Moms, Be Careful Not To Train Your Child To Be An Emotional Eater

All moms want their children to feel better when they are sad or down, but some methods can actually cause more harm than good.

To help a child process what they are feeling, it’s important to ask key questions so they can open up and share what’s on their hearts.

But sometimes when moms don’t know what to do, they seek to use food to make their child feel better, and while it may temporarily work in the moment, it sets up disaster down the road.

If a child learns eating a bowl of ice cream will help them feel better when they are sad, this could become their crutch down the road.

Sugar Addiction

Sugar is like a drug, it’s addictive and deadly.

With more adults having diabetes than ever before and child obesity on the rise, it’s critical moms break the cycle. 

Is it bad to take your child out to celebrate with ice cream for their birthday or on a special occasion?

Of course not.

But every time your child is sad if you offer food as a solution, you are simply carving out the pathway for them to turn to food to satisfy their pain when they become an adult.

And once the body gets used to sugar, it begins to crave it on a regular basis.

Inability To Express How They Feel

The only way out is through.

But if you teach your child to pacify their pain with food, they’ll never learn to internally process and articulate what they are feeling.

Ask questions to help them such as “What happened?” and “How did that make you feel?” instead of using food to calm them down.

Getting your child to begin to think about their pain, and be able to articulate what they are feeling will help strengthen their emotional intelligence and set them up for success down the road. 

Unhealthy Patterns

If your child grew up turning to food to comfort them, this pattern is likely to carry on into adulthood.

As a result, if your child is overweight they could develop an eating disorder or become over preoccupied with their body weight and size.

Parents reported:

“According to a new study, using food to soothe your child can set them up for emotional eating, a term that applies to both overeating and undereating. The researchers of the study found that emotional overeating was triggered by annoyance, worry, anxiety, and boredom, while emotional undereating was related to feeling upset, tired, angry, or unhappy. Both are unhealthy coping strategies that could lead to problems maintaining a healthy weight down the line.”

Lead By Example 

And moms, make no mistake – your child is watching you!

If you spend every night binging on a bag of chips in front of the couch, they’re likely to lead by example.

And remember, children can become emotional eaters not just when they are sad – but when they are bored too.

Set guidelines in your home such as no snacks after 7pm, or give them healthy choices to munch on when they get home from school.

There’s no shame if your family has developed the bad habit of eating to fill an emotional void. 

But moving forward, do the best you can to break your family from this deadly cycle – it will help your children in the long run!

Does your family struggle with the trap of emotional eating?

If so, what are some healthy ways you can help your child process their feelings?