We talk with Katja Rowell, MD, about the feeding approach known as the Division of Responsibility to learn how to implement it, why it works so well to reduce mealtime struggles, and some common issues that can pop up when parents start using this approach with their kids. This is the approach I take to feeding my own kids and I can’t recommend it enough!
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Meet Katja Rowell
Katja is a doctor who specializes in helping parents to navigate the difficult world of picky eating. She’s known as “the feeding doctor” and has a great tagline that says “Be a Mom, Not a Food Cop.” We spoke with Katja for her take on the division of responsibility and she was even able to answer many feeding questions.
Helping Your Child With Extreme Picky Eating
Katja is the co-author of the book, Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating, which is the one I always recommend to families who are totally in the weeds with their kids eating. It’s relatable and easy to read and is a great resource to refer to whenever issues arise.
How the Division of Responsibility Works
This feeding approach, which was created by the feeding therapist and psychotherapist Ellyn Satter can be summed up as:
- The parent decides what to serve for meals and when the meals happen.
- The kids decide what to eat from what’s on offer and how much.
The goal is to avoid situations that pressure or coerce kids into eating more than they are naturally hungry for (or simply don’t want) and to reduce power struggles at the table.
The goal is to allow kids to follow their natural hunger and fullness cues without us getting in the way and telling them how much to eat–since we simply can’t know what amount of food is right for them.
How the DOR Helps with Feeding Struggles
There are so many variables when it comes to feeding kids, but this feeding approach can help so much with balancing out power struggles and picky eat. We tackle some issues in the episode including:
- What to do when your child is being fed by people at school and activities who don’t follow this approach.
- What to do when your child is being fed what seems like too many snacks by other people.
- How to handle holidays when relatives might be pressuring the kids to eat in ways that you don’t at home.
- How to handle kids with wildly variable appetites.
- How to know when kids truly aren’t hungry and when they just don’t like what’s on offer.
- What to do when kids beg for snacks right after meals.
- What to do when kids beg for food you don’t really think they should be eating or drinking.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this podcast episode, so please comment below or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you have feedback on meal planning or have a general feeding kids question for us, we’d love to hear from you!