Turkey Day Trouble
SPRINGBORO, OH -- With the Holidays falling quickly upon us, I began to think about all of the Thanksgiving foods I look forward to each year. The fluffy whipped potatoes, juicy turkey dripping in gravy, soft buttery rolls and of course, the pumpkin pie topped with a gigantic dollop of whipped cream or cool whip. While for me and many others, the holidays are something to look forward to and enjoy; there are many others who have a different experience.
For some parents, whose children struggle with eating, a whole holiday built around eating can be a source of stress, frustration, and even embarrassment. Approximately 1 in 4 children suffer from a feeding disorder and as high as 8 out of 10 children with a disability (Golisano).
Imagine needing to bring extra food options wherever you go so that you know your child will eat something. Maybe they eat a very limited diet and won’t go near any Turkey Day foods. Maybe they need to be constantly moving and won’t sit to join the family at the table. Maybe they overstuff their mouths and then throw up after.
The whole time you, as a parent, are worried about making sure your child is getting nutrition to grow, you might have to deal with looks from your family or faced with comments, such as:
“If you didn’t give him those options, he would eat what was in front of him."
"You need to be firmer with him, he’ll sit and eat if you make him.”
“Why does Billy get to walk around but I have to sit at the table?”
“You’ll ruin his appetite if you keep letting him eat those snacks.”
Instead of being able to relax and enjoy your meal with your family or friends, you spend the whole time worrying about your child while hearing and seeing remarks made by others. You know they mean well, it’s your family but... it’d be great if they simply understood.
You feel, as a parent, you are doing everything you can, but sometimes it’s just not that simple.
So, if you are reading this, and you know someone who has these struggles, hopefully this will be a thoughtful reminder to think about your comments before speaking and to be a supportive ear to those whose children struggle with feeding. It can be a personal everyday battle that is put on display for all to see during the holidays.
And, if this is your family who is experiencing the same issues, know that there is help for you and your child. Feeding therapy can be a great source of support to experience food in a new way and to help make eating a more enjoyable process for everyone.
Polka Dot Kids LLC and other feeding therapists are a great resource for families. I work with families who struggle with the exact same thing. And I’m here to tell you, I see you... I understand ...and, I’m here to help.
Thinking of all those parents and caregivers out there with stressful holidays ahead. Happy Thanksgiving!
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