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free range food, and scheduled family members

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 

I have 3 kids.  The older 2 are teens and go to highschool (their choice).

 

The 9 year old is home/unschooled.

 

We have always been a free-range food sort of family.  I provide the food and they can eat what they want, in the quantities they want.  This works for our family.

 

We have an emerging issue and it is thus:

 

The 9 year old is eating a decent amount of  the "good stuff" while the other 2 are at school.  Her older sister (DD1) is crying foul (the other sibling does not care).

 

We were able to solve the "she drank all the juice" issue by buying a 2 litre bottle and specifying this was for home use, in addition to juice boxes, which were specified as school drinks.

 

The ice cream sandwiches were a different thing.  DD2 ate more ice cream sandwiches than her big sister, well, because she is home more.  

 

I am not sure what is a fair resolution to this.

 

I thought about portioning out food when it comes into the house - but

1:  I am not keen to take on this task.  I have enough on my plate. 

2.  I am not the food police.  Unless you bought the food with your own money, the food in the house is available to anyone whenever they see fit.

 

Is it reasonable for me to say to DD2 that this is simply a consequence of going to school - you might get less of the good stuff?  I don't want her to feel I am punishing her for going to school - but the reality is, you will get some good stuff (not just food) and miss out on some good stuff by going to school.

post #2 of 61
When the older ones were 9, were they getting the same, more, or less of 'the good stuff'. If the same or more, maybe you shouldn't worry about it. If less, then a certain amount of policing is required.

What about a dorm-sized fridge where a certain amount of food is kept just for those at school all day?
post #3 of 61
Thread Starter 

They  were getting the same amount of the good stuff.  We have always been free-range eaters, and our junk food intake has always been consistent.

post #4 of 61
I would maybe put a bin with DD1's name on it in the fridge/cabinet/freezer and allow her to put a reasonable amount of items in it that would be "off limits" to DD2. I don't think it's fair to make it a consequence of going to school that she misses out on all the good stuff, and it seems like this situation could create food anxiety/hoarding/binging.
post #5 of 61

Oh gosh..this is a tough one! I guess I would be okay with dd2 getting more, since she is in fact there all the time, but maybe talk to her about being sure to leave some for the older kids...i.e., if she ate most of the box of ice cream sandwhiches, she should be respectful of her siblings' desire to have some and leave at least 1 or 2 for each of them.  That seems the fairest to all the kids without having you be the food police.  Explain to dd1 that she is just there more and will therefore eat more, but if there is something in particular she really is looking forward to after school, that she can work that out with dd2 (and then ask dd2 to be respectful of this).  Hopefully they can come to some sort of agreement amongst themselves at this age that will keep them both fairly happy.  Perhaps a conversation about the differences between fair and equal may help too :)

post #6 of 61

I would probably pack a lunch for her the same as the kids going to school get. If she wants something else it must be healthy food the other kids won't be bothered that she ate. That would keep things fair. Kids at school aren't 'free range eaters', a homeschooler should be ok going without 'free range eating' patterns while siblings are at school.

post #7 of 61

My kids decided early on that "the good stuff" should be apportioned. So if someone makes a pan of brownies, they cut them into multiples of 6, and everyone is told that they can have "n" brownies. They can have them whenever they want, but they shouldn't have more than their proportion unless someone offers them one of theirs. It sounds rigid and controlling, but it came from the kids (they do most of the baking, too) and it's just understood now. If you find a 32-pack bulk box of granola bars in the pantry, you know you probably shouldn't eat more than 5 without checking that everyone has had their 5 -- then you might get one or two more. Or someone might say they're sick of those granola bars and everyone else can divvy up theirs. If there are a dozen muffins, you know you are welcome to two, otherwise you should check.

 

Our family has very few rules, but this is one the kids like. It simplifies things, reduces resentment and prevents the temptation for hoarding and gorging to get one's share.

