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Choosing to live with not very much of anything. - Page 2

post #21 of 155
I guess I just see these more as behavior issues than anything to do with the family's chosen lifestyle. OP, do you set limits such as "Kids, you need to ask before getting a snack. It's not our snack time right now." or "Hey, let's get the playroom picked up before you need to go home."?

I have 3 kids and we have had a few kids come over who are what I call "dumpers". They come in and basically dump out everything in the family room within 10 min of being there. And these are kids who have plenty of their own things. As for food, my neighbor's kids used to come over and just start helping themselves. I just have to keep giving reminders about picking up and not going in the fridge at someone else's house.
post #22 of 155
We have a TV with a VHS player (we have a PRECIOUS stash of VHS tapes, all the old school "good" movies we can't wait for DD to watch) but no cable...we're not "toy" people, either. DD gets a kick out of chasing newts around the yard and giggling and squealing with our doggies...most of her favorite toys are cups and bowls and wooden spoons stolen from my kitchen...pots and pans are a big deal too, pots and pans and a cup full of water and she's GOLDEN! We have TONS of books for her and even at just 16 mos, she'll sit and look at them for ages, babbling to herself, switching books around, etc. She likes sticks...when we moved and got all new appliances, the hobo tent she made out of the refrigerator box was a huge hit. Thats just kids though...there are a few toys I want her to have eventually...a leaf press and some good nets and jars, maybe a science kit...she TOTALLY wants a baby doll right now, she's nuts about them...so we'll find a good one and give it to her around the time this baby in me is due to come out. I want her to have a bike for sure and maybe a really great doll house if she's into it...dress up stuff is a must, etc...all in it's time I suppose...she'll grow bigger and tell us what she likes...but we'll never have piles of toys hanging around in the house, no plastic junk piles. I think that's valid, that choice. Children with fewer things tend to treat their things better, IMO..that's how it was for me growing up.

As for food...when we go some place where kids eat more "kiddie style" food, DD GOBBLES it down. She gobbles at home, too, she just likes to eat....but man, there is something about a hot dog and some chips that kids just love, eh? I let her get her fill because we just don't have stuff like that around the house and I remember as a kid loving to go places where people had junk food, etc...

It sounds like these people have made the decision to live simply...we do too. We don't buy "stuff"....instead, we scrimped and saved and now have bought our dream house in the country. In our opinion, this beautiful acreage, millions of trees, animals everywhere and awesome lake are the best gift we can give our kids...there is PEACE here and quiet, safe places for her to make believe outside...I don't think Fisher Price makes peace yet, or huge yards with no cars going past! In OUR opinion, TV is a terrible waste of time, most toys are really just cheap thrills and people *really don't* need as much food as most Americans eat these days.

I don't know...maybe another poster is right, maybe their lifestyle choice feels like a judgement on YOUR lifestyle choices...but then, maybe YOUR lifestyle choices are a judgement against THEIRS? Why do your kids have more stuff than theirs? Because you think they SHOULD...right? It's all in the way you look at it.

It's okay for people to live differently...if you are worried about an actual nutritional issue, that's one thing....but really, the true test of whether their parenting style is okay or not, lies in whether or not these kids are really happy or not...and frankly, from where you're standing, I just don't see how you're the best judge of that, ykwim?
post #23 of 155
Thread Starter 
So lots of good posts here.

I actually don't see an issue with living simply. I do not "have a gaming system, drink soda, watch Disney, and wear everything Hanna Montana" either. In fact we do none of these things. I would classify us as living outside the mainstream too. I can see where I could simplify my life if I chose to, but I don't really wnat to simplify anymore than I already have. That is why I don't understand my visceral reaction. I am a live or let live type person.

I don't really feel judged by them although I do have a tendency to seek approval from people. Maybe there is something there.

I guess too I am being overly judgy on being 'to thin'. I know that is just how some folks are. Too explain a little further I do see some issues popping up with one of the kids and so maybe that is were my real concern lies and I have mixed up some of my thoughts. I know the deal with eating at someone elses house, and also the playing with others toys, I get that this can lead to frenzy behavior with any child. ONe of the children in particular though seems more ravenous, like she will actually take food out of someone elses hands to eat their food and will eat, eat, eat anything that is given and ask for more continouusly. I see this as deprivation and wonder why someone would choose to do this to thier child. Like buy some cheese and let the child eat for goodness sake. I have no idea if they use WIC or foodstamps or anything like that. My point is that they are choosing to deprive their children. They could if they chose too, do more.

I know they have little money because it is often the topic of conversation, like how we are sacrificing everything now type thing. I do not ask questions, these subjects are offered up.

