Food and Bribery

There has been a lot of talk lately about controlling your children's behavior at the grocery store, at home, at a friend's house, using food as a bribe to be good, be quiet, etc.

I have some major problems with that in our family unit. As always, God gave people free will to do as they choose and that means dealing with YOUR family unit as you see fit but it still bothers me. Our country is filled to the brim with overweight and downright obese people (myself included). Maybe that's why I feel so strongly about teaching my children to eat food when they are hungry and to use food as nourishment and not anything else, i.e. comfort, acheivement or love.

I grew up with the thought that if you were having a bad day, a good heaping bowl of ice cream will solve that! It's funny a little bit, because my mom and I were just talking about our eating habits and she said she does the same thing. Really? Hmmm...wonder where I learned it from!

I went to WW when I was 12-13 years old. My grandmother pretty much forced me to go. Told me that I would be fat forever and no one would want to date me or start a family. That's pretty damn convincing for a young adolescent. But every time after I went to WW and lost weight she would "treat" me to a dinner at Old Country Buffett. With bread pudding included.

I see so many people say "if you'll be good at the store, then you can have a candy bar". Why not just tell them they can have a book, or a new toy, or a balloon? That works wonders with my kids. When does it become a problem? One candy bar a week isn't bad...but then you have to stop into the store to later in the week. The kids EXPECT it. And they may not be hungry either. So that means they are learning that everytime they go to the store, it's okay to eat CRAP and eat when they aren't hungry because it's a "special treat". Nope, not for me.

And to me, the same goes for eating all your dinner to get dessert. WHY shove all your dinner in your stomach and be full, just to add more on top of that? Shouldn't you save room for dessert if you are planning on having it anyway? Now that's not to say I let my kids have dessert without eating ANY of their dinner...but yes, I do not make them clean their plates in order to eat dessert.

I beleive that a well-rounded diet can have sweets in it daily. And should!! The forbidden fruit is all the sweeter. We didn't have a lot of sweets in our house growing up. Because I would EAT them all, according to my family. But, I had a friend who had sweets in the house ALL the time and she would make different snack choices because sweets weren't a "special treat" anymore. Given the opportunity children WILL regulate themselves. Zachary has already proven that time and time again. I can't tell you how many times that child has turned down dessert or sweets telling me he'll save it for later.

Food rewards teach children to use food for purposes other than nourishment of the body.http://www.parentstoolshop.com/HTML/tips13.htm

I think that pretty much sums it up for me.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

Lisa, I agree with much of what you are saying. I try not to give in and buy my kids FOOD treats when they've been good. But now Ethan will ask "Can I get a toy?" when we are at the store. Sigh. I feel like it doesn't matter what it is, the kids will learn to expect it. I don't mind buying them treats SOMETIMES but not all the time. I remember as a child we always got to choose one thing from the store. I don't want to get into that habit with my kids. So ... I have started telling Ethan that if MUMMY decides to get him something, it will be because she has enough money that day and because he has been a good boy. Now he will often say "I wonder if you'll have enough money to get me something today" which is pretty darn cheeky but thankfully it never really progresses any further. And if I don't get him something, he won't make a fuss, he will just say "didn't you have enough money today, Mumma?" and that's the end of it. YAY!

As for finishing dinner before getting dessert ... I alway swore I would never use that one. But I do. I don't do it all the time because I found out quickly enough that it doesn't work. Plus we don't have dessert very often. The kids usually want a banana or kiwifruit after dinner, but if they haven't eaten at least 1/2 of their food I won't give it to them. 99% of the time they have eaten most of their dinner and that is good enough for me. I don't make them "clean the plate" because there's just no point. I can't deprive them of fruit if they are asking for it!!

Wow, that was a long comment!! But I wanted to say I can definitely see your viewpoint and you are not alone in the way you think!! :-)


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