Training Children to Eat Independently

Evaluation of Mealtime Management Training for Parents

Mark R. Dadds, Matthew R. Sanders, Bill Bor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study assessed the effects of training the parents of children displaying problematic eating behaviors in child management skills. Specifically, parents were taught to apply a range of management procedures, e.g. differential reinforcement, behavior correction routines, extinction and time out, to their child's behavior during mealtimes. Subjects were four families, each of which contained a child displaying high rates of disruptive behavior, e.g. non-compliance, complaining, leaving the table during mealtimes, and low rates of food consumption. Each family underwent baseline, mealtime management training (M.M.T.), follow-up conditions within a multiple baseline across families’ design. Home observations were conducted four nights each week, during the families’ evening meal, and the dependent measures recorded were child behaviour, eating responses, and weight of food eaten. The results showed that M.M.T. was effective in decreasing disruptive behaviour for three of the four families. The fourth family also required home feedback training which resulted in a marked decrease in disruptive behavior. Changes in eating responses were less marked and highly variable among individual families. Follow-up results and the implications for clinical practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-366
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Psychotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

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