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Choosing to live with not very much of anything. - Page 5

post #81 of 155
Just wanted to say that I think the OP is handling this thread really well.... I might feel defensive by the amount of debate that has come come from it...
post #82 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by srs View Post
Point taken. So where does this leave the little girl who takes food from others? Is that on the "normal" spectrum?

OP, I forgot to add, I assume this family bothers you because their kids' behavior is affecting you in a negative way. Probably it's more about the behavior than the lifestyle.
Your second paragraph. It's definitely rude. OTOH, snatching things from other people (food or otherwise) is not a terribly unusual discipline problem.
post #83 of 155
Did the OP tell us how old these kids are? Maybe I missed it. I think that would help determine if snatching food from someone else's hand is unusual or not? I would think that for a pre-teen/teen, it's pretty unusual, but I guess i don't really know, and that for a 4-6 year old, maybe not so much? Certainly below 4 years it's to be expected to some extent.
post #84 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
Okay, so I mentioned in another thread of a family I know who chooses to live very differently than I. I am envious sometimes and sometimes furious. I don't know why I have such visceral reaction and so maybe you smart ladies can liberate me from my narrow thinking.
Okay, I thought I'd give you my perspective.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
This family (3 children ages 11, 9 & 5) have one parent work and have almost no $. The sahp could work and is educated (quit a 6 figure job to stay at home), but stays at home instead (the children are all in school). They have no computer, no tv, some toys (mostly books), one car (they bike a lot), one tele, and etc.
We have only one child, but I guess from someone else's perspective, a lot of this could fit us. We could be considered "poor" for contemporary US standards. But when I think about how much "stuff" we have and how great our ratty apartment is compared to what would be considered "poor" in other societies, I really don't think that we are bad off at all. I don't *really* work (according to my culture's standards), and I could probably earn more than my partner right now as I have degrees and a pimpin' resume. I'm so thankful that I don't have to have a money job right now, though. We homeschool, so that's part of why I'm "not working", but I can definitely see the value of having a SAHP when the kids are in school.

We also choose to remain a one car family (even though it's a major pain at times), and honestly, I would prefer us to be a zero car family (using less fuel, helping the environment, getting exercise). I also can understand not wanting a phone---the year I went without a conventional phone (I had an old school pager and lived less than a quarter block from a pay phone) was honestly a life changing experience; my relationships with people became more genuine, and I really feel like I lived more in the moment. We just got rid of our cells and got a house phone, and it's really no big deal---it makes us communicate better.

I'd like to minimize our daughter's toys for many reasons, too: not feeding into unnecessary materialism, encouraging her to use her imagination; we would prefer a few quality toys that get a lot of play rather than a room crammed with stuff that she's too overwhelmed to play with. Ditto with TV. We are not TV-free right now, but we were for the first 3-4 yrs, and I really do think that it's better for everyone to kill their TV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
I guess the biggest part that makes me furious is that whenever the children come to my house (which is a lot) they are ravenous for everything, including food. I don't think the parents actually neglect them nutritionally, but I think they could be a little more generous in thier food preperations. It is actually difficult being their friend sometimes as I have to really kind of corral them in their frenzy to touch every toy and eat every thing.
We are vegetarian and all quite slender, but healthy. We don't do a lot of packaged or really sweet snacks, but we still have 3 meals plus snacks as desired. I know kids often go to other people's houses and "swarm" everything just because it's different. My DD isn't like this so much, but my sister's kids (who definitely get enough to eat and have tons of toys) do this every time they come over---it's like a hive mind! If DD came over and you gave her snacks and had new, different toys (like we don't do flashy buzzy stuff), she might get hyper and swarm you. Doesn't mean she doesn't have everything she needs at home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
I get that people choose to stay at home to raise their children. I am one of these. We are a one income household and I totally understand why people make this choice. I also get how much it would totally suck to have to work outside the home for so many hours that you missed out on your children's lives. But isn't there a middle ground? And just because you are choosing a one income household does that mean you have to choose almost nothing for your kids?

I don't feel I am close enough to say anything and don't know if I would anyway. It is really none of my business that these folks are choosing how to raise their family, but I guess I wondered why they are choosing it? Are there certain values inherent in living a monastic life as a child? Why wouldn't you at least earn some $$$ so you can fix enough food? they are all terribly thin.

I just don't get it.
I think that there's an inherent value in a "monastic" life for everyone. If we were all monks, we'd all be peaceful and easing our world's suffering, right? If the kids' nutritional needs are met, then it's okay for them to be skinny. You might want to consider World Health Organization standards and not US doctor standards. US kids are on average heftier than previous generations and other countries! Plenty of skinny people in the world that do just fine. In fact, I remember reading a correlation between people who are a bit thin and don't eat every second that they want to living longer *shrug*

So my point is that I could see how someone else might not understand our family's choices and be concerned about how we're "choosing to live without much of anything" but we're truly happy and healthy and doing what's right for us. As long as the kids are getting what they need to keep growing physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, then the parents are doing their job
post #85 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Right-- now, IMO, both your and your neighbor's lifestyles are well within the range of "perfectly fine." And it might also have something to do with the personalities of your children. Some children love to have lots of choices. Other children get overwhelmed by too many choices.

