September 20, 2013

Sugar on My Tongue

If you couldn't tell by the back-to-school post from earlier this week which featured (among other things) my boys eating chocolate doughnuts for breakfast and  back to school cookie cake for dessert, we don't necessarily shy away from sugar in this house.
"cheers"ing with our nightly popsicles
 I certainly don't think we go overboard, but I do allow my kids to have it.  They have dessert each night, generally a popsicle or Oreo cookie.  They are allowed to order Coke when we are out to dinner.  We get ice cream frequently.  They get a lollipop every time we leave AC Moore (which is only about once every couple of weeks, but still).  You get the idea.
But in this day and age where I feel like most parents, and even a lot of our friends, are constantly touting how "healthy" their children eat, I oftentimes feel like the rebel...and maybe even the black sheep!
But here's the thing.  I intentionally let them have sugar on a fairly regular basis.  Very intentionally, actually.  Why?  Well...
Growing up I was rarely allowed to have treats.  Sodas: only with my grandmother.  Dessert: rarely, if ever.  If I was offered something sweet, I could never, ever turn it down no matter how full I was.  I  even remember sneaking around as early as 10ish to get treats when my mom wasn't paying attention (buying an ice cream at the pool snack bar while she sun-bathed obliviously, pouring Sprite into my cup instead of water and telling her it was water).  It was pathetic.
And flash forward to adulthood:  many of those same problems still persist.  I still have a very hard time turning down dessert if/when it is in front of me.  If I bake a whole dozen cookies and am left with them in the house, I will finish off the whole plate just because they are there.  I think subconsciously I am still convinced I may not get another chance or something!  And I'm not the only one.  My sister complains of the same problem.  And my brother consumes at least 6 sodas a day...literally...because we were never allowed to have soda (his words not mine).
My mom would be rolling her eyes like crazy right now if she was reading this.  We've presented this argument to her several times as evidence of how she caused some of our food issues.  She denies responsibility, but I think it's just like anything else: the more something comes off as forbidden, the more tempting it becomes.
So I let my children have sugar.  Not all day every day, but on a pretty regular basis.
And the funny thing is I think I can already see the benefit.  My children can and do both easily walk away from their treats.  They frequently leave their treats unfinished and will even occasionally turn down the opportunity for a treat.  In fact, most of the time, they will only take a couple bites/sips/licks of something before being done with it (which leaves you know who to finish it....)
In this game of parenting, we all obviously do what we believe is best for our children.  We raise them based on our own experiences, challenges, and successes and hope to mold them into the healthiest, most successful young people we can.  I'm not trying to push anyone into my way of thinking.  All I'm saying is next time you see a child eating a cookie instead of rolling your eyes and thinking how irresponsible that parent is, maybe stop and consider that maybe there is a method to the madness.  And I'll try to refrain from rolling my eyes when I hear someone bragging about how all their child eats is kale...

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