Mom to Children: Clear Your Plate, If You Want To

Dietician and mother of two Maryann Jacobsen explains letting her children control their portions.
3:47 | 08/07/13

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Transcript for Mom to Children: Clear Your Plate, If You Want To
Up next, nutritionist and mother, she says what we've all thought about feeding our kids is all wrong. She says, let them eat what they want. Okay. Let them eat cake. That would be candy. Never told your child clean your plate. Two different ideas. Abc's abbie boudreau has more. Reporter: We know how much fun dinner can be. I don't want to eat dinner. Reporter: With kids who are fed up. You want one more bite? No. Reporter: One study reveals 85% of parents try to get young children to eat more at meal time. And according to other research, most parents ask adolescents to clear their plate. But mary ann jacobson, a mother of two and a registered dietitian. Cheese. Believes forcing your kids to finish their food, can lead to obesity later in life. What do you think about clean your plate? Well, I think it's an outdated practice. The parents' job is to provide the food. But it's the kids' job to decide how much to eat. Reporter: She serves family style meals. Allowing her 4-year-old and 6-year-old children to decide how much to eat. And she says kids know when they've had enough. What's it feel like? When your belly's stuffed up with food. Reporter: Jacobsen explained that cleaning your plate could lead to picky eating. Weight problems and eating disorders. I do not agree. Reporter: Parenting expert, dr. Karen gordon, insists her 6-year-old twins are too young to announce their menu. Want some crackers, too? A lot of children will say, I'm full, in reality, when they don't like the food. Reporter: Jacobsen's food philosophy allows for dessert first. Well, sometimes. If it's a small portion with a meal, yeah. Reporter: If only this little boy's mom agreed. You have to eat more dinner first. Reporter: For "good morning america," abbie boudreau. I won't eat it. Reporter: Abc news, los angeles. Everybody has a story. We've been telling them. Abc's senior medical contributor and mother of two, dr. Jen ashton. There's two different ideas here. Let's start with one I agree with. Don't tell your kids to clean their plates. Your thoughts? Well, first of all, I think this is less about the firm answers and more about asking the questions. So, if you're going to set a rule, ask yourself why? Is it because your parents did that to you? Then maybe you want to reassess. It is a modern time now. We should be constantly re-evaluating these things. Or if there's other behavioral issues that this just fits into, maybe that's a different story. In my household, we try to make the practice of eating into something that's beyond calories. It's about family. It's about love. It's about talking. It's about connection. It's not always like that, though. Once they do or do not clean their plates, however, I think we all seem to agree here. Dinner in my house is not a restaurant. We're not -- right. No. The kitchen isn't open all day. It is what it is. Absolutely. But this is such a common issue now. 50% in a recent study of parents say they set these rules, clean your plate. And again, you have to ask yourself, what is that doing to a child? We're not talking about a toddler. We're talking about school-aged children. 6 to 10 to 11 years old. To be able to eat whatever they want? Not really. No. Also, we have a big problem in this country as we all know, with portion control. It's really not about quantity. It's about quality. And quality is a conversation. Thank you. Thank you. Up next on the "gma heat

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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