Sugar is everywhere and I don’t want my daughters eating it. I have my reasons for believing sugar is making people unhealthy (science has reasons for it too).
The teachers at school hand it out. The bank has a bowl of it. The physical therapist has a bowl too… Seriously I can’t think of many events- even small ones- without sugar. A few days ago we went for our weekly swim at the YMCA and they had a table full of cupcakes and cookies for sale. It’s everywhere.
We eat some sweets- as you might have noticed on my blog. But we keep the sugar content low and use less processed sweeteners (like honey). And the kids don’t have treats everyday. Currently I am nearly sweetener free altogether and feeling great (more on that another day).
So, at first I packed my daughter alternative treats, always had some handy, to be sure she wouldn’t be “left out”. That seemed like a good idea at the time and I still plan to do it for special occasions like birthday parties.
But here is the thing… The question I asked myself: Do I want to teach my daughters that fitting in is important? Do I want to teach them that they must have a treat every time someone else does? Or every time a treat is offered? For me the answer is NO to all of those! I would love for them to be confident enough to NOT do what everyone else is doing. To look after their own health above social acceptance. And I hope that gentle lessons now will translate in other peer pressure situations as teenagers.
People have said to me, “She is going to get older and eat whatever she wants soon enough.” (Their point: Why bother restricting now?) Well, do you just hand your 13-year-old a pack of cigarettes because soon enough they will sneak off and smoke with their friends? I hope not! Of course my daughters will eat how they please later in life. Now is my chance to influence their tastes, share my beliefs, and feed their growing bodies the best that I can.
Will I deliberately make my kids social outcasts? Of course not! But in small ways I hope to show them that it is OK to be amongst other people and not be the “same” as those people.
I know I am not perfect, and I certainly don’t mean to imply that other people are parenting “wrong” if they do things differently. Really I want to point out that it is our (parents) opportunity to teach our small children the beliefs we hold dear. Sometimes we get off track by peer pressure too. I am reminding myself that it is OK to NOT “fit in”.