Parenting, it could be argued, has become an extreme sport.
We have so much information about what is good and bad for children that certain warnings have been taken to the utmost degree.
Moderation is not a word you hear much anymore.
We all know about the dangers of sugar, screens and processed foods. What we don’t know is that most of these things are OK, in moderation.
The expression “everything in moderation” appears to be a relic of the 80s
It’s been shelved alongside smoking around children and letting them play outside unsupervised until the street lights come on.
But I think it’s a phrase we should be using more often.
All power to you if your child doesn’t watch TV, know what an iPad looks like and has never tried to eat sugar out of a café sachet.
But if your kid does all of the above (and mine do) then getting back to a more retro approach to parenting is going to make your life feel less fraught.
I have tried the path of the sugar police, and it doesn’t work for me
And by “tried” I mean, “felt guilty about my kid’s diet, constantly”.
I know that sugar is the evil of our time. I am sure in the future we will be viewing sugar the way we view cigarettes today. I also know that a lot of our foods contain sugar that we’re not even aware of. I think about it a lot.
But. That word again: moderation.
My kids don’t eat a Snickers bar every day. They don’t eat ice cream every night. But they do love a Kinder Surprise on a Friday, and I like to give it to them.
They also enjoy ice cream at the beach on a hot day.
We feed them vegetables every night, and fruit, meat and all the other things that go in to a balanced diet.
Cutting sugar out completely is a mountain that I am unable and unwilling to try to conquer.
Sugar judgement is alive and thriving in the parenting world
You don’t have to go far to see parents judging each other for their children’s food choices.
School parents get notes in lunch boxes. Other parents complain on social media groups about the mum who sent her kid to play group with doughnuts for her birthday.
I’ve even heard stories of parents being lectured to in the playground as their child eats a sugary treat.
The greatest flaw in judging another is that it’s none of your business.
It’s mostly none of your business because it’s not your child. But apart from that you have no idea what the back story to that treat is. It could be that the doughnut girl gets one treat a year, and she likes to share it with her friends.
Judgement has never helped a parent do a better job, it just makes them doubt their instinct and second-guess themselves.
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Whatever your thing is, I respect your choice, so please respect mine too
I have great admiration for those who are committed to providing their child with a sugar-free diet. Parents who cook nutritious snacks for lunch boxes, who steer clear of processed food. Parents who restrict screen time.
If that’s your thing, you’re doing a marvelous job. I admit to feeling a bit subpar when I meet parents who excel on these fronts.
But I am not that parent. And I don’t think that makes me a bad parent.
My thing is moderation, and I’m tired of feeling like I’m breaking my kids because they get a bit of the naughty stuff.
My GP, who has helped to keep me alive for at least twenty years, assures me that my children are fine.
So, whatever your thing is - remember that it’s your choice. You don’t need to call DoCS on me or worry my children will end up delinquents.
I’m trusting my parenting instincts and going back to the 80s on this one.
Moderation. It’s a good word. Let’s bring it back too.
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