I received this excellent blog entry from one of my clients (Thank you, H!).
Children do meet the expectations we set for them, feeding and otherwise. In a supportive environment, when you are sending messages such as: I know you can do it, I know you can handle it, I respect your feelings about it, you will do it when you are ready,etc., children thrive. Their feelings are validated, you do your part to provide opportunities for growth, and then you wait with patience and full confidence that they will get where they need to. This can be applied to toilet teaching, sleep independence, feeding and eating, swimming lessons, being “left” at school or daycare, any new situation where a child is feeling challenged in some way.
What is especially important for us parents to be mindful of is to try to keep the worry factor down, as children are sensitive to our worries and then begin to doubt their own abilities.
For more on sending important “life messages” to a child, see Barbara Coloroso, “Kids are worth it!” An excellent book and a resource that you will go back to on many occasions.