Understanding children take a lot of patience and cooperation from both sides - the parents and the child. It is not easy, but it needs to be done, especially since the early years of an individual's life are crucial for their emotional and physical wellbeing. Ms. Jessica See, a Certified Professional Trainer, Certified Health Coach and the founder of Health Coach International and Health Coach Academy is here to help us understand our children better in terms of nutritional needs, as well as how we can discipline them by using the Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Jessica See, a Certified Professional Trainer, Certified Health Coach and the founder of Health Coach International and Health Coach Academy 1. Recently, you did address how to deal with children with tantrums and picky eaters. What triggers these tantrums? (environmental changes etc) Ms. Jessica See: We\u2019re often so rooted in our perspective as parents that we can forget that picky eating is hard on our kids, too. But the better we can understand what they\u2019re thinking and feeling, how their body feels, the better we can problem-solve and overcome picky eating as a family. Reasons Why Kids Refused Certain Foods Here are some possible reasons why they don\u2019t want to eat certain foods: \tI don\u2019t like the way that food tastes or feels in my mouth. \tI\u2019ve never seen this food before and I have no idea what to expect. \tThis food looks like something else I know I don\u2019t like. \tI don\u2019t feel safe or comforted by this food. \tI\u2019m worried there\u2019s nothing here that I can eat, and I\u2019ll go hungry. \tI\u2019m embarrassed or ashamed that I can\u2019t face the foods that others are eating What Kids Actually Need from Their Parents And because of that, here\u2019s what they need from their parents: \tI need to be assured that the food tastes good. \tI need to be assured that the food doesn\u2019t taste like something else I know I don\u2019t like. \tI need to know I won\u2019t be scolded if I decide I don\u2019t like the taste. \tI need to feel safe or comforted by this food. \tI need to know I won\u2019t go hungry. \tI need control. \tI need to feel good and that everyone is proud of how brave I am. So parents can respond: \tI know that you have never seen this food before and you have no idea what to expect. \tThis broccoli doesn\u2019t taste like (something else you don\u2019t like). It\u2019s actually a little crunchy, and you would love the melted butter on it. \tYou won\u2019t be scolded if you decide you don\u2019t like the taste. \tYou want mummy and daddy to feel proud of how brave you are. \tCan I get you to take a bite? If you don\u2019t like the taste, you can spit it out into your spit bowl. It could also be the fault of the parent(s): \tLetting your child snack continuously throughout the day, \u201cgrazing\u201d on preferred foods instead of sitting down for planned meals. \tMaking separate meals for your picky eater. \tPressuring your child to eat during meals (this can sound like \u201cjust one more bite.\u201d) \tUsing food as a reward or bribe for good behaviour. \tBe a good role model; eat the same foods. 2. Continuing from the first question, what triggers picky eating? Do picky eating issues correlate to sudden changes in the environment? Ms. Jessica See: Some are behavioural issues: \tPicky eating \u2013 preference for certain foods, colours, brands. \tDifficulty with transitioning to age-appropriate diet \u2013 texture issues. \tIncreased sensory sensitivity \u2013 smells, temperatures, light. \tShort attention span. \tLimited variety in the diet \u2013 stick to \u2018safe\u2019 familiar foods. \tNeed for routine \u2013 eat at a certain place & time. What could else could be causing childhood behavioural problems? Research suggests that heavy metal toxicity may be one of the underlying causes of childhood behavioural disorders, including ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and tics. *Philippe Grandjean & Philip Landrigan, The Lancet Neurology, 2014 Report 3. In what aspects are considered a healthy baby, in terms of mental and physical? Ms. Jessica See: Many factors to assess: Growth parameters: \tGrowth charts \tOverweight or Underweight? Calorific Intake: \tDetailed food history\/diary \tEstimate calorie intake & expenditure Nutrient Intake: \tLook for symptoms of deficiencies \tBlood tests, Bioresonance assessments 4. Children need to be disciplined in order to survive the outside world. How to raise them to understand and follow proper instructions? Ms. Jessica See: I train parents how to use non-violent communication with their kids. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) \u2013 also called\u00a0compassionate communication\u00a0or\u00a0collaborative communication - is an approach based on principles of\u00a0nonviolence, which evolved from concepts used in\u00a0person-centred therapy, and was developed by clinical psychologist\u00a0Marshall Rosenberg\u00a0beginning in the 1960s and 1970s. NVC focuses on effective strategies for meeting\u00a0fundamental needs for all parties \u2013 both parents and kids \u2013 in a conversation. The goal is interpersonal harmony and obtaining knowledge for future cooperation. The four components of NVC are\u00a0Observations, Feelings, Needs and Requests and NVC deals with expressing honestly\/receiving empathically through the four components. So the emphasis here is to observe and understand how the child feels (as well as communicate how you the parent feels), assess their (and your) needs and then follow with a request, not a demand. 5. Children are active and curious. Is limiting them, in order to keep them safe considered a setback to their growth? Ms. Jessica See: You may refer to the NVC approach above. 