We need to stop the food shaming and the name-calling at mealtimes. So let’s start by quitting the label “picky”
- It’s demeaning and humiliating (take it from someone who was called picky constantly as a kid (hi))
- It’s an unfortunate simplification (maybe they are just tired, overwhelmed, had their heart set on something else)
- The picky label is static and doesn’t encourage practice (eg. “Maybe next time you’ll like peas”)
- It tends to be self-fulfilling: Once you create the “I’m a picky eater” narrative, it’s hard to leave behind – for you as well as your child.
- We teach our kids that “picky” is an easy way out: "You’re picky, so you don’t have to eat it"
- Pleasant mealtimes are proven to decrease pickiness – and name-calling is hardly pleasant, right?
And can I just add this: it actually goes for all the labelling we as parents, maybe with the best of intentions, apply to our kids:
“You’re the smart one”,
“You’re the athletic one”
“You’re the beautiful one”
“You’re the easy one”
All these labels will place our kids in categories they didn’t necessarily asked for, nor ever fitted into. These well-meaning labels can be devastating to our kids and prevent them from exploring their true potential. That goes for food as well for everything else in life.
How about you – were you ever called picky as a kid?