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free range food, and scheduled family members - Page 2

post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

 

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

That's certainly true. Since we weren't being presented with any issues except food, I was optimistically assuming that the kids didn't have any other major sibling issues and had basic empathy for each other. And if not, those things were already being worked on. Of course, things like this food issues can be a symptom of the relationship rather than the actual issue... I can't guess how much facilitation and guidance is needed, not knowing the kids or their relationships. I think it can fall short of being the food police, though. And the kids communicating with each other is an excellent first step.

 

I know I have this easy with just one kid. But I have 6 siblings so I know what it's like having older siblings and younger ones, and there not being as much as we wanted of special foods. Half a kiwi was a treat! Counting heads and dividing by that is second nature to me. Buying a box of 8 ice cream sandwiches would automatically result in my saying "That's two per kid and one each for me and daddy." And by the time the kids were this age, they would be doing the math.

 

I'm taken aback when we go to other people's houses and the kids want to eat their special food in front of my ds without sharing. Or when a child who doesn't even like a food item in question complains that someone else is taking too much. So I know food issues are relatively normal but I'm surprised when kids don't have a grip on the basics, like don't eat all of something without asking and don't eat in front of others unless you are prepared to share. And the reason for those two things are other people's feelings. I guess the problem with siblings can be that they don't always care about each other's feelings.

post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

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.

that's kind of what we do...and we are all unschooled. Some kids have practice on some days, and it would be very inconsiderate for everyone else to eat the cake that's made while they were gone without saving a piece. Other kids are gone other days for book club, or art, or something. We have a big family though, and we've always modeled and explained that our family principle is to take care of each other, not just ourselves.

post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

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

 

This sounds to me like you're saying "you chose school, so you get less of the good stuff." Is that really the message you want to send?  I don't think you can compare your situation/your dh's situation to your kids'. You have income that you can choose to spend however you like. You are in charge of the groceries. Your husband has an income. Your older kids may or may not have an income, but it's not really fair to ask them to buy their own junk food when you happily supply it for you at-home kid.

 

I think your younger child needs a lesson in thinking about others, and all three of them need a lesson in problem solving.

post #24 of 61

I think I would have the three of them sit down and tell them you don't want to have any part in policing the food and that they tpgether can come up with how they want to divide up the treats and self police it so you don';t have to be involvoed.

post #25 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post


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

Exactly.

Also, there are two separate issues here, both of which often (usually) need to be modeled or taught. There's consideration. ... And then there is future planning.

It is both "Do I care if there are no ice cream sandwiches for my sister? " and "this is all the ice cream sandwiches we will have as a family for the week. What is the best, fairest, or optimal way to consume them?"

(as a meal planner, I could never free range feed the whole family, because one person can't trump the meal plan for the entire family for the week, so we have these conversations when food comes into to th house.)

Many kids will be considerate -- in that if they are holding a box of ice cream sandwiches and a friend or sister approaches, they will say "do you want one?" or will happily give one if asked. Many fewer kids will innately think, when holding the box, "there are two left here. Sister is coming home in two hours and may want one, so I should only eat one now.". It's a different skill from mere consideration, and one that IME usually needs to be modeled or taught.
post #26 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

  I am not opposed, but I do not want people calling me on not portioning out ice cream sandwiches when it is not my deal.  I will not be the food police.  

 

 

No offense, but you're their mother.  

post #27 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post

No offense, but you're their mother.  


None taken.

 

Mother does not equal food police in my eyes and it is not unreasonable to expect a 9 and 13 year olds to deal with this on their own, with support.  Indeed, it might even be healthy, at this age, for them to learn to negotiate such matters somewhat independently.

post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

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.

That sounds like if i am the one who works and I am gone for 10 hours a day; the people who happen to not work or go school get to eat all the ice cream. Because a consequece of working is getting less of the good stuff.

 

Don't punish people for leaving the house.

post #29 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 

This sounds to me like you're saying "you chose school, so you get less of the good stuff."

 

When it comes to junk food, that is the reality.  The people at home more often are going to get more of it.    There are pros and cons of going to school.  To me, being able to free range on food all day long is one of the perks of homeschooling, as is sleeping in, etc.  There are pros to going to school as well - certain field trips, activities, etc.

