Kids and candy--is this normal? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 12-15-2009, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Background: We generally try to eat healthfully, but I have a sweet tooth and seem to have passed it to my 4.5 y/o. If DH had his way, our kids would never have any kind of sweet at all, but since I enjoy it so much I tend to be more indulgent. We usually don't eat candy/sweets daily, or even weekly, but Halloween-Christmas there's def an increase.

My concern is that DS1 has no control when it comes to candy. I just bought some dark chocolate truffles, let him have one after lunch. OK, all done. Except once I left the room, he climbed on the counter, took the package off the fridge, and stuffed his face! We had the same problem w/ Halloween candy--he was only allowed a certain amount, and he drove us all crazy trying to find the rest and eat it. Is this normal 4.5 y/o behavior? I can't decide if I just shouldn't have any sweets in the house at all ever, or try to allow him to learn some self-regulation, but honestly, I think he'd just eat himself sick. Repeatedly!

We've had many conversations re: nutrition, cavities, overall health. He's gotten info from his dentist and pedi (run of the mill like they give everyone, DS has no dental, weight or health problems, just a sugar jones) I'm at a loss as to whether this is a phase and not a big deal, or something I should be addressing (and not sure how I would, other than banning all sugar). I also wonder if DH's negativity towards sweets plays a role (forbidden fruit). Or is this just a kid thing?

Advice for my sugar monster, please!
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#2 of 27 Old 12-15-2009, 05:46 PM
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We don't eat alot of candy. Both my kids and dh have sweet teeth and eat more than I do, I'd just toss it all personally.

We do let the boys have 1 piece when they ask. They do know they can't have more than 1 piece per day and usually several days go by without them even asking.

If I had a kid who was sneaking it after I'd allowed some, I'd probably get rid of it. But again, I don't eat it either so that may be easy to say.
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#3 of 27 Old 12-15-2009, 05:55 PM
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Perhaps if he had it *more* regularly, he'd be less inclined to binge? We often (maybe three times a week) have a handful of m&ms - like 10 per kid - after dinner. I think sweets in moderation are fine. When things (not just food) are usually 100% off limits kids seem to crave them. Ah, the forbidden fruit .

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#4 of 27 Old 12-15-2009, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 3*is*magic View Post
Perhaps if he had it *more* regularly, he'd be less inclined to binge? We often (maybe three times a week) have a handful of m&ms - like 10 per kid - after dinner. I think sweets in moderation are fine. When things (not just food) are usually 100% off limits kids seem to crave them. Ah, the forbidden fruit .

Please this is not ment to offend the above quote just giving a different viewThis pharse always gets me. I get it from my family mostly in the sense that DS wouldn't be so hyper if I gave him some sweets Also if something is 100% off limits how can they crave it if they never had it. DS doesn't ask or crave candy because he never had it. He craves things when he taste it. Like ever since he started having carrot cake and pies that is what he ask for because he now has the taste for it.

Our family is a little opposite from the OP in that I want the children into the healthy eating but DH is a little more slack. We don't do candy or chocolate for him. DS has never eatten candy and he is 3. He do eat our whole wheat carrot cake, cheese puffs, pies and some other little sweet stuff.

Anyways I do eat these crap at times but I do not eat things I don't want him to have as yet in front of him. I know he will learn about it later but why get him started so early he has how many years ahead of him.

Also you don't have to get rid of it all but have a stash hiding somewhere and bring out what you don't mind him eating on the days or times you don't mind it. Make sure he doesn't know where it is. When we do have things in places DS always goes in there and ask us to gave him some.

I was and in a sense still a sugar monster
To me it can be personality because the saying above had a different affect on me. Growing up we was NOT restricted from eating junk food or candy. My parents cooked from scratch but my dad loved his junkfood. I wish it was different as I seriously struggle when it comes to chocolate and certain other sweets. I am a little child I cannot stop myself. When it is in my face I eat and sometimes even though I get headaches from it I can't help myself..I just hate how I can be especially around chocolate. Not to mention I have 2 permanent teeth already gone, one at 11 and a next at 19.

DH is different they were more restricted and didn't have as much sweets growing up as I did and he contains himself so well. I don't know how he can open a chocolate and not finish the whole thing..
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#5 of 27 Old 12-15-2009, 08:23 PM
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This seems to turn into an either/or conversation about sugar, and I think its just different for every kid.

