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Truth, or Consequences?

July 6, 2008

Both my wife and I were raised in fairly permissive homes.  I remember getting up and heaping a couple of tablespoons of sugar onto my Cherios and plopping down in front of the TV for a Saturday morning cartoon marathon.  Discipline wasn’t something we understood in our home.  No budgets, no longterm plans, and no routine. And my wife’s home is similar.

However, because we are both first-borns, somehow we saw it as our repsonsibility to be bossy and make sure our younger siblings did what they were “supposed to” do.

Our poor daughter.  She is the first-born of two first-borns.  Even before she was a year old, we saw a headstrong approach to life.  She began butting heads with us long before she had the words and even now, at three years old, she pushes the boundaries.

We live a pretty healthy lifestyle.  Nearly vegan, buying organic produce from the local co-op, and doing our best to incorporate good lifestyle habits into our routine.  I wouldn’t say that we are a strict household, but we do try to be consistent.

We do our best to avoid sugar.  From everything we’ve read, white, processed sugar and it’s evil twin, high fructose corn syrup, serve no useful prupose in our diets.  In adidtion, we’ve noticed in our children (and others‘) that sugar reeks havoc on their behavior.

Pretty Girl

Tonight we went to our friend’s wedding reception.  It was a lot of fun and our darling daughter looked adorable.  Of course there is cake, juice, “mints,” and a lot of other enticements for a fun girl of three and a half.  It had been a good day.  We had done a lot of hiking and playing and dancing.”

Sure,” Daddy says, you can have some more cake.  “Ok, you can have two more “mints.”  By the end of the evening this little 27 pound girl had consumed three times the amount of sugar I had – and I weigh in at more than seven times her body weight.

We are careful to dose our kids with the right amount of pain reliever and other medications, why don’t we better titrate their sugar intake?  Why would we give the same size milkshake (or soda?) to a five year old, as we consume?  It doesn’t make sense when you think about it.

Tantrum? This is mild!Well, after an hour of wrestling with her behavioral issues: hurting her 10 month old brother, not obeying, screaming tantrums, etc – all of which are abnormal for her (usually).  I told my wife, “No more.  I’d rather disappoint her at the time by denying her all that sugar, then deal with these after effects.”

Of course we’re not going to lock her in a closet, but Daddy won’t be so permissive next time.  I can’t let a three year old wrap me around her finger – imagine what she’ll be like at 15?

What do you think?

  1. July 6, 2008 2:39 am

    I think you need to parent in the way that works best for you. If you’re into limiting your kids’ sugar intake, go for it. The long-term benefits are obvious, and now you’ve seen again first-hand what the drawbacks of the alternative are.
    (Thus speaks the mom who lets her kids have candy every other day, and now has to take her youngest to get a tooth filled in the next week or two.)


  2. July 6, 2008 12:10 pm

    Thanks @melanie! Yeah, for me the cavities are the least of my concerns. I’m more concerned about childhood diabetes, obesity, and other health related issues – not to mention addiction and a lack of self-control. My ultimate goal in all of this is to teach my kids to be self-disciplines.

    Then of course, there are the behavioral issues. I’d rather set boundaries for them while they’re young, rather that the disappointing boundaries parents often have to set for their teens. Sigh – this is hard!


  3. July 8, 2008 10:38 am

    we don’t deny our daughter (who is 6 and under 40 pounds) the occasional sugary treat, but she has to choose them carefully. I would have let her have a piece of cake or the mints… It’s too much for her to process all of that sugar at once… her body has nothing to do with it except run around in circles and then the sugar crash she experiences is awful. We don’t eat nearly as responsibly as you guys do, but I am still careful to provide a healthy balance in her diet and big doses of sugar always end in tears…



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