The scene: At a birthday party and a parent is trying to convince her child to not have cake.
What is your initial reaction to this scene?
This is completely acceptable and should be encouraged
What is this parent doing? Let the kid enjoy the party!
If the child is overweight, it is encouraged, if the child is skinny, then they should be able to eat cake.
There is no right or wrong reaction to this scene, but your reaction is dependent on how you view cake. There is a trend in many cultures and societies to label foods and good and bad, and thus reactions develop. There are also many (unconscious) judgements now on people’s weight, with a stigma that overweight people eat more and skinny people eat less, which is not necessarily true. Cultures have become very judgmental when it comes to body size and what people should consume.
With regards to developing healthy eating habits, I have seen the trend that parents are teaching their children that there are good and bad foods. Human tendencies are when things are restricted, which often means they are labeled as “bad,” there is a natural tendency for the item to be desired more. I have heard the opposite from other parents, they restrict a lot of what they see as “bad” foods at home, and allow their children to go “hog wild” at birthday parties. In this case, the parent continues the restrictions at the birthday party. A child’s reaction is often very much dependent on their personality, however in many cases, the result will be a child who cannot control themselves well in the presence of the “bad” food.
What if parents encouraged all foods, but limited exposures to those foods they may not want their child to eat often?