I was surprised to see that even two year olds from a family of farmers were far more independent and perfectly capable of feeding themselves. They even used the toilet without any assistance or coaxing from their mothers. The number of children in the household was way more than the number of adults. This also made me think about my own grandmother, who happily brought up four children while I struggle with two and see a lot of friends choosing to have just one child.

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ParentEdge is a bi-monthly magazine for discerning Indian parents who would like to actively contribute to their children’s education, intellectual enrichment and stimulation. The magazine’s premise is that learning is a continuous process, and needs to happen both in and outside of school; thus parents have an important role to play in shaping their children’s interests and intellect.


6 thoughts on “Parenting and the Meal-Time Tamasha

  1. sia

    I agree completely. We are a generation of paranoid parents.this is primarily because there is not enough work for us to do. Letting the children go is essential for their own good.

    Reply
  2. Swati Nitin Gupta

    Good post Aditi! Yes, we as parents tend to get fussy with our kids and the solution is that we need to go easy on everything.

    Reply
  3. Kritika Srinivasan

    Good post Aditi. I learnt this the hard way. My daughter has always sat at the table to eat her meals (no running around), and without the aid of TV – instead we used to have stories and songs. But, I used to feed her every meal, and even force feed when she said enough. She was increasing weight rapidly and that was when her ped said that she needs to eat herself else she would continue putting in more weight than was good for her. Apparently, kids tend to eat more than what they need when they are fed because they like the comfort of that routine, the complete attention to them, etc. That was when I allowed her to start eating on her own. Three years down the line, I still struggle with allowing her to choose how much she wants to eat (the mother in me always thinks she is not eating enough!), but I am making the effort to let her choose. But she still requires complete attention from me when she is eating – mealtime stories and conversation!

    Reply
  4. Aditi Dutta

    Thank you for sharing your own experience with your daughter. Agree…We as moms always feel that our kids have not eaten enough.

    Reply

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