Begging for junk food - How do you handle it? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-15-2011, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My children (age 6.5) have started begging - my son worse than my daughter.  It’s driving me crazy and I am not handling it in the best way.  The begging is almost always for junk food.  We do not keep much in the house but I sometimes bake sweets, get ice cream from the co-op, they get some things from school (still have candy canes they rec’d at school), and Halloween candy which lasts throughout the year.  (I wish I w/h done ‘switch witch’ from the beginning.)

 

The first thing my son says in the morning is something like…’Can I have a candy cane?’  If it is a weekend I say ‘yes’, a school day ‘not until after school’.  But I do allow them to have a little every day but I limit the amount.   They ask for more – repeatedly.  Should I let them eat as much as they want until it is gone?  I normally say no several times, then ask them to stop asking, etc.  But lately I’ve said no twice and told them if they ask again I am throwing out the item…the thought of which causes them to cry.

 

Why are they so obsessed?  Is it because I limit the items?  Sweets were very limited in my house growing up and I did go a little crazy when I moved out on my own.  I remember going to people’s house as a child and seeing donuts, cupcakes, etc. ignored on a plate on the counter.  At my house we met my dad at the door as he returned from the bakery placing ‘dibs’ on our donuts.  Both of my parents baked occasionally and limited how much we ate or else I think we w/h eaten it all in one night. Is it genetic?  What is the best way to handle it? 

 

When they were smaller – probably under three or four – they were rarely allowed junk at all unless we were at a birthday party or I baked for an occasion.  As they get older I’ve been more lax about their diet.  They were becoming a little obsessed about whether or not something is ‘healthy’.  I wanted them to know you can have some unhealthy food and be fine.  They also were showing an interest in things they’ve seen outside the home.  Example, we are veggie and they were asking a lot about Jello – they saw it at a party.  So I found a Jello w/out gelatin – they do not care for it.  It’s not just sweet junk food.  It can also be the pizza at Costco, veggie burgers at Burger King, etc.

 

They’ve never begged for items at stores, toys, anything else…just junk food.

Is this typical? 

 

Wow, this ran a little long!

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Old 01-15-2011, 06:15 PM
 
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If the problem is the stuff that is actually in the house, then providing a daily or weekly allotment might work. Instead of having them come and ask for candy, give each of them an assigned bowl and you put the daily/weekly maximum. Explain that they can eat it when they want to, but once it's got they aren't getting anymore for that day/week.


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Old 01-15-2011, 06:20 PM
 
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Well, my DD pass lately beggin for sweets .I don't actually never in Junk Food restaurants. My kids don't have any clue yet about he food they serve there. I don't keep any sweet or junk at home, period!. I started to cook my own pizza (fermented dough or couliflower dough), also some "ice cream" with cream,berries,stevia,or chocolate "ice cream". I offer more and often snack, my kid loves smoothies. Another thing that work for us is inclue the kids in the preparation of  the food, they love to help and prepare their own foods.


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Old 01-15-2011, 06:32 PM
 
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I remember when my daughter went through the "begging for sweets" phase at age six. (She is 7.5 now). It is super frustrating, isn't it?

After a few weeks of whiny behavior and begging we sat down as a family and sketched out some rules about whining, begging, and sweets. Here is what we worked out:

1. No sweets until well after breakfast, as it is best for our bodies to start the day with filling healthy foods.
2. No begging or whining for sweets... period. A polite question is just fine, as is a polite reminder if I say, "Let me think about it." If she forgets and a whine slips out a first reminder is given, but the second time the whining or begging happens it is understood that there will be no sweets at all that day. Begging and whining does NOT fly in our house and never gets rewarded. (This goes for just about anything, not just junk food. As a result my daughter has learned some nice self control and we are not driven crazy by begging).
3. Tantrums for sweets is also not okay and will result in no sweets for the day, and probably for the next. (This has never even come up.)
4. We don't expect to have sweets every day. They are a treat and are not for every day.

This has worked really well for us!

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:06 PM
 
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No sweets here til after lunch time--I tell DD she needs protein first to keep her "system" running.  And it's true, as she gets really wound up on sugar.  I try really hard not to have garbage-y treats in the house, so I don't feel too bad about whatever treat type thing she wants.  This Christmas, a friend gave me a beautiful box of Swiss chocolates.  We had one truffle a night for almost two weeks!  She really looked forward to it, and she did beg for it, but she was happy to stop at one.  I try to handle it like tv--we have tv time, and we have chocolate time, usually right after lunch or dinner, and the rest of the day is for healthy snacks.

