Thank you for printing the article, “Parents take on the picky eaters,” in today’s Life&Style section. I’m so happy to see Ellyn Satter’s division of responsibility highlighted as a recommended approach to feeding children.
I do disagree, however, with the author’s statement that the answer to the question of what a parent can do if their child is not an enthusiastic eater is “nothing.” Having trained with Satter myself and having worked as a psychologist with many families of young children, I would say that the division of responsibility is far from doing nothing.
It requires significant effort on the part of parents to provide the structure needed to consistently supply the what, when, and where of feeding, especially in today’s busy world. It can also be very difficult for many parents to restrain themselves from taking over the child’s responsibilities as described in Satter’s model of determining whether and how much they will eat. Parents often feel a great deal of pressure to force their children to eat.
When parents learn how to effectively apply this model, the results are dramatic.