My 14-year-old daughter recently declared, “I don’t like anything you cook in this house." I take a lot of trouble over the food, whether it’s made by me or the cook. Not only does her comment hurt, I don’t know what to do—we can’t order in all the time. She often tells me that the food in friends’ houses is much better. Nowadays, she brings back her school tiffin untouched.

Food can be fun: Try to involve your child in the process of cooking. Photo by Thinkstock.

The next time she talks about someone else’s tasty food, try not to be defensive. In fact, you could join in her admiration for that food. You could even suggest she find out exactly how it is made and perhaps try her hand at making it herself or help you make it that way. Just for fun, and not to “improve" your cooking skills in her eyes, please.

Do not appear hurt, defensive or lecturing about the food made in your home. Going into injured pride mode is pointless too—many parents in your situation take recourse to sulky responses such as “I’m sorry, that’s the best I can do, and what can I do if it doesn’t measure up to your standards?" Avoid that totally.

I urge you to give yourself the approbation you seek from your child—for being a parent who provides food and thought-out meals. Also, take heart in the fact that one fine day in the not-too-distant future, the same child will miss your food and remember home meals with extreme fondness and yearning, and will be waiting to come home to your cooking!

Gouri Dange is the author of ABCs of Parenting.

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