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:09 PM
 
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Forgot--I think they just beg because kids are little creatures of habit.   I know here, the begging was bad because there were so many sweets and treats around for the last two weeks of December.  I threw a lot of cookies, etc, away on 1/1, as I'm sure a lot of other families do.

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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Yes, I get this, too.  My 6.5 y.o. can understand the argument about healthy food and sometimes it resonates.  Sometimes.  My 3 y.o. drives me nuts.  I have a general rule that they do not get dessert unless they've eaten a good meal.  I don't make them clean their plates, but what happens sometimes is a "is this enough for dessert" debate that I'd rather stay out of.  I'm not here to micromanage their eating, and yet I'm being asked how much food, to the bite, is necessary to get a treat.  Holy cow, I'm turning this into my own vent.

 

What I've done is buy a bag of very small lollipops.  That way, "dessert" is pretty much the size of a hard candy, and they're happy with it.  They only get this after dinner; no other time. 

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies - good advice.

Like pp's, we do not normally purchase candy etc. and try to only bring 'healthier junk food' into the house like something I bake, good ice cream, etc.  However, I do allow them to keep items others give them - like the candy canes from school, Halloween candy, etc.  It's these items that seem to cause the most begging and problems.

 

My husband and I talked after I originally posted and we think I have created the problem.  They switched schools this fall and have not been enjoying school - at all.  So, to try to make them feel better, I started giving them a treat most afternoons after school.  Prior to this fall, they did not get a treat every day - or most days.  I think having the treat daily increased their interest in junk and also caused them to expect something junky every day.  I need to stop this. 

 

I'm also going to ration the candy canes and Halloween candy as MusicianDad suggested - I tried throwing some out but they keep an inventory.

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:25 PM
 
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They love the taste and want some more! There isnt really anything you can do but disengage when they keep begging.

My DS is 5 and he asks after breakfast if he can have a chocolate, or a cookie, etc. He went through the hounding me phase and now we are at the point where he just asks once a few times a day. I answer back "Nice try buddy, but its morning, or almost lunch, or you didnt eat your greens yet, or yes, here is your treat! He might be disappointed but he can move on.

I didnt give my kids treats until it was impossible to hide that they existed. DD was 3 before she had ice cream or chocolate. She was around 5 when she had a lollipop.

I let them have things sometimes that I really rather they wouldnt have, but I dont want to have to say no all the time to everything.

There is a good reason you arent letting them just eat garbage everyday because they want to. It's because you know it's unhealthy and it's your job to take care of them.

Just try not to let the pleading and obsession for treats get to you or get a reaction. Also, once you've made your mind up and you have a very good reason that they cannot have a treat at the time they are asking, make sure you are prepared to say it's not the time for it and don't cave. Eventually they will realize it's pointless and move onto the next thing.

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Old 01-23-2011, 07:53 AM
 
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We have a standing rule - one piece of junk food per day.  Homemade only Monday through Friday and store bought treats are allowed Saturday and Sunday.  I never negotiate on this so DD doesn't usually persist if she is trying to get around the limits.  She is only four though so not being exposed to a ton of junk food outside the home.

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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Mine is only 3.5, but I just have to repeat why we don't eat sweets all the time - "our body needs healthy food blah blah blah".  And if you beg, the answer is no.  Period.  Also, we try not to have it in the house.  Like the Halloween candy - that got taken to work the next day.  If it's sitting right there on the shelf, they seem to obsess over it (ha - actually I do too!).

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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OP, I don't think that your resistance to sweets has created the begging.  My parents had very strict rules about sweets- for example, you can have 2 cookies as a dessert if you are excused (meaning you ate enough dinner).  There was a time period where they'd buy a box of Fannie May chocolates while grocery shopping, and then that would be our daily dessert- we'd all sit around the table and each choose one piece- it was really fun and we never asked for more.  to this day i think of a sweet serving in these terms- 2 cookies or one piece of chocolate- and I've never felt like the restrictions made me want to gorge on candy.

