Tried To Make Her Go To Rehab; She Said No, No, No

November 25, 2008

My child is a junkie.

It started innocently enough. A little hit now and then, at parties. It couldn’t hurt, I reasoned, and besides, all the other kids were doing it. The buzz they enjoyed seemed harmless, and besides, I’m partial to that buzz myself, and it would be hypocritical to deny my children something that I don’t deny myself. So I let her have some, just a little bit, now and then. I thought that I was being careful: never too much, and only on special occasions. But then summer came along and the temptation was everywhere: in the parks, on the beach, near the shops. And after summer, fall, and with fall, Hallowe’en, and after Hallowe’en, it became obvious.

We have a problem.

Emilia is an addict. She is addicted to candy and treats and desserts and any and all things that make good use of sugar, with the notable exception of any dessert-like creation that contains fruit or – god forbid – raisins. She (rightly) regards all fruit-based desserts and raisin-contaminated baked goods as corrupt treats – like bad acid or cheap ganja – that should be avoided at all costs. We’re not sure when it started – I had always been vigilant about treats in the house, restricting her to 100% natural fruit bars and oatmeal biscuits and yogurt with honey, except for the occasional cupcake or ice cream on birthdays or holidays or outings – but we think that the addiction took root in her summer ice cream habit and blossomed into full junk-dependency with the candy windfall that came this past Hallowe’en (helped along, no doubt, by the Jellybean Potty Incentive Program that we were running this fall.)

Hallowe’en is a sugar junkie’s dream, and I’m sure that it’s responsible for creating more jacked-up sugar bingers than Christmas and Easter and birthdays combined. I could see it in her face, as she sped deliriously from house to house, clutching her bag to her wee chest, eyes flashing like highbeams, mad with longing and anticipation. Look, Mommy! she’d squeal gleefully. I have TOO MUCH CANDY! TOO MUCH! We tried to intervene, appropriating her smack bag and only allowing her to select a few choice pieces, but it was too late. She happily traded most of the contents of the bag for a new toy, but we discovered the next day, and over subsequent days, that she had performed some sleight of hand and purloined a sizable quantity of candy from the bag before it was removed, a stash that she then divided and tucked into Ziploc bags and squirreled away in hiding places (the oven of her toy kitchen, her sock drawer, a toy suitcase, her backpack) around the house. We would stumble across remnants of her stash while tidying, or discover her under the blankets at bedtime, furiously working the wrapper of a lollipop. Every Ziploc’ed baggy was appropriated, only to be replaced by another. How she had managed to loot and smuggle so much junk was a mystery to us, but there it was: she had an addiction that she needed to feed and feed it she did.

We think, now, that we’ve tracked down and re-appropriated all of the candy in the house, but she persists in her efforts to acquire a new supply. Can I have candy, Mommy? Can I have candy after dinner? Can I have candy after bedtime? Can I have candy for Christmas? Can I, Mommy? CAN I? We respond with wholegrain biscuits and no-sugar added fruit chews, and she freaks out. THAT’S NOT CANDY I WANT CANDY I WANT CANDEEEEEE! Or CAKE. We offer yogurt with honey and soy pudding (chocolate!) and coconut-date cookies; she throws herself on the floor and wails.

So we decided to compromise, and plotted a harm-reduction scheme: we stocked the cupboards with a better-quality candy substitute, with the idea that we’d ply her with that, the better to wean her from the hard stuff. We’d provide sugar-methadone to ease her candy detox; we’d supply some jungle juice to get her off the smack. We bought her Froot Loops and Corn Pops.

And now she’s a sugar-cereal freak.

What do we do? We want to break her sugar habit, and rid our home of all candy and sugar-cereals (which I SWORE up and down I would never, ever allow into my house), but seriously: THE SCREAMING. Also, we don’t want to be total buzzkills: what’s Christmas without gingerbread and candy canes? I was a sugar freak as a kid myself, and I know that my obsession with sugar was made worse by my parents’ attempts to keep me from it (some of my earliest memories are of climbing onto kitchen counters to raid the cupboards for brown sugar – straight up – and baker’s chocolate.) Can a sugar obsession be tempered? Do we make it worse by cutting her off, or is cutting her off the only option? WHAT DO WE DO?

