Imagine you are working on something really fun. Having a wonderful time. Right then, a well wisher, who thinks you might be hungry, finds you and offers you food. You don’t want to eat. You might be starting to feel a little hungry. But you want to finish doing whatever fun stuff you are doing. You don’t want to leave it half-way for some mundane routine like eating. The well wisher says it’s been a while since your last meal and that it’s time to eat. You politely refuse but she doesn’t want to take no for an answer and she persists. You refuse yet another time and she goes away. You get back to having fun and in 5 minutes she’s back with a bowl of food. She tries to feed you. You refuse, a little irritated this time. Now, she totally ignores you and tries to shove a spoonful of food in your mouth. You turn away and start running. You really DON’T want to eat. Why can’t this woman just leave you alone?? Anyway, she starts chasing you around the house with a bowl of food and when she learns that she can never match your energy levels, she grabs you, stuffs you in a chair and ‘secures’ you. And there she goes again, trying to stuff food down your throat!
I always wonder why we don’t trust our children to have the basic survival instinct of eating when they are hungry or when they feel like it. It’s not like our kids will starve themselves to death just to spite us. I have not studied animals in their natural habitat, but from all the reading and video-watching, I never came across a single species (except the human mother) that chases it’s off spring to the ends of the world with a bowl of food!
Why can’t we, who teach our kids that a no means no, take no for an answer? Why can’t we respect the child’s wish to choose an activity over food? Why can’t we understand that our children are human too. Haven’t we all skipped meals for things that meant more to us at a moment in time? I have and I let my child too….