Of the four parental 'feeding styles,' only one is good for kids' health, experts say

Of the four parental 'feeding styles,' only one is good for kids' health, experts say

Story highlightsEven when a child is at a healthy body weight, fear can cause parents to worry about foodIf treats are eliminated from the home, children can become focused on the foods they are not getting (CNN)If you’re a parent, you are well aware that managing your kids’ activity schedules, homework, doctor’s appointments, play dates and much more all comes with the territory. But an important part of the parenting job description — and one that may be hidden in a cloud of unconscious thought at times — is being the gatekeeper of your child’s diet.As a nutritionist, I am constantly exposed to information and studies about healthy eating, and I’ve counseled quite a few parents on how to maintain a healthy diet, as well as a healthy home. Yet I still find it incredibly challenging to instill healthy eating habits in my daughters. “Raising a healthy eater is an 18-year job,” said Jill Castle, a registered dietitian, childhood nutrition expert and mother of four. But it’s also one of the most important things you’ll do as a parent, according to experts.Help! 11 tips to get kids to eat healthy Even more daunting — or motivating, depending on how you look at it — is that your own “feeding style,” which closely mirrors your parenting style and encompasses your attitudes and actions around food, is one of the biggest determiners of your child’s relationship with food and, by extension, his or her health.”We have evidence in the childhood nutrition literature that feeding styles may influence not only a child’s body weight but their relationship with food and how they behave around eating,” Castle said.Read MoreThe way we choose to feed our children is deeply ingrained and reflects our own experiences with food as a child. “As parents, we come to the table with our own history and feeding style,” she said.There are four known feeding styles that have been written about in the scientific literature, but three of them may negatively influence a child’s emotional and physical health, according to Castle, who is also the creator of the Nourished Child Project, an online program designed to teach parents how to adopt healthy habits to raise healthy children.Authoritarian feeding styleThe first is an authoritarian or controlling feeding style. Here, a parent may be inclined to push a child to take more bites of food or ask a child to “clean your plate.” The parent might also restrict a child’s access to non-healthy, non-nutritious foods.With this parent-centered eating style, rules about eating are directed by the parent, and without consideration of a child’s views, rather than self-directed by the child and his or her appetite. For example, a child may empty their plate even though they are full, in an effort to please their parents, Castle explained. When a child’s appetite is ignored, he or she may lose the ability to regulate his or her own internal hunger and fullness cues, and this can cause weight problems.The pressure to eat can be subtle. “In

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