 

  

I don't think you can compare your situation/your dh's situation to your kids'. You have income that you can choose to spend however you like. You are in charge of the groceries. Your husband has an income. Your older kids may or may not have an income, but it's not really fair to ask them to buy their own junk food when you happily supply it for you at-home kid.

 

I supply them all with junk food as well.  If I shop during the evening, I ask people what they want.  I can assure you they eat it.  If I bake a rack of cookies, they get home and eat some, and sometimes I bake them during the evening.  They do get some junk food, just not as much as their sibling, due to her being home more.  That being said, I acknowledge the inequity.  One way to solve it might be to give them money to buy junk food during the week, to make up for the junk food they are not getting during the day.  I do not expect them to spend their own money on junk food, when youngest DD does not.

 

I think your younger child needs a lesson in thinking about others, and all three of them need a lesson in problem solving.

 

Agreed

post #30 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhianna813 View Post

That sounds like if i am the one who works and I am gone for 10 hours a day; the people who happen to not work or go school get to eat all the ice cream. Because a consequece of working is getting less of the good stuff.

 

Don't punish people for leaving the house.

I work outside the home part time. 

Even if I did not, being a full time mom is work.

 

DH goes to the coffee shop regularly. Older DC do use the cafeteria occasionally with money I supply them.  In the last week, older DD went to a friends where they had pizza.  Sometimes people go out, and get a snack on the way home.  Ds has been known to finish off food when people are sleeping.  I can assure you the older kids are very capable of grabbing the last granola bar without checking if they have had "their share."

 

I do not begrudge anyone any of the above, nor does my youngest.  I am also not keeping score of who had what, and up until recently, I did not have to, as it all balanced out in the end.  There has been some imbalance since the older children returned to school - and we have to tweak things.

 

Everyone in this house free-ranges when they are home - including me.  If I make a pan of brownies during the day, I do not cut it into 5 equal pieces.  I eat my fill.  Last I checked, everyone in this house is capable of making brownies.

 

The placement of this thread was deliberate.  Many USers do have kids that free-range on food.  It worked for us for years.   I am interested in exploring what happens to free range eating when it butts up against people in the household who have a more scheduled life.  


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/11/12 at 7:01pm
post #31 of 61

IMO, it would depend on if it were an item that had limited items or undefined boundaries. For example, like you said, anyone can make more brownies, provided there is more mix/more ingredients in the house, so anyone can eat their fill. One cannot magically make more ice cream sandwiches appear, there are six in the box. My oldest is only four, but we are soon to have three kids. I point out to her, when she wants to eat all of something that I bought just for her, that if she eats it all, it's gone until next week. I do explain that she can only eat one brownie b/c I bought a package and everyone in the house likes brownies, so we need to save the other three for the other three people. She will ask her sister to share food if she wants more. So we do a combo of limiting, explaining, modeling, AND letting the kids negotiate together. We do a lot of collaborative problem solving in our house in general, so I think this would be a good area to do that with them together. Maybe no one cares about the granola bars, but ice cream tends to be a more highly coveted item :) Maybe their own solution will be to write their names on the sandwiches. Help them to work together to reach a mutually agreeable solution & you won't have to be the food police, they'll do it themselves :)

post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhianna813 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

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.

That sounds like if i am the one who works and I am gone for 10 hours a day; the people who happen to not work or go school get to eat all the ice cream. Because a consequece of working is getting less of the good stuff.

 

Don't punish people for leaving the house.

 

I think that we naturally get more of the perks of the places we choose to spend most of our time.  The older kids have chosen to attend school, presumably because they like it and feel its the best place for them to get what they need.  They get the perks of being in school while they are in school-- there is "good stuff" there for them (even if it isn't ice cream, or even food).  The child who is homeschooled is missing out on the perks of being in school.  The child who has chosen to homeschool gets the benefits of being at home while she is at home, and one of those perks is a greater variety of food available throughout the day.  

 

I am confident that Kathy Muggle's kids will work something out, but whatever happens, it's not possible to really be "fair" because they have different opportunities, and that's just life.

post #33 of 61
Quote:

This sounds to me like you're saying "you chose school, so you get less of the good stuff."

 

When it comes to junk food, that is the reality.  The people at home more often are going to get more of it.    There are pros and cons of going to school.  To me, being able to free range on food all day long is one of the perks of homeschooling, as is sleeping in, etc.  There are pros to going to school as well - certain field trips, activities, etc.

