We tend to think of emotional eaters as adults, but we don’t think about children being emotional eaters. Why not? Just because they are smaller humans it does not mean that they don’t behave in the same way as we do.
My first thought is, is how do they turn out this way? I don’t remember as a child eating because I was happy, eating because I was sad or stressed, or to take my mind off something else. Yet it seems to me that parents are turning their children into emotional eaters and using food as a crutch for something or using it as a bribe or distraction. Have a listen to this recording of how they are doing this: How Parents Turn Their Children Into Emotional Eaters
How Children Learn to be Emotional Eaters
Some parents are teaching children that to make them feel better emotionally they should eat something – normally something that is quite calorific. It is also teaching them to not address their emotions using thought processes and rationale but feeding their emotions. However, there are much better ways of dealing with stress or anger. Doing some form of exercise is far more healthier (in small amounts) than eating.
In terms of using food as a distraction, I think parents could be more inventive by changing their focus without food but with words. Even explaining to a child why they cannot have something or finding another way of calming them down without offering them crisps or a bar of chocolate. Food, in my opinion should not be used as a distractor.
Food is fuel and brings families together socially. It is important that we feed children when they are hungry and to keep their blood sugar on a level. We should all be able to enjoy food but it should not be used to feed emotions.