The other morning while sitting in traffic, I found myself listening to some early morning radio show where people call in and ask the listeners to be the judge and jury on specific issues that they are dealing with in their lives. Essentially, two people usually call in and say that they are having a dispute with each other that they can't get past and have agreed to go with the decision of the listeners to help them resolve it.
Scarey to imagine why people do this but hey...it happens.
Even scarier....there are people like me sitting in traffic who listen to these things....and then write whole blog posts on them....
On this particular morning, a woman called in to say that she and her husband have an issue with regard to an on-going policy about the candy that their children--between the ages of 6-10-- bring home from Trick-or-Treating. The wife/mother feels that the children should be allowed to keep their candy and eat it as they desire while the husband/father feels that the children should be given a certain amount of candy of their choosing that they have to "earn to eat" and that he bring the remaining candy into his office to share. The "earn to eat" program entails the parents taking the chosen candy and requiring the children to do chores or have specific behaviors in order to be given a piece of their candy through the next few months. From what I could gather, they have living with this policy for a few years and the wife has always been against it and now as the children are older, they are really balking!
Since traffic was so heavy that morning, I got a chance to sit and contemplate the issue and listen to the comments from the disc jockeys and other listeners when they called in.
Let me say that while I understand the father's desire to "limit" the candy as opposed to allowing the children to eat massive amounts of candy in a short period of time, I am not on board with the "earn to eat" program he thinks is appropriate.
And, while I understand the mother's thinking that "hey, it's Halloween, that's what kids should be allowed to do..." stance, I know it's not the healthiest thing.
The idea of the father taking the excess candy into the office is not a new thing. I can bet that there's thousands of offices across America that are filled with workers on sugar highs the days immediately following Halloween each year....
I've taken candy into the office from my kids' stockpile and I am sure you have too.
To be honest, I can't even remember what prompted me to take the candy into the office...knowing me, you can bet it wasn't part of a policy that we have at our house about Halloween candy.
I am of the "it's your candy....just keep it away from me" parenting corner.... you can say I'm selfish like that...
So, why am I against the "earn to eat" program?
Maybe it's because I have struggled with food and weight. Maybe that's why I feel pretty strongly that food and treats should not be associated with behaviors or chores or anything other than it being food or treats.
I am sure I have lots of people who would disagree with me....
What I do know is that by tying emotions or behaviors or anything else to food or treats associates them forever together. Using food or treats to control behavior or to encourage one to be a contributing member of a household may work in the short term for a specific situation but I have to ask--what does it look like 10 or 20 or 30 or even 40 years later?
It looks like OBESITY.
Yes, I know that sounds extremely harsh.
And, you're probably wondering if I am just deep-thinking this way too much.
Maybe. Maybe not.
But, it's not a belief that I could be swayed on.
Everyone has different parenting styles so I am not sitting in judgement of anyone who ties food or treats to certain behaviors or makes their children earn their food or treats.
I just believe they are wrong.
But, I didn't always know that as a parent when I was raising my children. I did what my parents did and their parents before them......
So, I am pretty sure I screwed up one, two, maybe 800 times.....
Now that I know better, I can work on it when I'm a grandmother......
So, I bet you are wondering who won the debate between the man and woman who called in to the radio show?
Yes, the listeners voted 78% in her favor.
It scares me just thinking about how pissed off her husband is going to be tonight!