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Primal/SAD Balance for Kids?

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  • Primal/SAD Balance for Kids?

    My MIL and I had a discussion today, one that we've had many times before (unfortunately). Once a week, my oldest child visits at her house for a few hours. Typically, grandma gives her lots of sweets. Like today, grandma gave her 4 cookies, 3 slices of pie, and a bowl of ice cream. (And a regular meal on top of that.) I have asked her in the past to limit the sweets she gives, but it falls on deaf ears. Her reasoning is that my children are not fat and it's not every day she gets to see her grandchildren, so the sweets are fine. Both kids see grandma twice a week (sometimes more), so they're getting at least two days a week of junk food like what I described earlier (although I am able to limit how much the kids eat when MIL brings sweets to my house).

    I want my relationship with my MIL to be a peaceful one, but not at the expense of my kids' health. I grew up on sweets and am now obese, but I know people who eat lots of junk food and they stay thin and don't have major health problems. So that's got me wondering, am I overreacting about this? Is this a 'let kids be kids' kind of thing?
    I'm retraining and strengthening my taste buds, one primal meal at a time.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Heidi View Post
    Like today, grandma gave her 4 cookies, 3 slices of pie, and a bowl of ice cream.
    EXCUSE ME?!?!

    Sweets should be a special treat, maybe once a week thing (I'm being generous). Just because people stuff their faces with sweets everyday, doesn't mean it's OK.
    That's not "a special treat", that's a disease.

    You could tell her that since she gives them so many sweets, you have to limit / completely restrict them at home, which sucks: it's not fair that you can't serve sweet treats to own your children in your own house!

    She sees them twice a week and she's complaining that she doesn't see them enough?! Funny.
    Not only do the children have sweets at her place twice a week, they have them at birthday parties, fun events, etc (I assume). So it's not just "twice a week" as the grandma puts it.
    That's not good.

    If she wants to give them sweet treats, maybe she could give them tasty fruit? That's what a sweet treat was to me when I was a child :-P Fruit, and good cheese.

    If I had a MIL that rude, I'd lie and say the kids are pre-diabetic and gluten-intolerant. If that doesn't stop her...
    (and yes, I know it's evil to lie; two wrongs don't make a right, blah blah blah. No need to point it out. Drastic situations call for drastic measures :P)
    Last edited by abstractpersona; 07-15-2011, 02:25 PM.
    My smartphone makes me about $100 per month
    Updating my journal again after a 2 year break.


    • #3
      yes i agree its pretty rude she gives them the treats when you ask her not to but in all honesty do you think your kids want to NOT eat that stuff? if your kids arent on board with primal eating they will find a way to eat what they want. if you can get them to accept this woe they will simply not want those treats when they visit their grandma.
      Primal Chaos
      37yo 6'5"
      6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
      current 338lbs 49" waist
      goal 240lbs 35" waist


      • #4
        it's simply way too much.

        i don't have a problem with DS having apple muffins once a week with his play group (and they are gluten and sugar free), or to have an occasional "treat" during the week (usually a fluffy -- steamed milk, marshmallow, and a bit of cocoa and cinnamon).

        but i do not see giving a child 3 slices of pie AND cookies AND ice cream AND a full meal (with goodness-knows-what ingredients). I would have no problem with having one of those (eg, a slice of pie a la mode, or ice cream, or cookies, or a slice of pie).

        But truly, this is NOT about food.

        This is about power. Your MIL feels that she knows what is best for these children, and she is disregarding your parenting decisions.

        While grandmas are important, fun, and it's ok to give treats within reason, it is NOT ok to disregard the parent's wishes and/or supersede their choices for their children when you have been respectfully asked to pull back on X (whatever X is).

        In our family, we had to threaten that we would not allow visitation. This really forced them to fall in line. They spit fire about it, but the buck stops here. This is our child, these are OUR parenting decisions, and they WILL BE RESPECTED. Full Stop. No discussions.

