diet affecting 'attitudes' and behavior

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by ilovemykids, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. ilovemykids

    ilovemykids Well-Known Member

    i have 5.5 yo twins who were always 'great' kids.  lately, one of them - i really can't deal with their attitudes, talking back, negative and condescending tone, etc.
    to be honest, the more 'negative' twin eats a lot of carbs and crap.
    im wondering if i can get them on a super-clean diet, if you think that might make a difference?
    has anyone seen attitudes/behavior affected by diet?
    we eat pretty organic but they start their day with pancakes.  everyday.  they argue and never want to eat anything and before school, we really try to just make everyone happy.
    the more 'negative' kid eats nothing but bread-products.
    I'm just venting but looking for some advice.  one is extremely picky and it's difficult to get them to eat a lot of things.
  2. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    When you say pancakes, are you talking white flour or whole wheat? What are they putting in the pancakes?

    I know with my girls the more unprocessed foods they eat the better they feel abs behave.
  3. ilovemykids

    ilovemykids Well-Known Member

    these are frozen pancakes from the grocery store.  they say all-natural and no preservatives.
  4. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I cannot say I have any knowledge on how diet affects behavior nor have I seen behavior changes due to diet.  Not saying that it is possible, just that I have not seen it.   I'd say it depends on the child, if you can package clean eating as a super kid food that will make them healthy, strong and smart (this is what I do for my kids with healthier stuff I want them to eat) perhaps that will motivate them.  Maybe have them help you with meal prep too?  Or if there is too much pushback  on it, you can offer the favored processed foods as a treat rather than a meal?  If you do this, will you let us know if you see improvement in behavior?
  5. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I have no idea if the food is making behavior more difficult or not. All of my kids eat that way and I've got one people pleaser, one who loves to assert her independence by living in constant defiance of me, and one happy-go-lucky toddler. :laughing:

    There's a big developmental component involved in defiant behavior at this age - by pushing limits and boundaries they're asserting their own independence. Whenever my kids are pushing all my buttons I find it helpful to remember that whatever the case, they're doing exactly what they need to do to learn what they need to know in that moment. That doesn't mean I just accept whatever the behavior is without question, but I do find it's a positive place to start from when deciding on how I'm going to respond. My kids choices might suck, that doesn't mean my kids do. ;)

    What I'm trying to say is that the behavior changes sound normal and par for the course for his age and that what may be useful is taking stock of what tools in your parenting tool box are still working for you, what is no longer serving you, and whether or not you may want to find some new tools to try. I think sometimes we forget that when raising kids we're also raising parents and it's a learn-on-the-job kind of gig. As our children reach new developmental milestones, we need to grow and develop as parents too.

    If you think the food situation is exacerbating his behavior that you're concerned about, then by all means make what changes you think are necessary. But I'd be wary of making food and eating a battleground. It's one that kids will always win as what goes into their body is one area they have ultimate control over.
    1 person likes this.
  6. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I know that food makes a huge difference with my son.  There have been some times around Halloween, soccer snacks, and grandma's house where he's ended up on food dye overload.  When that happens, watch out.  Timothy will start having crying melt-downs, randomly walking up to people and screaming, and just seems like a kid on emotional overload.  We did test it out a little around one Halloween and you could give Timothy a box of nerds candy and within the hour he'd be screaming.  After that, we started severely limiting his food dye exposure.  We've also found that something in Gatorade appears to bother him and once again it appears to be the dyes.  The clear Gatorade's don't seem to affect him much (what we've learned from soccer).  The dyes also appear to be a trigger for a vocal tic.
    I think in general food affects all of us.  If I eat junky, my stomach hurts and I'm grumpier with life. I think there are some kids that specific things in food can really bother.  Unfortunately, there's not a test for it.  Just trial and error.  
    1 person likes this.
  7. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    Diet can make a difference for some kids, and not for others.  It really just depends on the kid and how sensitive they are.  And even though the grocery store pancakes say "all natural", I can bet there are a lot of things in there that wouldn't be in pancakes you made from scratch.  You could try making your own and freezing them to see if that helps. 
    Also, the heavy carbs can cause sugar spikes, which again, for SOME people, can affect mood.  One of the kids I counsel is type I diabetic and his moods are majorly impacted by what he eats and how his sugar is at the time.  Other kids I work with eat lots of junk and don't have mood issues.  If you could get them to eat protein for breakfast, like bacon or eggs or sausage, even if it's with the pancakes, it would be worth the try to see if it impacts behavior.  You might see no difference, or you might see a huge difference, but you have nothing to lose in trying really. 
    I frequently advise the parents of kids I work with to try diet changes to see if that makes any difference.  It's one of the easier first-line things to try and see if it matters.
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