Twin Toddlers Demonstrate that “Good Eating” is Due to Personality

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When our kids are fussy eaters, poor sleepers, difficult to breastfeed or (fill in the blank) parents often wonder if WE did something wrong and if so how do we fix it?

As a mom of twins I find it particularly interesting watching my boys grow side by side and noticing how similar and different they can be depending on the situation.

My kids eat unusual “kiddie” meals like salad, all meats, fish, and most recently lobster. Well one did anyway. The other preferred to play with the lobster (who wouldn’t?)

YUMMY!

Mason loved his first lobster experience in Maine. He especially liked dipping the morsels in butter mmmmmmmmmm……

And then looking for more goodies on the inside:

I have raised incredible eaters. Well wait a minute. Is it my hard work or just due to their personality and genetics (both parents are self professed foodies)?

When I breastfed the twins, one latched and fed like a champ, while the other twin had several issues with latching. My lesson from that is that I did everything the same, so it had to be down to individual differences.

I am sure moms out there know how devastating it can be when breastfeeding isn’t successful especially if you want it to be.  Having twins was a blessing in this regard because I was able to see it wasn’t something I was doing wrong, as one breastfed successfully, it was more due to what my son and I both brought to the table in our unique breastfeeding relationship.

So back to my original question, are we doing something wrong (or right, actually) if we have poor eaters, healthy eaters, bad sleepers or good breast feeders? Or is it down to their personality and what they bring to the table?

I know my Psychology peers would be mortified if I now claimed that children’s eating preferences are due to personality based on my one case study of my twins, but it definitely gives us something to think about.

I am a behaviorist at heart so I do believe even though we do have certain preferences, our behaviors can certainly be modified with the correct interventions.

So yes I will take a little credit for my kids being great eaters, because I feel I have exposed them to a varied diet.

But I also feel parents can give themselves a little break when they are faced with tough situations, and (in my opinion) know that maybe its down to their kids personality and genetics, but with a little help or encouragement the parents can help change the behavior in the end.

About Twin Mom

34 year old, born in a small steel town in South Africa, now living in a large Steel City in the US. Mother of twins and loving every moment.
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34 Responses to Twin Toddlers Demonstrate that “Good Eating” is Due to Personality

  1. Taylor says:

    I think a child’s initial eating habits are purely due to their individual personality. As they get older, the way they eat is a combination of personal preferences and behaviors picked up from those around them.

    • Twin Mom says:

      I definitely think we can be good role models when it comes to eating. My twins are often eating off of my plate!

  2. Michele says:

    Tough call–I will say this–I have always been a very not so picky eater–so was my Dad–my Mom–ate nothing much but did give me things she knew she did not like–now add in the fact that I was adopted (at a very young age)—I definitely think genetics has a lot to do with it!!

  3. Loreina says:

    I have honestly not put much thought to it. My kids were never picky eaters when they were young. My oldest still isn’t. My youngest is 8, and she’s going through this whiney/picky phase. I’ve always told them to try something once.

  4. This is a great question. My opinion is if you expose children to a variety of foods at a young age they are more than likely going to be better eaters (just my opinion-no hate mail please). I never allowed my kids to eat something different. I made the food and they ate it. There are things they don’t like of course. However, they have always at least tried it.

    • Twin Mom says:

      As a first time parent I was a little too worried about what was “right and wrong” when it came to diet. My nanny was more adventurous and it made me push the limits a little. I never fed them anything that was known to be unhealthy or “dangerous” at a young age – but we were adventurous :)

  5. Great article! I’m not sure how I feel…I have one very picky eater, but the other kids are not picky at all. I saw the same growing up where I had 2 brothers that were very picky (one more than the other) while my oldest brother and I were not picky at all.

  6. Sharon Green says:

    I think it has lots to do with a child’s personality but additionally, parents that have a dislike for a certain food will most likely not serve it to their child thereby passing down the dislike to the next generation.

    • Twin Mom says:

      Good point. My mum hated beetroot though but she still served it to us thank heavens – I love it, especially because it’s so healthy. Glad she didn’t restrict us.

  7. I totally think it’s personality. My son would eat onions, hot peppers, and pickles when he was like 2! They say that spicy foods can actually calm ADHD kids down so maybe he was craving them! I’d be cutting up onions and he’d reach up onto the cutting board and take some!

  8. Alaina Bullock says:

    I believe a child’s eating habits have a lot to do with personality, but that parents can guide them in an appropriate direction, and of course, teach them the benefits of eating healthy!

