Adolescence is difficult. Older children and young adults are appropriately battling to find out who they are and where they fit in. They want to make choices on their own, but at the same time they’re not always ready to handle the responsibilities that go along with those choices.
As might be expected, younger teens need more help in making decisions than older ones. As they get older and with practice, your child will become better able to weigh and understand the possible consequences of their behavior. However, this will only happen if you allow them to make decisions. Making personal food choices is a great way to practice making responsible decisions.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t agree to throw the food pyramid out the window and serve up burgers and fries every night. Initially, you should offer reasonable and healthful foods from which they can decide what they want to eat. If you’ve laid a solid foundation for healthy eating and living centered on activity, moderation at mealtime, and variety, the transition to making their own decisions will be smoother.
Most arguments between parents and children are about everyday things or differences in personal tastes and choices, not about serious differences in values. Don’t let food choices become a barrier between you and your child.
See the article on MyPlate from the American Academy of Pediatrics for the basics of good nutrition for all. Share this with your teen and let them figure out how to make it work for them.
For further reading on this topic, try:
YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life