Don't Use Foods to Punish or Reward

By Susan M. Kosharek, MS, RD
kid eating Popsicle

When you need to discipline your child, do not do it with food. Cutting out food as punishment for your child can make them feel anxious. Your child may worry about not getting enough food or going hungry. As a result, your child may try to eat whenever there is a chance.

In other cases, children begin to use food to punish their parents, refusing to eat just to get attention.

Similarly, do not use food as a reward. Children may come to expect more dessert when they try new foods or clean their plates. When children are rewarded with sweets or snack food, they may decide that these foods are better or more valuable than healthier foods. This belief is hard to break and may continue throughout your child's life.

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