Stop Forcing Kids To Finish Their Food—Here’s Why

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“I was packing my son’s lunch and wrote this note to him. I then giggled.

It’s funny how times have changed, hey?

He often apologizes to me for not eating all his lunch, and I always ask, ‘Well, were you full?’

And he will reply with ‘yes.’

‘Then what’s the problem?’ I will reply.

A written note saying "you don't have to eat all your lunch!" sat on top of lunch
Courtesy of Laura Mazza

I remember being forced to eat all of my plate, feeling like I was ready to puke my guts out because I had to finish it all.

When I think about it, the plate would have filled me now, so imagine my little child body.

‘There are starving children in Africa!’ I remember a friend of mine from Africa said, ‘I wish people would stop saying that. It’s very insulting.’

There’s a massive issue with food wastage in our society, but our children not eating all of the grapes or all of a muesli bar isn’t going to contribute to that.

As an adult, I had to work hard not to finish my plate, and I had to battle disordered eating.

A lot of adults do.

One thing I will never do (amongst probably a billion things I won’t ever do) is force my kids to eat everything.

It just feels crazy to me.

Because with finishing my plate came weight gain, and then became conversations about my weight as a child. Which then came other issues for me.

They don’t need unhealthy habits as children.

So, when well-meaning people try to make him eat more, I tell them:

If he’s full then he’s full. Full stop.”

A mom with her three kids outside making silly faces
Courtesy of Laura Mazza

This article was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza. You can follow her on Instagram. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

Read more from Laura:

‘Thank you for my Spiderman cake mommy! This is the best!’ It looked like absolute crap.’: Mom shares lesson on value of quality time over material items

Child Mental Illness Is Not On The Rise Because Parents Today Are ‘Too Soft’

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