Monday, 26 March 2012

Double scoops or double standards?

This is the conversation you might have overheard in my kitchen this morning:

"Can I have some chocolate?"
"Please? I really want some chocolate"
"No not now, maybe later"
"No stop asking, it is not chocolate time"
"I really WANT some chocolate"
"I'm not discussing it anymore, it is breakfast time, not chocolate time"
"I hate you, you won't let me have chocolate"

This is a typical conversation (if you want to be so civilised to call it that) that often occurs in our household. It's not just between myself and my husband either... Just substitute the word 'chocolate' for 'biscuit', 'crisps', 'muesli bar', or whatever you fancy. It is like groundhog day.

But it has got me thinking. Children have very little control over what they eat. (Well in this house anyway). I allow mine choices between healthy options or try to make healthy versions of 'junk' foods. We do eat rubbish like McD's once in a while and I do bake the odd cake but generally I try to ensure they have a healthy balanced diet. If there is any junk to be had it is usually on a Friday, on the weekend or on a special occasion. And even then they have to eat something healthy first to counterbalance it!!

I am pleased to say that they like to eat their vegies and don't really eat much rubbish. Consequently they are fit and healthy. However there seems to be a BIG double standard going on. They aren't allowed junk everyday, yet it seems that I can have it whenever I fancy it. I control pretty much every morsel that passes their lips, but I can't control myself.

At the playgroup we go to, the children sit and have fruit for morning tea. The adults have biscuits or a slice of cake. The children see this, they are fully aware and they protest at the injustice of it...even those who are a mere age of 1 or 2. Something about that doesn't sit so well with me. (I have been known to either forgo the biscuit or sneak one to my son, but sometimes I just wait until his back is turned and gobble it up. Some mums are happy to just eat it infront of their children and explain "it is just for mummies"....fair enough, that is their choice).

After pondering this issue I have realised that this sort of thing occurs quite often. For example, when we go on a long car journey, my husband and I sneakily eat sweets to pass the time while the boys munch on fruit, breadsticks and raisins.... When we go out for icecream, they are allowed a small, child's scoop while we have a massive double scoop. The more I think about it the more instances I can see it occurring.

Now I know that is what we are supposed to do, to guide our children into healthy habits as well as maintaining our responsibility for keeping them safe and healthy. But what about ourselves? What has happened to the responsbility and control to maintain our own levels of health and safety?

So I am going to try an experiment. From now on, I am only going to eat non-healthy food when my children do (and only then if I have the points available and if I really want it). If I am not comfortable or happy to let them have a biscuit, chocolate, or whatever, I will not have it either. If I want to eat a sneaky bite of cake or handful of sweets or spoonful of ice-cream, I will have to call them into the kitchen and give it to them too.

I am hoping this will make me think before I snack as well as make healthy choices for myself in the same way that I do for them. (Rather than completely dissolve my standards and turn the kitchen cupboard into a free for all..)

Of course there are going to be exceptions such as evening meals out or the odd glass of wine, and some of that is the pleasure and freedom of being an adult. But I am going to try it as a general principle and see what happens.

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