        It is also up to your partner to express this information to *his mother*. She's more likely to listen to him, and if he is firm about it (and not wishy-washy), then she will respect it.

        When DH told his mother "Mom, I am the Parent!" she was *livid* but the whole relationship changed after that. She did as we asked, and asked before doing anything that she thought might not fall within our values. So, it got better.

        But it has to be about *Parenting* and not about "food." Because this is SO not about food.


        • #5
          if your kids arent on board with primal eating they will find a way to eat what they want. if you can get them to accept this woe they will simply not want those treats when they visit their grandma

          my kid doesn't even know what "primal eating" is. this is not about food or about kids making choices or being "on board" with primal eating. Kids will eat whatever is given to them -- for the most part -- and it's not like even primal families (like ours) are anti-treats or goodies. it's fine to me for my parents to give ice cream to my kid. it's ok for my kid to eat it. they can't give him a whole TUB of ice cream, but they can give him some ice cream (a scoop or two). and I don't expect him to eat it or not eat it, and i don't expect him to eat it or not eat it as he gets older, too.

          This is really about the MIL disregarding the parenting.

          In our family, DS doesn't have "plastic toys." He does have some synthetic fabric stuffed toys, of course, but nearly everything is a natural material. The reasoning for this is because we actually specifically decrease our exposure to plastics because it affects male development and fertility. the last thing that we wanted DS chewing on was plastics. Even his water bottle is metal with a natural rubber drinking top. we take this seriously.

          We know that in his lifetime, he'll be exposed to A LOT of plastics. Our house has a lot -- the computer keys. plastic buckles on back packs. plastic packaging, or washer and dryer, our fridge. So much plastic. So, it is a bit Sisyphian process. nevertheless, we do what we can to reduce plastics in our home in every way, and one easy way to keep plastic out of our son's mouth is to not have plastic toys.

          My MIL felt that our decision was "stupid." She gave us plastic toys -- picked up from garage sales and such, as well as saved from DH's childhood. These are, effectively, decomposing plastics, which have even *more* issues than many modern, new plastics. She couldn't understand, no matter how many times we explained it, WHY we were so against her "gifts."

          We weren't against her *gifts,* and there was no reason for us to give up our *values* regarding plastic exposure.

          This wasn't about plastic toys. This was about Power.

          MIL is sure she is right. She is sure that the plastics are safe, that chlidren NEED plastic toys, and that he's healthy, and everyone she knows is healthy, so it doesn't hurt.

          And maybe she is right.

          But it doesn't matter, because she is *behaving inappropriately*. She is pushing against our wishes that DS not have plastic toys (or other plastic items). She is disregarding *our parenting decision*.

          It's this issue that needs to be addressed. This is not about food, nor is the situation with my MIL about toys. It's about power. And she's pushing her power onto this family and these parents. She wants dominance here. If you think it's appropriate for her to have that dominance, then fine, but I don't think it is.

          She mothered her children. It's now time to let those children parent their own children.


          • #6
            Thanks for your replies. I tried a couple of times to reply back yesterday and kept getting interrupted, lol.

            One of the interruptions was my MIL calling. She wanted to explain herself further, and it was pretty much a stuff I'd heard before. She told me that giving sweets is what grandparents do, and then went on to talk about how her friends' grandkids' all like to come over to the grandparent's house because of the sweets. Then she said my kids like to come over for the sweets, too. I stopped her right there and said, no, my kids like coming over because of the fun stuff you do with them--not the sweets you dish out.

            Then she tried a different tactic about how the problem is Americans eat too many sweets and in Italy (where she lived 50 yrs ago), they only have a simple sweet once a week. So I asked her, what does that have to do with what she feeds my kids? She didn't answer, just went on about all the groups she's in and how everyone brings so many sweets to the meetings. I don't know what's she trying to say with this because many of the people she hangs out with are Italians. So again I asked asked what does all this have to do with my kids. That's when she told me she would start limiting the sweets she gives my kids. And I reminded her that the kids enjoy eating fruit and that if they get it in their heads now at a young age that fruit is a treat, then we'll be helping them to stay healthy as adults. She agreed, so hopefully she keeps her promise this time. All I can do is try with her. She pretty set in her ways.

