When you think back to your childhood do you remember being given a lolly or something sweet when you had hurt yourself or when you’d been good? You may be doing this for your children too in order to distract them from pain or reward good behaviour. Although this seems pretty harmless it actually sets up an understanding for your child that if they are feeling emotional or have done a job well they deserve food – this is the precursor to emotional eating which can be a difficult habit to kick later in life.
Instead of giving food as a reward or a cure for pain it’s more constructive to give them a hug along with understanding or praise as the situation warrants. Sweet foods can be part of a healthy diet but they should be used as “sometimes” foods that your family enjoys on occasion, not as the cure for emotions.
Lisa Renn, Accredited Practising Dietitian www.bodywarfare.com.au