I don't think no tv and few toys are deprivation. I can't seem to wrap my head around why someone would not allow their children more but I came from a family who had very little in the way of material goods and so I operate from always wanting more than I had. Like I said I just don't get it.

All in all everyones posts have made me see that maybe thier choices aren't that far off and that I just don't knwo that many folks making these choices. Except for the food I guess thier lifestyle could be considered normal and it is I who have some inner exploring to do....

Can't wait to read more.
post #24 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindberg99 View Post
I guess I just see these more as behavior issues than anything to do with the family's chosen lifestyle. OP, do you set limits such as "Kids, you need to ask before getting a snack. It's not our snack time right now." or "Hey, let's get the playroom picked up before you need to go home."?

I have 3 kids and we have had a few kids come over who are what I call "dumpers". They come in and basically dump out everything in the family room within 10 min of being there. And these are kids who have plenty of their own things. As for food, my neighbor's kids used to come over and just start helping themselves. I just have to keep giving reminders about picking up and not going in the fridge at someone else's house.

Holy SMOKES! I would go BANANAS if some neighbor kid was helping himself...I don't even want to THINK about what I'd do if my own child did that...geeezzz! My mom would have skinned me alive if she had heard I did such a thing!!
post #25 of 155
i know my kids eat like they are starving when they go over to other peoples houses. it is not that they do not get much to eat here (they have plenty) what they don't get is processed food, meat, dairy or eggs......so when you give them that they go nuts. if you fed them beans and rice they would eat a normal portion at a normal pace and say thanks and go play....
post #26 of 155
Thread Starter 
OH and one more thing. I actually don't care that these children eat our food. I am happy to provide them whatever they want. Some of it is maybe more child friendly than not but most is your standard whole food, non preservative choices like fruits and veggies (striaight from the garden), milk, cheese, bagels, etc...

Half the time I would like to send them home with a sack lunch but I knwo theire mom will make them throw it away - like cheese sticks and pistachios where once returned to me as the children where asking to eat them Their mom was like, no you can't have it - then to me - you can take this home we won't eat it????
post #27 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
OH and one more thing. I actually don't care that these children eat our food. I am happy to provide them whatever they want. Some of it is maybe more child friendly than not but most is your standard whole food, non preservative choices like fruits and veggies (striaight from the garden), milk, cheese, bagels, etc...

Half the time I would like to send them home with a sack lunch but I knwo theire mom will make them throw it away - like cheese sticks and pistachios where once returned to me as the children where asking to eat them Their mom was like, no you can't have it - then to me - you can take this home we won't eat it????
Ummm, I'm saying this, honestly, SO gently....bolded =

I would be SO insulted if I felt like you were trying to send my kids back to me with "food for later"...like I was starving them or needed charity from you in order to properly nourish them...I would say something to you about it, maybe after posting on MDC about how my friend seems to secretly think I'm starving my kids and "can you believe she would honestly try to send them back home with food, as if I'm really not feeding them!" - can you imagine the responses a post like that would get here??

This poor woman may be picking up on your disaproving vibes...it may or may not be hurting her feelings...but I'd be shocked if she didn't pick up on the fact that you think her parenting style deprives her children of the "basics".
post #28 of 155
Have you broached this with the mom? Have you said to her "i'm a bit concerned about how thin and hungry your DD always seems, do you think she's ok?"?
post #29 of 155
This is bringing back so many memories. Did anyone else grow up in a house like this, because I sure did. I have a vivid memory of visiting another little girl after school when I was in second grade. Her mother had made a whole plate of rice crispie squares, which I loved but we never had food like that at home, I just shoved mine down as fast as possible hoping that the mom would offer me another. I remember seeing on her face that she was on to me, and she put the plate away. I also ate all kinds of gross things like toothpaste, baking supplies, those fruits that go in fruitcake. After I left home, I ate two candy bars a day for years just because I could, and I'm still a little weird about food-always wanting to know how much and what type of food is available.

For the OP, I think you could could take a couple different actions that might help you feel better about the situation. If the other mom is a woman you feel comfortable with, you could just talk to her openly and honestly-it sounds like maybe there are concerns and resentments on both sides. Talking about it might help you get a fresh start, but it is always possible that that conversation could result in you not being friends anymore.

The more cautious approach would be to just start meeting on neutral ground at a park or playground, where the food and toys in your house won't be such an issue.
post #30 of 155
I admire people who can live so simply and not be caught up in this very American desire to constantly consume. It is not good for our pysche, the environment, or our kids.

I think it teaches us to never be happy with what we have, We constantly crave more stuff, or desire other people's stuff. We are so busy wanting we often don't realize what we already have.

