When you and your co-parent worked out your custody agreement and parenting plan, your child’s diet might not have been uppermost in your mind. However, now that you’re living separately and your child is moving between two homes, you realize how unhealthily they’re eating when they’re with your ex. Even worse, your ex might not be mindful of your child’s food allergies or a serious weight problem.
You have a right to ask your co-parent to see that your child has a healthy, balanced diet when they’re with them. However, unless they’re endangering your child’s health, you’re probably going to have to rely on your powers of persuasion rather than the court to change their habits. Instead of emphasizing what you think is best, talk about what’s healthy for your child.
Agree on as much as you can
No two parents (married or divorced) are likely going to agree on precisely what their child should and shouldn’t consume. However, if you can at least reach an agreement on things like how often your child eats fast food and how much sugar they can have, it’s a start.
If your co-parent is open to suggestions, you can share some simple ideas for meals. There are also numerous meal delivery services that provide (relatively) fresh food with little assembly required that might be a good option. If your child is old enough to do some cooking on their own, teach them a few simple, healthy meals to prepare when they’re with their co-parent.
What if there’s a serious problem?
If you have a child who’s a finicky eater, it can be frustrating for both of you. It can also be tempting to let them have whatever they’re willing to eat. When a child has an issue around food – whether it’s not eating or overeating, it’s best when co-parents can communicate about it. That might involve simply keeping an online shared food journal.
If there’s a serious issue with what your co-parent is feeding your child that’s affecting their health, it might be wise to ask your doctor to talk to your co-parent. No reasonable parent wants to hurt their child just to get back at their ex. If you’re still having issues, you may need to see what your legal options are.