Am I being unreasonable?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok here's the scoop...

I have 3 kids (3 weeks, 3 and 6) I have never allowed my two oldest to ever drink soda... NEVER! In my household soda is a "big person/mommy/daddy drink. My kids have never had a proble with this and have as a result been milk lovers... My son (6)met a new friend at day camp and went over to his house for a play date last weekend. When he came home he saw me drink a diet coke at dinner and asked why if he could have some. I told him that this was a drink for big people and he said "but Caleb's mommy lets him drink it and I I had some at his house." I just about fell over in my chair! Dh and I talked about it and decided that we were going to call Caleb's mom (we had to anyways, she invited Teddy to go to an amusement park and we had to tell her if he could go...) So I called and metioned that Teddy wasn't allowed to drink sodas, she said that she had no problem with her kids drinking it and that Caleb and his older sister had been drinking it since they were about 15 months old... I then asked her not to serve Teddy soda when he was over for play dates since he's not allowed to at home. I figured whe would agree, but NO, she told me she thought that my no soda rule was really unnecessary and thought that it wouldn't kill Teddy to drink some when he's over at Caleb's. I didn't know what else to say, so i then told her that we still weren't sure if Teddy would be able to go to the amusement park with them and would get back to them...

Here's the dilemma, I want to keep the no soda rule in effect, but this mom has just made me feel unreasonable... is this a crazy rule?? I also don't know whether I want Teddy going over to Caleb's anymore if he's going to drink soda, WHAT DO I DO: I just feel like dh and I have been insulted and don't know what to do, what would you do??

(just edited the title to make it more clear for the archives --Sierra)
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#2 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 06:36 PM
 
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Hmmm. I may be a minority opinion here, but yes, I think it's unreasonable. When I was growing up, there were inviolable rules (no crossing a really busy street without a traffic light; no riding a bike without a helmet) and there were house rules. Dietary stuff (other than allergies) fell into the category of "house rule" for everyone I knew. EVERYONE. Including the children of some serious health food nuts.

Requiring other parents to enforce a no-soda rule that is NOT based on a serious health concern (which clearly it's not, since YOU drink soda!) falls into the category of micromanaging a child's friendships, in my opinion. This is pop, not vodka. Lighten up.

JMO.
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#3 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 06:50 PM
 
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I agree with Naomi. I don't let my son eat a lot of sugar or have any pop but when we are at other people's houses I don't freak if they give him a cookie. To not let him play at someone's house because he'll be drinking soda pop is strange to me.

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#4 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 07:01 PM
 
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Wow......I think think you are over reacting and I agree with what the other ladies said.
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#5 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 07:12 PM
 
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I grew up in a totally soda free household (Heck! Sparkling water was a treat!), but the rare soda at someone else's house wasn't a big deal.

I can't tell you if you're being unreasonable, but I can tell you that my tendency is to be very choosey about my battles because I have limited energy (don't we all!?). I can understand the aversion to the idea of a 6 year old drinking soda, but I also wouldn't want this to become the "forbidden food," therefore creating an area for later power struggles and perhaps junk-food rebellion. How often is your son over at this friend's house? Will they have soda everytime, or are there times when they wont be eating and therefore probably wont be drinking? Are there times when you can invite his friend over to your house instead? Is this mother going to go easy on the soda, even though she thinks you're being unreasonable? I would just say proceed with caution, and this may be one of those lessons about how we can't control everything in our childrens' lives. Frankly, I don't think it would be possible to prevent him from having soda throughout his entire childhood, and it may not even be desirable (again, its the issue of "forbidden food").

Also, I thought it was interesting (not necessarily bad, just interesting) that you drink soda freely in front of your kids. I have a feeling this is being treated similarly to how alcohol is treated in the U.S. (an adult thing), but I wonder if transferance of the concept from alcohol to soda is possible, given the way society is set-up. And I also wonder if the way alcohol is treated in the U.S. is necessarily the best way. And I wonder how often and under what circumstances it is reasonable for us to ask our kids to do things we aren't willing to do. Wow! My brain is going a million miles a minute. Thanks for giving me some things to consider.

