Thursday, June 10, 2010

English as a Second Language

I frequently comment on how surely I must speak Russian, or Czechoslovakian (which I've been told is not actually a language, making it much more ironic). It is never more true then when the topic is the raising of my children and the listener is a caregiver to said children. Females are the worst about it. It's just in one ear and out the other.

corn syrup, sugar, modified food starch, dextrose, water, pork-skin gelatin, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, artificial flavor, natural flavor and blue #1

This is the ingredients list for Marshmallows, in basic white, large and mini. I think maybe the healthiest ingredient in that list is water... and you know that isn't much. (Does the pork-skin gelatin count as a "meat"?? I don't think so.)

Because of this, it seems pretty obvious that, when I say bug is not to have candy, that this would be top of the list. And yet, he is given this treat EVERY TIME he visits.

I'm presuming that the "why" of this is because he likes marshmallows.

My response as a loving mother is, so what?

He LIKES running into the street. He LIKES playing in the kitchen while I'm cooking. I'm sure he'd find it a grand old time jumping off the balcony. Yet, I don't allow these things.

Bug also LIKES staying up too late playing video games. He LIKES not taking a bath. He LIKES to pick up his newborn baby sister. Again... not going to happen.

So, what is so special about his snack choices?

Let's play Devil's Advocate. Why shouldn't he have marshmallows? It's not like a mouthful of chemically-modified sugar is going to kill him, right?

The sad thing is, it COULD kill him... just not immediately or directly. HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) has now been shown to create obesity far more then the calories alone can account for. Since the creation of HFCS, obesity levels have skyrocketed and childhood obesity has gone from virtually non-existent to affecting even toddlers and preschoolers. This could lead to a lifetime of cardiac and respiratory disease, including a loss of years of life expectancy.

These things have been proven over and over, yet we bribe and stuff our children with candies laden with HFCS, when even bread and pasta sauce contain more than enough to create a lasting effect.

So, when I decided to severely limit my son's consumption, it was based on research and proven fact, on informed decision-making. Unfortunately, since I made my declaration in some foreign language, it was completely ignored in favor of my son's "I want."

Perhaps the hardest part is understanding how a parent is so easily subverted by the child. How often do we justify and excuse ignoring or modifying decisions made in the child's best interests in favor of pleasing the child? To what end?

Then we wonder why children so often think that misbehaving or pleading will lead us to cave in... maybe because we teach them that it works! We teach them that we will renege on anything we state as being rules or boundaries.

Anyone involved in the raising or care of children must remember to always speak the same language.

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