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#1 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#2 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 05:17 PM
 
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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?
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#3 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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#4 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 05:38 PM
 
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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.
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#5 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 06:22 PM
 
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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 :)


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#6 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 06:50 PM
 
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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.

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#7 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 07:05 PM
 
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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.

 

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#8 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 07:35 PM
 
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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.  

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#9 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.  


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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#10 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...

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#11 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 08:48 PM
 
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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.

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#12 of 61 Old 09-09-2012, 09:27 PM
 
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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. 

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#13 of 61 Old 09-10-2012, 07:42 AM
 
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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"

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#14 of 61 Old 09-10-2012, 08:21 AM
 
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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.


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#15 of 61 Old 09-10-2012, 09:27 AM
 
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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.
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#16 of 61 Old 09-10-2012, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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. 


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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#17 of 61 Old 09-10-2012, 03:49 PM
 
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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.


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#18 of 61 Old 09-10-2012, 05:49 PM
 
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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.


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#19 of 61 Old 09-10-2012, 09:30 PM
 
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..... you shouldn't need to be involved beyond telling them to communicate about it. It's about being considerate of others. 

 

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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.

 

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#20 of 61 Old 09-10-2012, 09:43 PM
 
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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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#21 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 07:52 AM
 
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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.


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#22 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 12:47 PM
 
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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.


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#23 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 01:51 PM
 
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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.

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#24 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 02:38 PM
 
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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.

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#25 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 02:44 PM
 
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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.
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#26 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 02:58 PM
 
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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.  


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#27 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...

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#28 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 03:03 PM
 
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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.

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#29 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...

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#30 of 61 Old 09-11-2012, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.  


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...

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