Is this unethical? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-28-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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Oh and a question for those of you who let your children choose their own foods:

So when you are at the grocery store and the kids are freaking about all the candy at the front, do you buy it for them?

(Let me guess, they dont want it. ) :

Really though, do you buy them all the stuff in the store thats bad for them that they want?

I am not particularly good at regulating my own sugar intake, and controlling my diet yet, so thats obviously the first goal in getting my kids to do the same.
We don't keep much stuff in the house that's unhealthy. But we also don't make a big deal about it when we encounter stuff outside of the house. I'm sure I'm pretty lucky. When preschool sent home a note to all parents about limiting the amount of junk food or sweets in lunches pointing out a lot of parents probably noticed their kids were only eating the sweets and leaving the rest, dd was eating everything in her lunch but the small cookie I put in b/c she was saving the cookie for later. I think the key is to teach everything in moderation and don't project your own food issues onto your children as best you can. My own to overcome is food as an emotional salve. I try to channel that energy into just cooking well. Doesn't always work but hopefully it won't be as much of a problem for dd as it is for me. It already is less of a problem for me than for my mother and grandmother.

I do think you would have a better long term effect by attempting to change the treat policy for the school than forbidding your child from participating. If that's the only sweets he's getting while not ideal it's not that bad. The key would be to model good eating habits at home. And maybe even occasionally just make a good cake or pie at home so he learns that the Dora cakes actually don't taste that good.
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Old 10-28-2007, 07:14 PM
 
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Oh and a question for those of you who let your children choose their own foods:

So when you are at the grocery store and the kids are freaking about all the candy at the front, do you buy it for them?

(Let me guess, they dont want it. ) :

Really though, do you buy them all the stuff in the store thats bad for them that they want?

I am not particularly good at regulating my own sugar intake, and controlling my diet yet, so thats obviously the first goal in getting my kids to do the same.
actually, you guessed right. My DD anyway, doesn't "spaz out" over all the candy in front of the store.
She knows that if she wants something, she can have it - hey, *I* can buy myself a candy if I want to, why shouldn't she? Usually when we go into town, or into a shop, I talk about how much money I'm willing to spend. I'll give her a budget of a few dollars and she can buy whatever junk she likes. Of course, I do discuss all her choices with her, and talk a lot about colourings and preservatives and trans fats and all that junk. If she knows all that, and still wants something, I'll buy it. It's her choice.

And the reality is that she can buy a packet of "gross-out" cookies, or whatever, and eat 1 or 2, and save the rest "for later". the last packed of choc-mint cream cookies we bought was about 3 weeks ago, and half the packet is still in her food box.

But DD's friends.... well, that's a different story. Her best friend, who's mother is very controlling (allows "junk" but only after good behaviour, and only in very tiny portions and very occasionally), has no self-control whatsoever.

I'll watch my DD say no to a sweet, coz she just doesn't feel like it, while her friend will devour anything and everything 'bad' at every opportunity. the other day, the friend came over and saw DD's jar of M&Ms. Its a big jar, well, I bought a mega-jumbo pack of cheap generic M&Ms, and DD ate about 6 of them and wanted to keep the rest for later. so I put them in a jar, on a shelf in plain view and easy reach for DD. The jar had been untouched for over a week, until the friend came over. The friend spotted them, and was almost jumping out of her skin begging me for some. Of course, I just said that they belong to DD, and to ask her.

you guessed it: DD gave her friend a small handfull, and ate a few herself and put the jar back. by the end of the play date, (actually, I think by the end of an hour), friend had wheedled the whole jar out of DD and ate the lot. she then came and asked me if there's any more sweets!

okay, sorry, I'm rambling on. I guess for me, the moral is clear. I firmly believe that the only way to truly 'protect' our kids from poisoning their bodies with junk food is to educate them well, and then give them the trust, freedom and respect to make their own choices.

I suspect that in any child who hasn't been raised this way from the start, it would be difficult to begin; at the start the child really would go berko eating nothing but candy. But I believe (and I've seen from experience) that the kid would pretty quickly have their fill, and come to a place of balance.

The key is communication. If I were gonna try this, I'd be reading out some of the posts on this thread, talking openly with my child about how I feel, and my concerns. find some good information about sugars and additives and such and read them with my child. Talk about how I want to give the child his own reins. and then do it.

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Old 10-28-2007, 07:17 PM
 
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That is so smart.

I dont trust my ds, but I should.

My 2 yr old just chose chicken over cookies!

I am afraid I tainted my 4 yr old. With my sugar issues.

Mabye we can make a comeback together.
yes! working on it together is a great idea!

If you dont trust your DS, he wont trust himself.

