Control is something that is done out of fear--fear that your kid will turn out "bad" somehow and it'll be your fault. Control assumes that children will self-destruct/are not capable of making reasonable choices for themselves. Control comes from fear, and fear is the opposte of TRUST
To the original poster, honestly, I chuckled when I read your off-limits list--WHY would you want to be SO VERY controlling of your dc?? They're still young, and SO much can change. Why think in terms of always and never?? Are you worried that your other ap friends would scoff if your son came to playgroup w/a power ranger or whatever??
I hear you, I understand how that feels. But in the long run it will be your son who is upset that you didn't honor/validate his feelings about liking power rangers, and that's what'll really matter.
When my son was born I was SURE he'd never wield a toy sword or play with any violent action figure. But he's 5.5 and loves both. Things change, and I finally had to decide that honoring his wishes were more important to me than protecting him from the bogeymen that apparently only exist in MY head. He is the most compassionate sweet soul you'd ever meet, but he sure enjoys his transformers, his cap guns, and his wooden sword and shield. I TRUST him to differentiate between real vs. pretend violence, and so far he's done a splendid job
Let's see, gatorade?? LOL there are waaay worse things to eat/drink than gatorade. Like dairy products, for example!!
But it's all relative.
Seriously, I think it's much more likely that a child will assume that mom and dad won't let them eat/drink X b/c they're just MEAN, or don't care, then that kid will decide that mom and dad are looking out for their best interests. A happy childhood is really in the eye of the beholder.
As for coffee/caffeine, well...this is a problem are of my OWN lol... I buy myself soda, and I know it's bad for me, but I wouldn't dream of telling my kids they couldn't have coke but I could.
My kids have been veg since birth (b/c we are), yet I've never had to "forbid" them from eating meat--they avoid it on their own, as if it were non-edible--even my two-yr old. I am trying so hard to be vegan, yet I don't hesitate to buy my son cheese pizza. I value autonomy over control, so he gets pizza
Oh, and the infamous candy argument--"if I let them, they'd gorge themselves." Well, maybe once or twice, but not every time. It's healthy to let someone (even a small someone!) find their own limits, instead of listening to external boundaries about meal contents/portions/etc. I used to restrict candy big-time for my son--he seemed to always want more!
: So one Easter (when he wasn't quite 4 yet), I decided to just let him have at it--see what would happen. My poor boy ate two WHOLE bags of dove chocolates in 2-3 hours, and he ended up throwing up! He was sick the whole day and felt really sad that he missed all the fun. (I felt bad too--didn't mean for that to happen at all!) BUT, he hasn't eaten too much candy since then--he learned firsthand what eating too much candy does, and now he doens't need "restrictions" or "control"--he's perfectly capable of controlling himself now!
Anyway, I am running out of online time, but you see where I'm going with this... If you want to have a positive relationship w/your children, a good thing to do is to start trying to replace control
--it's a lifelong process, but SO worth it