As parents and the leaders to our children, we sometimes need to think out of the box. This means we often need to come up with solutions to problems. What we often fall victim to is mysticism. That is we often have no idea why our baby and toddler behave the way they do. Sometimes we think that our kids are “out of control.” I can say that with certainty that there’s a good reason your child does everything he does- except that you probably aren’t privy to all the variables and information related and so you think that your child’s behavior follows some random pattern. This isn’t so. You just need to think about the problem and encode it in such a way as it becomes a challenge free of any personal vendetta in which you are pitted against the issue – and not the person. If you strip away outside variables, then your challenge will be between something that doesn’t work and your solution to that problem.
Obviously I’m an analytical person and an inherent problem solver and bring this into parenting. It helps me a lot because it makes my life more enjoyable and simpler. When I’m faced with a parenting issue I begin by observing and studying to decide on what the real issue is, rather than the perceived issue. Eating vegetables – or not – is a common problem. However, from my studies of animal biology, I know that even animals will eat choice foods first and will reject substandard foods as long as they’re given a choice. When famine is near, all foods, even bad foods can taste great.
Take mammals introduced onto islands with few predators. Since the native animals are not accustomed to these new predators they become easy prey. They are also highly abundant giving the new mammal his choice of prey. Because he never goes hungry, he also can pick and choose which parts of the animal he’ll consume first. When it comes to the lesser parts, he’ll skip and move to the next whole animal. An animal without such choice and luxury will return when hungry to the previously consumed animal in part and will eat the less desirable parts but with renewed hunger to his pleasure.
How in the world does this apply to kids you ask! An overfed kid is not going to eat disgusting vegetables when he knows by waiting 10 minutes he’ll get tasty dessert. Your toddler gets this, but for whatever reason, you don’t! A simple solution to this complex problem is to offer vegetables when your toddler is hungry and your toddler will never be hungry if he snacks all day. A hungry toddler will eat exactly what is in front of him and it’s your choice as to which foods you offer your child, no matter how “strong” he is and no matter how much he nags you for cookies and sugary drinks. Keep your child’s blood sugar low before a meal and offer veggies first can often get a child to eat.
While all children are different and no solution is perfect for each, this isn’t the point. For all “complex” problems exist an equally simple solution. Play around with the variables and see just what kind of solution you can come up with.