All children are picky eaters. Even my child, who frequently requests more vegetables in his lunchbox, exhibits behavior that is “picky” when it comes to what he will, or will not, eat. He likes peanut butter, but would never even consider eating a peanut. But the issue of whether or not a child is a “picky eater” is really a question of degrees, and who is judging. The “who is judging” component of this equation is really where the tension resides.
Motherlode writer Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic recently penned, what could only be called, a manifesto for parents of picky eaters. Lucianovic tackles the issue and, does not offer 5 easy solutions to get your kid to eat anything, but levels the crosshairs at fellow parents who invest their time in judging and condemning one another for their selective children. Some parents, she says, divide the world into two groups: the parents of picky eaters and the parents of non-picky eaters (can you guess who takes the moral high ground on this one?). Lucianovic (as a former picky eater herself) comes to the defense of the beleaguered parents and says, “In our food-obsessed, competitive culture, what our children eat has become yet another yardstick used by parents to make them feel superior to other parents.” And they also have to worry that their children’s pickiness makes them appear as bad, or inadequate, parents.
In a “stop the madness” moment Lucianovic appeals to parent’s good graces and lost sense of community, while imploring them to offer support to one another, rather than condemnation. Many of us know the frustration in having a child who will only eat things that are brown, or things that look as if they have no organic tie to the earth, and having other parents level judgment does not help the situation one morsel. The trick is to accept, support, and move on. Sound advice.
Do you struggle with a picky eater in your family? Do you feel judged by others for what your child will or will not eat? How do contend with the volunteered advice and admonishments?