I often work in the area of mental health and eating disorders in adolescents. Spending time educating and coaching families on the importance and how to begin to eat as a family to help improve the recovery outcome or management of the mental health condition. To often there is not enough support and education on how important meal time can effect the health and nutritional outcome of patients and kids, thus for my passion to aid in the educational process.
All to often parents are fearful on how to eat with kids struggling around food, so I actually have dinner support groups where we set expectations, dinner time guidelines and have a meal together to work though issues that may arise. I truly believe to coach parents during the moments of stress can make for a great experience for the kids recovery. Along with meal time experiences I have set up coaching session with parents in which we discuss how to best support their kid around food. An example of such conversations would be “Today my child refused to eat dinner b/c she felt upset from school.” I would help them to normalize the situation by saying,” I know that can be frustrating, and hard to understand how a bad day at school could effect dinner time, so let’s work on a positive dinner time and nourishing your child by creating a supportive environment around food.” This is when we would discusses different ways to encourage the kid to try a bite and help the parents be supportive without accusative, shameful etc.
The overall benefits of this work has helped numerous families build the foundations of family time meals into a positive and enjoyable experience for all; building the educational groundwork for kids and parents to have a positive relationship with food.