The 4 Feeding Styles: Do you know yours?

The 4 Feeding Styles: Do you know yours?

How you feed your child affects their relationship with food, studies say

All of us want our kids to be healthy, which is why we try to feed them well. However, did you know that how we feed them also factors in to your child’s health?

Modern psychology has long identified four parenting styles: authoritarian, neglectful, permissive, and authoritative. These four parenting styles encompass all areas of a child’s upbringing, including feeding. Studies have revealed some links between feeding styles and kids’ eating habits, summarized below.

What’s your feeding style?

1. Authoritarian

This is what psychologists call the “clean plate” style of food parenting. In this style, parents direct eating, plating the food for the children. It doesn’t usually matter what the child likes or dislikes, so long as everything the parent feeds him/her is eaten.

How it affects kids

Kids who are fed with an authoritarian style are often not as able to recognize when they’re hungry or full, thus making them more likely to be overweight or underweight. They also tend to eat less fruit or vegetables, and more of the restricted foods when they have access to them. These kids also display a decreased enjoyment of food, and often eat slowly.

feeding styles

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2. Permissive.

These parents don’t set clear boundaries, so it is the kids who decide what they eat. If you often find yourself cooking dishes for your kids at the last minute, this could be your feeding style.

How it affects kids

Kids who are raised by permissive parents consume higher amounts of junk food and treats. Higher weight in preschoolers have also been recorded.

Click to read the last two kinds of feeding styles.

3. Neglectful.

Is your refrigerator often empty? Do you forget to eat and feed your child? It’s probably time to get your act together, because this is indicative of a neglectful feeding style, which affects both you and your child’s health.

How it affects kids

When you’re not sure when your next meal is coming, it makes sense that you’d have a preoccupation with food, which is what researchers have observed, along with emotional insecurity.

feeding styles

4. Authoritative.

This is the “Just Right” feeding style, where parents provide plenty of support for the child to eat well, while expecting and reinforcing good behavior at mealtimes. In this feeding style, the parent is responsible for what, when, where when it comes to mealtimes, while the child decides on how much and whether to eat.

How it affects kids

An authoritative feeding style often leads to children who display more agency over their own food intake. They also consume higher amounts of healthy foods compared to their peers.

READ: Why you shouldn’t feed your child when you’re hungry

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