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#6 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 07:18 PM
 
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I'm with you on the soda! My kids don't drink it--but neither do I. I am very strict on sugar. But what I do is teach my kids to say "No thank you" when it's offered. I explain to them why I don't want them having sugar--or diet stuff for that matter--and they are fine with it. (My and my husband's families are full of diabetes and addictions, both sugar related problems, and I'm not going to set up tendencies no matter what the social pressure.) It doesn't cause problems for them socially. In fact I think it strengthens them socially because it teaches them that you don't have to do/eat/think everything that your friends do in order to enjoy being with them. It's up to you to make health decisions for your son. I would worry about someone who doesn't respect your wishes. What else might she brush off as unreasonable that is important to you?
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#7 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 07:19 PM
 
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I think it is good that you have managed to avoid giving your kids soda, with it's empty calories and loads of sugar. However, with your oldest being six I think you have to realise that he's getting to the age where you can't control alot of his environment any more. Most kids in this country drink soda, and sooner or later he's going to encounter it at picnics, in the school cafeteria, and at friends' houses. I think it is unrealistic for you to expect that he isn't going to have it available.

You've set a good foundation, and chances are your kid will probably grow up not having a taste for overly sweet drinks, which will serve him well in the future. But I think now it is time to let him loose a bit to explore the world, and if that means drinking a soda, so be it.

This is JMHO, of course.

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#8 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 07:46 PM
 
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One point I would like to make here is that I think if this is important to you it should be up to your son to say "no thank you" We all have "rules" that we would like our children to follow whether they are at home or away. We can't really have the expectation that other parents will enforce these rules. IMHO, it is up to us to help our child to see why we have a rule and why it is important to follow it. Then we can be more comfortable where ever they go without us because we can count on them to follow the rules we have set
As far as whether he should be allowed to drink soda at a friends,, I think only you can decide about how important that is to you.
Good luck!! This is only the begining!! Next he'll want the crappy breakfast cereal, the nike sneakers, the movie all his friends have seen that he hasn't.
It is a whole new chapter when they strat going out in the "world" on their own a bit.

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#9 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 07:50 PM
 
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My babe is only five months old, so I don't speak from personal experience, but dh and I anticipate a lot of food battles, so we've talked a lot about this issue. We anticipate a "no caffeine" rule, which would eliminate some, but not all, soda. I would hope that others would respect this rule, but I know we will encounter similar problems. I don't think you are being unreasonable in asking others to respect your rules. It sounds to me like the biggest problem is that this other parent has made it clear that she has no respect for your rules, which could lead to much bigger problems than your son having some soda.

I think that food is a very sensitive issue for many people. DH and I are vegetarian and plan to raise our child vegetarian until she is old enough to understand where meat comes from and decide for herself whether she wants to eat it. But our parents have made comments like "a little bit of meat won't kill her!" so I expect many future battles about this issue.
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#10 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 08:05 PM
 
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It is interesting to have vegetarianism come up, as I was rasied vegetarian too. My parents would have been bummed if, knowing we were vegetarian, someone had offered us meat, but at the same time, if we were old enough to make a choice, I think they would be okay with us deciding if we wanted to try it. The truth is that when you haven't had meat all your life, it seems kinda gross, so if someone had offered me meat when I was six, I would have said no (in fact, to this day I still haven't had a bite). Of course, pushy grandparents who would, say, force meat on a 1 year old would be a whole different story. By the way, one thing I wish my parents would have put their foot down about is school lunches. 99% of the time, my mom packed our lunches, but there were a few times she didn't have time. The school was always supposed to have a vegetarian "hot lunch" option, but the cafeteria ladies practically forced meat on us. There were days I fantasized about my parents coming and yelling at the cafeteria ladies for not having the vegie options and for being so mean when we asked for no meat, but I probably never even shared this with my parents. I would just eat the plain hamburger bun with cheese. Sheesh!