I remember *being* the kid who had no self control over sweets and remember being so flabbergasted by the kids who wouldn't finish their cupcakes or whatever. We ate healthy food at home, and sweets were not forbidden. Some kids just don't seem to be as cumpulsive as other kids about sugar, and I think it has less to do with how they are raised than we would hope.

I definitely have the four year old with no self control. In fact, if he has sweets with any regularity whatsoever, sugar becomes an enormous, horrible battle. The halloween candy was a freaking nightmare. ALL DAY LONG begging for candy. We gave one piece with dinner until it was "gone" (I ended up throwing more than half of it away). Next year we are going to do an all you care to eat for a couple days then throw it all out.

We are all hardwired to crave sugar. It is rare in nature and packed with easily digested calories. Some of us have a harder time with the overabundance that others.

I don't know what the answer for our 4yo is, but I can say that after the holidays, sugar is going to disappear for a long time.

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#6 of 27 Old 12-15-2009, 08:27 PM
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You mentioned chocolate. Was it all types of candy or just that one? Chocolate is high in magnesium and my 1yo who I think has some deficiencies can smell it from like a mile away.
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#7 of 27 Old 12-16-2009, 01:16 AM
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Hmm, I don't know how common it is, but my kids are fine with just getting a little bit and being done. They have a small amount of sweets for special occassions. We tend to choose all natural things, but still don't have it often. Dh does have his stash, and they could get to it if they wanted to, but they don't.
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#8 of 27 Old 12-16-2009, 01:23 AM
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This is such an interesting question, about allowing sweets, not allowing them, rules and regulations about sweets in the house, binging, control, etc.

I would love to bring my kids up with healthy attitudes about sweets. I think my older ds mostly appreciates this, but he definitely has a sweet tooth. This year at halloween, we let the kids have 1 or 2 pieces of candy each day, and then about on day 3 I caught my 5 yr old sneaking candy from waaay up high where I had put it waaaay out of reach (or so I thought). We are not fanatic about keeping kids away from sweets, we eat healthy otherwise, but we don't usually have sweets in the house, and apparently knowing there was a bag full of candy up there was too much for my ds to resist. So I asked him what we should do and he said I should throw it all away, so I did. Wow.

Anyway, it seems to me that if a kid craves sweets and they are absolutely not permitted to have them, they will binge when they can. If allowed sweets whenever and however much the please, they will have health issues (blood sugar, obese, cavities, whatever). I would vote for all things in moderation, though I understand that explaining that to a candy-craving kid is quite a challenge. Check out some books from the library with lots of pictures of tooth decay. Yuck. Maybe that would gross him out.

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#9 of 27 Old 12-16-2009, 01:32 AM
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I think it's probably a combination of factors.

First, your DS seeing you and your DH split over the subject. This may make him worry that if he doesn't get as much as he can while your there to say "yes," dad will come along and say "no."

Then, there maybe a bit of the forbidden fruit thing going on.

Finally, since you mention that you have a sweet tooth, it may simply be a physical trait he inherited from you. Have you ever done a glucose tolerance test?

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#10 of 27 Old 12-16-2009, 02:12 PM
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My DS seems to have my sweet tooth, my DD does not (interestingly, DS strongly seems to take after me in overall health matters, and DD takes after DH). I think our basic tendencies (my family, I mean) are based on something physical, but my hope and my goal is to modulate the intensity with food choices available in our home.

Personally, I have fewer sugar cravings when I eat a lot of fat and protein and fewer grains, and while I think helping keep that type of stuff around for DS is helpful, I still try to have less sugar in the house than I had when I was a kid. The sweets we eat (mostly, not always, and less in the Oct-Dec timeframe) are homemade, and are less sweet overall than storebought stuff.
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#11 of 27 Old 12-16-2009, 02:28 PM
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I have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old who would do anything to get candy. My DF is a baker, so we usually have cookies around, and they will climb on the counters and sneak them. We move them up higher and tell the kids no and all that, but it is not the biggest deal. They are certainly not doing the amount of damage by eating some cookies that they would be by binging on processed foods! (Our cookies are all-natural).

It sounds insane to me to completely keep your kids away from any candy or chocolate. I mean, holy crap. Live a little! What kind of life would it be if you never had the experience of a melting piece of chocolate in your mouth? No, thank you!!! Life's too short to be hyper strict about the little pleasures.

Aside from that, once your kids are in school or do anything out in the real world (where there is junkfood galore), they're GOING to be exposed to it. By banning it entirely, you're totally just setting your kid up for losing control and going crazy on it. Better to teach them self-control at a young age and cultivate people with self-control than to send them out into the world with no experience with food that isn't 100% healthy for them. I'm all for eating healthy, and we eat vegetarian-fed meat, rice instead of cow milk or soy, as little corn syrup as possible, etc. But there are a lot worse evils in the kitchen than some truffles!

