Have you ever joined any food groups on social media or watched food programmes on television? I have to say I usually avoid them as someone who generally has little time to watch TV and who struggles to cook.
However I was chatting to a friend today who had been watching TV recently and heard a famous chef on prime time TV talking about ‘fussy eaters’ and saying that it was all down to the parents ‘giving in.’ She felt she had to say to me as she knows the struggles I face daily with my daughter.
Just minutes later a fellow blogger posted how she was outraged having read on a huge Facebook group relating to food that a professional was advocating ‘starving’ fussy children until they gave in and ate!
I should be used to this by now but it still hurts. People feel so open about judging my parenting and my cooking and even my mental health because I happen to have a child who has serious food aversions and struggles to eat.
It is a daily battle for me to remind myself I am not to blame!
Every parent wants to feed their child. It is fundamental to their welfare and brings us so much satisfaction to know they are happy and nourished. My daughter was a wonderful breast feeder and despite having low birth weight, she was settled, happy and growing on breast milk. Then I began weaning and suddenly everything changed! From the very start she refused solid food and eight years later we are still struggling.
We have seen paediatricians, dieticians, health visitors, mental health nurses and psychologists and we are still struggling.
If I put food in front of her and tell her ‘it is this or nothing’ she would starve.
If food touches she has a huge meltdown and stops talking and interacting. It traumatises her beyond belief.
Every single day is a struggle. People say it is my fault, like that helps. People say she is controlling us, like that will make her eat! The worst ones are those who say she is a ‘spoilt brat’ when in fact she is a child with extreme anxiety and food aversion! It is heartbreaking.
We have a few foods she will eat and those are saving us from the added trauma of a feeding tube (a trauma that could result in no food or drink ever going in her mouth again). She has only two things she will drink. Her weight is a serious worry as is her health as she walks a fine balance between being ‘well’ and ‘we may need to intervene’.
We have days she will eat and days she won’t.
Her food aversion and eating issues are complex and related to many things and not just ‘fussy eating’.
If I am to blame then why does her twin brother have no issue with food and in fact will eat anything out in front of him?
There is no history of eating disorders in my family.
My children are not fed on junk.
My daughter is not a spoilt brat and neither will I allow her to starve. That is known as abuse!
Food aversion and eating disorders are REAL. TV personalities should know better. Professionals should know better. Ignorance is rife about this matter and it is destroying children and families everywhere.
Please stop judging!
My child is NOT a spoilt brat! She is caring, loving, gentle, beautiful and kind. She also has food aversions and an eating disorder.
Unless you live with this it is hard to understand. Ignorance from professionals and TV personalities is not helping.
Food aversions and eating disorders are no laughing matter. How would you feel if it was your child or someone you loved struggling?
A version of this blog first appeared here