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    Kaleigh November 25, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    If memory serves, it’ll pass. Don’t allow it to be too much of a conflict or you’ll all spend too much time freaking out and not enough time being a family.

    Oh, and fruity cheerios have less than 10 grams of sugar per serving, which is better than most “regular” cereals.

    And keep her well-snacked throughout the day – she might be craving sugar because she’s hungry. Or because it’s delicious.

    Ariel November 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    We went cold turkey at our house- with me throwing everything out. The almost husband was less than thrilled, but I was SO sick of the constant begging (nay, whining) for candy.
    And then I could say, honestly, “There is none. Have a cracker. Have some apple.”

    Shannon November 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm


    We went thru the exact thing the day after halloween. We had been using small chocolates as bribes or incentives for good behaviour for a while. That worked until she discovered that she could just “reward” herself by climbing onto the counter and helping herself.

    We threw away everything!!
    I know, scary. And, I committed myself to doing a serious amount of baking. So I could keep track of what ingredients she was eating.

    We started drilling into her that we eat because we are hungry, and because we need to make our bodies grow and be strong. We said that candy and chocolate would not make her strong like daddy and smart like mommy hehe.

    It has really been working, and she has even started eating better. Her behaviours have inproved, as has her ecsema.

    Sorry for the long comment. I know what you are going thru, its very hard to face that little demon, and stick to your word… good luck!

    SP November 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    I have a “Sugar is dessert” policy in my house. Over time, the Things just got used to only having it after dinner and at the same time they knew that they would get a little treat every day. That was my attempt to balance outright denial and limiting quantity.

    P.S. I completely LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that she doesn’t like fruit/raisin desserts. I agree 100%. Fruit should be exactly as God created it, not all mushy in desserts. Ick.

    Pp.S. You are one fantastic Momma who has touched my heart with your blog so many times. Thank you.

    Ariel November 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    And I might add- she can eat it other places, we just don’t keep it at home. So it truly is a treat. And not a necessity :)

    Sarah SC November 25, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    My SIL’s kids went through this and to cure it, she capitalized on their love of giving. Children LOVE to give gifts, they LOVE to feel like they’re helping other people and doing the right thing, the big-kid thing.

    So she gathered as much sugary stuff as she could – sugar cereal, taffy, Halloween candy, less sugary puddings, etc. included – and she put it in one big basket. Then she called the local soup kitchen/food pantry place and asked if they would do her a favor and play along with her, encourage her daughter by telling her that she was doing the right thing. (I think she tossed the half-eaten stuff? I don’t know.)

    Then she explained to her daughter that other people needed the sugary stuff because they didn’t have any, they weren’t lucky enough to celebrate Halloween, etc. Her daughter was pretty excited about “helping” them out and giving her sweets to them. They went down, she donated and the woman at the pantry gave her a little thank-you teddy bear and praised her.

    My nieces could not have been prouder!

    Anyway, afterwards, they predictably asked if they could go buy more candy and my SIL said that when they got home, they could bake some cookies together. They baked a few dozen, wrapped some up for family (more “giving”) and the girls were allowed one each after dinner until the last dozen was gone. I think she spent the week explaining to them that if they screamed or complained, they were never getting candy again, which might be harsh, but you know what?

    It worked.

    Good luck! =)

    worldmomma November 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I’m impressed by her creativity in stashing the candy. Smart girl!

    Interesting and timely topic. This is an issue I think we’ll struggle with too, since both my husband and I have major sweet tooths and would really not pass that on. My parents were restrictive though and that didn’t seem to work so well.

    We were not giving River any access to sugar, thinking he wouldn’t miss it at this age (11 months). But then he became old enough to realize when I was eating something he couldn’t have. I didn’t think hypocrisy would work well. So about a week ago I decided I would not purchase anything or eat anything in front of him that I wouldn’t want him to have. I figured it would end the hypocrisy and be good for my waistline. It’s done both. But what it has also done is made me relax a bit about what I allow him to have. New additions include bran muffins, pumpkin chocolate chips muffins, even a bit of carrot cake.

