7 Awful Side Effects of Force-Feeding Children


Forced feeding, or the practice of pressuring or coercing children to eat, can have harmful effects on their physical and emotional well-being. Forced feeding can be considered a boundary violation because it involves an adult crossing the boundaries of a child’s autonomy and bodily integrity.

force feeding


In This Article:

Force Feeding Your Child: Every Parent Needs to Know

What Force-Feeding Actually is?

Force-feeding is basically the use of physical or psychological force to make a child eats something that he is not willing to eat. Parents are seen controlling the following aspects of a child’s meal:

  • What he will eat
  • How much he should eat
  • And at what time he will eat

Read More:Food Coloring and Dyes in Your Kids Diet: Are they Safe?


Why Do Parents Force Feed their Kids?

The most common reason why parents force-feed their children is that they want their kids to grow up to be healthy and strong. They feel insecure about their kids’ physical stature.

Parents also believe that if the food is on the plate, it should eventually land in their child’s tummy. But this is not the case; the child would eat the amount of food his stomach permits.

Read More:11 Ways to Prevent Spitting Up in Babies

What are the Side Effects of Force-Feeding?

Force-feeding a child can lead to various side effects and you must be aware of them to give your child a healthy upbringing. Here are some of the major side effects of pressuring a child to eat:

  • Pressuring a child to eat undermines their ability to learn proper appetite control. He must be allowed to recognize his body’s hunger and fullness signals. Force-feeding disables a child’s ability to know when to stop. He stops when his plate is empty or when his parents say it’s okay to stop. This may result in force-feeding weight gain as the child intakes more than required.
  • It also makes your kids irritated as they feel like they are not being in control of their eating habits.
  • Since they are forced to eat, they never truly enjoy the meal and meal time. They also start developing a strong disliking towards it.
  • A feeling of nausea or upset stomach is another common side effect of forced eating. Forced eating affects their digestive systems as they do not chew properly in anger or eat carelessly.
  • Bbw force-feeding will not allow your child to make the right food choices as they won’t be able to understand the nutritional value of foods.
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia are likely to develop when your kids grow up.
  • The child may get injured accidentally by the plate or spoon being used during the force-feeding. In case of infants, fragments of food can get into the child’s lungs leading to suffocation.

Read More:How Much Should a Newborn Eat?: Month By Month Schedule

How to Handle Picky Eaters?

A majority of the parents complain that their kids are picky when it comes to eating. And therefore, they switch to force-feeding so that they can give proper diet and nutrition to their kids.

However, it does more harm than good. There are better ways to handle picky eaters and provide proper nutrition. Some of the ways to provide proper diet without force-feeding are mentioned below.

Family Style

Have a meal together as a family to avoid any media distractions such as TV or phones at mealtime. Try to cook at least one food item of your child’s choice along with providing a balanced meal, whether he eats it or not.

Food Fights

If your kid refuses a meal, avoid fussing over it. Your child should learn to listen to their body and use hunger as a guide. It is the parents’ responsibility to offer food and the child’s decision to eat it. Pressuring can make them actively dislike foods they may like otherwise.


Don’t Give Up

If your child refuses to eat a particular food, you must not give up. Offer him new foods as it may take as many as 10 or more times before a kid’s taste buds accept it. Apart from that, you should schedule the meals and limit the snacks so that your child is hungry when new food is introduced.

Variety is the Key

You must offer a variety of healthy food to your kids having vegetables and fruits. Allow your child to explore new flavours and textures in food. Offer the food in small amounts so as to minimize the waste.

Make Food Fun

Make the food look irresistible so that the kids enjoy eating it. For instance, you can cut solid food into bite-size pieces they can eat themselves, or serve a dip along with the food.

Crossing Bridges

Once your child accepts a particular food, use what nutritionists call ‘food bridges’ and introduce other similar items to expand the variety. For instance, if your child likes pumpkin pie, offer mashed potatoes and later mashed carrots.

How Do Parents Inculcate Good Eating Habits in their Child?

By teaching good eating habits, and depicting them in yourself, you can help your kids maintain a healthy weight and normal growth. It will also help your kids maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults.


Here is how you can inculcate good eating habits in your kids:

  • Teach your child to eat slowly and chew properly. This will help him detect hunger and fullness better.
  • Have your meal together as a family. When your kids see you eat the same food items, they are more likely to intimate and enjoy the food more.
  • Avoid junk food as much as possible and prepare healthy snacks at home such as whole wheat banana muffins.
  • Make sure that your kids keep sipping on water throughout the day. A child of 3-4 years requires one liter of water per day.

The show must go on, keep rotating foods along with introducing new items from time to time.

The Bottom Line

Apart from being your kids’ role model, you should let them decide their meal times, preferences and other things. This will help you in a long way by inculcating good eating habits in your kids. It is highly important that your kids eat healthy food, but not at the cost of force-feeding them. If your child is posing a serious problem while eating, you can contact a doctor.


Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy and Healthy Babies!!