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.

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