    I’m not sure where this will lead though, so I hope to learn from your experience and others who are further along. Good luck!

    Her Bad Mother November 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Sarah SC – we actually did something like that to get the Halloween candy away from her in the first place: we offered the toy-for-candy trade and when she asked what was going to happen with the candy (which she had, apparently, already skimmed) we told her that it would go to children who didn’t have candy and she was pretty pleased with that. But now that SHE’s a child without candy, she wants to know when payback’s coming.

    The baking, though – will try that.

    Katelin November 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    she sounds exactly like my younger brothers, truly obsessed with anything and everything sugar. my mom has slowly started weening them off with stuff that still has sugar just not as much as the other stuff they were eating.

    good luck breaking her habit :)

    Mr Lady November 25, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    You accept your fate, sister. Kids like candy. You can’t stop the thunda. I vote for making them work for it. You want a Dora gummy snack? You’re helping me load the dishwasher first, kiddo. :)

    mapsgirl November 25, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I too was going to suggest Fruity Cheerios (which are called Fruit Loops in my house cuz they don’t know the difference!)

    If you don’t want her to go “cold turkey”, I suggest getting some diabetic candy that doesn’t have any sugar in it. She’ll think it’s candy, but it won’t have the side effect.

    Good luck.

    Mandy November 25, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    We too are suffering the aftermath of Hallowe’en, a three year old, and sugar addiction. I started by going from two treats a day to one treat. Now we’re every other day.

    What seems to work for us, is requiring Nate to eat all his veggies (or most of them) before getting an after dinner treat. Doesn’t finish, no treat. He keeps whining, he loses Wii privileges (addiction #2). (Oh, we’re right up there with parents of the year nominees. Heh.)

    Anyway, we’re getting, one beg-fest at a time, towards normalcy. Just in time for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive and spoil him.

    Redneck Mommy November 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    I got nothing.

    I’m too busy laughing at the thought of you being held hostage by a sugar-cracked-out kidlet.


    Seriously. Emilia is a smart cookie. She is manipulating you to get what she wants.

    Manipulate back. Go with Mr. Lady’s suggestion and every time she wants a treat have her earn it.

    Soon she’ll be salivating like Pavlov’s dog.

    Or you’ll be flying to my house looking for an escape from her.

    Either way, it’s win-win.


    MikeandtheMoms November 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Have you read The Sugar Blues? It’s a book written back in the 70s/80s. Read it and you’ll be scared sugarless.

    My mom got rid of refined sugar when I was about 12 or so. There are tons of alternatives – maple syrup, raw sugar, etc – that are healthy.

    As far a kid’s sugar cravings go… try cutting back slowly. Insisting fruit is eaten before candy and also making sure she’s not just thirsty. When you’re craving something sweet, your body is often telling you that it’s dehydrated.

    Expat Mom November 25, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Ack, what a struggle. Well, we tried not to introduce the boys to candy, but the in-laws did it for us. And I`m a total Pepsi addict.

    We basically just don`t let candy in the house. My oldest son has stomach problems, so he actually can`t have much sugar and he`s just starting to associate the fact that candy makes him ill. So he sometimes even refuses it. We offer him a substitute, peanuts, which he loves.

    On another note, I was raised candy-free and as soon as I had a bit of freedom, I scarfed down everything sugary I could find and got nice and fat. So you might want to watch the 100% cold turkey thing. ;)

    Anonymous November 25, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I never had much of a sweet tooth, even as a kid. (Mom still thinks I’m wierd. Keep the Snickers bar, I’ll have a pickle.)

    But sugar was always available in some form in the house. My mom had an addiction, so it was always around. Not in pounds, or anything, but there were always a few sweets to be had.

    I’ve managed to not become a sugar freak. Mom, on the other hand . . .

    Well, let’s just say that I though there was an Easter Ferret, ’cause I never saw a cholocate bunny with ears until I started buying my own.