            As for telling her my kids are pre-diabetic, I'm won't go that far, but I'll ask my doctor the next time the oldest gets her physical if they give diabetes and cholesterol tests for kids. Can't hurt to check. Even if dd turned out to be pre-diabetic or something, I'm not sure if grandma would care enough to stop the sweets. DD already has had some tooth problems (had 3 cavities filled, a baby tooth pulled, a root canal done on a baby tooth, and has been on 6 rounds of antibiotics this year alone because of gum abscesses). The dentist told us to cut out all sugar. I told MIL this, but she doesn't believe the sugar is causing any harm to dd's teeth.

            Oh, and about this being a power struggle instead of just a food issue. I'm sure there's truth in that. She's a nitpicky, pushy kind of a person. After 12 years of knowing her, I would've thought she mellow out by now. Oh, well. I still love her.
            I'm retraining and strengthening my taste buds, one primal meal at a time.


            • #7
              This is a tough issue and I'm glad I don't have it (even though I wish we were closer to the grandparents). I look at it like this, would you give the kids a couple glasses of wine or beer with their meals if they enjoyed it? What about a cigarette? If uncle Johny likes to toke up, would you let the kids join in? This may sound extreme, but we keep our kids away from damaging and addictive substances to protect them and for many, sugar is just this way. You say you are obese and obviously don't want your children to have the health problems you may develop. Your children are genetically like you (unless adopted) so it seems to reason that if you don't change the way that they eat and move now, they may end up the same or worse. I would praise grandma for doing non-food related activities and make a big deal out of them. Maybe you can convince her that they enjoy that stuff more than the sugar. The really tough thing is that I can see this turning into "grandma's secret" with them and then they'll eat the junk and lie to you about it. I wish you much luck - our society just doesn't get the damage that junk food does long term.


              • #8
                Just my $.02...

                I have a MIL with power issues, too. I am too strict with them, they won't grow up normal, etc. She sees it as her duty to make sure that her grandkids grow up "normal." To that end, she will buy them all kinds of CCC (cheap, Chinese crap) because she wants them to "love" her, feeds them whatever, and lets them watch things we've specifically said we do not want them watching. DH has spoken with her and FIL about it. It strains the relationship for a few months, but it's worth it to protect our kids. Even before we went PB, I fed them extremely healthy by CW standards (limit sugars, HFCS, fried foods, etc). MIL thought that was way too restrictive. Same thing with the CCC toys - we wanted to limit toys so they'd actually play with the toys they have, not be selfish, etc. We don't allow an excess of TV watching, especially the stupid cartoons out today. We homeschool, and even though my kids are well adjusted/socialized by CW standards, we were still suspect. We're finally getting out of that, if she'd only remember that we school during the week & they're not available for day-long trips to grandma's on Wednesday when she has her day off.

                Anyway, we are the parents of our kids. We simply have to be the bad guy and say and emphatic "no" sometimes. It is not fun. We don't like it. Grandparents don't like it. But, if they cannot/will not respect our parenting decisions, then our kids can't be around them. Now, we haven't tested this since going paleo, as the relationship is already strained by another family issue. We may have to restrict again, simply because of that. It's really tough, especially trying to keep the peace. What really helps me is that I step in with my parents (very rare) and he steps in with his parents (more frequent, but not bad anymore). That way our spouse can't be blamed for it. Also, we do try to pick our battles carefully, so sometimes we'll allow a CCC, or even a non-approved treat. But, that's like once every 2-3 visits, which works out to about once every 3-6 months.
                ~wife and mother

                Started primal a month before the end of my pregnancy with P who is now 1. Went from a size 14 down to a size 4 in less than a year. Now sitting at 20-21% body fat, a solid 130 pounds, and 5'9". Feeling better than ever before, and able to run around and chase my 5 little boys who range in age from 14 months up to 11.5 years old.