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Old 10-28-2007, 07:52 PM
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Oh and a question for those of you who let your children choose their own foods:

So when you are at the grocery store and the kids are freaking about all the candy at the front, do you buy it for them?

(Let me guess, they dont want it. ) :

Really though, do you buy them all the stuff in the store thats bad for them that they want?

I am not particularly good at regulating my own sugar intake, and controlling my diet yet, so thats obviously the first goal in getting my kids to do the same.
You're right, mine doesn't want the candy and stuff at the checkout lanes. He wants the magazines instead. So far the only "crap" that they both ask for at the store is the donuts that they bake there and if they've been good then yes, they can have one to share. They certainly don't get one every time they ask for it though, they understand it's a treat that they get once in a while. They're allowed to eat what they want to eat in moderation. My oldest does have allergies and there are foods he's not allowed to eat, I don't really feel that I need to add even more to that list, he's already sticking out as it is. Besides, at 4yo he prefers fruits and veggies over most other stuff anyway but if he wants a cookie or crackers then he can have some. My youngest probably would eat crap all day long if I let him but again, the key is moderation. I'm doing the best I can to get him to eat more fruits (pulling teeth would be easier, unless the fruit is in the form of a smoothie. Then he'll suck it down like there's no tomorrow) but I figure it'll come in time. In the meantime I do my best to find healthier versions of the carbs he loves and try to make more myself. But no, I don't forbid anything that doesn't cause some type of reaction in either of my children. But just because I don't forbid it doesn't automatically mean they eat nothing but junk all day every day. Yes, they both know their way around a french fry but they also both know their way around carrots as well (raw for one and roasted for the other). I don't see the need to load them up with pre-processed everything all the time but I also don't see the need to not allow them to have it every so often either.
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Old 10-28-2007, 07:58 PM
 
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I find it very self-centered of the parents who seem to suggest this.
Ah, yes...selfish selfish us, "hogging" all the allergies for ourselves. : Of course, there are different degrees of allergies. We have no idea if dd is anaphylactic to most of her allergens (she was diagnosed before she ate most of them), although she is definitely NOT anaphylactic to some of them. But the OPs child has actually eaten the food in question at his daycare before, without evident reaction. My point was that lying about food allergies makes it more difficult for those with actual food allergies, of whatever severity, to be taken seriously (this happens in restaurants a lot, too, when people just don't like something). Honestly, I think it's hard to find a compelling reason to lie about your child having a serious medical condition.

Why not just be honest: the mom feels that the food adversely affects the child's behavior (I don't think the term "intolerance" would be uncalled for) and would like to suggest healthier alternatives for all the children.
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Old 10-28-2007, 08:00 PM
 
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I use the word "allergy" when talking about my kids' food sensitivities because schools don't seem to understand anything that isnt' black and white. DD2 is allergic to all artificial colors and flavors. Period. She can't eat them. When pressed, I explained that she does not need an epi-pen and her allergic reactions are behavioral in nature.

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Old 10-28-2007, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I use the word "allergy" when talking about my kids' food sensitivities because schools don't seem to understand anything that isnt' black and white. DD2 is allergic to all artificial colors and flavors. Period. She can't eat them. When pressed, I explained that she does not need an epi-pen and her allergic reactions are behavioral in nature.
Neither do the doctors I have spoken with.
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Old 10-28-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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I use the word "allergy" when talking about my kids' food sensitivities because schools don't seem to understand anything that isnt' black and white. DD2 is allergic to all artificial colors and flavors. Period. She can't eat them. When pressed, I explained that she does not need an epi-pen and her allergic reactions are behavioral in nature.
Thank you. And this is my problem. My DD is "allergic" to a few things. How do I know? Because I'm the damn mom and I've been eliminating/fixing her food for 2 years now and come to my own CORRECT conclusions! Her blood doens't react, but if she even sucks on and spits out something made with an egg she breaks out in eczema. So would I think I am "undermining" someone who has a "true" allergy? NO! And I wouldn't think a second longer about telling anyone she has allergies. The only word people seem to understand is the word allergy, and as Ruthla pointed out black and white is much simpler.

I mean sure, in teh grand scheme of things anaphylaxis is more severe than eczema, but it still gives me the same right to avoid the food.

Now having said that we homeschool so it doens't matter
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Old 10-28-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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Ah, yes...selfish selfish us, "hogging" all the allergies for ourselves. : Of course, there are different degrees of allergies. We have no idea if dd is anaphylactic to most of her allergens (she was diagnosed before she ate most of them), although she is definitely NOT anaphylactic to some of them. But the OPs child has actually eaten the food in question at his daycare before, without evident reaction. My point was that lying about food allergies makes it more difficult for those with actual food allergies, of whatever severity, to be taken seriously (this happens in restaurants a lot, too, when people just don't like something). Honestly, I think it's hard to find a compelling reason to lie about your child having a serious medical condition.

