Is your teen refusing to eat real food?
Have you tried everything possible to get them to see the truth?
I have some advice for you:
Let it go.
I have three teenage boys. That’s right, three. Ages 14, 16 and 17. They are all right in the middle of trying to figure themselves out. Figure out who they are and what they believe. Right now, they don’t want to be a clone of their mother, they want to be different. Actually, they want to be polar opposite.
I’m passionate about food, so, that is where we experience more “rebellion”. I say that in parenthesis because they are good kids. It’s just that sometimes, we disagree.
I know the kids enjoy eating junk food, but they are also very aware of how they feel when they eat real food. They can tell the difference and when they get sick, or get a stomach ache, they can trace it back to whatever they pigged out on in the last 24 hours.
Don’t blame them for desiring junk food. As a teenager, it doesn’t occur to them to think about what their health will be at 30 or beyond. Long term consequences are nowhere near the radar. At this point they think they are invincible They think they can drink pop and eat cheap pizza for weeks on end and it won’t affect them. But it does. And if they are used to eating real foods, they will notice the effect. They probably won’t tell you. That’s ok too! (I realize that pop and pizza is probably the least dangerous of things they believe they can do!)
Validation would be nice, but just knowing that they understand what is good and what isn’t, regardless of how “cool” it is. Well, that needs to be good enough for now. Maybe by the time they’re 30 they’ll sit and talk to us about good food.
Right now my kids eat 2 good meals a day. Sometimes they take lunch from home, but most of the time they buy a lunch… a junk food lunch.
What are parents to do?
- Only have good food in the house. I do the grocery shopping and the cooking. All that is in the fridge and in the pantry is what I have put there.
- Don’t give them money for food. If they wish to eat junk food, let them spend their own money. If they don’t have a job, they will just have to eat what is available… or be hungry. Their choice.
- Do not gripe, complain or preach to them about their eating habits. I’m not saying you shouldn’t discuss it at all, but make sure it is a conversation, not a lecture by you.
- Be real with your kids. Do you eat junk food? Let them see you! Let them see how moderation works in real life. Let them see you make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up for going out for ice cream. Do not teach food = guilt.