Angel Peralbo Fernandez, psychologist and specialist in Clinical Psychology and Health Menta has written the book Stories to eat without stories, a manual to teach parents what to do to instill good table manners and polite habits in their children.
In what or who have you been inspired to write the stories?
The inspiration has arisen after the selection of the problems that have been most significant and about which the parents have made the greatest number of consultations and which, from our experience, are of greater therapeutic importance. Thus arose the Missi tortoise with its extreme slowness, or the Pablo chick who was a bit of a mess, or Poti who had great difficulty getting going in the morning.
Is the book intended for parents of children of what age? Is there an age limit to teach children to eat well?
There is a so-called critical evolutionary period, which lasts up to approximately six years, and in which the highest proportion of learning occurs in the shortest time of life, which entails the best time to establish good eating habits, but also sleep, hygiene, etc. It is when the foundations of good learning are laid in different basic human facets. Any time is a good time to intervene, correct, improve, but without a doubt, the sooner it is intervened, the greater the chances of success and the lower the amount of effort used to achieve it.
The book offers pedagogical guidelines for parents to get their children a correct diet. Could it be something like the super-nani of good eating behavior?
Not only good eating behavior but many other habits such as personal hygiene, order and schedules, and other important areas such as general behavior problems, tantrums, communication and affection, etc. It can be considered a complete guide for parents to effectively ensure that their children eat correctly, that they eat enough variety of foods to have the necessary nutrients and vitamins, that they do not abuse foods that are still very attractive to them, that know how to eat properly according to the customs established in their environment, at the right time, etc.
What parents can do to prevent such dreaded disorders as anorexia, bulimia ...
Thinking that the good habit lasts forever, so all the effort made to establish it well when your children are young will also bear fruit when they are adolescents with what they will be preparing for the future. Establish clear and effective limits but within an affective climate where they feel safe. Help them identify and control their emotions well and prevent food from interfering with them. Create good communication early on. For this, the time of meals is an excellent opportunity to make it something pleasant and positive and escape the feeling of having to experience food as something problematic.
What to do so that children value and respect food and do not see it as a punishment?
It will be good, first of all, for them to really know the value of what they eat, where it comes from, how it is made and for them to get involved in preparing the dishes themselves. It is also important that they know why they have to eat foods that contain certain nutrients and vitamins and how important it is for them to feel good and be able to play sports and be healthy; They have to see that they are taken into account according to their tastes and preferences. Finally, it is necessary to avoid that food is a time of problems and, on the contrary, it is necessary that it provide them with a quiet time where they can see safe, calm parents and providing them with everything they need to grow up healthy and happy.
Is there a relationship between not wanting to eat or wanting to overeat and a child's emotional state?
Children meet their basic needs through habits such as eating, sleeping, contact with their parents, etc. Any alteration in these causes an influence on their emotional state. Problems with food, both by default and by excess, alter the normality of the child's state, managing to control it through behaviors that, although not adequate, get the child to self-regulate by learning them, and Thus, it is observed how, for example, the obese child on many occasions learns to reduce his anxiety by eating, so that food acquires a weight never better said, in its regulation and will be a learned way to calm down when he feels anxious or upset .
Obesity is today one of the great problems of childhood. Where do you think the solution to the problem lies?
In the first place, it is necessary to create a clear awareness, especially in parents, that it is a mainly learned problem with dire consequences as children get older and that the main keys to the solution are in the early ages, which is when children They are more capable of learning and they do it more easily and faster.
What consequences will lead to adult life, a child who does not eat well in childhood?
Increases the probability of having eating disorders older; On the one hand, problems that they may suffer in adolescence, which is when they are more emotionally unstable, less permeable to the instructions of adults and tend to extreme many of their behaviors, which can reduce their intake considerably or, on the contrary, get out of control and overeating. On the other hand, when they are adults, in a way, they will continue to act according to their early learnings and therefore, their bad habits will most likely continue to persist.
Stories to eat without stories
This book was written by a team of specialists made up of Ángel Peralbo, Silvia Álava, Mila Cahue, and Cristina Palmer, led by the psychologist María Jesús Álava.
You can read more articles similar to Eat without stories. Interview with Ángel Peralbo Fernández, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.