Why not just be honest: the mom feels that the food adversely affects the child's behavior (I don't think the term "intolerance" would be uncalled for) and would like to suggest healthier alternatives for all the children.
I'm just going to ditto you because what I really want to say just isn't nice.

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Old 10-28-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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Well, will they listen, care, AND follow your specifications? I did this with my sons when they started daycare/preschool (an "early learning center, but daycare all the same) and it didn't matter one bit. They were required to have a doctor's order that the kids can't have something SPECIFIC and then they had to substitute. In fact, about 8 months after they started, one teacher asked me about what I had written on their form, as my son had plenty of artificially flavored and colored cupcakes for birthdays and candy for this, that, or the other thing. At the time, I just let it slide because it was an uphill battle.

I think the problem, also, is that NO one who isn't "us," (meaning people who have come to this sort of knowledge and passion about it), understands why we make a big deal out of it. Did you grow up eating, say Tootsie rolls, Fun Dip, colored frosting on store bought B-day cakes, or anything like that? Most of us did, and somewhere along the line, we learned why it is unwise and desired to change it for our kids. But the majority never fell on the knowledge about why it's wrong and they fall for the "conventional wisdom" that it's harmless.

But if there is a chance that you can get through to them, and maybe even educate one set of responsive ears, then DO IT!!!

It is NOT unethical because we all are allergic to those things. They are unnatural and DO cause behavioral issues and most likely cancers and metabolic disorders and all the other things they are charged with. It is worth fighting IF you might get somewhere. Otherwise, reevaluate, regroup, reformulate and redirect.
Good luck! I hope you get somewhere and let one more person know about this!
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:13 AM
 
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Ah, yes...selfish selfish us, "hogging" all the allergies for ourselves. : Of course, there are different degrees of allergies.
My point was that lying about food allergies makes it more difficult for those with actual food allergies, of whatever severity, to be taken seriously Honestly, I think it's hard to find a compelling reason to lie about your child having a serious medical condition.
Yeah, that. What's wrong with a different term, like "intolerance" or "sensitivity"? Why can't you just say that the child's behavior is adversely affected -- without making it harder for the kids who have a FATAL intolerance (ie allergy)? The teacher(s) will probably be able to see this for themselves, not just in the OP's child but in ALL the children.

taking this issue to the board or whatever authorities are in charge is not a bad idea, esp if you've already marked yourself as a quote-unquote troublemaker, transformed! This might be a real place where you can do some good and spread some good information.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:07 AM
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Honestly, I would not lie and say that it is a food allergy. I haven't read all the responses, so I apologize if you've answered this already, but do the artificial dyes really affect your ds's behavior negatively or do you just not like him having them? If they do affect his behavior negatively, then I would definitely explain it to the teachers this way and see what are some alternative options that can be provided for him. It is probably more difficult to change the way they do birthdays and snacks. I would try to find a different preschool if this is really bothersome for you.

At my DS's current preschool, they do not serve any food to the kids at all. Everyone brings in their own snacks and for birthdays they can bring in a pillowcase or t-shirt for the everyone to decorate.

My view on all of this is everything in moderation. I do not give DS foods with artificial colors or flavors, HFCS, or trans fats at home. However, if we are elsewhere, he will sometimes have foods containing these things and I'm okay with it.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:10 AM
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yeah...I guess with 15-20 PreK'ers they are probably going to have a birthday once a week, right? Ugh. And no one makes cakes anymore-they get the Dora ones from the grocery store now. ick. They arent even tasty.
My son's ex-prek (for reasons having a LOT in common with this discussion!) would only allow packaged foods. No fruits, no home-made foods, even for my son. Hence the store-bought stryrofoam-and-food-coloring cakes. Ew.

They also decided I was "making up" his issues with HFCS and food colors, but constantly complained about his behavior and never made the connection between the two.. So he's at home until Kindergarten, when I'll try again (we've moved, so it may be better here).
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:27 AM
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Frankly as a preschool teacher I was aware that not all allergies manifested in the same way. We usually asked parents what type of symptoms we should look for if the child accidentally ingested some of their allergen. We were dilligent and it never happened, but theoretically it could, so its safer to know what signs to look for.
SO true. Saying "allergy" is not a complete warning. Saying "allergy to x manifests this way" is so much more helpful.

