I wouldn't take the candy away from the child, or make them feel bad about wanting it. That would just make the hiding problem worse. I think it's important to teach the child healthy habits, and that all things are OK in moderation. A few bites of a candy bar is fine, and won't hurt the child's diet. Hiding candy, on the other hand, could very well hurt the child's emotional and mental well-being in the long run.
SHAMING DOES NOT WORK! I cannot stress that enough! If it doesn't work for adults, what the heck makes us think that it would work on the fragile and growing emotions of a child???
Fitness Minutes: (800)
3/7/13 7:55 A
When you find it, replace it with healthy snacks. That way, eventually they will get the idea. It you continue to find bad choices, consider halving their allowance, & putting the other half in a jar, or an account on their behalf. When they complain, tell them you're saving it for when they start making healthier choices. OR Don't tell them that you're saving it for them, just keep it in a safe place. Their allowance will go back to normal, when they show that they are not spending it on junk. Good Luck!!!
I think if the child is using their allowance to buy candy, then so be it...it's technically their choice. You can encourage them to make healthier choices with their money or to save it to buy something they want more, but if they still choose candy then don't shame the choice. As another poster mentioned, all kids like candy and if you wouldn't shame a thin child for eating candy, it's inappropriate to shame a larger child for it.
I would suggest limiting the amount of candy and junk foods that you bring into the home so that those items are limited overall though. Also educating kids about healthy choices through cooking healthy meals at home and involving them in grocery shopping and food preparation can help to guide their food choices.
3/6/13 9:53 P
Whatever you do don't shame or embarrass this child, there's something bothering he/she and if they are hiding the food they don't feel comfortable eating in front of someone and that means someone might already be making this child feel bad about eating. Kids are kids and like candy, but you can't just say don't buy candy after all we're all here cause we can't do this and we're adults. Sit down with him or her and see if they are being bullied at school or if something else is bothering them. Maybe make sure that he or she is eating healthier meals so when they do buy some candy that it's a little splurge and they are at least eating healthy and maybe try getting them to join some kind of an activity after school. Maybe join a bowling team, sport or try to be active with him or her maybe go for walks or join the Y and go swimming. It's not fun to be made of by people who are suppose to love you I know I'd get bullied at school and then come home and have my mother finish the night off by bullying me more about my weight. This is a sensitive matter you don't want to cause this child to become anorexic or bulimic either.
3/6/13 8:37 P
Dear God, a few of these replies are outrageous! Don't shame the child, obviously that will only teach them to just hide the candy better. Don't take away the allowance, they'll find other ways to get their fix. And don't make them go on "2 one hour walks" every day. What sense does that even make??? As if that teaches them ANYthing.
I agree with the first 2 responders. Make sure there are healthy treats and snacks at home. Make your own nut butters, healthy cookies, nutritious muffins, etc. Obviously they feel like eating the candy is embarassing and shameful. Why? Why do they feel guilt when eating treats? Getting to the root of who made them feel that way (someone at home vs someone at school) is a great first step. Next, once they know that healthy treats are okay, and that they are readily available at home, hopefully they won't have such an urge to buy the junk and hide it.
Also, the child needs to be set up for success. Expecting them to make good choices, while feeding them stuff that has a negative effect on their bodies, isn't going to work. You can't give a kid fast food or boxed macaroni and cheese and expect them not to crave crappy foods. But this also goes for seemingly "healthy" foods. Did you know whole wheat bread has a higher GI than table sugar? People think they're doing themselves a favor by eating whole wheat this, and whole grain that. But in reality, all you're doing is creating that same blood sugar spike and crash, and their brain is just searching for its next sugar fix. ***I know SP says to eat whole grains, but so does the USDA. And let's be honest, our shelves are full of "healthier" foods, and we're fatter than ever.***
The kid (and rest of the family) need to eat meat, fresh veggies, fresh fruit. Nobody is going to get fat by eating fresh fruits and veggies. So the intent here should not be to make the kid feel like they should limit food or feel shame about eating. I would honestly probably take myself AND my child straight to a counselor. I would hate to see a child turn into another product of our obesity trap society, and I would hate to handle such a sensitive matter incorrectly.
