January 2, 2012

I don’t know where we’ve gone wrong.  Not only do we have incredibly picky children when it comes to food, we’ve birthed children who are somewhat obsessed with sweets.

Neither Sean nor I have a sweet tooth at all!  Where does this come from?

It’s especially true with C, and it’s especially true recently.  She has stopped hiding and sneaking about food, like she was a couple months ago.  Instead, she’s moved into the slightly-less-worrisome NAGGING about food.

Me: “Thanks for cleaning up, C!  Good job!”

C: “Do I get a treat?”

I think this phase of it started at Halloween.  We sensibly let the kids eat a bunch of candy that night, then took the bags and put them up high out of reach.  We’d let them have a piece after school, sometimes a piece after dinner if they ate everything, sometimes a piece if it was a weekend afternoon and they were playing nicely.  Not a big deal about rewarding them for things, more like, we’ve got to use this candy up eventually, might as well dole it out slowly and in concert with good behavior.  (We also snuck some of it ourselves.)

Me: ‘Naptime!”

C: “If I take a nap can I get a treat?”

Then the holidays came, and in discussing what goes with Thanksgiving, Christmas, 2-year-old’s birthday, etc., of course there’s discussion of special foods.  We work in discussion of everything, but the fascination goes straight to the treats.

Me: “We’ll decorate the tree…”

C: “You put candy canes on a tree, right?  Can I eat the candy cane?  We make cookies for Santa, right?  Can I have a cookie?”

We’ve also made a big deal out of good behavior in school, since we had some trouble back in October, and whenever C has five good days in a row, she gets to pick something from the treasure box- dollar store toys and candy in there.  Guess what she picks.  In a way, I’m glad it’s not the tiny toy crap, but in another way…

Sean: “We’re going to get hamburgers out at Five Guys today!”

C: “And then will we get a treat?”

It’s not the amount of candy and cookies she gets.  That’s pretty minimal.  It’s her OBSESSION with when and where the next treat is coming.  She’s very single-minded at times about it.  R does it too, to a lesser extent.

C: “I ate all my pie!  When are we going to have another treat?”

Me: “The pie was a treat.”

C: “But I ate it ALL!”

It makes me wonder if we should keep MORE treats in the house.  We always had a full cookie jar when I was growing up, and candy on a semi-regular basis.  I don’t remember my parents being strict about sweets, and I don’t remember ever being super excitable about sweets myself.  Sure, fun, but I definitely didn’t grow up eating candy by the handful.  We don’t keep any of that around here regularly, except for a bag of Hershey’s Kisses Sean stashes in the freezer and nibbles on here and there.

Maybe we should?

We probably should stop ever using treats as a reward.  But it’s almost impossible not to.  We have to have some treats, and I refuse to hand out treats to poorly behaving kids or kids who don’t finish dinner.  So therefore… they happen on occasions of good behavior and finishing meals.  Rewards.

We are trying to teach C that when she asks for something too many times, it gets annoying and she doesn’t get it.  Sort of like tantruming.  Teaching that IS working, somewhat.



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