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#12 of 27 Old 12-16-2009, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, I feel so much better after reading these replies! Since I can't multi-quote, I'll just quickly say that y'all had excellent points--I think DH and my split attitudes, not to mention my own--ok, sure you can have one, ok, maybe two, hey not three!!!--are totally lending themselves to him binging when he gets a chance. And oy, Halloween. That was truly a nightmare like another poster mentioned. Next year I'm doing the same--eat up and then I'm throwing it out--b/c I CANNOT go through the daily begging/searching/talking about it. I'll be glad when this food-centered holiday season is over!
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#13 of 27 Old 12-16-2009, 11:04 PM
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I have a 7 yr old who still has halloween candy left. He has always been like that. He forgets he has it, can eat a tiny bit and then stop. My 4 yr old on the other hand is the opposite. He knows where the candy is kept and makes sure he gets his piece of halloween candy every day after lunch until it is gone. He will beg for more and climb anything to get more. We have never said no to candy or sugar. We allow it within reason for all the reasons writteninkursive said.
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#14 of 27 Old 12-16-2009, 11:10 PM
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Honestly, I give my kids candy in moderation. I also LOVE to buy the Yummy Earth Vitamin C lollipops from Frontier. They're so yummy, and the kids are getting a super treat. I also don't feel so bad for giving it to them. I am a FIRM believer in moderation. If you teach them to eat it in a healthful manner meaning balancing it out with the better foods I don't see a problem with it.

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#15 of 27 Old 12-16-2009, 11:11 PM
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last halloween he ate candy until he puked. he doesn't eat that much anymore.
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#16 of 27 Old 12-17-2009, 12:09 AM
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my parents never let us have sweets (NEVER is how I remember it) and so I feel like I was just like your ds...I would choose which friends' house to visit after school by who had the best (junkiest) snacks! Pathetic right? By highschool jellybeans and gumdrops were my favorites (pure sugar) and i'd eat a whole bag....anyway it was disgusting and I am suprised I have no lingering health problems!!!
Not sure what the answer is but i know for me it wasn't sweets as forbidden fruit

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#17 of 27 Old 12-17-2009, 12:50 AM
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DD loves candy, she loves it. She's just like me and I'm afraid I'm not a good example. We bought two bags of assorted kit kats yesterday and one of them is almost empty
DH and I ate most of it though...

But banning, it's extreme and extremes are bad.

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#18 of 27 Old 12-17-2009, 02:49 AM
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I think all kids are different. My oldest can hoard her candy forever without temptation, but then suddenly need a 'binge'--usually a whole bars worth. My middle really doesn't care for it, but my youngest--man oh man. If it is around. . .she will eat it. This year, I did let her go crazy on her halloween candy, no restrictions and now she does have some restraint. She will say "momma, I will just have one so I don't get a tummy ache". Mind you, she never complained of a tummy ache before, but I kept reminding her to listen to her body so she didn't get a tummy ache. Her weakness is def. chocolate. She doesn't care for cookies or cakes or other candy. Just the chocolate.


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#19 of 27 Old 12-17-2009, 12:18 PM
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My kids are allowed one sweet every other day (to make the point that sweets are not everyday foods). This could be a cookie, brownie, slice of pie, cupcake, or piece of candy depending on what we have around. If we don't have any sweets they just don't ask for them. They never try to sneak more than they are allowed and understand that too many sweets are bad for you. My oldest is almost 7 and my youngest is just 4.
I have a sweet tooth and I limit my own sugar intake for my health. Why wouldn't I teach my kids to do the same?
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#20 of 27 Old 12-17-2009, 12:53 PM
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I'm going to agree with the PPs who say it depends on the child.

DS could care less, he can have one chocolate and be happy but DD always wants another (like momma) until the box is gone.

I don't restrict it for my kids any more than I do for myself. I don't keep chips, chocolates, cookies, etc in the house. If it's there, I eat it, if it's not I don't. Maybe once a week, we'll get a bag of chips for movie night or a chocolate bar at the rink. They both have free reign at Nanny and Grampie’s house (like as soon as you walk in the door it's what can I feed you!) and DD goes for snacks while DS heads for the toys.

I am really hoping DD learns a healthy balance, I try to stress nutrition and moderation with a link to health rather than weight whenever it's an issue.