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#11 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 08:10 PM
 
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In our home, we all don't drink pop or have it in our home for anyone and for the LONGEST time, neither did my almost 6 yo ds. But, we have a rule~if he is at a b-day party or a special event, its o.k. My ds prefers bottled water anyways! I was brought up not drinking pop, my mom made homemade granola, etc. Even though I would drink it occasionally at movies, sleepovers, etc. while growing up~I've never been one to buy it and have it in my home, but I was taught to make a healthy choice.

Good Luck~

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#12 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 08:38 PM
 
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Makes me wonder if there is more to it? Both sides.

Frankly if you drink soda, fair is fair, why not let your children too. [Sounds like do as I say not do as I do, etc] But at the same time, why in the world call another mom about it? And if you do why in the world would she say anything but "ok I'll try and remember to server water" and leave it at that? If the relationship really is as casual as "all that" then I would personally chalk this up to "weird" and move on. But if there is more to it, then maybe THAT is what needs to be addressed instead?

We usually try to think about what are the "big" things and what are the "little" things; and focus ont he biggies and forget worrying over the littles. Soda [not good for him, but wont hurt him] would be a little in comarison to nuts [allergic, emergency, life threatening] for example. Was this a "little" thing and if so, let it go.
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#13 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 08:50 PM
 
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We don't drink soda at our house and the kids (6 and 3) would definately never get it from us no matter where we were. However, if he were to be at a friends I think I would allow him to follow their rules at home. I don't think him having a soda at a friends is such a big deal, although I would talk with him about why you have made the rules that you have and that they will remiain in effect in your house regardless of what he gets elsewhere.
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#14 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 08:58 PM
 
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Busymommy3, I feel for you. I suspect if this other mom asked you not to serve, say, juice to her child at your house, you would comply with her and respect her parenting choices. It is disturbing that she doesn't respect your no soda for Teddy rule. I mean, how hard is it to give him water instead ? Of course, I can see where she's coming from too. It is probably just how they do it at their house, and she wants your son to feel included when he is there. I tend to agree to pick your battles on this ground, because this is probably the first (or not) of many quandries now that your oldest is getting out in the world more. So I guess you have to weigh the importance of the absolutely no soda thing against importance of his friendship and play dates with his friend.
I also think teaching him to say no thanks is good too, otherwise he might think he HAS to drink it, even if he doesn't want to. When I was a kid we didn't drink cow milk (allergies in the family) so you can imagine my shock when I had dinner at my friend's house and was made to drink an 8 oz glass of it with dinner. Must finnish your plate and milk at that house. I was grossed out...but I am sure I had no idea that I could refuse the rules of their house. Maybe your son would like a way to politely say no thanks.

But...you know if you drink soda in front of him it is a lot harder to jusify why he shouldn't.

I agree with levar....sort out the big things from the little. What is MOST important to you. Good luck, these decisions are never easy.

OM
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#15 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 09:53 PM
 
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"Someone else mentioned that you can't expect the parents of your child's friends to enforce your rules. ABSOLUTELY you can, and they should"

That was me. Perhaps I should clarify my answer a bit. Of course you can expect that they will, but as we see here that is not always going to happen. Better to teach the child himself than to have to educate everyone the child meets as to what the rules are.

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#16 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 09:58 PM
 
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I was going to say almost exactly what Stonehenge said. Maybe a lot of parents do let their kids have soft drinks occassionally, but you should be able to ask other moms do things that aren't unreasonable and have them comply. Yes, you have to pick your battles, but you're trusting this woman with your child. There's no telling what other issues she doesn't think are important.
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#17 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 10:01 PM
 
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i am not sure i agree with your rule, but it does NOT matter what she or I think at all. it is YOUR rule and you are the BOSS! Not her and not me! You call the shots!

I'd let her know you are very very serious about this issue, and maybe she will come to her senses.


I do think it is sort of mean to drink the soda in front of your children, but I guess I can understand. After all, we drink alcohol and do NOT let our children.... hmmmmm.

anyway, the question isn't whether your rule makes me happy.

