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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Balance and How It's Hard to Find

Yesterday I wrote about my philosophy with feeding my children, as it has consumed my thoughts lately with the beginning of kindergarten.  My brother-in-law, John of Blog Droll (a very funny blog, if you're looking for one), had some very thought-provoking comments.

Basically, he said that his dad was so extremely strict with food that it led John to begin to sneak food, eventually leading to a full-blown food addiction.  (Read about it here in his post: Why You So Fat.)  My husband Michael (and John's younger brother), however, had a completely different experience growing up.  Same family, same rules, totally different effects on the adult children.  (It's all there in the comments if you want more deets.)

So all of that dialog made me really think about my approach with my kids.  Am I too strict?  Do they feel the need to sneak food?  Do they feel like food is a reward?  A punishment?  Am I providing a good enough balance?  What kind of outlook on food am I really providing them?  

Of course, I would love to think that I'm balanced (we usually are in our own eyes, right).  But it's just so dang hard to see those blind spots!  

My awesome friend, Kellie, said it well:

Everyone's idea of balance is different, so it can be crazy sometimes. Just like all aspects of parenting, we create a beautiful well thought out plan and then continually tweak it depending what the world/our kids throw at us. ;)

Amen, sista!
Samuel and Michael
Yesterday, Samuel went to the Wednesday night kids' church, and they gave him Kool-aid and two cookies.  [[CRINGE]]  [[FACIAL TICK]]  And when he got home he told me about it as if it were bad news.  It was, in fact, a great opportunity for a teachable moment.  


Although, (I know I've said this once or twice) I don't like it when other people give my kids sweets without my permission (because if the kids get sweets and junk all the time from other people, then I feel like I can't give them any myself, and thus I'm the bad guy pushing carrots in their faces all the time), we were still able to give him a healthy response to what happened.  He told me about it, and I said, "Samuel, I'm so glad that you want to be healthy, but it's okay if you have treats every now and then.  Did you like them?"  He smiled and said he did, and then I told him to tell me about them.  It was a great moment.  I could even see relief come over his face at my response (which signals to me that some tweaking was needed).

Anyway, all that to say that balance is hard, but I'll continue to look for teachable moments while maintaining my views on feeding them healthfully.

Parenting is hard!  Gah!  Why does it have to be so easy to screw kids up but so hard not to!
Family Friendly Food at Serenity Now

7 comments :

  1. "Why does it have to be so easy to screw kids up but so hard not to!" That echoes my heart completely. Thank goodness for the Blood of Jesus...that's the only think that's gonna save my kids. :)

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  2. Very interesting post. I'm trying to find the balance, too. I am wondering what your philosophy is on kids finishing their meals? My husband grew up very strict and had to stay at the table until he cleaned his plate; my background was very different - stop eating when you're full, throw out whatever's left on your plate (the waste horrifies my husband). Trying to find the balance & feed our 2 picky kids is so difficult.

    My daughter's elementary school just implemented a new policy this year - kids are no longer allowed to bring food of any kind for the class when it's their birthday. Everyone used to bring cupcakes or cookies. I think it's healthier this way but it has been very controversial.

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  3. Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth! I definitely don't think that kids should be made to finish their plates. That teaches them to ignore the cues from their bodies that they're full, which has lifelong implications. Instead, we say, "You don't have to eat this or finish your plate, but you can't have anything else until you eat your dinner."

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  4. Interesting! Heading over to John's blog to read and catch up. I just love picturing you and Samuel talking it out in the car. Love, love, love. Can just picture his smile.

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  5. Constantly tweaking here in our house too...And I can totally relate to your son being kind of worried to tell you had cookies and Kool-aid...my daughter (the ultimate people pleaser) claims she doesn't like the stuff...but really I know she's dying to say "why can't I have what so and so is having???"
    We allow treats in our house for sure when the mood strikes.... but I feel better about it when it's something I've spent some time making for them... feels more like making memories than just empty calories, you know?
    I love the teachable momment you had with your son... you are such a sweet momma :)

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  6. Good for you for approaching the situation like that with Samuel.

    Very good post. I love your last bit "Parenting is hard! Gah! Why does it have to be so easy to screw kids up but so hard not to?"

    I totally agree.

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  7. You are right this is so hard as you mention church giving him a snack with out asking. I wouldn't have known that Ian was getting cookies in Sunday School if I hadn't walked over one day and checked in on him. It frustrated me that they didn't tell us that they were doing this right before lunch time.

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