Kids and Treats

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

Make all gone, get two chocolate wafers

My 12 kids know the drill: Make all gone, get two chocolate wafers after lunch. They know that this is an allowable treat, sanctioned by their parents, and that's a good thing. The fact that you let them have a treat here and there keeps them from rebelling and going overboard in the sweets department.

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt

Breast milk and formula are sweet. Thus, the first flavor we experience is sweet. I have to wonder about that: is it that our first taste sensation is sweet, and therefore we tend to prefer sweet flavors above all others? Or, did nature make sure our first sustenance would have universal appeal so as to encourage the perpetuation of the species? We might never know, but it sure is curious that for health reasons we spend most of our lives trying to deny ourselves the very thing we like most: sweets.

All things in moderation

The key, as in so many other things, is moderation. Too much of anything is bad for you. But, back to the issue of rebellion: My friend Bonnie is always moaning about her lousy teeth. She blames her mother's refusal to allow her sweets as a child. Once Bonnie started getting babysitting jobs, she binged without pause, spending all her earnings on sweets. The results of her teenaged excesses are today well-documented by her dental bills and waistline.

Bonnie's story is part of the reason I have decided to allow my children sweets in moderation. The other factor is my husband's chocoholism. My husband devours, alongside his chocolate, any shred of evidence he can find that his not-so-secret addiction is good for him. He has to have chocolate, and based on his constant craving has decided that our children should and must have chocolate. I have known my husband to hand out chocolate to my children as they leave the house for school. I don't recommend this, but I look the other way.

Some of my children take after him and are always begging for a square of chocolate. I see that they really do seem to need chocolate at times, so I allow them to have a square or two.

Another good time to allow sweets is once a week, at a predetermined time. If you take a day of rest, on Saturday or Sunday, make treat bags for your kids around 3:00 PM. Let them enjoy their treats while you take a nap.

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