Don't Pass Your Bad Food Habits to the Next Generation (emotional eating)

Hi everyone,

Today I was reminded yet again how easy it is to turn to food for comfort. 

My stepson is in the process of taking his GCSEs but having a bad time at his mum's so he is now living with us full time (we were having him 4 nights a week due to problems at home anyway).

My immediate response to this news was to make him an extra special (calorie laden) tea and get him some chocolate and other treats.

Luckily I had a moment of clarity! I had to consciously stop myself buying him lots of comfort food. I realised that by doing this I would encourage him to comfort eat - an issue I (and many others) have constantly battled with.

So we had a pretty normal tea but hubby bought my stepson a few non food treats to cheer him up and they've just had a nice walk and a chat.

I pretty pleased that I avoided indulging my stepson in my bad habits as it would have been so easy for me to blindly carry on and buy him lots of "treats" thinking I was doing something nice for him. 

I wonder how many of us pass on these bad habits without knowing!

20 Replies

  • That's great Sue - really pleased that you have shown the willpower and had the moment of clarity to stop yourself from giving your stepson the treats.

    Well done 😀

  • Very good point! glad you realised 😊

  • Hi sueper,

    Sounds like you did just the right thing, mind you my first thought would have been like you too ! In my head being upset/disappointed/ happy = ' a treat' and even with people now it's my instinct to still do that !! Not helpful I know !!

    I think it's the mothering instinct in us ?? but yes it's a bad habit. im sure he has appreciated all you have done .


  • He's having some mates around on Friday eve so that's cheered him up :)

  • Hi Sue,

    This is such a great post on a very pertinent topic, and you did really well to adapt your behaviour to ensure you didn't overdo treating your son with edible gifts to cheer him up.   That association with comfort eating is a hard one to break, once it's in place.  I think we can all relate to it at some level.

    I found it interesting at Eastertime, when quite a few of us within the community were discussing how to cope with left-over Easter gifts (the edible chocolate bunnies, eggs, etc etc) and I did notice that occasionally people suggested that they would give them to their children or Grandchildren to eat, rather than eat them personally, and I was thinking at that point that it's a massive overload of chocolate at such a time, and if we personally don't think we should eat as much - then maybe we should also consider not off-loading them onto the children in our lives.  Afterall, those children would already be likely to have chocolate Easter eggs etc of their own, so if we also off-load our own gifts onto them as well - they are going to be potentially over-indulging till the end of the year - except that we all know those choccies get hoovered up relatively quickly, and rarely last that long!    

    I saw a TV programme not too long ago about the dental problems young children are facing, due to their sugar consumption,  and saw many facing  extraction of their teeth, and I felt  quite shocked watching that.

    I definitely agree with you that we should consider the younger generation and hopefully try to encourage healthy eating, and not encourage  sugary treats as means to  comfort or encourage them.

    Like you showed, you were able to provide your step-son with loving support and it didn't involve edible treats.

    Thanks for such a thought-provoking post.

    Lowcal :-)

  • Thanks Lowcal. It is worrying how we turn to food for so many reasons.

    I agree we shouldn't keep passing unwanted chocolate to children - it keeps for a while in the fridge and it isn't the end of the world to throw it away sometimes (although it feels like it ;) ). A fair few half muffins have found their way into the bin in this household since I started this journey :)

    We usually have a decent (I think that equals a bit more than we should) amount of chocolate on a Saturday night so he won't miss out - but that is normal and not to help him feel better.

  • sueper thanks so much for this post - it has made me think of the treats I occasionally get my grandchildren. I will think twice about this now and perhaps get them a non-food something when I want to treat them.

    Mouse 🐭 

  • They love a good magazine or a kinder egg - then they get a little chocolate & a toy :D

  • I have to admit to being a "feeder"! :o

    Since embarking on my own weight loss journey, I've recognised this trait in me and have taken steps to change things. It's not a very popular move! ;)

    Well done you, for not making the mistake to start with :)

  • I'm too greedy to be a feeder lol :D

  • I think it is hard-wired into our caring genes, so you did well to side-step that, Sueper!  I hope he settles in well with you and does well with his GCSEs :)

  • Thanks LTL - he's here a lot anyway so no massive change but he was pretty upset hence the urge to splurge on crap!

  • I find myself doing this, it is a hard habit to break especially if the children are resistant to it!  

    My Dad in particular is always buying treats for my children and it drives my mad when he does it, so I need to stop it too!

  • It's easier said then done Aussiegirl - and of course chocolate etc is cheap to buy which is probably why so many of us fall into the trap.

    Good luck with your dad - I bet your children love seeing him without the treats anyway!

  • Just chatting with my son (who works in a hospital) along a similar vein, how often do we buy chocolates as a thank you gift??? I know I have, but struggle to think of alternatives 😕 It seems deeply ingrained in our culture 😕

  • Flowers are a great gift and often overlooked in favour of chocolate but most of us will buy ourselves chocolate but not flowers, so maybe worth considering. :)

    You are right - it is so deeply ingrained in our culture :(

  • We need to devlop better habits from the off..........although currently I'm craving fresh berries as nibbles, a balance between, need/want/comfort, I do find cat cuddles fab too.

    Well done for breaking the 'fix' factor, we think it's comfort it never is tho

  • Sleep walk eating - we all do it :( But doing this and being here helps break the bad habit :)

  • I was ashamed how bad my diet was compared to my grandchildren they are lactose intolerant, one will not eat any meat (his choice,just fish) and they would rather eat fruit or naked bars than sweets,This was what made me have a rethink, I used to think as Nan I will get them some sweets or an ice cream but they would argue for strawberries, blueberries or naked bars, I no longer buy sweets but I am loving the naked bars binged on 2 banana bread bars last night as a treat. Bad when the grandchildren have to teach me how to eat better lol.

  • You're grandchildren sound like little stars who are teaching their Nan a thing or two ;)

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