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Feeling confused, am I too strict?

(40 Posts)
dianewalker Sun 21-Aug-05 20:45:49

Ever since dd was about 1 (now 4) I hae been quite fussy with what I fed her. I don't think she minds too much, we went to her cousins birthday party last week, she was given a party bag with the usual stuff in it. She emptied it all out on the table and promptly told her uncle that she couldnt eat anything with Es in, too much sugar or colours. She was left with a small bag of buttons.
I am now feeling confused, I have recently been told by my best friend and my parents that I am too strict with her, and that I am gonna make things worse in the long run. I don't let her have drinks that contain sugar or aspartame, no sweets like haribo etc, just chocolate based at the weekend if she has been good all week- and then I limit her. No icing on birthday cakes, no jam tarts. The list goes on! She doesn't complain, shes used to it. What do I do. Should I stick to what I beleive in or give in to friends and family. It's not just them though, I feel sorry when sh does go out to partys and she is retricted. Even at her nursery it is hard, I thought they were suposed to listen to what I say. Instead I now find out that at snack time she is given cakes with sprinkles (not allowd) or some sort of food that I have said she cannot have. I know that they have to feed the other children too, but why can't they respect my wishes. What do I do. Am I doing the right thing or am I screwing her up-turning her into a obsessive about food?

spursmum Sun 21-Aug-05 20:47:53

Is there a reason why she can't have these things e.g hyperactivity, allergies etc or do you just feel happier that she wouldn't have them?

hunkermunker Sun 21-Aug-05 20:51:22

I'm strict with what DS has (he's 16mo), but that's because he's little, and doesn't know that other things exist

I do understand that you want to limit her consumption of things like aspartame (I don't have this myself), but I also think that you might be setting her up for teasing later on if she isn't allowed icing on birthday cake, for instance. Birthday parties aren't everyday events, and if you still restrict what she has when you feed her, I don't think that occasional "lapses" will hurt her.

With nursery, do they give her a reasonable diet most of the time? If so, I would let it go. But if they're always feeding her junk, I'd do something about it. I don't think you can control every morsel that goes in her mouth, especially as she gets older. I think that if you try, she will end up with problems later on.

Hattie05 Sun 21-Aug-05 20:54:43

I have to say i think it is a bit mean to not allow these sort of things at parties etc. what is your reason ?

I'm all for a healthy diet and avoiding the bad stuff as much as poss, but for as long as my dd eats a good amount of healthy fresh foods, then i don't mind her having the odd bag of sweets etc. At a party she is free to stuff her face with as much junk as she can manage as in my opinion that is what a party is all about .

The nursery should respect your wishes, and if you are going to continue to not allow these foods, i would have a word with them.

My thoughts are, at what point will you give in and let dd choose to eat what she wants?
When she does first taste these foods will she want them and nothing else? I remember saying no to sweets or whatever, and i'd immediately want what i couldn't have and got quite sneaky with hording stuff under my bed and bingeing at night .

And at the end of the day, what harm will the odd haribo, sugar etc do?

Hattie05 Sun 21-Aug-05 20:56:37

That meant to read, i can remember my mum saying no to sweets!! then i would binge.

Moomin Sun 21-Aug-05 20:57:44

It's a hard one and I do admire your determination. However, (and this is just my own opinion here) I feel that you may be going just a little OTT with the very strict constraints you're lating down for her. I'm absoluetly all for my dd having the best food I can provide for 80/90% of the time - she has very limited access to sweets, choc and processed food at home and she enjoys a very healthy and balanced diet. But I'm also aware that if I ban certain foods they may well hold a certain fascination for her later on and I don't want to give her any hang-ups about food: society will try to make sure she has those without any of my help! We've so far avoided MacD and other fast food places as I onject to them but I know there will come a time she will be invited to a party there and I'll need to let her go. I think that as long as you are providing as good a level of nutrition and education about food for the majority of the time for your dd, then the times when she is exposed to 'crap' will form a very small part of her diet and experience of food and will do her very little harm. I too hate the pressure from outside when people try to make you guilty about feeding your child well, but I also don't want to make her feel like an outsider, which your dd may start to feel if you are too stringent in her intake of certain foods. Hope this makes sense. By the way, dd also had a party bag yesterday and the only thing in it that I considered suitable was a silly toy. The rest was packed with E-number laced sweets. Dd knows she can't tuck into goody bags after a party so I whisked it away and threw out nearly all of it, save for one little pack of fizzy sweets but TBH, she hasn't even remembered about them today so hasn't asked for them.

