The 10 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make

Parents play a key role in shaping their children's approach to eating. We tell you the mistakes to avoid with your little one.

Introduction

Messy kid on table

Stephanie Rausser

My son Jake was a picky eater, or so I thought. He stopped eating vegetables after he turned 2. Lunch was always a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He refused new foods, and I usually threw out most of his dinner. My husband and I tried the train-into-the-tunnel routine, withheld dessert, and even followed him around, spooning in mouthfuls of food. At times I thought we were creative, but mostly I knew we were just desperate.

The fact is, despite our good intentions, we were only making Jake's eating worse. Recent studies show that adult behavior -- how we handle our child's eating and how we approach our own -- has a lot to do with what kids will eat. To learn the ingredients for more successful meals, Child turned to those at the forefront of this new research: experts such as Leann Birch, Ph.D., a psychologist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, and Betty Ruth Carruth, Ph.D., R.D., and Jean Skinner, Ph.D., R.D., dietitians at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Since I began writing this story, I've followed their advice and have seen Jake's eating habits dramatically improve. Read on for the 10 mealtime missteps it makes smart sense to avoid.

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