She should respect your decision.

I'd also talk to your son and let him know your reasons....maybe you can let him know why it is bad and why he shouldn't drink it.

good luck.

remember you are the mom! :-)
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#18 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 10:22 PM
 
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i'm in the let it go crowd

though i don't think you are being unreasonable. it seems to me that this day and age you just don't serve soda to other people's kids. enough parents are trying to keep their kids from it the best they can.

on the other hand i can only imagine what it might be like for the parents' of dd's friends to call and say this is not allowed. it would be different for each friend. do parents keep a list of behaviors that are allowed and not allowed for each friend? sounds like a pain in the a$$. unless the different rule is one that you think may harm you kid (and drinking pop may very well fall into that category, and you are certainly entitled to that opinion), like playing violent video games or swimming unsupervised, let it go.

that leaves the question of her being disrespectful of your wishes. if this is the only symptom of that attitude, i'd let it go too. in many household's pop is all there is. it would be rude (and cruel) for this entire family to drink pop in front of you son and not offer it to him. if they don't ever drink anything else....

good luck
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#19 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 10:24 PM
 
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I wonder if Caleb's mom felt like you were criticizing her choice to give children pop. That's the only reason I can think of for her reaction. I might feel a little embarrased if a mom called me to tell me something she disliked that I did with her child, but I would certainly comply! As Sleepies said, you're the mom!

I agree with those who say that you need to pick and choose your battles, but this might be one that is important to you. An occasional pop would not matter to me, but I am sure that there are things that I'm concerned about that you might not be.

I think that Peggy's idea is wise. Maybe it would be helpful to explain your rules and even the rationale behind some of them.

I hope it works out for you.
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#20 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 10:29 PM
 
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I don't think you are being unreasonable. If someone had a no soda rule and their children were playing at my house, I'd respect that. I might not agree with it, but I'd respect it. There could be very good reasons as to why one parent might not want his/her child to have a certain food, and I don't think it is right for another parent to write that off as nonsense and disregard it. I wouldn't be happy if someone gave my child soda with aspartame in it.

Now I will say that my child does have soda occasionally, and was kind of young when she had her first. For awhile, I was seriously trying to avoid giving her cow's milk, as I did not consider it healthy, but it would be hard to explain that to other parents who think it is great. One time we were visiting our neighbors and the mom offered my child some skim milk, asking if it was OK since she knew we drank rice/soy milk. I said sure, because I figured the occasional glass of milk would be fine. What do you think my three year old drinks now? Not soda, not juice, not soy milk, but cow's milk. She asks for the milk with the cow on the carton, and she very carefully makes sure everytime I give her milk to ask if it is soymilk. :LOL She goes through phases where she wants different things, and she very often rejects soda as it is too sweet to be thirst quenching to her. Now that the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, it will probably be harder to keep him soda free when he is away from you, but I agree with those who say you should talk to him about it and let him make the choice for that situation.
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#21 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 11:18 PM
 
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Quote:
I don't know any parents who let their kids' friends play in traffic or watch X-rated movies.
I don't know any parents who let their OWN kids play in traffic or watch X-rated movies, either. And I think this raises a point that I haven't really seen made in this discussion.

There is a certain societal consensus that some things are NOT acceptable for children (X-rated movies, vodka shots, cigarettes); some things are highly controversial and objectionable to many parents (violent video games, R-rated movies, trips to the riflery range, sips of beer); and some things are good clean fun though not necessarily what you'd give your kids every day (rides on the ferris wheel, PG-rated movies, sweets).

As a parent, you can mostly take it for granted that other parents will not share stuff in that first category with your child. If another parent were to take your child to an X-rated movie, you would hit the roof. You might even file charges. No WAY is that within the "well, if you didn't DISCUSS it first..." range of things you expect as a parent.

The second category is slightly more iffy. Some of the stuff in it is probably a given (you may give your own kid sips of beer, but no one else is likely to), while other stuff you may have to specify (there are a lot of parents that let their kids play whatever video game you want). At the very LEAST, though, if you specify to another parent when dropping your kid off, "Throckmorton isn't allowed to play violent video games," the other parent will probably nod understandingly.

