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Table 3 Reasons why mothers in low-SES neighborhoods experience difficulty in encouraging healthy energy balance–related child behavior

From: Everyday life situations in which mothers experience difficulty stimulating healthy energy balance–related behavior in their school-age children: a focus group study

  Example quotes by mothers
(1) Parental factors  
 Parenting difficulties  
  (a) Not always as strict and consistent “…at a certain point you don’t feel like struggling anymore.…” (Dutch, 49 yrs)
“When you nag too much you feel like you are a bad mother.” (Dutch, 39 yrs)
The problem with (my child) is that he snacks too much. I find that very difficult. He can’t just eat one single candy; he needs to eat way more than just one.” (Dutch, 29 yrs)
  (b) Remain calm is considered difficult “…sometimes when you got really angry, you regret raising your voice that much. However, sometimes yelling is required to make them see that you are serious.” (Dutch/Moroccan, 30 yrs)
  (c) Lack of parental rules “My son prefers to sit in front of the TV all day. I have to admit that it’s nice from time to time since my son is really hyperactive. So that’s some quiet time for him.” (Dutch/Turkish, 35 yrs)
  (d) Negative food role modeling “…actually I’m a bad role model since I don’t have breakfast myself.” (German, 49 yrs)
“I myself am love sweet stuff. I find it very difficult to tell my kids that they can’t have candy.” (Turkish, 40 yrs)
  (e) Father and mother have different parenting rules “If their father is home, the children eat fewer vegetables. I still say that they should eat some, but their father says “just leave (the kids) alone”....” (Moroccan, 42 yrs)
  (g) Loss of parental control “I’m not comfortable when he’s outside... I’d rather have him at home.” (Dutch/Moroccan, 30 yrs)
“... I know others give my child treats. They aren’t supposed to. But you cannot be in two places at once as a parent.” (Moroccan, 43 yrs)
  (h) Mother’s emotional status “You always do your best, but still you know you are doing some things wrong. However, these are those moments, it all depends on how your kids are feeling, but also how you yourself are feeling.” (Dutch, 42 yrs)
 Lack of knowledge & misconceptions “They need it. I think that… they lose energy so quickly that they need it again. I also experience that myself, sometimes you are like ‘oh, I just need something sweet’.” (Turkish, 37 yrs)
“When they are young you can encourage them, but when they get older (it is more difficult).” (Moroccan, 43 yrs)
“… as long as my child is active, eating candy and/or snacks is not much of a problem.” (Dutch, 39 yrs)
(2) Child factors  
 (a) Child’s behavior “…I know I have to stay patient, I know what I have to do, but they resist.” (Turkish, 37 yrs)
“…when he is really hyperactive I notice that I, at a certain point, get a bit exhausted.” (Dutch/Turkish, 35 yrs)
 (b) Child’s preferences “…with sandwich spreads I have difficulties, especially with the youngest; she always wants chocolate spreads or sprinkles. She absolutely doesn’t want any cheese; she doesn’t like cheese.” (Turkish, 40 yrs)
“They don’t like much food, except pancakes and fries. ‘Picky’… yes that’s the correct word!” (Dutch/Turkish, 35 yrs)
(3) Environmental factors “The healthy treats that they give, that’s only every now and then. The teachers aren’t strict enough, which I find a pity!” (Dutch, 47 yrs)
“… with playing outside I’m a little afraid, since we live in a bad neighborhood; so I have very strict rules. It is difficult though, so I try to keep him home more often ...”. (Turkish, 40 yrs)