Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent discussion of the restrictions she places on her Children’s diets has sparked various debates in the press about the respective pros and cons of restricting children’s diets, and at what point feeding children a particular diet, be it unhealthy or ‘super healthy,’ becomes bad parenting or even abusive behaviour.
Surprisingly, this is an issue which is often raised during Contact and Residence proceedings, when each parent wishes to ensure that the other adheres to their chosen dietary restrictions whilst the child is in their care, and it is an issue which can become surprisingly contentious.
As a general rule, a court will usually refuse to become involved in debates about a child’s diet, unless there are medical or religious grounds which make the issue particularly important. Where the issue of what food a Child does or does not eat is simply a matter of preference, the court will usually allow each parent to make their own decisions whilst the child is with them, even if the other parent does not approve. The issue is an example however of one where it is best to agree, rather than taking advantage of the situation and deliberately feeding a child ‘forbidden’ foods, as research has demonstrated that having very different boundaries or routines within 2 homes can have a negative impact upon a child’s ability to adapt to parent’s Separation and to the transition between 2 households.
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