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.


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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