Train Up A Child
In the previous issue of iLocal Magazine we dealt with critical communication that must begin at the infancy stage. As we said this is a crucial period as the child is learning about his or her environment and is curious above everything yet knowing nothing. On the mother’s lap is where the child has the first and early les-sons of understanding ‘no’ and ‘yes’.
The topic of child discipline is often misunderstood. The tendency is to focus on the negative aspects of discipline whereas the important aspect of child development is the training that must be administered.
“Discipline your children and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights of your desire” Prov 29:17
Training is an integral part of discipline. Discipline is defined as a practice of training a person to obey certain rules and or code of behaviour and, using punishment to correct disobedience. My focus is on the training, drilling, teaching and educating of the child to develop a whole person that is sound. n this article I want to talk about developing right tastes for your children. Sucking on a mother’s breast or milk bottle is easy for any child to do. The trouble begins when they have to start taking other forms of foods, that is solids. I was fortunate to have my mother guide me through this stage. I started off on the wrong foot though as I bought the ready bottled meals and fed my son. I stocked on these and yoghurts and my son ate these up like without difficulty. He however was not growing as he ought and this was picked up by my mother. On enquiring what I fed him, she discovered these ready made bottled foods and realised that nothing was prepared fresh and home cooked. She taught me to cook fresh vegetables and I started with butternut, sweet potato and squash at times. At first it was not easy at all to bring my son to open his mouth and eat these. His taste buds were used to the sweet taste of the ready made foods as I often fed him the fruity one.
I was trained by mother how to prepare meals for my son, and I in return had to train my child on good eating habits. So we started the journey which slowly but certainly saw him taking keenly on these. The change process included more than what was served on the plate. It was a total overhaul of his eating habit and rituals.
First my son was developing into a full person when he became ready to take solids. The eating schedule had to be set and adhered to and this was to train him to have a healthy relationship with food. You find an adult who eats non-stop all day and they continue even if their health is negatively affected by this. This can be attributed to the way one was raised and taught or not taught how they should relate with food. Secondly tastes are developed early as well. For a child to love their vegetables you must not wait until they are older. The moment they enter into solids, vegetables must be introduced. As it is with you as an adult that you eat dessert last, you cannot feed your child the fruity sweet foods and think that they will be eager to eat the not so tasteful vegetables. Therefore the schedule must promote
Lastly I would like to caution parents on feeding babies and little ones with sweets. Often you see mothers giving sweets to babies in order to shut them up when they are fussing. This is building a bad relationship with sugar. It is believed that children that are introduced to sweets at an early age promotes unhealthy nutritional preferences as the taste buds would prefer the sweetness. Natural occurring sugars found in fruit and even fruit juices are not a problem but the problem is the added sugars.
Parents have much responsibility on training their children in the right way even when it comes to eating. The training may be relating to food but the principles found here are applicable in all other areas of life. Unfortunately other aspects of life will present themselves later in life and if as a parent you miss to instil a sense of discipline and order right from the beginning, it may be difficult for a child to appreciate the rules and boundaries later on in life.
My son was nominated to represent his school in the USA when he was in grade 10. Of course it was an exciting two weeks he spent there and he even visited Disney World. I was however surprised when he called on his way back and asked that I cook a good home meal for him and he said he missed his vegetables and I must ensure there is plenty. I never thought the day would come when I would hear my child requesting vegetables as a special dish amongst the main dishes. Tastes instilled early in life are likely to remain in adulthood. It is therefore important to introduce good healthy tastes for a better life when older.