I really think banning it completely would backfire ... I have seen it on a couple of occasions
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#21 of 27 Old 12-17-2009, 01:23 PM
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Limiting it to "just one" probably is causing the problem more than anything. Nobody wants just one.

If he can eat a bunch of candy once in a while, he probably won't obsess over it so much. When we were kids we bought whole candy bars and at the whole thing. My teeth are fine, my weight is fine, and I didn't need to eat some every day.

I also wouldn't buy candy to always have in the house. If you get a box of chocolates, eat it all at once and be done with it. It doesn't have to last a month. It can be eaten in a day or so.
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#22 of 27 Old 12-29-2009, 01:00 AM
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I totally agree with the above post. Don't keep candy in the house. Buy it as a treat and allow them to eat it all (like split a pack of something) but don't hide it in the house and let them know it's there. That drives them crazy!

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#23 of 27 Old 12-29-2009, 06:56 AM
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We don't tend to keep sweeties in the house, I bake cakes etc myself, but actual sweeties we just don't buy, we have a bar of chocolate sometimes, dd is not at all bothered with sweeties our ds loves loves loves them but doesn't over indulge, we have a bowl of chocolates on the table and they're not going anywhere at the moment - dd never had any sweets until she went to school/nursery at 4, but really doesn't enjoy sweeties and soda.

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#24 of 27 Old 12-29-2009, 11:36 PM
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Sugar cravings can be a sign of mineral deficiencies, especially chocolate and magnesium, like mentioned above. Letting them go crazy every once in a while I think is fine, but if there really is no control and lots of incessant whining about it, there might be something more than the average "want" for candy.

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#25 of 27 Old 12-31-2009, 09:56 PM
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I'm getting pretty tired of the holiday sweets and the effect they are having on dd. I fear she is starting to EXPECT some sort of "sweet treat" every day after what seems like a constant parade of cookies, candy canes, etc the past few weeks. We are down to a few bits of sweets in the house and I can't wait to be done with it. I know that once the stuff is out of the house, dd won't be so concerned with it. It is much easier to say "we don't have any" than to say "you can only have a little bit." She understands that some foods are good for your body and you need to eat them every day and some foods are just for fun and you should only have a little. But that's a hard thing for a little kid to put into practice. It's a hard thing for ME to put into practice!

Years ago dh's cousin was about 4ish and she squirreled away a bunch of Easter candy under her bed. The family was very conscious of diet--they ate all whole foods, no meat, and had dabbled with a macrobiotic diet. One night she ate it ALL after everyone else went to bed. The next morning she felt like crap. I think she threw up. Once she realized the connection, she wailed to her mother "I wish I had the gift of prophecy." She's in high school now and vividly remembers that experience and is pretty in tune with how different foods effect her body.
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#26 of 27 Old 01-02-2010, 01:53 AM
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I definitely agree that it depends on the child. My oldest is pretty compulsive in many areas, and not surprisingly, this extends to treat foods. We manage this by managing the environment and not sweating the times we can't control the environment (i.e. when dd goes to a friend's house without us for a birthday party). We have sweets often enough, and we usually let her eat as much as she wants when we do have sweets. For instance, if we have dinner and pie is for dessert, she can have as much as she wants, as long as everyone has had some and she must share what's left if anyone else still wants more. But Halloween? We hand her the bag and tell her to have at it. She eats as much as she wants. Then she gets to decide whether to leave the rest for the Halloween fairy for a thank you gift or not.
I think in the case of my dd, restricting to say just one candy or just one chocolate really sets her up for increased intensity of desire and is likely to lead her into deceitful behaviour or to cause her to feel shame about sneaking.
This generally fits with our philosophy about food though. We provide healthy, nourishing food with the occasional treats and never have food fights.

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#27 of 27 Old 01-02-2010, 03:32 AM
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personality plays a role. I grew up where candy might not have always been in the house but there was always something sweet aviable and we had easy access to it. If I could I would have eatten sweets all day. IF I had been restricted I would have likely just found another way. As a tye 1 diabetic and the real need to watch carb and sugar intake I still find ways to sastify my sweet tooth (and not with sugar free gunk) having it greatly restricted doesn't stop me having total access can be dangerous..
My DD OTOH is jsut not a sweets person I can leave a huge bowl full of candy along side a cake and plate of brownies out at her reach and give her free range and at the end of the day every peice will still be around unless there are skittles out then a small handfull will be gone. If I restricted her consumption she could care less I don't cause it is a non issue.


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