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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Limitations for kids

Have you ever noticed that you treat your kids different because YOU have issues with weight?  Let me explain.  My kids hardly ever drink regular soda, we limit snacking, and they have to eat all of their vegatables.  At home they drink water, crystal light, and 1% milk usually with dinner.  If they want a snack it's usually fruit or yogurt.  During dinner time they know they can't leave the table until all the veggies are eaten from their plates.  I'm not overly concerned about the main course if they are full. 

Today we went to eat Mexican food for lunch.  There was a family sitting next to us with a little boy who had several glasses of Dr. Pepper.  The kids know that they can only order diet soda, water, or tea and have one refill throughout a meal.  Now I'm not saying that I'm better than anyone else (like this family mentioned), but it really made me think. 

Am I stunting their childhood by limiting their choices?  Should I just allow them to be kids and let them drink and eat whatever they want?  I'm trying to teach them a healthy lifestyle because I don't want them to be the fat kid, but am I hurting them in the long run?

14 comments:

Stephanie said...

We are the same way with our kids, and honestly I believe it's much better for them than letting them just eat and drink whatever they want, because they will take the healthy lessons they've learned and pass them on to their own children who will benefit from it too.

jolybla said...

Totally agree! It's soooo hard not to put my own "issues" on them. Help them see that food is for fuel, BUT that we can also enjoy it in moderation.

So I ask you, are you really "limiting" their choices or merely presenting healthy choices? There may be some truth to the point that they are "missing out" a bit, but what are they REALLY missing out on? They will have plenty of time in their lives, when you aren't responsible for their well-being, to drink big-gulps and throw down candybars, but until then it is your responsbility.

Way to go MOM for caring enough to say, "No, that isn't good for you!" Too many parents don't or won't do this and look at the rampant obesity that plagues America's children.

Mrs. D said...

This is an area I struggle in.. My son was already underweight BEFORE he started ADHD medication. At 7, he's only 46 lbs and I'm doing whatever I can to put weight on him. His pediatrician said to forget about nutrition- if he wants fries and coke, give it to him. We still limit the junk (he gets coke when he visits Mimi or when we go out only), but really encourage snacking (his favorites are gold fish and chicken nuggets). Ours is a special situation, but I still struggled with it before his weight was a concern. I don't want to project my issues onto him, or punish him because MOM is overweight.. and I also don't want him to be one of those kids that goes nuts with the treats he was never allowed to have as a kid once he's old enough to buy it himself. My husband was like that- he gained some when he got his first job, and then a LOT when he started college because he could finally have coke whenever he wanted. To this day I can't bring it in the house because he will drink 6 before dinner and not realize it. I think our goal should be setting a good example first and foremost, and talking to them about why it's important to eat more of these foods and less of these (without mentioning diet or weight).

At the end of the day, all we can do is set a good example and pray they learn healthy habits from us because sooner or later, they'll be making their own choices.

Shane G. said...

no I think that in conjunction with you adopting a healthy lifestyle for yourself and setting them up with healthy habits, you are doing exactly what you should be doing for them. From an outsider's point of view, I think you are doing exactly right. Habits formed now, will stick later.

The Ninja said...

We do the same thing with my girls, and I think we are helping them develop better habits, not stunting them. And Anyway who says Dr. Pepper is a right of childhood?

Angela Pea said...

NO. You are NOT hurting them in the long run. Do you let the boys run with knives? Play with guns? Get tatoos? Of course not. So why would you let them consume food now that a)bad for their teeth; b)bad for bone growth; and c) will get them started down a path that will only cause them grief as adults as they have to work twice as hard to get fit and healthy?

Just for the record, my kids only get soft drinks twice a year - on their birthday and on the Fourth of July. It's been great. My oldest kid is out of the house now and still doesn't drink soda. The other three don't ask for it.

I don't buy chips or cookies, either. Empty calories in chips, and we bake our own cookies.

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

This is my opinion but heck NO.
That is why we are their parents.. to teach and direct and set rules and boundaries. When they are old enough, they can decide for themselves. But I feel that I have a parental responsibility to teach and direct my kids in what I feel is best... and that means setting reasonable rules. Even God sets rules and commandments for His children... only makes sense that we do as well.

There's my two cents. Good on you for having your kids follow healthier rules! They will thank you one day.

~Margene

Lanie Painie said...

I think it's fine to put some limits on them, but encourage them to make healthy choices. My daughter almost always orders water at a restaurant because she knows it's free, and healthy, and it won't make her too full to eat her dinner. Sometimes, though, she'll order soda for a treat. I don't have to worry about 5 refills for her. Now her dad. . . wish I could get him off the soda wagon!

If you talk a lot about the healthy choices you make, and set a good example, I think they are bound to follow. But if you give them too many limitations, they're likely to rebel and go overboard the other direction. I think you know your kids best and can strike the right balance if you're mindful about it. My kid knows that I'm obese because I made a lot of bad health choices in the past, but we're making better choices all the time for me to get healthy and her to stay healthy.

Joy said...

Oh honey, your kids will THANK YOU when they get older and have wonderful eating habits, not to mention zero cavities since they aren't eating/drinking tons of sugar. Unhealthy food does not equal love. Truly, loving your kids enough to say no to bad food is one of the best gifts I think you could give them as children.

Also, I imagine your kids probably don't even want that crap food anyways. My sister and her husband are very healthy and basically feed their kids in the manner you just described. The kids are 3 and 6 now, and they actually crave vegetables and fruit. When I was visiting once, I put a cookie in my mouth and noticed my niece (the 6-year-old) glance over at me. I asked her if she wanted a cookie (I know, I'm a naughty aunt) and she said no. Then she asked for an apple. The cookie just about fell out of my mouth as I was shamed by a 6 year old ;)

Jennifer said...

You know...I think about this a lot. I grew up not eating out a lot, not having a whole lot of snacks, and when I got some freedom (college) I ate all this crap and decided I loved it, even though I didnt love that it made me fat. I am trying to convince myself that if I can make healthy foods taste yummy or look fun maybe they will always want them over candy and crap? I am still working on this one...

Amy said...

Wow- something to think about!!! First of all - you're thier PARENT ~ not thier friend. If you let them choose(to the extreme) they'd just be eating candy and pop all day. So putting boundries on it is perfectly normal!!! It's called GOOD parenting!!! There's a place for treats and all that - but having boundries and healthy being the first option is wonderful! I think you're doing a great job!!! We only let our kids have pop when we go out(and it's usually sprite - to avoid caffiene) and they usually dont' get refills. Just because they don't usually need them.

~ Darla ~ said...

Interesting post. I think it's a fine line to walk and offering them healthy choices and leading by example is a good thing.

Baby Weight and Beyond said...

I think teaching children healthy about a healthy lifestyle and moderation is important. My daughter is only 9 months but I am already thinking about that too!

Ellie said...

I'm not a parent, but I have to tell you that most of my problems with weight and the habits that caused my weight gain were learned when I was a kid.

Things like portion control, and healthy eating weren't something I was taught and as a result I feel as an adult I am having a hard time trying to fix these habits. Like eating fast food because it is easy, or eating an entire box of cookies in one sitting.

I think your children will be better for it in the future because they will never have to fight against their upbringing to find a healthy lifestyle.

I'm sure your kids don't even know, or care what they are missing.

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