Parents should know better
The child looked bewildered. His eyes were large, too shiny, his lips bright red. His tongue coated white, his breath offensive. He was running a constant low-grade fever. His tussled hair needed a wash. His feet, dirty, toenails uncut, sat in worn-out slip-on sandals. Every aspect of the appearance of the child reflected an “anything goes” attitude. In contrast, his mother was well dressed, her curly hair cut into a neat style. She spoke in a well modulated tone of voice, her choice of words and diction fitting her intelligent eyes.
“I have had enough of antibiotics!” she exclaimed. “My son is constantly coming down with a sore throat for which he is given the one script of antibiotics after the other. He never seems to be well, ever. His appetite is poor. At school he cries for no reason at all. He seems to get tired very easily, preferring to sit with me instead of playing outside.” She looked at him reassuringly while she gave me some background information to his problems. I found it hard to marry the unkempt little boy to the sophisticated mother. Why was so little attention given to his care, I wondered? “Give me an idea of his diet, please.” A simple question which can be very revealing of what goes on within a home.
“Oh dear! He is a very picky eater. He practically lives off cereals, milk, sugar and fruit juices. He practically lives off cereals, milk, sugar and fruit juices. He will not eat any fruit or vegetables, unless it is in a juice. Protein he dislikes as he has to chew it. He seems to like wet food. Drinking yoghurt, Milo and so on. I must confess, food is an issue in our house. I hate cooking and I do not like vegetables and fruits myself. The way I see it, if I won’t eat it, why should I force my children? Everybody kind of has their favourite. I buy enough for each person. They can help themselves as they want. We have a very relaxed home. I don’t like to put my children under pressure to do things which they dislike .” she said, looking lovingly at her son.