Anyway, I have a lot to say, but I don't want to tick off the masses here... Good luck with the situation. It's a very delicate matter and it should be handled as so.
Stop offering the money and redirect them to know how to save and you will help them do it. When they want to spend some of there money do a booking keeping log and tell the child you will take them to where they want to go and pick something out. Lay out the rules and get back in control. Do they need a new book bag or clothes or a treat you can make together that is diet proof but yummy. If you eat right and have only what is good in the home they will follow. Make it fun and not so boring or controlled let them help choose. I would definitely see your primary care doctor and see what they can do to help with diet and exercise and kid friendly. They might need counseling. Good diet and enough sleep and more honesty.
You will be ok. Make it a family involvement so they don't feel picked on.
3/6/13 5:46 P
The child is already obese, so clearly the relationship with food is unhealthy. Like many obese children he probably is marginalized at school. Watch "weight of a nation" on HBO, the documentary part that focuses on childhood obesity, many good ideas.
I would focus on getting the child moving, not a diet. Start taking daily walks with the child (2x a day, 1 hour each, children need to expend calories). Go biking. Go hiking. When the weather is nice o camping, only take "good foods" with you. Have no soda in the house, no cookies. And know you're not the only parent facing this challenge.
Fitness Minutes: (1,201)
3/6/13 5:38 P
I agree with those who have suggested getting to the root behind hiding the candy. As far as the allowance issue goes, if you change it, I don't think i'd explicitly state it's because of the candy, because there's just too many pitfalls there.
I don't know how much allowance the child is receiving, but I think i'd consider reducing the actual cash they receive to an amount that if they decide to spend it on candy, they wouldn't be able to buy that much of it and put the rest in a savings account.
Fitness Minutes: (660)
3/6/13 4:16 P
I agree with some of the other posters. Discuss the impact on health. But depending on age, and whether they really care or not, this may be kind of useless. I personally, would allow a certain amount of allowance to be used on a treat. Cause i think we all know depriving will lead to binging. And then set the rest aside for when I personally take them out to be spent. I agree that we need to teach our children money management as soon as they are able to grasp the concept. Its an important skill to have. Maybe set up a child's savings account for them so they can have the joy of watching their money grow? Either way, we are the adults and they are the child. You have to put your foot down. My daughter is only 9 and has a love for food like nobody's business...lol. But thankfully she has a high metabolism. But we talk everyday about healthy eating and the choices she makes now will effect her in the future. Before, she would eat until she got sick if I let her (I know because I let her do i one time to show her she can make herself ill). Since that experience she has gotten a lot better about pushing her plate to the side if she's full, and not continuing just because it tastes so good :)
3/6/13 4:09 P
I like OnlyZombieCats approach. Take the stigma away from the candy. I think that taking her allowance away or telling her she cannot buy candy. Will just push her to be more sneaky.
I also like Glitter Fairy's post
Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 3/6/2013 (16:16)
3/6/13 3:42 P
First, I would talk to the child explain how uhealthy candy is. If this doesn't work, do something a bit more drastic, like getting healthy snacks instead of outrightly giving him/her a allowance.
Oh, I used to do this all the time-back when it was safe for kids to walk to the drug store around the corner. My daughter gets allowance now, but more often than not, we'll get something when she has enough to get a new toy or art supplies, because like me, she's got a sweet tooth. When my son is responsible enough for allowance, I will do the same for him.
I agree with the others who said you need to try to get to the reason the child feels the need to hide the candy....is there TOO MUCH emphasis on "bad" and "good" foods in the home? Is the child never allowed the treat at all? Has the child been shamed or embarrassed about weight or eating habits?
