I am the parent of a severe picky eater.

I know a lot of parents are rolling their eyes about the new Duke University study that links severe picky eating to psychiatric issues like anxiety and depression. They’re thinking that this is just another inconsequential thing for helicopter parents to fear and fret about when their kids won’t eat broccoli. That’s okay. For most parents, it is insignificant, but for me, witnessing this study presented as a lead news story on the morning shows and repeated throughout the day on cable news networks, online parenting sites, and social media was profound.

I am the parent of a severe picky eater.

I am the parent of a child who eats separate meals and has a hard time eating in the school cafeteria, at birthday parties and friend’s houses, and in restaurants.

I am the parent who has been told for years, “He’ll grow out of it” and “You’ll laugh about this someday.”

I am the parent who has been judged over and over again for allowing and enabling my child’s picky eating habits.

I am the parent who has tried everything.

I am the parent of a child who has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.

I am the parent who is glad it finally has a name.

I am heartbroken every day watching my child’s limited diet limit him, but I’m hopeful that this new research will validate our struggle and help us access the best care possible. I’m optimistic that greater awareness will encourage the medical community and insurance industry to get on board with informed support and financial coverage, and above all, I’m hopeful that this study will foster acceptance from parents, friends, family members, educators, pediatricians, coaches, and anyone else who has a severe picky eater in their life.



Filed under food, food issues, sensory processing disorder

6 responses to “I am the parent of a severe picky eater.

  1. Totally feel you! I am one of those mothers as well. So tired of listening to people say she’s picky because we allow it, or because we don’t try hard enough… ugh. I too welcome awareness.


  2. My son is in the same boat. Fortunately he is 3rd generation that I know of and his father has the same issues so it is not freaky or foreign to us and we understand and can work with it. Even some of the same aversions are shared by father, son, and grandma! I have seen my husband vomit from certain foods. I think the big thing I learned is to keep trying things and keep repeating healthy stuff they like. Oh and try not to take it personally!


  3. Thank you so much for this. I am also the mama of a severe picky eater and feel exactly as you. I fluctuate personally between “he will be fine, one day he will mature” and “Am I pushing him enough?” Because he literally tells me he is scared to even try a new food, I get so sick/sad of packing his lunch bag EVERYWHERE we go. And getting those judgemental looks. And peds saying he will grow out of it and offering no further help except to force hm to eat a few bites of something new or he can’t eat his usual food at a meal. So frustrated.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s