The third category, you're going to be paddling upstream. If you have a violent objection to Disney movies, you can keep them out of your own home (with effort), but when your child goes to a friend's house, the friend's parents are unlikely to call you to make sure it's okay before popping in a video of "The Little Mermaid." The general societal consensus is that Disney movies are fine for kids. If you have a very, very sensitive child, you will for a while be able to get away with telling parents, "Muriel has terrible nightmares and you'd be amazed at what sets her off. She cried for weeks after seeing ten minutes of 'Beauty and the Beast.' So please check with me before showing her anything stronger than Teletubbies, okay?"

But first off, when it's something in Category #3, it's NOT reasonable to assume that the other parents will consult you first, any more than you'd consult them before serving a visiting child organic rice milk, or letting them play with Legos, or putting on a Beatles CD.

Sometimes we have really good reasons to ban stuff in Category #3. An allergy, or a religious prohibition, or a moral restriction like vegetarianism. But I have to admit that if another parent told me that her child was not allowed to have soda, just because, I might react a little badly. We don't actually keep soda around, so soda wouldn't be a problem, but I would wonder what else would turn out to be a horrible no-no in that household. If I bake cookies, would I be expected not to serve any to that child? Is this person going to have some violent objection to plastic toys? Etc.

We do our children a disservice when we try to control their lives too much, to micromanage their relationships too much.
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#22 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 11:31 PM
 
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Naomi - I just wanted to say that was a very well-written and thorough post!! I think you summed up the situation really, really well! :-)

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#23 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 11:32 PM
 
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i don't think you are over reacting. looking back on my own life, i thought chocolate was only available on very very pecial occasions, never drank pop or slaty foods, always shared french fries etc... and i can do nothing but thank my mom!
i can also tell you the name of the girl in grade 1 who introduced me to salt and vinegar chips, coke and chocolate, gummi bears, root beer floats etc... meredith!
you make the rules, and i think that it's up to you to at least inform other moms what your rules are for your kids, then go from there!
it's not going to hurt your kid to have pop oncein a while, but i think the issue for me would be this otehr moms attitude towards your rules!
stick to your guns, just make sure you pick your battles, maybe no sleep overs but a day out...i dunno!
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#24 of 49 Old 06-11-2002, 11:54 PM
 
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Naomi....Throckmorton? :LOL :LOL

I don't fully understand your strong objections to soda, since you drink it yourself, and I would expect such strong feelings to come from someone who disliked soda for overall health reasons. If you drink it in front of your kids, trust me, you are sending them a message that soda is fine. No matter how much you tell them it isn't, children do as we do, not as we say.

However, regardless of whether I agree with you or not, as others have said, this *is* your rule for your children, and the other mom should heed it.

The thing is you didn't tell her beforehand, did you? So really, you can't get mad at her, since soda is a very acceptable thing to give a child in this culture. Heck, Coca Cola is making small lunch box sized cans just for kids to take to school now. My school cafeteria served me coke every day of my childhood And it was a private religious school!

What I don't get is whether the other mom was saying that she *wouldn't* follow this rule in the future, or that she was just defending her reasoning for giving it to your child in the first place. Maybe she wanted to make sure you knew that she believed soda was fine, and that was why she had let the kids drink it. But in the future, she will avoid giving it to your kids?

I would talk to her again when you have both cooled off.