I would mention it to the child's pediatrician (out of the child's hearing of course) to get his/her input. A few sessions with a counselor probably wouldn't be a bad idea, as long as it's done in a positive manner.
We did something different but now I might lean towards moderation instead of deprivation. I would allow a certain percentage to be allowed to be spent on treats so there is not shame in relation to food. To show you can have a treat, just less of it because it contains so many calories.
We don't give allowance, our kids need to earn through chores completed but then 10% gets donated, 50% saved and 40% spent. I know we went through a while where their money was spent at the concession stand and I would just say that is literally 'pooping your money away'. It took a while but they finally understood.
I don't think the allowance is the problem. If that's taken away, they'll find other ways to fulfill that 'candy fix'. I agree that this seems like the beginning of an unhealthy relationship with food. The parent needs to sit down with the child and discuss healthy eating habits and discuss why they are hiding the candy. Something should be worked out with the child as far as how much they can have a day. For example, during Easter, my mom would let my sister and I have a half a cadbury egg at a time. Or, the first two letters of a candy bar. We knew these items were treats, and not to be consumed all at once, but rather savored and enjoyed.
Having suffered from an eating disorder, I look back now and wish someone had taken notice now I was treating food in my early teens, and sat down with my to discuss healthy eating habits. It would have gone a long way, I think.
I would probably talk to the child and help them understand your concern for their health and let them know that you do understand the appeal of candy. Try to work something out with them so they are not feeling the need to hide it. If the child is expected to use their allowance in a certain way (pay some expenses, save, give to charity) and they have blown it all on candy repeatedly then maybe talk about reducing or eliminating the allowance because it isn't being used for the purpose intended.
My dd has candy issues. She is not obese but still has issues with it. Having candy isn't forbidden though. When we go grocery shopping I let her choose one item each week and it can be a small bag of candy if she wants. I think making it something she feels she has to sneak around or hide is worse than a moderate amount. If dd is eating healthy the rest of the time and being active then a small amount of candy on a regular basis isn't bad in the larger picture. We don't give dd an allowance outright. If she wants money to buy things then she earns it. We offer tasks she can choose to do for that purpose. She can use her money to buy whatever she wants. She never chooses to spend it on candy because she would rather save up for a video game.
Once you address it he or she will just make sure they leave no wrappers behind again. Allowance needs to be taken and put away to save for something better. I honestly think kids with money eat too much junk and that is why a lot of kids are obese now. Stores right by every school loaded with junk for them, waiting to take their money. Many schools still sell junk on campus. Mcdonalds and other fast foods right around the corner. Ice cream trucks at dismissal time waiting at schools, not just one truck but 5 here.
Fitness Minutes: (3,382)
240 3/6/13 1:58 P
Healthy optionsas someone else stated is a great idea, but I would also try to get to the root of the problem. Why does the child feel he/she needs to hide the food? Sounds like the beginnings of a very unhealthy relationship with food. I would sit down and calmly ask why they're hiding food and continue to stress the importance of healthy eating and everything in moderation. If there continues to be an issue and its really causing problems within the household, assistance outside the home may be needed. A counselor, therapist of some kind etc.
(Sidenote not referring to original poster) I feel its important that we as a society place less stress on saying NO to an occasional treat and instead emphasize the importance of moderation or as I call them in our household "sometimes foods".
Edited by: SHANSDOINIT79 at: 3/6/2013 (14:26)
3/6/13 1:46 P
Introduce healthy options that are also sweet, show them the serving size, weight out what they can eat in a serving in smack bags, make healthy peanut or almond butter and chocolate smack bars with oats, flax seed, sunflower added, cut to size/refrigerate in snack size zip lock bags.
Let's say you have an obese child and they spend their allowance buying candy and hiding it from you. You find it in their room and their book bag. You don't want to deny them spending money, but you also don't want to support this behavior.