 

It still sounds to me like you're punishing your older kids for going to school. Being able to eat whenever you want is a perk of homeschooling. Getting all the good treats? No, that's not fair. I WOH. My husband does not eat up all the cookies when we make them. He leaves some for me because he knows I love them. I'm missing the basic "think about the needs and feelings of others" in this logic. I really am.

post #34 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 I WOH. My husband does not eat up all the cookies when we make them. He leaves some for me because he knows I love them. I'm missing the basic "think about the needs and feelings of others" in this logic.

In my household, we tend to prioritize food for people who aren't home because those of us at home can eat whenever we want from a relatively wide selection. And it's really nice to not have to spend an hour cooking or baking after being out most of the day. I love my part time WOH job but I'm hungry when I get home and do appreciate that dh and ds haven't emptied the larder of all the quick, easy, tasty food while I was out:-) I imagine schooled kids would feel similar...

post #35 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 

It still sounds to me like you're punishing your older kids for going to school. Being able to eat whenever you want is a perk of homeschooling. Getting all the good treats? No, that's not fair. I WOH. My husband does not eat up all the cookies when we make them. He leaves some for me because he knows I love them. I'm missing the basic "think about the needs and feelings of others" in this logic. I really am.

You can think what you like.   I have not said that (you are just assuming things).  I would not punish my older kids for going to school and I do not punish my Dh for working.   Good grief.dizzy.gif

 

 

We, as a family, have usually eaten what we want when we wanted it.  It has worked well for a very long time -no one has clamoured or regularly overeaten junk food - because they knew they could get it when they wanted it.  I am a little overweight, but everyone else in the house is lean, and until now no one has had any food issues.  There are lots of good reasons to allow kids to free range on food (including junk food) and it has worked for us.  I am trying to figure out how to transition from a way that has worked for years, to something new, and quite frankly, the judgement is not helping.

 

Ciao


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/12/12 at 12:40pm
post #36 of 61

I'll just post your own words as a reply:

 

 

Quote:
This sounds to me like you're saying "you chose school, so you get less of the good stuff."

 

When it comes to junk food, that is the reality.  The people at home more often are going to get more of it.    There are pros and cons of going to school.  To me, being able to free range on food all day long is one of the perks of homeschooling, as is sleeping in, etc.

 

You choose school = you get less of the junk food. In classic behaviorist terms, this is a punishment, i.e. a withdrawal of something good. Negative punishment is just that. (Positive punishment is adding something harmful, and you're clearly not doing that.) There is more than one type of punishment and saying "too bad, you chose school, so no snacks at home" is negative punishment.

 

If you'd said your older kids were complaining that they couldn't eat whenever they want, I'd buy the logic. But you're letting your 9 year old disregard the feelings and needs of the other kids because well, that's a "con" of going to school. You may not intend this as a punishment, but the way you're framing it, it sounds like that.

 

Your way worked for years because all your kids were at home. They're not at home anymore. How are you going to change it so the older kids don't get something good withdrawn for going to school? They deserve snacks at home too.

post #37 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

I'll just post your own words as a reply:

 

 

 

You choose school = you get less of the junk food. In classic behaviorist terms, this is a punishment, i.e. a withdrawal of something good. Negative punishment is just that. (Positive punishment is adding something harmful, and you're clearly not doing that.) There is more than one type of punishment and saying "too bad, you chose school, so no snacks at home" is negative punishment.

 

I hope no one is sitting around imagining teenagers without junk food.  My Ds is eating chips as I write.   We often have junk food in the evening or weekend, and they certainly eat it.  I am not making extra brownies during the day and saying "okay - dig in youngest DD - the big kids are at school." I am bringing in or making the same amount of junk food at the same times of day as before.  Our junk food consumption has been pretty consistent over the years.  If I am guilty of something, it is failure to change as circumstances change - I have not set out to punish anyone.  I did not withdraw junk food - they are simply not at home as much to access it.  Punishment involves intent to me, whereas what they are experiencing is a consequence.  

 

 

But you're letting your 9 year old disregard the feelings and needs of the other kids because well, that's a "con" of going to school. 