We are hardly simple living pioneers or anything but you should see the reaction we get when we tell people we only have one TV. "But, what do you do in bed at night?" Well, we sleep or read or fool around.

But, we simply stopped buying stuff last year with the exception of books and music. We are much happier, much less cluttered, and have more money to save for something we really want-a house somewhere remote.
post #31 of 155
When we go to play at my friends house all my DS does is eat and want to touch and get out everything (he is only 20 mons) My friend always puts out snacks and DS helps himself as does her DD.

When my niece and nephew (8 and 6) come over the first thing they ask for is food and a drink. They eat like they are starving and I know for a fact they are not, there Mother has lots of food, incl lots of junky food and it is available to them at any time but they like to try what we have. I do not have junky food and they love to eat our whole food snacks

I agree that I do not find their lifestyle or the children's behaviours strange or disagreeable. I do how ever wonder why you are friends if you do find their parenting disagreeable?
post #32 of 155
I wonder if not some of it is the *novelty* of your house. I know with my kids we are vry particular about what they eat, no processed foods,veggies/organic. So when they go to a place, like our friends house, that has load of *stuff* like chips,neon pink cupcakes they act like hungry wolves The *novelty* of the neon pink cupcakes is what gets them.

Also for the longest time we did not allow our children to watch tv so anytime we went somewhere that remotely had a tv screen they would be stuck to the screen. Once we decided they were old enough to know what things we would or would not allow the *novelty* wore off, the tv is mostly ignored.

I wouldnt necessarily see somehting wrong with their situation. There are lots of views that emphasize similar lifestyles. However if you believe that the ravenous appetite comes from not being offered enough food that something different.
post #33 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
In fact, my kids pretty much ignore the pile of toys they have.... however, when we go to *anyone* else's house, the kids go nuts with the other kids toys. Why? The novelty of it.
:

This is the way it is here, too. And with food, too. I will feed my kids a ton of food right before they go to a friends, cousins, and when they get there they're like "that smells good, I'm hungry!" It isn't that we don't feed our kids well, they eat really well--its that sometimes other people's food is exciting and interesting.

Plus, we don't eat packaged stuff, juices with added sugar, we cook mostly from scratch. So the idea of a sugary bowl of cereal or a packaged granola bar is super exciting for my kids.

But I don't understand why you are judging the family for what they feed their kids. Do you really know that they don't feed them much food or is this a guess? Have you had dinner with the family to see how it plays out?

Also, a lot of families are really hurting right now. Maybe they had a job that paid well, but it is really really tough out there and it isn't like they can just get another job so easily these days, at least not where we live.

And if you've never had difficulty making it through a month, trying to stretch food stamps, and then having that week at the end of the month where you had to choose between food and electricity, or food or gas to get you kid to school, or are just stressed over finances, then maybe suspend you judgment.

The last thing this family needs is the pressure that they are failing as parents.

Families in hard financial situations *already* feel like they have no control over their lives... I think confronting the parents would just add to this and ultimately not help them at all.

Sometimes parents in tough situations have to say "one bowl of cereal today and that is it for breakfast." Sometimes kids pick up on the financial stress their parents are under and try to eat less. It sucks. But it is happening in every kind of community right now, in every state. Families that *should* be making more money just can't. Families that relied on credit cards to get through the month, well, their credit limit was just slashed.
post #34 of 155
I think you may be getting a vibe that is a bit off with one of the children and I don't think you should completely ignore your intuition. However, I also have a hard time digesting that these parents are so broke and are not looking into the resources to feed their children. I am assuming that since you are friends with them they are not abusive or neglectful in general, right?

You know, and as others have attested to, that kids go nutty with food. My MIL probably thinks I starve my kids by how they gobble down everything in sight. I feed them well RIGHT before we go over and even that doesn't help. There is just something novel about other people's food.

However, you see something else. I would agree that giving them a sack lunch was implying something that as a mother might hurt. I don't think you should assume they are starving, even if thin. My oldest is skinny and he eats like a trucker. I wish I was like him!

Anyway, what about if you went over there. You are friends, right? You know they don't have much toys so you must have been there. Is there food available? In the fridge? In the pantry? That will answer your question. If it is a no, there is not much of anything, then find a way to talk to her kindly and with resources available. If the answer is yes, drop it.
post #35 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsyj View Post

you should see the reaction we get when we tell people we only have one TV. "But, what do you do in bed at night?"

