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HOW TO ADDRESS NUTRITIONAL CONCERNS WITH PARENTS

series: MEETING NUTRITIONAL NEEDS by Lara Zakaria, RPh MS CNS CDN

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Caregivers can be in a very difficult role because they're seeing the kids, but may not necessarily know how to fix the situation or fix a problem that they see. I think it's important for them to understand that there are steps that they can take and they have options that can help to escalate a situation, as need be.

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Caregivers can be in a very difficult role because they're seeing the kids, but may not necessarily know how to fix the situation or fix a problem that they see. I think it's important for them to understand that there are steps that they can take and they have options that can help to escalate a situation, as need be.

The first thing would be to talk to the parent and have a nonjudgmental, nonconfrontational conversation. Just understand, from the parent's perspective, what might be happening in the home. Ask questions that are open-ended and not accusatory.

You don't want to go to the parent and say, "Hey, you're not feeding your child enough", or "Hey, you're doing something wrong here."

You want to approach them and say, "Hey, I just, I'm curious, how is, your son's appetite? Do they eat a lot when they're at home? Do you have any concerns around what they're eating? Do they tend to skip meals? How are they doing?"

You might say, "I've just been noticing that when your daughter is playing with the other kids, she's not as interested. Is something happening at home? Have you been noticing the same thing at home?"

Open and create a space for them to have that conversation. They might welcome the opportunity to talk about their children and talk about their circumstance. From there, you can leave the door open for you to suggest that they go speak with a social worker, psychologist, or medical professional that might be available to them.

Another thing to think about is if you do see that the child might be ill or might require some additional medical attention to just bring it to the attention of the parents first. Let them know. Say, "Hey, I just noticed that your son has a rash. Where did that come from?" Or "Have you been noticing that he's been getting more rashes lately?"

Open that conversation and recommend that they go to the doctor with them. If you notice that the parent is maybe resistant or isn't willing to have the conversation, there might be something else happening at home so that they're not as open about having the conversation or they feel defensive.

I think it's important to also understand who within the the community would be the person to go to. If you have access to social workers, they're often the best first line because they're really familiar with the culture, with the environment, and with the availability of resources. There would be the first person to talk to about a situation if you're unsure how to approach it or if you're noticing that the parent is resistant to finding additional support for talking about the issue.


 
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Lara Zakaria, RPh MS CNS CDN

Lara Zakaria is a Syrian-American pharmacist and clinical nutritionist residing in New York City. She owns Foodie Farmacist LLC, an integrative medicine, nutrition, and genomics consulting practice focused on prevention and reversal of chronic disease. An active member of...

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The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Tristate Chapter, she is also honored to serve on the national Board of Directors.

Her ground experience includes participating with multidisciplinary medical teams serving displaced refugees and underserved local communities in Jordan and Lebanon. Lara also serves on several advisory committees including the Jordan Relief Committee (including the Za’atri Clinic Advisory Commission), Advocacy, and as chair of the Pharmacy and Nutrition Committee. Lara is an active advocate for awareness of the Syrian Crisis and medical worker safety, meeting with representative of the United Nations and of the US congress and senate, as well as in presenting SAMS work at various universities and roundtable discussions including the University of Michigan, Columbia University, CUNY Medical School, and New York University Medical and Law School.

Lara is currently a graduate student at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and a candidate for a Masters in Public Health with a special interest in Behavioral and Social Health.

 
 

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