Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Experiment with Letting Go of Control

So, a couple of weeks ago we had a serendipitous experience with a neighbor who came over to offer us some redecorating advice and conversation.

At some point, the conversation devolved into on of our favorite (or if not favorite, then frequent) topics: Eight's obsession with food.

I could go on and on here with stories and examples, but the truth is, that I've built up so much shame around the topic that it is even difficult for me to write about it now.

But what was so amazing about that night and our neighbor being over was that BioMom and I were in just the right space to hear her message which was this:

What the hell is your problem?

Meaning OUR problem. Meaning how did WE create this OCD behavior in HER.


It still blows me away.

She basically was addressing our concern that Eight doesn't know when to stop eating the stuff that's bad for you. Like drinking enough cups of cocoa to make oneself sick. Like never stopping eating spaghetti. Like obsessing about the single known quantity of dessert in the house for days on end.

Our neighbor pointed out that turning of that 'want spigot' is a skill. And a skill that Eight clearly doesn't have.

We realized that we were controlling way too much in her life: school uniforms, homework, time, her room, etc. etc. And that we should consider letting go of some stuff, prioritizing others. And that maybe her stuff around food was the only thing that she really could control, regardless of what we did.

Whoa. Talk about enlightening.

Then she suggested this:

Why not try saying "yes" to her around food for a while?

How long?

Long enough to break the old habits and make new ones. . . Say, six or seven weeks?


And so, we have.

What follows will be a series of posts about the initial days and weeks of our experiment: her choices, our reactions.

And, being the over-thinkers that we are, we are, naturally basing all of this in theory. Check out the book How to Get Your Kids to Eat, but Not Too Much.

A teaser for day one: Three soda pops one sitting????

How did the control freak (me) react????

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I need to hear more on this one! I was one of those kids, and I now ascribe the behavior to the fact that my mom MADE me stop at two cookies, refused to allow me to eat ANOTHER crescent roll (even when there were plenty left over), and so on. But I'll be curious to see if your experiment works out.