One of my favorite childhood memories is racing my friends to the ice cream truck as soon as we heard it coming in the distance. We would use whatever allowance we had to buy candy and other treats to eat while we enjoyed whatever daylight was left.
Weekends spent with my grandparents involved plenty of sweet treats as well. My grandfather, or ‘papa’ as we called him, fancied “its-it” ice creams so those were either midday snacks or desserts after dinner.
As great as those memories are, my kids won’t have those to share later on in life. . .
Yes, I am that horrible mom that does not give her kids sweets. Well, that’s not entirely true because I give them sweets once a year, on their birthday. On their special day, or the day we celebrate them if different, they get the luxury of enjoying sweets. But throughout the year, their sweet intake is limited to fruits and either a cup of orange juice or apple juice with their breakfast.
I do not give my kids juice outside of orange and organic apple juice. If you ask bug what his favorite drink is, he will tell you water. He drinks it like a fish! They do not get cookies, candy or any kind of junk food. I prefer to give plain popcorn, veggie chips or unsweetened apple sauce as snack items.
I am a strong believer that a child only knows what you introduce them to
As such, when it comes to junk food and sweets with my kids I go by the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” If I do not have them in my home, then how are they going to ask for them? the funny part about this is that when someone offers bug some kind of candy or junk food he’ll tell them ‘No’. If he really wants it he will look to me first to see if I’ll give-in but still tell them no. This is his norm.
I promise you I am not the wicked witch of the west. More importantly, I am not depriving him of anything beneficial to his health or development so I am A-Ok with raising my kids this way. I’ve been this way since the beginning and have harped on it so much, that when I have family or friends babysit, they know not to give the kids any sweets. If we are at a birthday party or family gathering, people know not to even offer sweets their way.
Of course there is always someone who wants to show my kids “what they’ve been missing”
This typically comes in the form of a grandparent or even the other parent. *Insert eye roll emoji*. They’ll try to sneak juice, or even candy (God forbid) when I am not around or not looking. When they get busted they’ll reply with “oh I didn’t know” or “just one won’t hurt.” I hate this and this is probably the quickest way to piss me off. Everyone who knows me, knows how serious I am when it comes to these rules with my kids. Luckily, Bug is at the age where he will, for the most part, come and tell me that someone tried to give him something. Yup, Bug is a little tattle-teller but I appreciate it so much.
And don’t get me wrong. We still do the trick-or-treating and make holiday goodies. But this is more so for the experience and memories, not the actual sweets that result from those activities.
I’m sure the big question is WHY do I do this?
I promise you my intent is not to torture my kids. My goal here is not to make my kid stand out or be the oddball when in social settings. I base this solely on nutritional value and the effects that it can have on the children. We live in a society where the rates of obesity and diabetes occurring in children have skyrocketed over the last couple decades. Of course there are many factors that contribute to this, but increased sugar intake can play a huge roll.
Even more so, I will say that as a parent, one thing I hate to see are children with silver caps in their mouth due to improper nutrition and hygiene. That tells me one of two things, the child’s intake of non-nutritional items was substantial over time and that the parents did not consistently manage their oral hygiene. I just won’t let my kids be one of those.
With that being said, of course sweets are okay with moderation. . .
If you are properly caring for your children’s oral hygiene and ensuring that they have a balanced diet, giving them sweets and junk food shouldn’t have such an adverse effect. And honestly, this is not a criticism or knock to any parent who does allow sweets into their children’s diets. This is my own personal opinion in regards to this topic and how things operate in my household.
The criticisms I hear (but ignore):
- If you only give your kids sweets once a year, isn’t that a sugar overload?
- Let’s be realistic, I’m not letting my kid eat pounds of candy or eat an entire cake to themselves. They’ll probably get a piece of their cake (or cupcake) and ice cream if it is a part of the celebration. And possibly some juice.
- You’re not letting your kid, be a kid.
- Says who? Being a kid is not centered around how many sweets you’ve had throughout your childhood. It’s more about the memories and experiences you have with your family and friends. It is a time of self-discovery and adventures.
- So you eat candy in front of your kids, but don’t give them any? Don’t you think that’s a bit hypocritical of you?
- Yup, I sure do and no I do not. I am an adult and I know how to properly balance my diet and the importance of oral hygiene. When they are older, probably in their teens, and are able to properly care for themselves we will revisit the idea.
At the end of the day, people will always have something to say about your parenting decisions.
I think that the most important thing is that we raise healthy and happy children. My children are not any less productive, unhappy and thrive amazingly. Bee is pretty young now, but as she ages she will have the same rules applied to her that Bug has had thus far. Sweets are not technically missing in their lives because they aren’t a regular staple in our day to day. Whatever works best for you and your household, you should continue to do.
As for Bug and Bee, Sweets are a No No!
Do you parents give your children sweets? If so, how do you moderate it?