I will suggest that perhaps some of the inconsistency in your responses to the begging might be making it worse.  My understanding of what you wrote is that you will allow a candy cane first thing in the morning, but then also threaten (not followed through on) with throwing all the candy away.  To me, that would send a confusing message about the role of sweets.

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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Mine usually get something every day.  But they also know they don't even need to bother asking until after lunch and that they must eat their meals if they want something junky.  We recently bought ice cream (which is rare) and right now we're all enjoying it, almost every day.  But once it's gone, it's gone.

 

Begging for anything after I've said no just doesn't work at my house.  Mine have learned that I won't change my mind no matter how much they beg.

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Old 01-24-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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LOL.. I'd almost get all the candy together on a Friday.. then tell them they have until Sunday to eat all of it, and the rest goes in the trash.  If they ask "Why?" tell them the truth.. it's bothering you to have to listen to the begging every single day just because they know it's there.  

 

Then, when it's gone, it's gone.

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Old 01-24-2011, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here...We've started a one treat limit and a no begging rule and it is working pretty well.  I have been consistent in following the rules.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

LOL.. I'd almost get all the candy together on a Friday.. then tell them they have until Sunday to eat all of it, and the rest goes in the trash.  If they ask "Why?" tell them the truth.. it's bothering you to have to listen to the begging every single day just because they know it's there.  

 

Then, when it's gone, it's gone.

I've considered this!!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

Mine is only 3.5, but I just have to repeat why we don't eat sweets all the time - "our body needs healthy food blah blah blah".  And if you beg, the answer is no.  Period.  Also, we try not to have it in the house.  Like the Halloween candy - that got taken to work the next day.  If it's sitting right there on the shelf, they seem to obsess over it (ha - actually I do too!).

 

Taking away the Halloween candy worked when they were younger, but now I do not feel right taking away things they receive from school or Halloween.  Explaining the need for healthy foods (and restricting my childrens' diets so much when they were younger) is one of the reasons I started allowing them to eat some junk.  My son became so obsessed with eating healthy that it seemed unhealthy; he also made it his mission to tell others when they were eating something unhealthy and that was just obnoxious!  Not sure it that makes sense.  He is the same way about chemicals.  We mostly use non-chemical products in our house - cleaning, personal care, etc.  His teacher sprayed a chemical cleaner on his desk and he panicked, covered his mouth, started crying, and refused to wipe it with a paper towel afraid he would get some on his hands.  I'm afraid I've turned too many things into 'issues' and allowing some deviation to begin with would have been healthier.

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Old 01-24-2011, 12:51 PM
 
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Quote:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

Mine is only 3.5, but I just have to repeat why we don't eat sweets all the time - "our body needs healthy food blah blah blah".  And if you beg, the answer is no.  Period.  Also, we try not to have it in the house.  Like the Halloween candy - that got taken to work the next day.  If it's sitting right there on the shelf, they seem to obsess over it (ha - actually I do too!).

 

Taking away the Halloween candy worked when they were younger, but now I do not feel right taking away things they receive from school or Halloween.  Explaining the need for healthy foods (and restricting my childrens' diets so much when they were younger) is one of the reasons I started allowing them to eat some junk.  My son became so obsessed with eating healthy that it seemed unhealthy; he also made it his mission to tell others when they were eating something unhealthy and that was just obnoxious!  Not sure it that makes sense.  He is the same way about chemicals.  We mostly use non-chemical products in our house - cleaning, personal care, etc.  His teacher sprayed a chemical cleaner on his desk and he panicked, covered his mouth, started crying, and refused to wipe it with a paper towel afraid he would get some on his hands.  I'm afraid I've turned too many things into 'issues' and allowing some deviation to begin with would have been healthier.



 

 Agreed that all this is much much easier with a 3.5yo.  I'm reading this thread intently because I'll probably need this advice in a few years when my old tricks aren't working :)

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Old 01-24-2011, 01:21 PM
 
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Instead of asking/begging my daughter (4.5) resorted to sneaking and climbing up at great danger to herself to where I kept the sweets. As a result we are now a sweet free house.

 

Now DD seems to think we should eat fast food and sweets whenever we are away from home. I am now working with Grandma because my DD feels entitled to have sweets whenever she is out with Grandma (which is frequent) and mearly passing Tim Horton's means she must have a donut. No treats really should be treats not frequent dietary additions.

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