JoolsToo Sun 21-Aug-05 20:57:51

I think it's good to make sure a healthy diet is had but I think (imo) its a little too restrictive.

Couldn't you let her have those treats at special occasions like parties?

Ladymuck Sun 21-Aug-05 20:58:01

I guess you have already worked out that you're approach is not the norm, and it is restrictive. I guess the question is why would you feel that your dd can't have any of these things ever? I would find your list a bit extreme, but I could still live with it, provided your dd wasn't clamouring for the forbidden items.

As allergies/intolerances are more common I would suspect that a lot of people are now more familiar in dealing with odd requirements. Ds1 has 2 friends who are lactose intolerant, so I only ever provide fruit as a snack (most biscuits are apparently a no-no for them). But I'm not sure that I would always remember for party bags say. Ds1 reacts to blue food colouring, and like your dd, can immediately pick out all of the things he can't eat (he alwasy leaves the blue smarties for Daddy). I've never had a problem with anyone else criticising this.

As for the nursery, this is always a bit more difficult. If this is a big issue for you, and you feel that you cannot countenance your child having cakes, then I would recommend that you take another snack in and hand it to the nannies (which is what the lactose intolerant chldren that I know do).

As for "are you doing the right thing"? I think that allowing no deviations for other people's birthday parties is a bit extreme. I generally allow for more flexibility in what the ds's can have at other peoples houses.

dianewalker Sun 21-Aug-05 20:59:00

I get asked that all the time spursmum, no she doesn't suffer from anything. I just don't want to put rubbish into her body. It's just mainly the sweets and sugar thing. I guess deep down I am scared that if she eats this stuf she will get fat or have spots or her teeth will rot, I don't want her to be bullied like I was. My parents loved me, but they fed me crap, mainly because thay couldn't afford good stuff. I became fat and was bullied through all my school life. I don't want to put her through that

Twiglett Sun 21-Aug-05 20:59:19

if she doesn't have allergies to any of this stuff then yes I think you're being too strict

the forbidden is always more appealing and in a few short months she'll be at primary surrounded by other children who do eat all these things and she may well rebel against your strictness or feel different from the other children

as they get older you have to let go a little, its all very well setting such strict limits when they're toddlers but I think this is over the top and yes IMHO you do risk turning her into an obsessive

sorry, but you asked

hunkermunker Sun 21-Aug-05 20:59:29

What kind of diet do you have? Are you worried about allergies, etc?

Twiglett Sun 21-Aug-05 21:02:32

there is a balance some way between the way you felt as a child and the way you are reacting with your own child .. it is a difficult thing to find but you can find it

good luck

Moomin Sun 21-Aug-05 21:02:40

Someone I know who had the most unhealthy attitude and heaps of weight problems also had a very restricted diet as a child. When she became a pudgy toddler she was put on diets by her very thin mother and thus started her life-long battle with food. When I met her at uni, and her mum no longer had say-so about her diet, she binged constantly then crash dieted. A healthy balance and broad education about food has to be the answer.

hunkermunker Sun 21-Aug-05 21:03:02

I think that you run the risk of turning her into a child who says "My mum says I'm not allowed x, y and z" and other children don't take too well to that, so if you're doing it to avoid bullying for her, I don't think you're on the right track. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh - I had quite a restricted childhood TV-wise - I got very adept at pretending I'd watched certain programmes to "fit in"! Admittedly this was when I was a bit older (junior school - I rebelled at secondary school ), but the principle is the same.

If you give her a decent diet the rest of the time, I cannot see that the occasional bag of sweets, etc will do her harm.

Hattie05 Sun 21-Aug-05 21:07:56

Diane, i think you know yourself that isn't going to happen!
IMO and experience with three of my cousins who were forced to eat every scrap of every meal before they left the table, those are the ones who have weight problems as they are not used to finishing once they feel full.

I lived on chocolate, sweets crisps throughout childhood and got bullied at school, not for being fat but for being too skinny!!!
The bullying was bad, and i used to go home and cry and eat more sweets and basically any food i can get my hands on to try and fatten myself up .

I now instill in my dd that food is enjoyable, including sweets. When walk to the local shop we each choose 10 penny sweets on a Sunday morning and eat them on the park bench - its our routine!

I do think you are more likely to give a child a disorder about food by being as restrictive as you are.

