parents

We need to stop pretending that sugar and birthday cakes are the problem.

It’s not sugar that is making our kids fat.

Over and over again I keep reading the same thing, the same concerns from parents, the same complaints.

They talk about “excess sugar consumption”, the “sugar culture”. They wax lyrical about the “obesity epidemic” and throw in a few “in-my-days”.

It’s not sugar that is making our kid’s fat. It’s their parents.

The common theme is that kids these days are getting by on a daily diet of corn syrup and cane sugar; that we may as well be hooking them up to an IV and blasting liquidized jelly-snakes into their veins.

In their day cakes weren’t heard of at school. In their day birthday parties didn’t give out lolly bags.

In their day children received an orange from Santa rather than a bag of chocolate coins.

(It makes me thank my lucky stars that I wasn’t brought up “in their day” as I certainly had birthday cakes at school, lolly bags at parties and Santa always brought gold coins.)

In their day birthday parties didn’t give out lolly bags.

The argument goes the same from these sugar scaremongers – it’s the fault of our schools, it’s the fault of other parents for supplying sweets at sporting events, it’s the fault of everyone else except for these parents themselves.

It’s an argument I am tired of.

It makes me weary with the outrage just for outrage sake. Don’t you wonder when we are going to stop dragging the fun away from everything?

When they rant about the evils of birthday cakes at school and cry out for bans and blacklists their argument always seems to circumvent the need for parental responsibility.

When they rant about the evils of birthday cakes at school.

Here’s a simple solution for those concerned about their children’s excess sugar consumption.

Let’s everyone practice it with me. You need to breathe deep, square up your shoulders look your child deep in their eyes. Don’t back down now you can do this. Now all together let’s say it: NO.

Did you try it? No.

No, you can’t have an ice-block. No, you can’t have a packets of chips. No, you can’t have an extra piece of cake. No, you had a cupcake the other day at school for a friend’s party so you can’t have one now.

You will be surprised how well it works.

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Just try saying no.

The problem with never saying no to your child is that your child will never learn how to say no to somebody else. If you bring them up to be Veruca Salt they are going to drag you down the garbage chute as well.

Once parents start saying no an amazing thing happens, their children learn to say no as well. No thanks they will say at parties I only need one cupcake. No thanks they will say at school I had recess I don’t want a piece of cake. It won’t happen all the time, but it will happen enough.

If you give them everything in moderation they will learn to moderate themselves through a moderate diet.

Since when did parents find it so hard to say no?

When did this outrage at sugar start though? Because with three kids myself I don’t see any actual “increase” in cakes or lollies.

And when did parents find it so hard to just say no?

Is it that we are all so time poor and so guilt-ridden for our hectic lifestyles that we feel we are leaving our children hard done by if we say no.

If the calls to ban birthday cakes at school, to demonise sugar, to scrap the occasional jelly-snake at a soccer game are heralded then it leaves us with a generation of children who see nutritional choices as black or white, good or bad– rather than showing them it is simply fuel.

Isn’t it sending the wrong kind of message, instead of saying cakes are bad shouldn’t we be saying that cakes are good fun – for a special occasion – but you don’t need to have them all the time.

Isn’t it sending the wrong kind of message?

What I wish parents would focus on, instead of making the humble cupcake the enemy, is education – teaching their kids about the right choices as well as teaching their kids about being targeted by junk food advertising.

Instead of being outraged about children’s birthday cakes we should be outraged by a generation of parents who abdicate parental responsibility.

Instead of being worried about jelly-snakes and lolly bags we should be worried about what will happen when these children, children who never learnt moderation – who instead were banned and blacklisted from sugar – find themselves in the lolly aisle of Woolworths alone for the first time.

That’s when the real problems will begin.

Do you think cakes and lolly bags should be banned?

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