I just want to be very clear that I totally agree. Whatever you want to do with your family and whatever works for you is just fine. I was just pointing out that she (as well as others) may be just as concerned about your life style and how it effects your children. to each his own. there are all kinds of normal and all kinds of crazy and one mans normal is another mans crazy and we all come out in the wash.
post #86 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by srs View Post
Point taken. So where does this leave the little girl who takes food from others? Is that on the "normal" spectrum?
.

yes, especially depending on her age. My kids will snatch food from each other if one of them has the treat food, for example when we had meat every now and then we would have steak but it would be limited to a small portion for each person - well within healthy guidelines for portion size but small by american standards - they could have all the bread and salad and other veggies they wanted but only a small portion of meat. so if one of them got up or turned their head too long my oldest would steal a peice of meat or two off her sisters plate. She gets plenty to eat but she is greedy. always has been. it is definitely a behavior issue though and not a eating issue.

She was also the one who would gravitate to any screen in her friends house because I limited her screen time (she still got a couple hours a day or more. by no means deprived or even limited by most standards). She is just like that. she did grow out of it after consistantly working on it for years. Or maybe being a teenager has just shamed her out of it. whatever i am glad she stopped.
post #87 of 155
I see a lot of adults who have very "controlled" diets not realizing that children need more than they do. There is also a very big difference between fasting and starving and when you are a child who is not choosing an austere and sometimes deprived (mostly of protein and fat content) diet it is going to feel more like starving than eating healthy. I was raised in an austere household and although the adults found it healthy and good I did not. I did not enjoy my childhood in a way that I could have and I do not, as an adult, think that the choices my parents made were right for me. I really feel for kids when their parents have such a narrow outlook that their needs as individuals are neglected. I say no to my children and I don't feel the need to make sure they have everything their friends do but I do listen to them instead of being blinded by my own choices.
post #88 of 155
I don't know about deprivation, everyone's deprived of something, you know?

But I do think that within those age ranges (11, 9 & 5), snatching food out of another person's hand is DEFINITELY inappropriate. I don't know if I would be brave enough to bring it up to the mom, but I liked the pp's suggestion about broaching the snack issue, it seemed very diplomatic.

Also, kind of OT, but I would judge someone if they had a six-figure income potential and were choosing to use charity or WIC so they could stay home with their school-aged kids. Sorry, but I just can't condone that.
post #89 of 155
You know... speaking of deprivation... plenty of kids are "Deprived" of their parents because their parents work all the time or whatever. My friend was, for sure.... and not in the "well, yeah, she went to daycare" way, but in the "she was enrolled in classes or at the babysitter's for every waking moment so her parents didn't have to bother with her" way. And she knows it... and we all knew it... and she had TONS of toys and things, but was pretty much an orphan. Her parents seriously avoided seeing her I know there's lots of parents out there earning just so they can send their kids to things that they want to go to and have toys that they want to have, and I respect that, but this was not the case with this girl. I think deprivation can be a matter of perspective, sometimes.
post #90 of 155
I haven't read the replies.

My kids go bonkers at other people's houses for their food and toys because it's different than what we have at home. It makes ME crazy, and I've talked with them about not doing it, but they get so excited they can't help it. And we live a relatively privileged, middle class life. They are certainly not deprived in any sense.
post #91 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
You know... speaking of deprivation... plenty of kids are "Deprived" of their parents because their parents work all the time or whatever. My friend was, for sure.... and not in the "well, yeah, she went to daycare" way, but in the "she was enrolled in classes or at the babysitter's for every waking moment so her parents didn't have to bother with her" way. And she knows it... and we all knew it... and she had TONS of toys and things, but was pretty much an orphan. Her parents seriously avoided seeing her I know there's lots of parents out there earning just so they can send their kids to things that they want to go to and have toys that they want to have, and I respect that, but this was not the case with this girl. I think deprivation can be a matter of perspective, sometimes.


It is like the child is another accessory or thing-- to shop for, organize for, but there is really no interest in the child as a person who needs to have a relationship with their parent

I see this with the people who think that they need to have kids, because that is just the next thing that they need to do after getting married, buying the house, etc. But they don't really want to have a relationship with a child.
post #92 of 155
It's not just the kids in our family who want what's being served at other people's houses-DH and I sometimes find ourselves like this. We eat a (mostly) tf/natural diet, but not extreme by anyone's standards. But sometimes we go to my in-laws, and there is a big casserole of mac and cheese and brownies....we all want it, even if we've eaten.

