:Dear Abby: I am a 26-year-old mother of a 13-month-old daughter, “Lissa.” I am a “by-the-book” mom. I’m still breastfeeding and I am strict about what I allow my daughter to eat. She has just barely started to eat table food.
I don’t want my child to have bad eating habits, so I try to give her only healthy items at dinnertime. Her dad, on the other hand, thinks it’s funny to give her junk, including sugar. When she was only 2 months old, I caught him giving her licorice. The other day, it was soda and ice cream. I don’t agree with this, and it’s causing us a lot of fights.
When we sit down to dinner, I have Lissa’s meal set aside. But before I can sit down, her dad starts giving her things off his plate and then she won’t eat her dinner. I have told him I don’t like it, but he doesn’t understand that I want to teach her good eating habits.
Am I wrong in trying so hard? Or should I just give up and let her eat junk?
:Trying My Best In California
:Dear Trying: Parenting is supposed to be a team sport and I’m more concerned about the fact that Lissa’s dad is undercutting you than what’s going into her mouth right now. If he continues, in another year or two, your little girl will regard him as a pushover and you as a big meanie.
You may need an impartial mediator to get through to Lissa’s father, and the perfect person to do that is your child’s pediatrician. Let the doctor tell Daddy that the more she is given sweets, the more she’ll crave them.
The only thing about your approach that might be of concern to me is your calling yourself a “by-the-book” mother. A conscientious parent not only goes by the book and is consistent, but she also uses her head and listens to her heart. I hope you will remember that.