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rcdaycare, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1
Experience:  Owner of childcare center for 17 years. MSED/early childhood
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Is it considered "neglect" or some form of abuse, when a parent

Customer Question

Is it considered "neglect" or some form of abuse, when a parent considers herself " A vegetarian" yet limits child to a limited diet of pasta, cold cereal w/o veggies or meat or milk!
Child grew up thinking she's allergic until finally tested & after 9 yrs. of age, it's difficult for her to try out new pizza & any other new food, despite the official, medical lab of no allergies!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Howard Wise replied 4 years ago.
Good evening, this is Howard,

Technically speaking, if you presented this information to Child Protective Services it is unlikely that a child abuse investigation would be initiated, however, limiting a child's diet in that way is certainly not very healthy. Are you related to this child?
Expert:  rcdaycare replied 4 years ago.
In most states it is considered abuse if a child is not being provided a healthy diet. The child needs to have proper nutrition for brain growth and physical growth.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes, I am and think it's a sure sign of lack of priority, as her job is her career, not just work. Child is left in similar traumatized situations at a moment's notice for a meeting & quickly picked up from childcare, fed what works & quickly put to sleep, to do career related paperwork...really an workacholic. Now it's awkward to go anywhere, pasta is not served, a kid's party for pizza, etc. it's always such an issue, because her diet is soo limited! Any suggestions as to how to help her overcome fear of food (so called allegeries) to make food more social & healthy??? Strangers don't understand, it's not her fault, it's her mother's doing /undoing of thinking of long-term consequences regarding health.
Expert:  Howard Wise replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information. I can see you are concerned about this child's health and well-being. It's very unfortunate when a parent is so involved in her career that she fails to provide a healthy and nurturing environment for her child.

Can you tell me what your relationship is with this young girl and how often you see her?
That would help me to determine how to advise you.
Expert:  rcdaycare replied 4 years ago.

The key is to introduce new foods next to familiar foods. Put a small amount of the new food on her plate next to the pasta that she loves and ask her to describe the taste. Is it salty, sweet or sour for example. This is better when there are other children there to play the game too. A trusted adult will work also. Do not ask her if she likes the food, but ask her questions like what animals might eat this food? What colors does she see in the food and other fun things.

When everyone is together eating casually talk about how healthy certain things are: how meat has protein and vegetables have vitamins and minerals. Let her know that we eat to keep our bodies healthy. Do not make a big deal out of the eating situation, but when she tries something new, congratulate her on working to make her body healthy and strong.

It is often hard to get children to eat new things. She may be using food as her only source of power. It sounds like she has little control of her life. If possible, give her chances to have power over other things in her life too. Can she decide what to wear and what shows to watch on tv? Giving her power in other parts of her life may take the need for her to have power over food.

If you need more ideas I would be happy to help you. Just give me a little more information about the girl and how much time you spend with her. Do you have the ability to introduce the foods to the young girl? Is the mother supportive at all of the idea that she needs to introduce more food to the child?


If you are satisfied with my response, please click "accept". Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It's hard to believe this is not considered "neglectful in nutrition" as well as in lack of emotional,supportive, & nurturing health!!!
Expert:  rcdaycare replied 4 years ago.
I agree with you. Are you around the girl a great deal?
rcdaycare, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1
Experience: Owner of childcare center for 17 years. MSED/early childhood
rcdaycare and 2 other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Adviser Mills C.C.D. replied 4 years ago.
Are you still needing assistance with this question?

I am an owner of the largest preschool in my area, and deal with dietary restrictions often. If you still need help let me know.
Expert:  DrFee replied 4 years ago.

Hello! Please remember that my responses are informational only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.


I agree with Howard, if the mother is providing a "healthy" vegetarian diet, Child Protective Services is not likely to respond. However, it sounds like you believe that the diet is not healthy--and failure to provide adequate food IS a form of abuse (neglect). Rcdaycare has some good ideas, but if you don't have enough access to the girl, or if the mother will negate your efforts, then that's not going to work.


I would suggest that you consult with Child Protective Services, describe to them in detail what is going on, and let them decide if they will take a report. I assume that you are not a "mandated reporter," therefore you can make this report anonymously.

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