  9. I agree that every child is their own person and they choose what they want to eat. I always try and offer my kids a wide variety of options. In fact, my youngest has surprised me and enjoys eating things I figured that he would turn his head away from.

  10. Lexie says:

    Oh my gosh! Are you kidding me right now? I’m so jealous! There is no way my son would get near a lobster! I absolutely LOVE shellfish. I can’t believe how well they did! You should be super proud!

    • Twin Mom says:

      Lexie just think how expensive these eaters are LOL! In my day the kids got the burgers and the adults got steak 😉

  11. rhonda says:

    Yes, yes, so true.

    Picky eaters can either stress you out, or teach you to remember that they’re just kids; they will likely outgrow it with continued pressure-free efforts on our part.

    I love that you expose them to so many different meals. This has me really craving seafood, though. And Maine!? I’ll bet it was delicious!!

  12. Anna M says:

    The first thing I thought was WOW your kids have an expensive appetite! lol but on a serious note, I definitely think that one part of food preference comes down to personality. My daughter loves trying new things and surprises me all the time!

    I love that you’ll be able to watch the differences between your twins through time, you really do have your own little personal case study at home!

  13. Sharon says:

    I’ll just bet having twins helped your perspective. I watched all six of mine blow my mind with what they like to eat and what they don’t. And I wish I’d read this when I started nursing back in 1990. Six kids,nursed them all and only half of them nursed over a year. The older three and I struggled with the latching thing a lot. Thankfully though, as they grow, they tend to experiment more with their diets

  14. I remember reading an article about children’s eating habits being learned, and him making a reference to children in the far north eating blubber while children by the equator grow up eating exotic fruit, implying that whatever is offered becomes the norm. I think personality plays a huge role. You can have two children one who pushes the limit and another who is overly compliant, most likely the one who comes off as more picky will be the one who pushes the limit. Another interesting study for you, my one son use to be an amazing eater he’d eat anything, at 4 he got cancer, with the radiation and chemo he completely lost his appetite, his doctors were telling us any calorie is a good calorie, we offered him everything under the sun, things most sane parents would never offer their child for a meal but we were desperate to get him to eat. Finally with the help of drugs, and anything he wanted we got him eating again. Well, we are 2 years off treatment now and we are still working at breaking his picky habits. He is getting better at eating what we make, but he can be relentless at times.

    • Twin Mom says:

      Oh my gosh Cheryl, getting that news at 4 years old must have been the scariest moment of your life! I would absolutely have done what you did – feed him anything he would eat. Sending you and your family lots of hugs and prayers xoxo

  15. Andrea says:

    I have two boys that are 2 1/2 years apart. The oldest eats so healthy, the youngest eats junk. I can’t force a veggie into that kid. They get the exact same dinner nearly every night and one plate is empty, the other is asking for more mac n cheese while the cucumber salad goes untouched!

    • Twin Mom says:

      And the great thing is you put cucumber salad on the plate even though you know he wont eat it! Good job mama!

  16. Rachel Joy says:

    I’d have to say it’s a combination of both nature and nurture, I have three kids and while the sight of anything green or leafy makes my 8 year old gag, my daughter is indifferent, and my youngest loves eating lettuce as a snack…Lettuce of all things. hmmm maybe it’s also an influence of their past lives. I’m seriously considering my 3 year old was a rabbit in his past life and some of those traits just stuck…

  17. OUPA says:

    Yummy. I’m so proud of Mason.
    What’s wrong with a “SPUR” burger?I”m so hungry I think I’ll go out and get one now.
    LOL

  18. Interesting, maybe it’s the personality has something to do with the eating habit… Great article! :)

  19. Sista says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you can and do expose your children to such a vast variety of things. It’s such a blessing which I know you are very grateful for. Well done Mason for giving it a go, and nothing wrong with Cameron not wanting too. I am sure there are things Mason won’t try that Cameron will. Miss you guys and what great photos xxx

  20. Sarah says:

    Oh my goodness! What a blessing to read this today, especially as we work to help our foster kiddos establish better eating habits.

    … Delighted to meet you.

    I hope you don’t mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip my toes into some serious momma goodness.

    Your words splash me with encouragement. I would be honored to have you splash some other mommas as well. This post (or another fave) would be such a blessing to share. Just moms. Sharing our notes. Creating a melody.

    I jot a few notes on Monday, but its a jump in whenever you can melody. We get the filled to the brim momma schedules.

    Splashin’
    Sarah
    http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-new-to-do.html

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