Parents often get frustrated when their children become obese.
But recent studies have found that parents are mostly to blame for their child obesity.
Recent studies have found that children generally eat what their parents eat, so eating habits primarily develop through imitation.
Parents who want their children to eat healthy need to set an example by eating healthy themselves. Therefore, parents are encouraged to quit drinking soda and alcohol while increasing their intake of fruits, vegetables and grains.
But there are many other things that parents can do to increase the chances that their children become obese.
But I eat healthy
Imitation is not the only place where kids learn how to eat unhealthy. There are advertisements everywhere encouraging kids to eat up snacks and happy meals.
But besides outside influences, there are yet other ways that parents can encourage their kids to eat unhealthy.
Having unhealthy foods in the house
If you stock twinkies in your house, your kid is bound to find them. Once your child is old enough to open up the plastic wrapper, he or she will learn that the twinkies taste delicious.
Even if you scold your kid and tell them to eat their veggies, the taste buds will win out in the end.
Since children aren’t as capable of assessing long-term consequences to their actions as well as adults, it is your job to prevent your child from eating foods that contribute to obesity. Keep the junk food out of the pantry and temptation will be relieved.
Creating a stressful environment
Children stress eat just as much as adults do. By creating an environment in which children feel stressed or inadequate, food becomes a form of relief.
This is how adults get trapped in the cycle of “I eat because I am unhappy and I am unhappy because I eat.”
Food becomes a form of stress relief, but being obese leads to stress itself. Therefore, parents to keep environments positive and energetic will help their kids avoid stress eating.
Associating food with reward
Parents understand that punishments reduce bad behavior and rewards encourage good behavior. But food should never be used as a reward. Using food as a reward reinforces that food is good.
Using classic conditioning as a model, you will actually condition your child to eat more if you teach your child to associate eating with happiness. So what should you do instead? Find rewards that do not increase your child’s calorie intake.
Some rewards might include sedentary activities like watching TV and playing video games. While these activities might lead to obesity in excess, a little bit won’t hurt.
But you are best off finding rewards that do not incorporate sedentary activities, like going to the toy store. But all of this depends on your child, and as a parent, no one understands the child like you do.