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          Saying No to Your Child’s Overeating

          July 13, 2005

          Dr. Phil explains why it’s important to put your responsibility as a parent above your desire to give your children what they want.

        • If you are worried about hurting your child’s feelings by not giving him/her what he/she wants to eat, remember that refusing to give your child unhealthy foods could actually save his/her life.
        • Understand that it’s not always important that your child likes you. Sometimes what is important is that your child respects the boundaries that you’ve put down. It’s your job to do what you need to do as a parent to ensure your child’s well-being, whether he/she likes it or not.
        • The fact that you may be uncomfortable saying no to your child does not release you of your responsibility to do so when it’s in your child’s best interest. That’s why parenting is hard. Parents have to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done, whether they end up being the bad guy or not.
        • Remember that your job as a parent is not to tell your child what he/she wants to hear. Your job is to tell your child what he/she needs to hear.
        • Do not use food as a reward. You can love your child in different ways without food. Why not reward your child with your time? Reading a bedtime story, taking a walk or playing catch are things you can do to connect with your child and make them feel special without unnecessary calories.
        • Don’t use food to medicate your child emotionally. It might make your child feel good for the moment, but he/she could pay a high physical, emotional and social price for your unwillingness to step up and do what is required instead of what feels good at the time.
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