Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Gino's Generalisations - 'Fussy' isn't Always a Choice

Pink Desk with Corner of Keyboard VisibleIt's a common bugbear amongst experienced parents, when other people pass judgement on your parenting skills, your children's behaviour, or any other aspect of your family life. It's not actually limited to parenting, no one likes to be judged by people who have not walked in their shoes. For the purposes of keeping this short, though, I am going to focus on the particularly superior and judge-y parent-bashers, who think they know best. Some are parents, some are not and one is a famous celebrity chef who jolly well ought to know better. I don't have any pictures of Gino D'Acampo, so I will be illustrating this post with cake, although my son would not eat it if it had jam in the middle, because he doesn't like jam. So there.


Firstly, a brief history for anyone who didn't see Gino D'Acampo's daft comment on This Morning yesterday. During a segment where Gino made some very good points about getting children involved in cooking and preparing food, he ruined it all with this one sweeping statement. I'm going to put it in big letters, so you can absorb the full magnitude of it. *ahem*

"FUSSY CHILDREN ARE THE RESULT OF STUPID PARENTS"

Now, this was clearly expected to get a reaction, based on Philip's paraphrasing and that exact quote being emblazoned across the screen within seconds of it leaving Gino's face. So, I'm wondering whether I ought to be giving it a reaction, really, but I can't help but feel for all the parents who have struggled with this issue. I know I have, and it is not something I would ever be flippant about. Parents go through all kinds of Hell with their children's eating issues, ranging from phobias, to symptoms of other conditions, such as Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder, all causing children to struggle to eat certain foods. The behaviour can seem irrational, unreasonable, and it's certainly extremely frustrating. Often, food issues relate to texture, colour or smell, it doesn't have to be taste, and it can be really hard for parents to understand what is going on in their child's head. It can be very distressing, because a parent's natural instinct is to nurture their child, so to be unable to do that, because the child gets ditressed, chokes, or is sick, can make them feel inadequate and, frankly, a bit crap. So, even if something like this is said in a flippant 'jokey' way, it can still cause a lot of heartache for people, who don't eed to be told they are stupid, on top of all the other guilt they are probably feeling.

White Cupcakes on Wire Stand


There is one very important point to consider in all this, though, and that's the definition of 'fussy'. If, in Gino's defence, he meant fussy in another context, such as; 'normally eats something, but then decides they don't want it on a particular day and will probably decide they like it again a few days later', that's a totally different thing to having a medical or psychological reason for struggling with certain foods. That's just being a bit annoying and there may be a case for not 'giving in' and perhaps being a bit firmer, if you, as a parent, think that would work. However, that is every individual parent's choice to make, and no parent is 'stupid' for using their instinct, or knowledge of their children, to go a different way. Most importantly, it is no one else's business. When you are on the TV, some people see you as being an authority, particularly in your field (in this case, food) so, if you make sweeping generalisations, even without meaning to, you run the risk of upsetting a lot of people. You also run the risk of alienating a significant proportion of your audience, by calling them stupid. Which kind of makes you stupid, if you ask me. 
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28 comments

  1. I didn't catch this episode of This Morning, but have seen the comments discussed online. As with everything to do with children (or adults for that matter) there is a lot to consider and generalising comments can't be made.

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    1. Exactly, you can never know anyone else's situation, even if it seems straightforward.

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  2. Whilst I understand that things like what Gino said can be infuriating for some, I try not to let things like that worry me. I think sometimes people only say things for something to say, without necessarily having a deep meaning behind it, like saying, for example, "how are you?" as a form of saying hello, or saying "is it you next?" at a wedding or "when are you having a baby." straight after you've got married etc. As for Gino, if I were in that situation of being on live TV, I'd hate to think what nonsense would be spouted from my mouth which, when I heard it back/found out about it/whatever I would be cringing about!

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    1. He's such a likeable guy, I just think he could have phrased it better, but I would be the same as you, foot in mouth everytime!

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  3. I agree with Diane - I'd let Gino's comments go over your head as, I'm not being funny, he has said some pretty silly things and made a few blunders in the past. Every child is different - it doesn't matter on how they are raised - and everyone's tastes are different. The world would be a very boring place if everyone liked the same things...

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    1. If he had used a different word, instead of stupid, I think it wouldn't have been so bad, but that is a pretty strong word. There is a bit of a language issue, though, so he may not have meant it as strongly as it came out!

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  4. I like Gino and sometimes he says crazy stuff but not sure he says it carrying the full weight of the words. I can't same much as I am not a parent so I abstain lol

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    1. Ha ha, very wise! Part of me felt he didn't mean it how it came out, but I can't help thinking he could have tried a bit harder with the wording.

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  5. No Gono, you've gone right down in my books. My middle son is really fussy but it's more of a sensory thing which he can't help. I have 2 sons who eat anything so not sure where that puts me on the stupid parent guage!

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    1. This was exactly my thoughts! I have one child who eats anything and one who is very sensory with food, so perhaps I'm only half stupid?!

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  6. Maybe he should have said fussy children are the result of worried parents. We all worry about our children, are they eating enough, and will they like the food.

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    1. That is so true. I honestly feel if he had worded it differently, it wouldn't have had such a negative impact.

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  7. I do like Gino Di' Campo but that comment about children and their parents is ridiculous x He needed to word it differently I think x

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    1. Yes, I think more considered phrasing would have made a world of difference.

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  8. I did not see this show as I don't watch daytime Tv but I think it is awful he said something like that. My 3-year-old is a very fussy eater and has been since she was a baby, we tried all sorts to get her to eat and she just point blank refused. We recently found out she has very low iron and this is why he refuses certain foods xx

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    1. All children are different, that's exatly it. I hope her iron improves and she finds her way to things she likes. Mine did. eventually, I just had to be really patient!

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  9. I did not see this. I think all children are different and like and dislike different foods. Just because they may not like something now, doesn't mean they might not like it in the future. If my children don't like something I let them leave it, I don't want to eat something I do not like :)

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    1. Exactly, they are just smaller humans, after all!

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  10. Lots of siblings are very different in other ways too, my fella had two lots of nieces and nephews who are very different from their sibling

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  11. I have particular dietary needs due to allergies and would hate to be described as fussy. Meanwhile my kids like things one day and hate it the next. Everyone has different likes and dislikes, I hate peas and carrots, I accept the kids won't like certain things. Context and background is important.

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    1. Context is definitely the right word in this situation!

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  12. I think I was quite fussy about the food when I was little now I almost can eat everything and I absolutely love to get adventurous with my food.

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    1. I think a lot of little ones grow out of their fussiness, especially if they are not pressured and parents can try to stay relaxed about it, it's not always easy though!

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  13. I didn't see it but I love Gino for his blunders and daft comments. English is not his first language and he probably could phrased it better but I think sometimes he has a point

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    1. I wondered if maybe he didn't mean to use such a strong word.

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  14. Kids like what they like and Gino generalising like that did not help parents who worry over whether they are responsible for their childrens habits!

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    1. Yes, it's a minefield being a parent, we need support not criticising!

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