 

This is an emerging issue for us.  For years, our way of eating did work - yes, someone may get more of one thing, but it all balanced out in the end.  I really only had a lightbulb moment last week that there was an imbalance, and that something needed tweaking.  I still think it is somewhat inevitable that people who spend more time at home are going to have more access to the food they want, when they want it.  Someone upthread mentioned that fair and equal are not the same thing.  I can strive for fairness, but I am not measuring cookie halves (something I have actually seen people do).  Turning into any sort of food police often puts more emphasis on food than is healthy, IMO.

 

Your way worked for years because all your kids were at home. They're not at home anymore. How are you going to change it so the older kids don't get something good withdrawn for going to school? They deserve snacks at home too.

 

I have not withdrawn food from them.  They are simply getting less than before as they are home less. I have been pretty clear they do get snacks at home.  That being said, I do think things need tweaking to help people learn to be considerate given our changed circumstance, as well as to problem solve and communicate their desires.   I am heading towards asking the kids to put aside their portion of the food they want when I grocery shop.  If I grocery shop or bake when they are not there, I will cut out portions of coveted food  for them. I thought the poster who mentionned her brother writing his name on the container (perhaps with skull and cross bones) was cool.   I would also like them to spearhead this somewhat with support:  they are old enough to do this.

 

Maybe there is a middle ground between food police and free-range on everything (although everyone in our house would prefer it to be closer to free-range than food police)  and I need to find it.


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/12/12 at 6:26pm
post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

I'll just post your own words as a reply:

 

 

 

You choose school = you get less of the junk food. In classic behaviorist terms, this is a punishment, i.e. a withdrawal of something good. Negative punishment is just that. (Positive punishment is adding something harmful, and you're clearly not doing that.) There is more than one type of punishment and saying "too bad, you chose school, so no snacks at home" is negative punishment.

 

If you'd said your older kids were complaining that they couldn't eat whenever they want, I'd buy the logic. But you're letting your 9 year old disregard the feelings and needs of the other kids because well, that's a "con" of going to school. You may not intend this as a punishment, but the way you're framing it, it sounds like that.

 

Your way worked for years because all your kids were at home. They're not at home anymore. How are you going to change it so the older kids don't get something good withdrawn for going to school? They deserve snacks at home too.

 

Mystery solved.

post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Quote:

This sounds to me like you're saying "you chose school, so you get less of the good stuff."

 

When it comes to junk food, that is the reality.  The people at home more often are going to get more of it.    There are pros and cons of going to school.  To me, being able to free range on food all day long is one of the perks of homeschooling, as is sleeping in, etc.  There are pros to going to school as well - certain field trips, activities, etc.

 

It still sounds to me like you're punishing your older kids for going to school. Being able to eat whenever you want is a perk of homeschooling. Getting all the good treats? No, that's not fair. I WOH. My husband does not eat up all the cookies when we make them. He leaves some for me because he knows I love them. I'm missing the basic "think about the needs and feelings of others" in this logic. I really am.

 

With all due respect, I think the "punishment" stuff you're seeing is a reflection of your own food issues.  This isn't something that is being intentionally set up.  The goal of the OP is to find a solution that makes everyone happy, and doesn't put her in the role of deciding who gets the next ice cream sandwich.  If she were aiming to punish people, she'd be seizing control, not looking for ways to avoid it.    

 

We aren't completely free range on food, but we don't worry about everyone getting precisely the same number of each treat.  We limit how much anyone can have each day, which means that everyone has an opportunity to at least have some of whatever we've got, but the people who are most interested in the treat will likely get more than people who opt for something else or nothing at all when they are on offer.  If someone's disappointed when the stuff is gone, I can buy more, and they can make a point of having some immediately, or they can set a serving aside for themselves.  Treats are not a need.  Not getting the treat you were hoping for is a frustration, but not a tragedy.  

 

FWIW, I eat more of the food I buy for the house than my husband does.  He goes to work and will buy food for himself at the cafeteria, and he also purchases snacks for himself that he keeps at work.  Is he punishing me for not going to work by failing to share these treats?  I don't think so, because I don't see them as rewards.  They're just food.  

post #40 of 61
I think people are not reading carefully. The original attitude seemed to be 'this has been working, why change now', but she posted and asked for objective views. Those were provided. She seemed appreciative and the attitude seemed to change.

Once she stated that change was going to be made, there started being posts harping on the original post, which was asking for objective feedback only.

There is a problem, and not only on this thread. I really think the OP should get to lock a thread when enough information has been received. If others want to continue debating the issue, someone else can start a different thread.

Sorry for going completely off topic.
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