Food Refusal — Maybe It’s Not About the Food – Circle of Security International

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Food Refusal — Maybe It’s Not About the Food

  • Post category:Facilitators

When children are upset, acting up, oppositional, pouty, or lose it they are actually saying, I’m really lost ? I need you ? I don?t know what to do with how I am feeling.? This is an ?organize my feelings? moment. A mom shares a Circle story about her Shark Music at the start of a Chapter Seven group. ?I am getting Shark Music at mealtime because my seven year old daughter has recently started refusing to eat what I serve for dinner. So I have tried to make the things she likes. I have reduced her portion sizes. I have let her eat in front of the television. And still when we sit down to eat she takes a few bites and then refuses to eat more. I am getting so frustrated. I know I am having Shark Music. I feel myself getting mean. I tell her that if she wants to eat something else she can just go in the kitchen herself and fix it because I?m not going to cook any more. By this time I?m really irritated with her and don?t even want to be around her.? The group agrees and talks about how hard it is when kids don?t want to eat what is prepared. We all have been there. After a few moments together with mom on the bottom of the Circle, I bring out the Circle graphic and ask mom to think about where her daughter is on the Circle. She points to ?organize my feelings.? This recognition becomes an important shift away from focusing on her child?s behavior to focusing on her need. We explore more about what her daughter might be thinking and feeling at that time. ?Maybe it?s not about the food?? I wonder with mom. I suggest that maybe her daughter is poking at her mom a little bit to see how she will react. Sometimes we are?surprised when we discover that children really do want their parent to take charge, to be the parent, so they can get down to the business of being the child. I continue, ?Your daughter needs you on the bottom of the Circle. When you tell your daughter to go fix her own food what are you feeling? (Frustrated, Mad) Where are your hands on the Circle?? At this point, the mom responds by throwing her hands up in the air. ?Gone!? She says. The group laughs and mom laughs, too. We talk more about how it might look different if mom keeps her hands on the Circle and meets the need by taking charge and being BSWK. We help mom make a plan where mom will let her daughter know that this is what is available for dinner, and she will save her plate on the counter in case she gets hungry later. Yes, children really do want adults to be in charge, and to feel safe and secure knowing that they have someone who is Bigger, Stronger, Wiser, Kind.