Good luck,

Heartmama

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#25 of 49 Old 06-12-2002, 12:45 AM
 
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Heartmama - When I was pregnant, we told all our friends we were going to name the baby Throckmorton. The reactions of the people who took us seriously were pretty hilarious. We had been warned by a friend who liked unusual names that we shouldn't tell anyone the name we'd picked before the baby was born, because someone would try to talk us out of it and tell us all about their horrible relative/class bully/ex-spouse by the same name. I highly recommend telling everyone during pregnancy that you're going to give the baby some absolutely ghastly name. If you've convinced everyone that you're going to name the baby Throckmorton, a normal name like Moon-Unit will be a relief. Okay, maybe not Moon-Unit

We got the name Throckmorton from a friend. Her father was one of eight children growing up, and the older four convinced the younger four that the odd-sized gap between the two sets was due to the death of an unfortunate fifth sibling, Throckmorton. Poor, poor Throckmorton had sat between the twins, you see, and starved to death because every time the food got passed around the table, it got finished off before it got to him. "Oh, and don't mention him to Mom," the story finished. "She still feel just terrible that she never even noticed." The story, of course, eventually got out, and the mother was just horrified that her four younger children had actually BELIEVED this. Poor Throckmorton, indeed.
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#26 of 49 Old 06-12-2002, 01:28 AM
 
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I wonder if Caleb's mom was offended. Maybe she felt like ypu were judgung her for giving her kids pop. I know you weren't. I've had to deal with this issue a lot. Doing things differently then my mom. She gets very offended when tell her that I don't want ds to have a lot of junky stuff including soda, marjarine. and comercial cookies. I'm noy saying that it is o k for Caleb's mom to ingore your rules but maybe if you explained to her that it is just not for your kids. and that you are not judging her for giving it to her kids then she will be more open to offering something else. Just a thought.
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#27 of 49 Old 06-12-2002, 02:02 AM
 
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I agree, probably Caleb's mother was a little defensive, thought she was being judged.

I don't think soda's a big deal, personally, and the "choose your battles" theory comes to mind.

T
That said, there is a big issue with children ingesting NutraSweet, which is in a lot of sodas. As I understand it, it is a neurotoxin. Also, as I understand it, the scientists who invented NutraSweet do not ingest it themselves. That says a lot, KWIM?

Adults' bodies are developed, what we do to them is our problem, but our children are still developing, and anything that might hinder/harm that development ... well, we should think twice about any products with NutraSweet. In my own not-so-humble opinion.

- Amy
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#28 of 49 Old 06-12-2002, 02:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zina
I would worry about someone who doesn't respect your wishes. What else might she brush off as unreasonable that is important to you?
I totally agree with this! The issue is not about what you requested but how the other mom responded.

I certainly would feel hurt at her disrespect. Go with your gut!
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#29 of 49 Old 06-12-2002, 03:17 AM
 
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double post
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#30 of 49 Old 06-12-2002, 03:51 AM
 
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I understand your desire not to let your children have soda at home or elsewhere.

However, there are two problems in this scenario for me.

1) You don't let them have soda even occasionally at a friend's house but you drink diet coke in your home in front of them. I don't really understand your reasoning. If your issue is with the sugar substitutes and the caffeine, there is plenty of soda with real sugar and no caffeine -- rootbeer, ginger ale, etc. If you're issue is that it's not healthy, I agree, but then I don't understand why you would drink it yourself, especially in front of them.

2) You didn't let your friend know ahead of time. We are vegetarian. Before my children go somewhere without me where they might be offered food, I make sure the other parents know that we are vegetarian and make sure it's not an imposition on them. If I sensed it was an imposition, I would either not let my children go or send them with their own food, depending on which was more appropriate in the situation. I would want to make it as easy on the other parents as possible. I think it's an imposition on someone else to tell them not to give my children something without giving them the option of not having my child over or of having me send something else. I also think it's an imposition to tell someone not to give my children something after the fact unless it's really serious. That is setting the other parents up to feel defensive. You're telling them what they do is wrong.

I believe that if you want your children not to drink soda, first model the behavior yourself in your home home and second teach them why you don't allow it and how to say "no." If he ends up with the occasional soda, let it go, except for maybe talking about why you don't drink soda again to your son.

If it is important enough to you, consider which houses you let your child visit. My children have certain friends who are allowed to come here, but I won't let my kids go to their houses. I either know for sure there are things going on in their homes that I don't approve of and can't control or don't know enough about the family yet and am not taking chances until I know more.
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