From Scientific American Frontiers "Fat & Happy?"
"Parents who use restrictive eating practices ... actually have the children who eat the most."
"Restriction actually tends to foster consumption in the absence of hunger in children and increased interest in the very foods that parents think children shouldn't be eating, and conversely pressuring children to eat healthy foods tends to turn them off with respect to those foods."
"We need to help parents to understand what are reasonable portion sizes for children, so that parents have reasonable expectations about how much foods kids need to eat. ... We need to help parents to appreciate how children learn to like foods that aren't sweet and that aren't salty, and the way that you do that is you have to be pretty patient as a parent. We know that kids initially reject a lot of new foods unless they're sweet or salty, and it's only with repeated ... non-coercive presentations that kids learn to eat a lot of those foods."
~Leann Birch, Children's Eating Lab, Penn State U
"Without that kind of receptive parenting, our kids are caught in two terrible traps: first we say finish your food, then we put too much food on the plate. Then we say that high fat, high calorie snack foods are forbidden; so kids want to binge on them." ~Scientific American Frontiers narrator
I think this same principle works for other things as well. Restrict TV and video games, and force books and *educational activities* on them, and you get the typical school-aged child who "doesn't want to do anything but sit & watch TV or play video games!"
And even more interesting is that I think this applies to adults as well. We have all these voices in our heads, from our parents, our peers, the media..., and we restrict ourselves, but it doesn't work. Think about it. People are always going on diets, we make the same resolutions every New Year's Eve, there are hundreds of self-help books in bookstores and thousands of websites... But we fall off the diets and binge, we need to make the same resolution this New Year's Eve, and new books and websites keep popping up with new ideas...