I Failed to Get My Kid to Eat Vegetables

conscious parenting effective parenting parenting
Not a failure as a parent

It’s a real journey to get to a place where you can say “well, I failed to get my kid to eat vegetables tonight, but I am not a failure as a parent.

My husband said this after dinner the other night. He was reflecting on just how far we have come as parents, how long it has taken us to get to a place where we can separate our worth as human beings and our skill at parenting from our child’s behavior.


Your child's behavior is not a reflection of your worth as a human - or as a parent.

Our daughter, who is a relatively new vegetarian (but hates vegetables 🤔) flat-out refused to eat any salad at dinner. We insisted (the nutrition over here has been abysmal lately, not gonna lie!) and she dug her heels in and eventually left the table in a mood.

“She’s a 12-year-old being a 12-year-old, and that is not a reflection of my parenting,” my husband said.

The goal is not to get them to do what you want them to do when you want them to do it. 

At least that is not our goal.

Is compliance more convenient for us? Sure, of course it is.

But we want to raise humans who have a healthy relationship with food.

We want to raise humans who make healthy choices - because they were allowed to choose.

And, most importantly, we want to raise humans who trust themselves and us.

My husband continued, “Hungry Monkey was the first parenting-related book I read where the message was ‘don’t worry about it,’ instead of ‘you really ought to do it like this for optimal results.’ Instead, the message in this book was, ‘donuts? No donuts? Don’t worry about it!’”

What a relief!

In the book Hungry Monkey, “[The author] writes of the highs and lows of teaching your child about food--the high of rediscovering how something tastes for the first time through a child’s unedited reaction, and the low of thinking you have a precocious vegetable fiend on your hands only to discover that a child’s preferences change from day to day (and may take years to include vegetables again).”: -From the description of the book, Hungry Monkey, on Goodreads.com

There’s been a lot of talk about mealtime stress over in my FB group and I just want to say, you are not alone! And - it’s going to be ok.

What I’m about to say might be controversial, but I’m going to say it anyway: your child will be FINE. Even if they don’t eat vegetables for a while, they will be fine.

Offer fruits and vegetables often - but don’t be attached to the results.
Encourage your child to try the food that’s on the table - but don’t be attached to the results.
Allow your child to be involved in meal preparation if they’re curious about that - but don’t be attached to the results.

And if everyone eats grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, that’s ok, too (even if you burn them, like I did!)

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