As I was visiting with a client about how her child was eating, I noticed out of the corner of my eye the child listening to the mother talk about what a "picky eater" the child was. The child seemed to be smiling and feeling proud that the mother was talking about him.
"Hmmm," I thought to myself, "the child is loving this attention!" Then I started noticing this with more and more families I work with. The children lived up to what they heard their moms talking about with others. This may or may not be to get attention. However, the main point is that children love to please thier parents. "This makes mommy proud" is the impression I got.
I have sinced promoted discussions and counsel for families to instead use the word "choosy" or "selective" instead of labeling their child as "picky." This can be more positive and when children hear a parent say they are "choosy," they can grow into that expectation and parents are less frustrated. The child can then be set up to choose this or that based on only two options presented to them at meals or snacks. They can practice "choosing" from healthy options and learn habits that will help them when faced with choices at school or away from home.