Oh, that is too funny!
post #36 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
I know they have little money because it is often the topic of conversation, like how we are sacrificing everything now type thing. I do not ask questions, these subjects are offered up.
Unless they're actually giving you dollar amounts, that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I've known lots of people who talk about how much they've given up for one reason or another, or talk about how broke they are. But, I've done the taxes for a few of those people, and the impression they give doesn't relate very closely to reality, yk? I'm not saying that's the case here, but talk about how much one is sacrificing doesn't necessarily indicate how much is being sacrificied.

Quote:
I don't think no tv and few toys are deprivation. I can't seem to wrap my head around why someone would not allow their children more
I think different people just have a different way of looking at it. I wouldn't even think of this in terms of "allowing" their children more. They probably don't see tv or more toys as a benefit.

Quote:
Except for the food I guess thier lifestyle could be considered normal and it is I who have some inner exploring to do....
Honestly, with the food thing, it's really hard to say what's going on without actually being there. DD1 will eat all day here (but not at dinner). If we go up to my mom's, she could have eaten a whole day's worth of food, but will pester my mom mercilessly for white toast.

The grabbing food out of someone's hands sounds more like a behavioural issue than anything else. I can say that I've known two people in my life - one a childhood friend, and one my ex-husband - who I know for a fact didn't get enough to eat at home. Neither of them behaved at all in the manner you're describing. The childhood friend would eagerly take anything offered, but was hesitant to ask. My ex would load his plate repeatedly, but always took more than he actually ate. He was the single most wasteful person I've ever met where food was concerned. He wasn't always that hungry, but he had to have stuff.

I'd be interested in what these kids actually eat. The only kids I've ever met who behave anything like what you're describing actually eat a lot of food at home. (They aren't thin at all, slightly overweight, but also big kids.) But, the food they eat is largely simple carbohydrates, and they're usually short on protein, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals.
post #37 of 155
There are some pretty darn wealthy and well-fed but very skinny neighbor kids who come over and constantly want snacks. I wouldn't think the food thing would mean anything.

And people can choose to live how they want. There are some healthy choices in the list of things they do. Don't take it as a judgment of you and just let them be.
post #38 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Unless they're actually giving you dollar amounts, that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I've known lots of people who talk about how much they've given up for one reason or another, or talk about how broke they are. But, I've done the taxes for a few of those people, and the impression they give doesn't relate very closely to reality, yk? I'm not saying that's the case here, but talk about how much one is sacrificing doesn't necessarily indicate how much is being sacrificied.
This is totally true. My DH's parents made well over $100k together and live in a low COL area, but to hear FIL talk (while both were working making that much...) you'd think they were close to the poverty line. And THEY had no debt, house paid off, 3 cars, like piles of computers b/c FIL has an addiction to "fixing" them, blah blah blah. They were clearly NOT hurting for money.

For that matter... Dh makes well above the "average" for our area, but I am constantly feeling/talking about how we're not able to save. Well, yeah, it's stupid things needing to be fixed in the house/car/whatever or bills for our cat, or whatever has come up, paying for a home birth, etc, and we're breaking even (not falling behind), but MAN, I feel like we are totally in the poor house. My kids are super thin, too, actually... but you should see my husband. He eats like a freaking horse, too...
post #39 of 155
Sounds to me like if the family was in a dire situation, the sahp has enough brains (and education) to go back to work if need be, so they must like their lifestyle and are just modest. I know my kid LOVES eating other people's food, just because it's something different...even if i've pumped him with food before we have left the house. So...
post #40 of 155
I have a DD (DD2) who's rail-thin. She's always been that way, just like I was as a child. Anyway, she eats voraciously; she will inhale every speck of food she can get her hands on, given the chance. She's perfectly healthy, and she has access to plenty of good, nourishing food at home, with no limits put on quantities. That's just how she is. I've even seen her foraging my neighbor's playroom for stray Cheerios. I'd hate to think how you'd judge her, though, if you looked at her the way you seem to be approaching these kids.

We also live in a very small house (three kids, DH, and I, with two bedrooms), have only a tiny 12-inch TV that's connected to a used VHS machine, but gets no channels at all, one very crappy car, no stereo system, and fewer toys than most folks. We do have WAY more than our fair share of books, though, so maybe that disqualifies us from simple. Our furniture is shabby, and my kids' clothes are mostly used, although they do have nice outfits for special occasions. We don't travel because we can't pay for it. We give simple homemade gifts for holidays.

I too gave up a very well-paying job to stay home with my kids. My DH's work is soul-satisfying to him, and helps people in need,but doesn't pay much. We're perfectly happy without any of the stuff most people seem to find necessary. I'd be outraged if I thought somebody was judging my kids "neglected."

Do you have any real information that leads you to believe these kids aren't being properly fed, besides just observing that they always seem to want to eat your food?
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