Parents' Qualitative Perspectives on Child Asking for Fruit and Vegetables

Nutrients. 2017 Jun 5;9(6):575. doi: 10.3390/nu9060575.


Children can influence the foods available at home, but some ways of approaching a parent may be better than others; and the best way may vary by type of parent. This study explored how parents with different parenting styles would best receive their 10 to 14 years old child asking for fruits and vegetables (FV). An online parenting style questionnaire was completed and follow-up qualitative telephone interviews assessed home food rules, child influence on home food availability, parents' preferences for being asked for food, and common barriers and reactions to their child's FV requests. Parents (n = 73) with a 10 to 14 years old child were grouped into authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, or uninvolved parenting style categories based on responses to questionnaires, and interviewed. Almost no differences in responses were detected by parenting style or ethnicity. Parents reported their children had a voice in what foods were purchased and available at home and were receptive to their child's asking for FV. The most important child asking characteristic was politeness, especially among authoritarian parents. Other important factors were asking in person, helping in the grocery store, writing requests on the grocery shopping list, and showing information they saw in the media. The barrier raising the most concern was FV cost, but FV quality and safety outside the home environment were also considerations.

Keywords: asking skills; children; fruit; parenting style; vegetables.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Fruit*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting*
  • Parents
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*