I’ve had quite a few people tell me in the course of the adoption that I will need to change the way I eat if there is a kid in the house. While a few of them meant that they are concerned that I am going to “force” the kid to be a vegetarian (is that worse than forcing them to eat meat?), many are worried that my focus on whole and natural foods will be bad for a child.
Let that sink in. Natural and unprocessed foods are considered to be bad for kids. I don’t think that they can make the argument that they are bad nutritionally. I believe that these people mean that healthy food is bad for children psychologically.
The first instance was in the middle of a discussion about discipline styles with the SIL. She was giving an example of a kid throwing a temper tantrum because I won’t give her a Twinkie before dinner. I laughed. I can’t visualize owning a Twinkie. She modified it to, “Whatever sort of stuff that you’re going have actually have in your house for her to eat.”
When I was discussing something with my mother and referred to the visit B. had with her social worker at McDonalds I offhandedly said, “I hope she had fun because it isn’t happening here.” My mother got all mad and informed me that I have to take her to McDonalds. The tone used implied that she would turn into a serial killer if she didn’t go to McDonalds routinely. I pointed out that I don’t go there because I really can’t eat there as a vegetarian. My mother told me to eat some fries for the good of my child so she could go to McDonalds. What is the big deal? I am personally dying to go to Chuck E. Cheese. Let that be her “playing at restaurants” experience.
I’ve had all kinds of people tell me that I will no longer be able to buy healthy food with kids. Why? I don’t remember my mother kowtowing to what I wanted to eat, at least for dinner. She made a meal and if I didn’t want to go hungry I ate it. There was no making me another meal that better suited my mood.
My friend down the street growing up lived in a family that ate a salad and fairly healthy food every night. I remember feeling slightly sorry for her because she didn’t have sugary cereal at her house but to the best of my knowledge no one in her family grew up to be a serial killer.
Maybe I’ve hit on the root cause of childhood obesity. Processed, sugary foods are now considered a “right” of children. Not having those foods makes you a bad parent. I remember someone telling me that she couldn’t lose weight because her kids had all kinds of junk food in the house. I said to stop buying it. I remember she stared at me open-mouthed. End of discussion. I was talking nonsense.
So, my poor abused child will be forced to eat healthy, vegetarian meals if I’m cooking. Call children’s services. When they investigate maybe I’ll get off for extenuating circumstances. See, my mother never had soft drinks in the house when I was kid. I was deprived too.
I’m not advocating feeding a kid crap, but there is a bit of psychology in play here.
If you make an big deal of denying processed sweets and other industrial foods to your kids when they live in a culture where that kind of thing is considered normal the whole thing may backfire. Come the age of eight or ten, when they are old enough to be spending lots of time away from the house and doing a lot of eating unsupervised by such health – conscious eyes, they may rebel by eating lots of exactly what you’ve not let them have.
An related example: I was in elementary school when the original eight bit nintendo first hit America. My mother made a big point of explaining to me that she wouldn’t have one in the house because she feared it would make me sedentary and I wouldn’t get any exercise. I was also a pretty chubby kid so anything that kept me sitting down that wasn’t homework or reading was pretty much verboten in my house.
The result was that I just went over to my friends’ houses and played just as much, if not more nintendo that I would have otherwise. Even when my playmates got bored with video games and wanted to go do other things, I would work hard, often successfully, to continue playing video games.
I’m not saying that this will, absolutely, happen with your child. Some kids, though, don’t deal well when they feel they are being denied something and go actively seeking that thing out in greater profusion than they would have if they had just been allowed in the first place.
I should note that I got over video games pretty quickly. I find them actively uninteresting as an adult and haven’t played one since I was a sophomore in college. Every kid is different, though.
I was watching this show on Discovery Health or something and they were featuring families with obese children, trying to help the parents stop killing their children. One mother said she could not recall EVER having cooked a vegetable for her family, and she had at least 2 kids around 8 and 10. Never cooking a vegetable?
My family never went to McDonald’s. Ever. Occasionally we would go to Wendy’s (which we viewed as a huge treat), but they had chili and potatoes. There was rarely processed food in our house, I can never recall my mother purchasing Twinkies, we had a HUGE garden where we grew most of what we ate, and we raised cows and chickens. Every once in awhile we would have a calf so that we could have it butchered for us. Probably 60% of what we ate came from the 5 acres we lived on.
All of that to say, although I was a bit of an odd duck as a child (artistic personality and all), I grew up into a happy, healthy, typical woman.
Oh, and just on a more personal note, I was also adopted; so, adopted and raised on natural food. Still haven’t commited any serious crimes, and have built my adult life around eating locally.
Don’t you mean B. will turn into a cereal killer not a serial killer?
I’m sitting here, just slowly shaking my head. I know I don’t eat well and it shows. Bravo to you and stick to your guns!
ROFL Idiotic, isn’t it, the way people act as if eatting CRAP is normal??? Of course, I’m not totally one to talk, and eatting “crap” is cheaper than eating well, esp. in some parts of the country and during parts of the year. But, neither DH nor I have taken DD to McD’s in over 6 years. She’s a PITA some days, but she isn’t a serial killer (though she’s only 9, time WILL be the judge on how she turns out). And if she turns out rotten, it certainly WON’T be because we don’t treat her to McD’s on a regular (read daily or weekly, much less monthly or yearly) basis. Again, not to say she doesn’t get her fair share of sugar & other “crap”, but she also had a slice of watermelon & 2 slices of home-made bread for breakfast this morning, with a glass of milk. No sugary cereal in sight.
Stick to your guns, sweety!!! It’s hard, but it’s doable. And really…. When push comes to shove & your relatives see that your daughter isn’t obese (like most of the rest of the country) and is happy & healthy, they’ll likely forget all about the fact that y’all eat vegetarian. Oh, and LOVE the fact that you’re also of the opinion that if a child doesn’t eat what’s placed in front of them, then they must not be THAT hungry anyway!!!! My inlaws kow-tow to my nephews, and my dad & baby sis do to my niece, and all 3 of them eat junk and only junk, constantly! My daughter eats most veggies (except brussels sprouts) and fruit, and likes them. There is only 1 dish that she’s previously made it clear that she doesn’t like, and that’s stuffing (and we insisted, for years, that she have a bite anyway, just to keep introducing the “flavor”). So I WILL make her a single serving of (instant) mashed potatoes instead of stuffing, if DH and I are having stuffing with our meal. (Though, she’s revised this choice in the last 6 months or so. She’ll now eat stuffing, though occasionally she asks if I’ll make her a bit of mashed potatoes instead.) Again, LOADS of support from ME about your choice not to be her short-order-cook & enabler to obesity!