Monday, March 9

food control

yesterday B1, the bean and i went blackberry picking, dodging the wasps for the last of the seasons pickings (blackberry, apple and frangapaine tart to come). B1 just casually dropped a question into the conversation.

"Mum, if you died, would i get to choose where i want to live" ( yikes, this is my biggest fear in life)

My brain went through about a million permutations of were to begin an answer in about three seconds. Where do i start? So i started with a qualified yes...court would take into account age, school, your wishes, family attachments, ability to provided care, current arrangements...etc. Its not a black and white answer; theres no stratght forward yes or no. She basically said she had a better relationsip with Si than her dad and she would want to live here, in her home with him and her brother and sister, go to her school, keep her friends and be near her grandmother. Fair enough. I said i would make her wishes known and that Si would be only too happy for that to happen.

It led us to reflecting on how her dad chooses to live and how we live and food control came issues came up. He has lots of soft drinks (soda), cakes and biscuits and other fast food available and we dont. The kids can help themselves; no limits at his place, but at home they ask first. Her argument was that if you have lots of 'crap' around you learn to not want it, that you can regulate your intake when its available but if its not around you want it more and so eat it more. All her friends can help themselves, its normal. Agghh. Peer pressure. I disagreed but remembered using the same argument on my mum. I said if you dont eat it very often then why buy it? why have it around ? and that if its there it will get eaten.

Control of children and food is interesting. Over the years i have tried to teach them what kinds of food they need to ask about. The last avocado (might be guacamole for dinner) , leftovers (maybe enough for another whole meal) fruit no need to ask but they invariably do. I just cant imagine a household where they just come and go from the pantry or fridge eating whenever, whatever. Im thinking dinner time would be met with "Im not hungry" or when i go to make dinner the key ingredient which was there, is no longer. Im not a "nevermind, its 6.30 but i will just run out to the shop" kinda girl , i like to make sure they are eating a healthful diet and its also a home economics issue for me too. I do think food control may be more of an issue when you have children who are overweight, i think thats where my zealousness may have come from. Since the girls dad moved they have each lost well over 10kgs and now sit in the healthy range not the overweight/obese for BMI. But am i limiting their ability to develop self control by teaching them to ask? Is democratic parenting in the food realm an ideal or a trap? Do you control food in your house? Why?


Suzanne said...

I'm with you. When I was a kid my parents never had pop, chips or candy in the house. So, as an adult, neither do I. And I almost never drink pop or indulge a sweet tooth because I never developed one. It's the old, you don't miss what you've never had.
Keep the crap out of the house -- out of sight, out of mind.

Rest is not idleness said...

Glad to see you have your blogging mojo back Kel. Don't forget it is your blog and if you don't feel like posting - don't.

I control food in our house, if you want to eat something, you have to ask first. Same as when I was a kid. It is also a budgetary consideration, if we run out then there is nor more till we shop again (weekly)
Maybe if more parents controlled the food in their households there would be less obese children.

Barbara said...

On the other hand. my mother
controlled food too much, which
left me always feeling as though
I wasn't entitled to eat and
with weight issues (real and imagined) ever since my early
teens (I'm nearly 50 now).
Now I pretty much control what
food is in the house and since
I don't eat sweets or junk food,
we just don't have them. But I
also don't have to deal with
children and peer pressure which
would make it a lot harder.

Annuska said...

I control food too but not too much as we don't have much junk around. Also so far the kids follow my rythm, so I know if I am hungry they also must be, and I make something for all of us, so they don't get too often hungry in between. Both have diabetic friends and have an understanding of the body's needs for regular fuel. Of course this means that they ask for food instead of getting themselves something, which is sometimes a bit annoying, but I can always tell them to grab an apple...We do occassionally have some junk around, as we follow the idea of some foods being just for special occassions, so that they don't feel they have to 'miss out' completely and then eat lots of it when at friends. My family was like that too, but while I was fine and so was my little sis, I would often find my middle sis hiding in the yard eating junk she bought for herself...and I reckon my daughter would be easily like that if I was to give her none at all.

Sarah said...

We don't control food at home - we just don't have the food here for them to need to be controlled with - or it is well hidden they have no knowlage of it (evil grin). It can be organic and etc but does not mean it is good - follow me????

Outside we need to control our youngest son who seems to have an excessive sweet tooth. Oldest son chooses healthy by choice - to our surprise. We talk a lot about food and GM, fair trade, organic etc. This has all given them lots more appreciation of food and the work behind it - being actively involved in the vegie patch helps.

Jen said...

I dont like the idea of food cotrol, but i understand it is just good sense, and we do manage the pantry with a 'ask frst' policy. My little ones are so keen on playing they seem to forget all about food, and have to be reminded to eat most of the time, so this is rarely an issue at this stage. Wee Ms S is getting a little strange with food constantly declaring she wants some "Im HUNGRY" she says, but I have found out she isnt hungry for food, but a cuddle!

Milk and Two Sugars said...

I'd say you're teaching them restraint by example and by house rules, when as they point out most other influences in their lives want them to have anything they want at any time at all. When they reach an age and maturity to make such decisions for themselves, with consideration of the consequences, of course you'll let them - but I would say that that won't be until their mid-teens!

(PS I really enjoy your blog!)

Kel said...

suzanne - yup- they dont ask for whats not there. BUt they do complain about it! lol

RINI- thanks, its creeping back. it was my rule as a kid too and yup, budget plays a part.

Barbara- you're so right - i have had to struggle with the entitled to eat dilemma from my own mother. Im hoping being more relaxed about treats with my own kids ameliorate it somewhat for them but...

Annuska - its so much easier if its not in the house. i know if the girls are hungry as then they can be bothered to make something. otherwise theyre just mooching inthe fridge.Yes, we have treat night once a week and they are allowed to spend some pocket money on hopefully it all balances out.

Sarah- im finding the older they get the less i need to monitor and yes, low control as not much too contrl but i did find myself being a cheese nazi for a while...

Jen - parenting is straddling the line between too much and too little..agggh! lol. Interesting with S, 'hunger'=cuddles. emotional connections with food...the girls used to try on 'bored' eating (when theyre waving the fridge door around for over a minute then i know its boredom) didnt cuddle them out but i did used to suggest a game or something.

Milk and two sugars - welcome and thanks. Yes, its the age of instant gratification. its hard to resist. My oldest has worked it out and now i have to remind her to eat! swings and roundabout!

Anonymous said...

I do most of the food buying, so in that sense I control the food, but I tend to let the kid eat whatever he fancies from what's available at home. I offer him alternatives, but if he says he doesn't want an apple he really does want bread, then he can have the bread. I do make cakes, and I pretty much let him eat them whenever, but we don't make them often. He can binge on them when they're available but then there's no cake for a few weeks (unless he visits people who have cake).

The Bloke also does some food shopping, and he buys some stuff that I think is crap, but I think it's more important that our son sees that Dad is an independent adult who knows how to shop and cook than it is for me to control everything. My partner, who is a sucker for junk, grew up with a no salt no sugar mad mother. He and his siblings all love crap. They have a wierdo disordered guilty pleasure from eating it, even though they know it's crap and doesn't really taste that great, rather than just enjoying the good stuff. They enjoy crap as a "so there" to their mum, and it's not something I want to perpetuate. Both my partner and his brother tend to treat me and the sister outlaw as if we're the mother-food controllers, and frankly, it shits us. Our kids are all pretty healthy, it's the over thirties in our extended family who need better relationships with food.