How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. L Your Own Question

Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
63993671
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. L is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Would like some ideas on how to encourage 7 year old daughter

Resolved Question:

Would like some ideas on how to encourage 7 year old daughter to eat fruit and vegetables without a battle + to enjoy them. Difficulty may be more to do with defiant / strong willed nature than food taste. She says she doesn't like the texture / bits
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 2 years ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,


 

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.


 

Dr. L :

A quick google search on how to get kids to eats fruits and vegetables is going to turn up lots and lots of helpful tips. However, from what you have written you are doing a great job getting your daughter invested in eating these things. That has me wondering if the issue is more about her strong-willed nature and less about the foods themselves.


 

Dr. L :

Texture can be an issue with kids..and even adults. The way to assess this is to see if she has the same texture issue with similar foods. Is it just the fruits and veggies she complains about? Or...does she also protest when eating nuts, grains, protein, dairy. Are all apple varieties a problem for her...or just some. Is every variety of orange an issue..or just some.


 

Dr. L :

Let's take a look at the strong-willed personality. These kids know that they can control what goes into their body and comes out. So...this can become a long term battle if not dealt with early on.


 

Dr. L :

While I am going to suggest a good parenting book to read and use, I am also going to provide some sage advice.


 

Dr. L :

In my experience, one of the best ways to handle a strong-willed child is to say, "Honey, it's your body and your choice. You can choose to eat healthy and have a strong and healthy body. Or, you can make poor choices about food and not grow and develop in a healthy way. It's your choice. I will shop and prepare good food and I am very happy when you shop with me. It's your choice. Healthy foods or unhealthy foods. I won't pressure you or rush you to make a decision. But you have a choice."


 

Dr. L :

In this way you have given her some power - limited power. You have made it clear that she has control of what goes in her body and comes out. Because that is a true thing. You can't force feed her. But! You can control what you will and will not prepare, what you will and will not buy. That's where you have real power. By giving her the ability to decide about her own body, you are prevent a battle that you cannot win. You are teaching her about choices and inviting her to make a good choice. In essence, there can be no fight. You acknowledge where she has control and where you have control.


 

Dr. L :

How does this sound?


 

Dr. L :

The book I would encourage you to get is:


 

Dr. L :

Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. Their website is: www.loveandlogic.com.


 

Dr. L :

The website has a host of wonderful resources..including lots of parent experiences.


 

Customer:

Yes we think is more to do with strong willed nature though can be fussy about egg yolk, cold chicken in a sandwich + some apples (i.e. are too soft and not crispy enough). We have in last year said the above about it being her choice to be healthy etc and that does have some effect on her as she does want to be healthy. She will often ask if a food is healthy or not.


We want advice on how to respond when she plays up (i.e. saying food is disgusting, crying as if we were serving poison etc). What if any consequence should we give ( e.g. no desserts / nothing til next meal / talk it through at a later time)? Her 4 year old sister currently eats well / enjoys food and we don't want her to start copying and getting attention in the same way?


 

Dr. L :

Thanks for the additional information. It's great to hear how well you are responding to her and that she is motivated to eat healthy. Your concerns about your younger daughter are very very valid.


 

Dr. L :

Punishment doesn't work. Plain and simple. So...if she gets into that whining about the food being disgusting and so forth. The response is, "I hear (or see) that you don't like the mashed potatoes. That


 

Customer:

Do we put any limits / boundaries on sweet foods e.g. chocolate, cakes etc?

Dr. L :

's fine darling. There are other choices here on the table (refer to what else you have prepared and are serving). Then drop it. I encourage you to not make any big deal about her whining, about her comments about the disgusting food, or so forth. Just handle it quickly and move on to another topic. Do NOT offer to prepare something different. What is on the table is what is on the table.


 

Dr. L :

Yes...I would slowly remove these from the menu and only have them on special occasions. Things like sugarless jello with fresh fruit and whipped cream is a better choice. Yogurt ice cream is healthier than old-fashioned ice cream. Adding fresh fruit to a slim piece of cake or with a cookie is a way to transition over to more fruit and less sweets.


 

Customer:

Thanks it's all really helpful + given us confidence to respond better and less emotionally. We do often wonder how we've ruined her for life by getting annoyed and into battles with her. It's reassuring to know how to handle her appropriately as it has been said that you don't need to have a battle to get her to do anything you need a full scale war!

Dr. L :

Think about how to substitute fresh fruit and veggies into the menu. Then it's not like she will feel deprived.


 

Dr. L :

LOL to your comment!


 

Dr. L :

Strong-willed children can be a handful...but they also are a joy in that their independence often means that they are very bright and will become an accomplished adult.


 

Dr. L :

There is a very good book on the subject. Let me check quickly for the title.


 

Dr. L :

Setting Limits with Your Strong Willed Child by Robert MacKenzie


 

Dr. L :

might be worth taking a look at. The Love and Logic website will also be helpful.


 

Dr. L :

And absolutely...try to keep the emotions out of it. Remember that the tail should not wag the dog! You are the parent and you control the house. Where she has legitimate power is over her body. She doesn't control what foods are bought in the house or how they are prepared and served. That's the parents job.


 

Customer:

Thanks so much for advice.

Dr. L :

From everything you have written, you seem like wise and compassionate parents. You have NOT ruined her for life.


 

Dr. L :

Is there anything else I can help you with this evening?


 

Customer:

No that's fine. You've made it seem a more normal situation that can be tackled rather than a hopeless case. Her dad worried that because she used food for attention she would develop an unhealthy relationship with food and end up with some food disorder for attention.


Thanks very much. Will give a good rating!


Bye

Dr. L :

Yes...this is a common issue with kids and it definitely isn't hopeless. I can certainly see where you would worry about an eating disorder, but if you support her legitimate control then that ought to be just fine.


 

Dr. L :

Take care!


 

Dr. L :

If you should ever need to chat in the future, just ask for me by name.


 

Dr. L :

 


 

Dr. L :

Good night!


 

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
Dr. L and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education