12 to 17 Years: Feeding Your Adolescent

The Division of Responsibility in Feeding and Division of Resposibility in Activity still apply to your adolescent. Despite his acting like it doesn't matter, your adolescent continues to depend on you to maintain the structure of family meals. He will participate in family meals when you make meals a priority, keep mealtimes pleasant, and be considerate without catering with meal-planning. Adolescents who have family meals do better in all ways, and they do better nutritionally after they leave home. With feeding as with all other things, your task is to find the middle ground between being controlling on the one hand and throwing away all controls on the other.

Continue to follow the division of responsibility in feeding

It guides you in knowing when to take leadership and when to let go.

  • Expect your child to manage his schedule and his snacking so he can arrive at dinner on time and hungry.
  • Teach him to take responsibility for eating 3 meals a day and a snack right after school.
  • Build your child's abilty to take care of himself with food after he leaves home. Discuss what it means to be eating competent
  • Teach him simple meal-planning principles, then let him find his own ways with food away from home.

Exert your authority on after-school snacking. 

  • Make rules, then expect him to go by the rules. The rules are about structure
  • Snack right after school and be done with if. No munching along with homework or in front of the TV.
  • Let him apply snack planning principles to choose his own snacks, even if they are high in fat or high in sugar.

For more about feeding your adolescent

See Chapter 7, "Optimize Feeding your Adolescent" in Ellyn Satter's Your Child’s Weight: Helping without Harming.

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©2016 by Ellyn Satter published at www.EllynSatterInstitute.org. You may reproduce this article if you don't charge for it or change it in any way and if you do include the for more about and copyright statements.