 

miranda

post #8 of 61

I am wondering -- do your older kids have access to "good stuff" at school that your younger daughter doesn't have access to?  I would consider that before I put any real effort into rationing the food at home.  

post #9 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

I would probably pack a lunch for her the same as the kids going to school get. If she wants something else it must be healthy food the other kids won't be bothered that she ate. That would keep things fair. Kids at school aren't 'free range eaters', a homeschooler should be ok going without 'free range eating' patterns while siblings are at school.

I do not think DD (age 9) should completely have to change the way she eats because her siblings are going to school.  


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/9/12 at 8:05pm
post #10 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post

I am wondering -- do your older kids have access to "good stuff" at school that your younger daughter doesn't have access to?  I would consider that before I put any real effort into rationing the food at home.  

I just asked my son - and the answer is - a little.

 

They do not have junk food in the vending machine, and the cafeteria does not serve brownies eat.gif, but they do serve such tasty things as instant pizza and fries.  I do not usually give them money for the cafeteria (I do occasionally) and they both have money of there own (DD, age 9, has quite a bit less money).

 

I am heading towards suggesting they portion out stuff they really want - but they will have to do it, not me.  I will support reasonable and fair efforts - but I will not be the food police.  

 

I also think people have to understand that people who are home more are going to get first crack, and perhaps more, of any goodies. I get more grocery and home baked goodies as I am home more, DH gets more coffee shop goodies as he works near a coffee shop.  That is just the way it is.  Perhaps giving them a bit of money to buy junk food at the cafeteria will help them feel like they have access to junk food during the day as their sister does


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/13/12 at 6:22am
post #11 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Perhaps giving them a bit of money to buy junk food at the cafeteria will help them feel like they have access to junk food during the day as their sister does

This seems like the simplest solution -- and maybe most in line with your personal/parenting views on this?

My BIL (young, still lives at home) writes on food items he wants to ration. He just writes his name (and sometimes skull & crossbones lol). So something like that is another idea to suggest to DD1, as long as she can be reasonable about how much food she writes on. "Save me just one ice cream sandwich," or "I want 2 of the 20 cookies," would be reasonable, I think, not, "I need to have exactly 1/3 of every food in the house." But I agree you should not have to play food police, this should be mostly between them, maybe propose a few ideas and see which they all prefer.
post #12 of 61

If groceries are coming into the house when everyone is around (or at least not when two are at school); then I think they should all have a shot to set stuff aside and put their names on them for later. I presume the younger is not eating all of the junk food and treats on the day they're bought, before the older two even get home? If so, I would encourage them to make some agreement between the 3 of them (like not more than 1/3 of whatever until we all have a chance to see if we want some). Or, alternatively, they should have more allowance for treats at school, and then she has little access to what they have access to, so them having less access to what she has access to at home makes sense. 

post #13 of 61

I don't have teen children (ds is only 5) but we do live in a house with 7 adults (a 5 yo and a 1 yo).  We share all the food with the exception that if you buy something you don't want to share you can write your name on it.  Sometimes folks write "NAME-ask first" because they are willing to share, but don't want it all to get eaten before they get the amount they wanted. Or if you have take out leftovers and you want to save it for your lunch the next day you might write your name on that so no one eats it at 10pm while you are asleep!

 

I think 2 teens and a 9yo should be able to negotiate and figure out a fair system for divvying up goodies.  I wouldn't divvy up all foods, just highly coveted foods (ice cream sandwiches, brownies etc).  Also I think its fine to say "hey this is your issue, you come up with a solution that works for everyone and you enforce it"

post #14 of 61

I grew up in a big family so it was always understood that each kid would get one ice cream sandwich and then the box would be gone... I can sympathize with the older kids coming home and thinking they would get a second ice cream sandwich and having the box be empty because the younger one ate 3. They just need to communicate with each other about what food is important to them. Unless the 9 yo is eating food that they discussed would be saved for the schooled kids, you shouldn't need to be involved beyond telling them to communicate about it. It's about being considerate of others. If ice cream sandwiches are older dd's favorite food, it's considerate of younger dd to not eat them all when older dd isn't home. It's polite to ask if anyone minds if they eat the last one and to offer to split it if they do.

