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How parenting styles impact nutrition

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Parenting styles can have a significant impact on feeding children, as parents are responsible for providing and shaping their child's food choices and eating habits from an early age. Here are some ways in which different parenting styles can relate to feeding children:

Dads swinging a toddler between them

  1. Authoritative Parenting: This parenting style involves setting clear expectations and boundaries for children while also being warm and supportive. Parents who use this style tend to encourage their children to try new foods, model healthy eating habits themselves, and create a positive environment around mealtime. They provide structure and routine for mealtime and offer a variety of healthy foods, but also allow their children some autonomy in deciding what and how much to eat. As a result, children of authoritative parents are more likely to have a healthy relationship with food and be open to trying new things.

  2. Authoritarian Parenting: This parenting style is characterized by strict rules and punishments for not following them. Parents who use this style may use food as a reward or punishment, or may force their children to eat certain foods without explanation or choice. This can lead to negative associations with food and a lack of autonomy around eating, which can result in disordered eating habits.

  3. Permissive Parenting: This parenting style involves being lenient and indulgent towards children, often at the expense of setting clear boundaries. Parents who use this style may allow their children to eat whatever they want without any guidance or rules. This can result in unhealthy eating habits and a lack of structure around mealtime.

  4. Neglectful Parenting: This parenting style involves a lack of involvement and attention towards children's needs. Parents who use this style may not prioritize providing regular, healthy meals for their children, leading to malnutrition and other health problems.

Authoritative parenting tends to promote a healthy relationship with food, while authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful parenting can lead to unhealthy eating habits and negative associations with food. Our dietitians coach parents on how to implement authoritative parenting strategies around food and eating along with many other strategies for feeding kids well. If you would like to get started improving your family's nutrition, book a Discovery Call!



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