6. COVID-19 has turned this generation into a full digital era. Is it healthy to give children gadgets in order to stop them from throwing tantrums? Are there any other ways to calm them down without gadgets? Ms. Jessica See: Device addiction is becoming a real problem, and often, it is the fault of the parents. Many use this as a way to keep their kids occupied (so they don\u2019t get disturbed). Well, it is definitely not healthy at all. If you are the parent, you are in control. Don\u2019t blame it on the kid. Again go back to the NVC approach \u2013 what is the real need of the kid? Would it be to be entertained? To feel important and appreciated? (Some feel a sense of accomplishment when they have reached certain levels in a game, for example.) How can you as a parent meet these needs, rather than just put a device in their hands? 7. Parents only want the best for their children. Do parents need to send their children to an education\/therapy centre in order to speed up their intelligence at an early age or let them learn at their own pace? Ms. Jessica See: You need to spend more time with them! 8. Does food only contribute to children\u2019s growth? What type of food do children need in order to develop their growth to ideal height, weight and ideal intelligence? Ms. Jessica See: Children need these nutritions throughout their growth development: Basics of nutrition: \tGood eating habits and a balanced diet \tNutrients required for body functions \tEnergy (calories) \tOptimal health \tGrowth & development in children Essential macronutrients & micronutrients: \tCarbohydrates, Proteins & Fats \tVitamins, minerals, trace elements, fiber \tWater Carbohydrates for Energy \tAll carbs break down into glucose \tSimple vs Complex Carbs \tCan affect mood & behaviours \tNeed a variety of complex carbs \tAlso contains vitamins & minerals Fats for Energy and Brain Development \tEye development \tSkin & hair growth \tInsulation\/ body temperature \tFat soluble vitamins ADEK \tOmega 3 fats - anti-inflammatory; improves mood Vitamins and Mineral for Growth and Development \tvitamin B \u2013 brain function & mood \tCalcium, vit D, magnesium & phosphorus \tvitamin A, selenium, zinc & vitamin C \tIron, folate, B vitamins \u2013 O2 delivery \tIodine \u2013 thyroid function \tAntioxidants Fibre for Healthy Intestines \tSoluble & insoluble \tKeeps bowel movement regular \tImproves digestion \tAids in developing good bacteria \tIodine \u2013 thyroid function \tFound in whole grains, fruits and vegetables Water \tBody is over 60% water \tDehydration impairs body functions \tReduces concentration, memory \tAlters mood & behaviour \tConfusion & slow reaction \tDecreases athletic performance \tAdds stress to the body Most kids do not drink enough. It\u2019s important to know your child\u2019s needs as these may be different from another child. The diet must be individualized depending on: \tEnergy requirements \tAny special needs \u2013 nutrients, protein \tActivity \tMechanical issues \tBehavioral issues I would encourage parents to connect with a certified health coach specializing in children\u2019s health to assess their individual needs. 9. In your field, you must have seen many extreme cases. Can you share any rare cases where you find the children\u2019s growth extraordinary? Ms. Jessica See: One thing which I have observed and got great success in, is using nutritional intervention in special needs kids or kids with behavioural issues. Nutrient deficiency is an often ignored area \u2013 as parents decide to use therapists or send the child for more classes, etc, which is not bad. I have found in hundreds of cases, how problems may be arising \u2013 mental health, depression, brain issues \u2013 simply because of a lack of certain nutrients in the body, massive inflammation happening in the brain that needs to be cleared, overload of toxins and heavy metals, etc. I have worked with such children and seen wonderful results. Sarah Candida, with her son, Neil Keshav. (Image Credit: Sarah Candida) \u201cMy son was diagnosed as ADHD impulsive when he was 10 years old. While 2 years on stimulants helped him control certain behaviours associated with ADHD to\u00a0some extent, it did not help him academically at all. The stimulants caused him to lose appetite and sleep. My son was not coping well in school, failing just about all his exams. These led my son to become more aggressive with very frequent meltdowns and caused him to abscond school. My son also began to\u00a0suffer anxiety which\u00a0eventually led to depression.\u00a0 Providing him with the needed nutrients was the "magic potion" that brought about my son's amazing transformation. In just 10 days on what was recommended by Coach Jessica, we managed to reduce the stimulants my son was on. The return of his cognitive ability and executive functions became more and more apparent with each passing day.\u00a0 In just 1.5 months, my son went from failing maths to accomplishing Heuristics maths and he is doing so much better academically. My son is now doing very well in group tuition, something which was not possible before. His tuition and school teachers are amazed at how different my son is in school now, noting that he is much happier, more confident, more participative in class and so determined to do well. Absconding school is not an issue anymore!\u00a0 His progress has left both his doctors and teachers stumped! - Sarah Candida, mother of Neil Keshav, age 12 (Primary 6) 10. Last but not least, what would be your word(s) of advice to all parents regarding children\u2019s physical and mental health, especially since the outburst of COVID-19 pandemic? Ms. Jessica See: Learn and practice NVC \u2013 truly transformational! A special thanks to Ms. Jessica See for her sharing that are surely beneficial for all parents out there. For your information, Ms. Jessica is also one of the speakers at Maybank\u2019s Parenting Webinar Series\u00a0back in October. Stay tuned to Mamahood Story for more parenting tips and discussions with experts!