Food for thought
Parenting is mostly an art, than a science.
It is almost impossible to create a set of detailed techniques and instructions for parenting, which should then be followed to arrive at a pre-determined result. In reality, the practices followed in parenting are often impulsive, emotional and driven by inner values. Quite often, some of them have no scientific explanation, but are the result of traditions passed down over generations.
However, despite these differences, they hope to achieve one thing – the wellbeing of your children. No parent knowingly follows a parenting technique that could have the opposite effect (well, we haven’t come across such parents anyway, thank God J).
We @ LHEE believe that principles and guidelines are more useful than solid instructions and techniques for mums and dads to polish their art of parenting. We hope our previous blogs on Active Listening and Emotional Preparation have helped you in this regard. Please visit the LHEE website or our Facebook page if you need to jog your memory.
Most parents go to great lengths to create a routine for their children (a bedtime routine, a study routine, a time for watching TV etc). Children function better when there is a routine to their lifestyle – they know what to expect at what time and are better at coping with daily demands. After a small period of ‘starting trouble’, most children get used to the routine. In fact, they even get upset when the routine is broken – a good example is the ‘extra effort’ required on Monday mornings to wake up our kids after their daily bedtime routine has been disrupted during the weekend.
Not surprisingly, these days there is a routine built for most activities for children. School time, lunch breaks, monthly tests, quarterly exams, coming home time, tuition time – the list is endless! Most parents are willing to put up with all of this in the interest of the ‘greater good’ – the solid belief that a systematic approach to daily activities over time will greatly benefit your child.
But, when it comes to eating habits, all of the above goes out the window! There is either too much restriction (“Don’t eat too much chocolate”) or a total lack of control (“She only eats pizza or burger on most days”). There are also a few other approaches we have seen:
- “He had pizza 4 days this week, so no chocolate for him till Monday”
- “Let him watch TV and have dinner, at least that will give us some peace of mind”
- “The maid hasn’t come, so let’s order something from outside” (can you blame the child if he /she prays on a daily basis for the maid to fall ill? J)
- “Yes, you can have some Sprite / Coca Cola with your dinner”
This “Kuch bhi chaltha hai” approach is the unfortunate by-product of our hectic lifestyles. More often than not, we sacrifice the values of good eating to make way for other routines. As a result, our children end up eating at odd times, odd foods and with no guidelines around portion control. They carry these habits throughout their early years, into their teenage and even into adulthood. The addiction of our new generation to easily available junk foods says a lot about how irregular eating habits have crept up on our lifestyle. As a country, India has one of the largest proportion of people with ‘lifestyle related illnesses’ like diabetes and high blood pressure.
With this in mind, LHEE have started this new blog series called ‘Food for thought’ (which actually is a phrase for ‘Something that requires serious consideration’). In this series, we will be providing you with snippets of information to help you and your children over the coming weeks.
The guidance we provide is built on a core concept called ‘Mindful Eating’, which has been trialled in various countries with encouraging results. We will use examples from case studies conducted by experts in the field and break it down to simple, practical suggestions.
We strongly encourage your feedback on these blogs. This will help us to answer your personal questions and address any concerns. Over the next few months, LHEE are planning to invite healthcare professionals to our site to conduct mini training sessions and workshops covering a number of useful topics. Your ongoing feedback will help us to tailor these sessions to answer your specific queries on healthy eating.
So, please keep reading our blogs, please provide feedback, and please spread the word at what’s going on at LHEE!