KBear Sun 21-Aug-05 21:08:56

My kids are almost 4 and 6.5. I let them have sweets and cakes but tell them they aren't really healthy so they can't have loads. I tell them what is healthy and what makes them grow big and strong and they can have as much healthy food as they want.

They are learning that eating up a healthy dinner and having a small treat after is a natural way to have everything they want as well as everything they need. If that makes sense .

They don't like Haribo type sweets anyway as luck would have it and prefer a chunk of chocolate.

dianewalker Sun 21-Aug-05 21:11:25

Thanks everyone. I guess deep down I know I know that I'm going to have to change. It's just a little hard.

hymenlover Sun 21-Aug-05 21:12:39

diane, you say you don't want to feed her rubbish and that youa re scared she will be fat/spotty/teeth will rot...
But I do think you are being a bit too strict.

Sugar isn't rubbish... we all need it in small amounts!
And I think this is the key...moderation!

I think you would do better to teach her the importance of dental hygiene, eating sensibly etc etc rather than just putting a blanket ban on al foods you consider "bad"
(have to say i am with you on aspartame and artificial colours etc though)

Twiglett Sun 21-Aug-05 21:13:28

of course its hard

its hard because you want to protect her and deep down you believe all these things are evil

you need to find a way to re-educate yourself about food so that you can pass on healthy choices (everything in moderation) to your child

did you read the guardian article on sweets the other week?? it was quite endearing

hymenlover Sun 21-Aug-05 21:13:56

and i agree with the others who have said that banning all these things may make her far more likely to rebel and go mad with them once she has more freedom.

MummyJules Sun 21-Aug-05 21:13:59

Talking from experience - I started stealing and bingeing on sweets from the local shop when I was five because my mother neglected me in all sorts of way but was particuarly strict with sweets/chocolate or anything that could be seen as a treat. I am now quite overweight and still have what people class as an eating disorder.

I am sure that I read in one of the earlier Mumsnet newsletters that some research had taken place where scientists had two groups of children - one who were subjected to sweets/chocolate on a regular basis and the other who very rarely had them. The result being that the one's who rarely had them binged on them whenever they were available and the others had a lot more self control. I let my DD have a bit of chocolate every couple of days (perhaps a couple of buttons or a biscuit) and see no problem with that. I wouldn't let her have chewy sweets or lollipops but have no problem with sprinkles etc. I don't want food to become an issue for her as much as it is for me. Although I really think you should speak to your nursery as that is completely innapropriate for them to give your child something you have specifically said no to - I had an issue with the playgroup when they gave her lollipops as I know she has a tendency to run around with food in her mouth.

MummyJules Sun 21-Aug-05 21:14:52

Talking from experience - I started stealing and bingeing on sweets from the local shop when I was five because my mother neglected me in all sorts of way but was particuarly strict with sweets/chocolate or anything that could be seen as a treat. I am now quite overweight and still have what people class as an eating disorder.

I am sure that I read in one of the earlier Mumsnet newsletters that some research had taken place where scientists had two groups of children - one who were subjected to sweets/chocolate on a regular basis and the other who very rarely had them. The result being that the one's who rarely had them binged on them whenever they were available and the others had a lot more self control. I let my DD have a bit of chocolate every couple of days (perhaps a couple of buttons or a biscuit) and see no problem with that. I wouldn't let her have chewy sweets or lollipops but have no problem with sprinkles etc. I don't want food to become an issue for her as much as it is for me. Although I really think you should speak to your nursery as that is completely innapropriate for them to give your child something you have specifically said no to - I had an issue with the playgroup when they gave her lollipops as I know she has a tendency to run around with food in her mouth and also they rot teeth!. This has now been dealt with and they do not offer Lollipops anymore.

spursmum Sun 21-Aug-05 21:15:39

I have already got instilled into my ds (3.5+ASD) that sweets and cakes are treats and can only have them when he has been good or done well at nursery etc. I have had parents come up to me in the supermarket asking how I get past the sweet aisle without him blinking an eye!! The bread aisle is a different matter. My ds loves his carbs!!!

hymenlover Sun 21-Aug-05 21:15:51

i think you run the risk of her believing that "food is bad" which is a very dangerous path to go down

QueenOfQuotes Sun 21-Aug-05 21:17:23

Just rememeber if you do let her have a small bags of sweets - it's better for her teeth to have a little pack all at once, than to space them out throughout the day

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