It's the food, but it's also not the food. It's the warmth, the environment, the comforting feelings--it's all there in the casserole! Maybe, OP, there's something nurturing about you and your home that allows these kids to seek food from you? Just a thought.
post #93 of 155
I grew up even more simply than the family described in the OP. No car at all, no computer, no radio, few toys but many books, almost all home-made food, very healthy and mostly vegan (I had multiple food allergies).

Every time I stayed with other people, my mom told me later on how they were shocked by what I ate, that I was always hungry and would eat everything offered. There was never any food limiting at home. We had set mealtimes and set snacktimes and not many choices but I enjoyed what my mother cooked and never had limits on food other than the times and choices. I just like food!

I didn't play with a lot of toys. I read a lot. I played the piano and sang and occasionally listened to records. I took care of my pets. I made forts with umbrellas and sheets and played pretend games. I spent half my childhood in the backyard and park. My parents played lots of games with me. I was never bored.
post #94 of 155
Hmmm, I grew up with some toys but LOTS of books, no TV, no computer (until high school), etc. I never noticed a lack of anything. I was a bookworm, and so the books made great "toys." We also did board games together. Card games too.

I still don't own a TV, and don't think I'm missing anything. I do have a computer, but use it mainly at night.

My child will also have no TV, some toys - mainly books. I don't see the big deal in that. I also think the grabbing food/toys could be just because that something is a "new" thing to them. If they're genuinely hungry due to not enough food - that's a problem. But, maybe it's just a matter of seeing/having something new.

I don't even consider what I do as "simple" living or as living with not very much of anything. I see it as normal for me.
post #95 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
when the mom handed the items back to me the middle child grabbed the cheese and started eating it. When the mom handed me the rest the child motioned that she wanted it and the mom said, no you can have the one your eating. And when I said she could keep it for later if she wanted the mom said no. I don't understand this...
If my child grabbed something and started eating it, I wouldn't let them keep it. I have no desire to encourage that kind of behaviour, and I think letting her keep it encourages that. Maybe this is how they attempt to curb some of the grabbiness?

DS1 had a friend over for dinner tonight. I've known this boy since he was about 9. I still can't believe the way he eats. He's really skinny and he has always outeaten ds1 and all his other friends. When I first met him, he was at ds1's birthday party. This was a very conventional party, with hot dogs, chips, cake, etc. The boy ate 3 hot dogs, a massive pile of chips, cheesies and pretzels and asked for a third piece of cake. One of his friends made a joke about him starving himself all day to leave room for cake, and he said he'd had a big snack before he came over (can't remember what the snack was, but it was substantial). There's nothing wrong at his house. He's not starving. He just has a very, very fast metabolism. He would never grab something, as he also has exceptionally good manners, but he does eat a lot and has for as long as I've known him. He's now about 6' or 6'1", and still very skinny...and still eating a ton.

ETA: If I'm understanding correctly, the child who grabs a lot is 9? That does seem a bit old for this, but there are all kinds of things that contribute to behaviour like that. I wonder if it might be a new development, or something.
post #96 of 155
I don't get why people choose to live like that either. I dont understand this trend of deprivation.
post #97 of 155
I get where you are coming from. Even when you like people, you can still be frustrated with them, and the food thing does seem genuinely disturbing.

I would work to get past any resentment (legit or not!) I had about their lifestyle and then if/when I felt like I could come at it from "pure" or completely benevolent place, I'd just straight out ask the parents if they need help getting more food. Mention Angel Food pantry, that kind of thing. They might not need it. They might be able to feed their kids more/bend a bit in what they are offering/it might not make a difference, their kids might just crave the novelty of what you're offering. But I do know that sometimes when you're inside a situation you can't really SEE what is going on. They might think--"I just offered the kids a bowl of brown rice before we left home, therefore, they cannot be hungry." But hearing that from your perspective it seems like the kids are hungry might be an eye-opener for them.
post #98 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspineau View Post
I don't get why people choose to live like that either. I dont understand this trend of deprivation.


Woud you say that Amish children are deprived, or even think about children in other countries that may not have alot of posessions, but aren't considered poor?

I had a friend once that lived on a sail boat, they definitely didn't have alot but he certainly wasn't deprived. He went places most kids only read about in books. Both parents had amazing educations but they decided to "give it all up" so they could go and do what they wanted. So there wasn't alot of income. When they needed money they found a place to dock and his dad would work for a couple of months and then they'd go on to another place untill they needed more money. This kid was completely homeschooled. He didn't have many toys, very few in fact, he barely knew what a video game was. They didn't eat much meat and they were mostly vegetarians when they were at sea. If you want to say depived....this family did not have much at all. But that kid loved the way he lived.....I was so jealous he got to do everyting he did.

I don't think that not having "stuff" makes a person deprived. I think living simply actually makes you more wealthy in ways that matter more than worldly possessions.
post #99 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspineau View Post
I don't get why people choose to live like that either. I dont understand this trend of deprivation.
Living simply is not living in deprivation.
post #100 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Living simply is not living in deprivation.
Yes. Exactly.
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