Friday, March 08, 2013
I was in line at the grocery store last night behind a woman whose shopping cart was overflowing with items. As I waited my turn I couldn’t help but notice that her cart was half full of Zebra Cakes, Fruit Rollups, Pop Tarts, chips, and sodas. The other half of the cart was filled with Diet Shakes, Diet powders, Diet bars, and Diet frozen meals.
At first I just blow it off as, “Well she’s got kids and she’s trying to lose weight”. But then I started thinking about that; if you’re trying to be weight and health conscious, then why are you feeding your kids that?
I don’t have kids, so I’m kinda talking out my nose, here. But I did care for my niece for over a year when she was 2 years old; so maybe that earns me a little street cred.
I remember how my mother and I tried to give her milk or water only, but she wanted sodas. We’d have to fight to keep her away from them all the time. It wasn’t easy and there were times when I seriously wanted to give her a can just to shut her up (as much as I love her). But my ex-sister in law and my middle brother did allow her to have sodas when she was with them. Now at 16 she has a Mountain Dew habit that is as bad as the Pepsi habit I just broke.
I see it so often, this double standard, that it’s ok to give your kids pop-tarts for breakfast, fruit rollups for lunch, and a soda with dinner; meanwhile Mom and Dad are eating salads and grilled fish to try and lose weight, while wishing they had the pop-tarts. Granted a pop tart is easier, faster, and well, what the kids want, more than making eggs. But if we want our kids to be healthy, then why aren’t we teaching them healthy habits when they’re little before they learn the bad ones we’re currently fighting as adults.
I remember that my eldest brother’s son didn’t know what McDonald’s was until he was around 4 years old. His parents had taken a trip and he stayed with his maternal grandparents, who took him to McDs for the first time. Until that trip, he’d never once asked to go there, he never paid attention to the commercials, but after that, he constantly hounded his parents for McDs. For the longest time, at every meal he had a crying fit for McDs.
That story always makes me think, if the kids have never had it, they’ll never want it. An apple can be candy to a kid who’s never had a fruit rollup.
I agree that a single cookie a day is perfectly fine and healthy, and eventually, every family is going to have take out pizza or fast food; but why pack candy and/or high sugar, high salt lunchables for their lunches every day? Why have candy and chips in the cupboards at all times?
I had a conversation with a woman who thought it was perfectly fine to start giving her 10 year old chores around the house. I asked her, “Why 10? Why not hand your 2 year old a dust pan and have them help with the chores?”
Granted teaching a 2 year old to hold the dustpan for you is a lot harder and time consuming then doing it yourself. But wouldn’t that condition them to do chores, during a time when they’re excited to help; rather than fighting you on it when they’re older and set in the habit of not helping?
The same with food, if the kid has been eating broccoli and brussel sprouts since they were a sprout they are probably less likely to fight you on it when they’re older. And who knows, maybe they’ll even learn to dislike Zebra Cakes and greasy chips.
Granted this is big talk from a single, childless person. I have no idea how I’d handle being a parent. And I do admire the people who do take that plunge and are raising the future. I realize no one is perfect, and we all do the best we can for our kids. It’s not an easy job. This was just a random stream of consciousness that ran through my head in line and has been bouncing around in there ever since.