I just wish that my son's ex-prek had listened, because I stated it that way, "sensititvity to dyes, preservatives and HFCS causes marked behavior and neurological issues with some physical symptoms (night terrors, screaming for hours, running in circles, skin reactions, etc)" and was still ignored. :

I do hope that the teachers at the OP's pre-k listen.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:55 AM
 
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From the Medline Plus dictionary

Main Entry: al·ler·gy
Pronunciation: al-r-j
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -gies
1 : altered bodily reactivity (as hypersensitivity) to an antigen in response to a first exposure <his bee-venom allergy may render a second sting fatal>
2 : exaggerated or pathological reaction (as by sneezing, respiratory embarrassment, itching, or skin rashes) to substances, situations, or physical states that are without comparable effect on the average individual

Although IMO the term allergy has been overused which in many ways has made this conversation necessary, it is not a lie to say that reactions other than anaphalaxis are allergies and parents of children with potentially fatal allergic reactions need to work with parents of those with milder forms rather than play the "my child is sicker than yours" game. What might be a rash at first exposure might become respiratory distress at second.

By the definition above allergy does not require a fatal reaction to be labeled an allergy giving support to the possibilities of a food dye allergy. All evidence is not in on what constitutes an allergen.

That said, parents' requests should be honored regardless of a teacher's interpretation of danger - vegetarian diet is a good example. So in addition to requesting policies about healthy food items, parents may also need to help schools work on respecting cultural and philisophical differences in all areas. I know much is being done to improve these understandings in the field of early childhood education.
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:57 AM
 
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I have not read this whole thread because I have strong feelings about this issue.

It may be unethical, maybe not, but I have and will use this excuse. I have five children, the oldest is 20, and I have learned very firmly that "I don't want them to have xxx substance" or "xxx causes behavior issues" or "xxx is not healthy so I don't want my child around/exposed to/ingesting that" does NOT WORK. People will nod, smile and feed your kid what THEY think is acceptable. They may even tell your child to keep this a secret.

This includes teachers, church people, family members...

THAT is unethical. I will do whatever I have to in order to protect my child, including lying. I have said that my son has asthma when people have argued that it is perfectly fine for them to smoke around him because it was outside (but one foot away from the baby in my arms, or even wanted to hold him while smoking . I have claimed health issues as reason not to give certain 'foods'. People are afraid that if something serious were to happen they would be sued or arrested, so they don't do it if you say that.

And I hate, hate lying or misrepresenting facts in any way. This is my one exception.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:26 AM
 
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I don't think allergies need to be fatal to be called an allergy. I used to have my lips swell to astounding proportions when I ate eggs, fish or poultry. It should be something that's noticeable and a medical condition. By calling anything you don't like an allergy for your child you're going to end up reducing the word "allergy" to the same status as what others have complained about not working. In fact I would argue that it's already there or close to it. The only one that seems to inspire fear or care is if you say nut allergy.

Since his teacher knows already he's not allergic, I seriously doubt the teacher will be overly careful to make sure your son doesn't get red dye #40 or anything else you tell them he's allergic to. Not that she or he would deliberately feed the foods to your kid but I don't think they'd be overly careful either. Instead of being labeled that kind of mother why not work to change the treat policy altogether? If only processed foods can be brought in why not just eliminate them altogether and not make special times about sweets? I thought you were pulling him from this school anyway.
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:15 AM
 
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Couldn't the packaged-snack policy be made healthier within those constraints? Whole-grain crackers, those fun cheese shapes, all-natural fruit leathers---I don't buy this kind of convenience stuff very often, but it would seem there are options between homemade muffin and styrofoam brightly colored snack cake.
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:00 PM
 
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I didn't want ds eating junk at school either, so I spoke with the director and told her that our family follows a sort of whole foods diet. And that I notice a big difference in ds's behaviour (I really don't notice a huge difference) when he eats processed foods. I told her that we are trying to eliminate preservatives, food dyes, etc. I knew it would be hard for the teachers to read the labels and remember all the different things I didn't want ds eating, so decided it would be best to write on his file, 'No High Fructose Corn Syrup' .

Now this may not eliminate every single 'bad' food, but does a pretty good job at getting rid of most. And its easy for the teachers and assistants to look for. They follow through really well and since the 'dangers' of HFCS have been in the news lately and on Oprah, they don't give me strange looks, they actually whole heartedly agree.

Maybe this approach could work for you?
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:12 PM
 
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I would not use "allergy" because you could cause some unnecessary stress for the staff. Let's say they see your child eat a piece of candy and then they go into emergency mode. That's not fair to them.

Honestly, this is one reason (not the only reason) we avoided school. I'm not against treats and junk on occassion, but the junk food was commonplace in the schools we visited.

You might ask if you can organize a parent meeting (bring treats!) to discuss what foods should be served to the children.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:24 PM
 
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At least at the school district my DH used to teach in, the parents were not permitted to bring homemade foods, they had to be commercial packaged stuff.:
To be fair - the main reason schools go that route is so that every ingredient is accounted for (ie nuts, etc for allergies) I'd rather do homemade too.
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