post #15 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

I grew up in a big family so it was always understood that each kid would get one ice cream sandwich and then the box would be gone... I can sympathize with the older kids coming home and thinking they would get a second ice cream sandwich and having the box be empty because the younger one ate 3. They just need to communicate with each other about what food is important to them. Unless the 9 yo is eating food that they discussed would be saved for the schooled kids, you shouldn't need to be involved beyond telling them to communicate about it. It's about being considerate of others. If ice cream sandwiches are older dd's favorite food, it's considerate of younger dd to not eat them all when older dd isn't home. It's polite to ask if anyone minds if they eat the last one and to offer to split it if they do.

Don't you think being considerate is learned? If when the older children were9, they got 2 ice cream sandwiches, and now the youngest is getting 4, that situation is not fair. And if the youngest is being inconsiderate then it's up to the parent(s) to at least back up and support the older children's request for considerate behavior. And it may mean being food police for a time.
post #16 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


Don't you think being considerate is learned? If when the older children were9, they got 2 ice cream sandwiches, and now the youngest is getting 4, that situation is not fair. 

Hmmm….I had not thought of this in terms of considerate behaviour.  I was stuck on free-range versus not free-range food issues.

 

I think it is reasonable for the older ones to expect some of the junk food - but I also think it is reasonable for them to communicate this issue and make a plan, nicely. I will have a discussion with them shortly.

 

There is not a huge amount of junk food in our house, and we do only shop about 2 times a week.  They can look over the "junk food" and say whether or not they want their portion. 

post #17 of 61

I only have 1 child but dh likes the same treats dd does so there has been conflict at times. I also don't want to be the food police but do try to keep things fair and considerate.

 

On grocery shopping day each family member has the option to choose 1 treat that is just for them. They can decide to share it or not. If someone else wants to have some they need to ask the person whose treat it is.

 

If we buy a treat that is meant for the whole household we divide it evenly- more access does not equal more treats. If there are 6 cookies dd does not get 5 just because she was awake at 3 AM while dh and I were sleeping or dh was at work. Each of us gets 2 cookies. If dd wants more than her share then she needs to negotiate.

post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


Don't you think being considerate is learned? If when the older children were9, they got 2 ice cream sandwiches, and now the youngest is getting 4, that situation is not fair. And if the youngest is being inconsiderate then it's up to the parent(s) to at least back up and support the older children's request for considerate behavior. And it may mean being food police for a time.

Sure, many kids need some guidance to learn to be considerate. Some are naturally empathetic and considerate. Others are too considerate and need a little guidance to not always give others first dibs on everything even when the others don't care (yes, I know a child like this).

 

ETA: I couldn't figure out why you were asking me that, as if I was being contradictory... I do think that the kids can be doing most of their communication with each other without their mom being a food police. The older siblings need to let their sister know if they care about something and what their expectations are. I assume the younger daughter just needs to be made aware that her older siblings care and that it is considerate to take them into account when she is considering eating the majority or last of a favored food.


Edited by 4evermom - 9/10/12 at 7:12pm
post #19 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

..... you shouldn't need to be involved beyond telling them to communicate about it. It's about being considerate of others. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

I couldn't figure out why you were asking me that, as if I was being contradictory... I do think that the kids can be doing most of their communication with each other without their mom being a food police. 

 

I don't know about your experience, but in my experience it often takes a lot more than "telling them to communicate about it" to nurture considerate behaviour. Empathy needs to be built, especially when there's all the baggage of past inter-sibling dynamics, lingering resentments, hang-ups due to birth order and family roles, etc. I think that's what pek was alluding to: some ongoing support and guidance may be required from the parent in creating a considerate, empathic relationship over food treats. It may require a lot more than simply telling the kids to communicate. Not to say the parent needs to be in a police-like role, but there may be considerable support and facilitation required.

 

Miranda

post #20 of 61
Sorry, just got back to this thread now. I didn't mean to confuse things. Moomimamma,you are correct with what I was attempting to convey. Sorry it was confusing.
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