142: Division of Responsibility with Ellyn Satter

Do you worry that your child isn’t eating enough…or is eating too much?
Do you wish they would eat a more balanced diet…but don’t want to be the Vegetable Police?
Do you find yourself in constant negotiations over your child’s favorite snacks?
You’re not alone!
Join me for a conversation with Ellyn Satter MS, MSSW, author of many books including Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense. Ms. Satter developed the approach to feeding children that’s known as Division of Responsibility, which means that the parent is responsible for the what, when, and where of eating, and the child is responsible for whether and how much.
It all sounds pretty simple, but when you’re actually navigating eating with your child it can seem a whole lot more complicated:
  • Should we worry about our child’s eating in the long term if they won’t eat vegetables now?
  • Should we restrict access to children’s food?
  • What should we do about picky eating?
Ms. Satter helps us to understand her ideas on these important questions and much more.
In the conversation we discussed some questions that you can answer to identify whether you are what Ms. Satter defines as Eating Competent:

Do you agree or disagree with these statements?

  • I enjoy food and
  • I am comfortable with my enjoyment of food and
  • I take an interest in unfamiliar food.
  • I eat as much as I am hungry for.
  • I plan for feeding myself.

Agreeing with these statements indicates you are likely Eating Competent. Disagreeing means you are missing out on eating as one of life’s great pleasures and putting up with a lot of unnecessary misery. Do you have to be miserable to eat well and be healthy? Not at all. People who are Eating Competent eat better and are healthier: they weigh less, have better medical tests, and function better, emotionally and socially.


About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

Her Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership group supports parents in putting the research into action in their real lives, with their real families. Find more info at www.YourParentingMojo.com/Membership

She also launched the most comprehensive course available to help parents decide whether homeschooling could be right for their family. Find out more about it – and take a free seven-question quiz to get a personalized assessment of your own homeschooling readiness at www.YourHomeschoolingMojo.com

And for parents who are committed to public school but recognize the limitations in that system, she has a course to help support children's learning in school at https://jenlumanlan.teachable.com/p/school

Leave a Comment