DR. WALLACE: My mom is a fantastic cook, but my one challenge with her is that I have to eat everything that’s on my plate before I can leave the table.
Usually this is no problem at all. She always says that she shops in a manner that ensures our family has healthy, balanced meals. She says her goal for me is to grow up to be healthy. I understand and truly appreciate this, and I love my mom and her cooking very much. But there’s one vegetable she cooks about once every two weeks that I have a big problem with. It’s eggplant!
I’ve tried to eat eggplant, but I gag whenever it’s in my mouth. I’ve told my mom I don’t like it, but she insists that I should eat it anyway. How can I get mom to give me a pass on just this one disgusting vegetable? — Forced To Eat Eggplant, via email
FORCED TO EAT EGGPLANT: Make sure your mother reads my response to your question. Your request is common, even if the vegetables vary. I’ve had teens write in to complain about beets, olives, peas and mushrooms, to name a few. Yours, however, is the first letter specifically about eggplant. But no matter the vegetable, my answer remains the same.
Parents should not force or manipulate children to eat specific vegetables before they can enjoy a dessert the rest of the family will be given. Reinforcement of a balanced diet is the key! Your mother sounds like one of the leaders on this front, so I’m a bit surprised that she would not give you a pass on the eggplant and perhaps let you eat green beans or broccoli instead. The best, most practical rule of thumb I’ve heard is to not force a child to eat each and every vegetable, but to find a few that they do enjoy and continue to add new vegetables slowly for them to try. Parents should not panic if children do not like specific vegetables, nor should children be forced to try every type of vegetable the world offers.
MOM IS WORRIED ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SAFETY
DR. WALLACE: I just started high school this fall, and I want to play sports. I want to play football, but I did not try out over the summer, so our 2021 teams are all set already for varsity, junior varsity and even for the freshman/sophomore football teams.
My mom and I have watched professional football on TV and cheered for our favorite teams for many years. But when it comes to me wanting to play football in the 2022 school year, when I’ll be a high school sophomore, mom thinks football is too dangerous and physically demanding. How do I convince my mom I can play football and stay safe at the same time? — Future Football Player, via email
FUTURE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Start by being polite and respectful when you ask your mother for her support to join a football team at your high school next year.
Go first to speak with one of the coaches and ask them how you might best address your mother’s concerns. Often football coaches will meet with parents to explain in detail about the safety equipment used in the sport and the associated risks football players face.
In the end, this should be a family decision, so do your part to be as educated as you can on the safety aspects of high school football and assure your mother that you will completely follow all rules and safety regulations at all times.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.