    Anonymous November 25, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I had cousins that would come to my house and steal my candy when I was a kid because they weren’t allowed their own.

    My little guy is 3 and he’s allowed one treat per day. If he whines he gets nothing, if he’s naughty he gets nothing, if he nags about his treat he gets nothing. That works pretty well for us. It was a bit of a battle to start with but he learned pretty quick if he wanted something nice he had to earn it.

    I think outlawing sweet things nearly always ends badly, just make sure she knows the candy’s on your terms not hers.

    Carol November 25, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    We raised our kids sugar-free and artificial color free. In fact when our daughter was 2 she would ask her friend’s mother “Does it have artifithial?” before she would accept snacks.

    When she went out on her own she bought and ate massive amounts of candy. Then in her 20′s she went back to the no sugar diet and now won’t even let me give her baby girl juice.

    Our son, raised the same way, has never cared much for any sweets at all.

    I’m glad we did it that way. Our kids both have a sense of nutrition. Neither one had problems with sleep, hyperactivity, attention, or behavior. Both have always stayed at a healthy weight. What kids eat as kids is what their bodies are built on.

    On the other hand, I was raised with no restrictions to sugar. My mom thought kids needed it for energy and I’ve been healthy all my life. Now I really don’t care for sweet things. I don’t think there’s one right and one wrong way for most things we encounter in life.

    verybadcat November 25, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    My name is verybadcat, and I am a sugar addict. My parents held an intervention (no kidding, they threatened me with catholic school!) when I was about 11 or 12. I dropped back to maintenance levels for awhile after that, but didn’t kick the addiction until I was out on my own. I went cold turkey for two weeks- no candy, no ice cream, no coke, nothing with white sugar or corn syrup as a major player. After two weeks of detox, I couldn’t finish a Snickers. No kidding. Now I’m a responsible user. ;-)

    I would either wean her down rather aggressively, or cut her off cold turkey for a little while. Just so that a few pieces satisfy her sweet tooth instead of her feeling the need to hide it around the house….

    And, could it be that candy is “special” and so when she has it she is “special”, and what she really wants is to be grown up and “special”? You could paint her toenails and accomplish that….

    Good luck. Oh, and don’t forget to check the pockets of her coats and pants in the closet and drawers. Some of my favorite hiding places, you know, back in the day. ;-)

    Sarah November 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I might be totally underreacting, but I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Of course there needs to be limits on sweeties like there needs to be limits on other things like TV, porn and whiskey, but as long as she's developing a taste for healthy, nutritious food she'll be fine in the long run.

    When my kids (ages 5 & 3) came home with their Halloween pumpkins, we had a big candy fest but after that the pumpkins went on a high shelf in the pantry. They could pick two treats after lunch and dinner. Of course, my husband and I snacked heavily on it when they weren't looking, you know, so the kids wouldn't get so much–wink, wink. Then, when the candy was gone, it was gone.

    We don't keep many sweets around the house and this is pretty huge since they don't expect to have them regularly. When they ask for the 'food' in the colorful boxes I tell them that we're not buying it because it's either 1) a waste of money or 2) it's not good for them and will give them a sick tummy.

    When I want to give them a treat I have some LiveSaver Mints that I can break out–I think they make them sugar-free, if that's your thing.

    Really, though, the big thing is to help her develop a taste for nutrition food and to set her expectations that sugary treats are something to be enjoyed–occasionally–after we've filled our tummies with good food that will help us to grow.

    red pen mama November 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I’m impressed she was hiding stuff. In Ziplocs, no less. That’s serious.

    I have just introduced sugar cereal into my household, and I’m still not sure why. Gotta find a way to get back out of that.

    We are successfully avoiding high fructose corn syrup these days, though. Go figure.

    My older daughter can take it or leave it, but Bun has a bona fide sweet tooth. Both girls love fresh fruit. When Monkey suggests a “treat” I feel pretty confident offering an apple or banana. They get treats, too, but I try to err on the healthier side of things. It’s just that they are really good eaters (usually), so to say no to a bit of a cookie just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Good luck with whatever course of action you undertake.


    Issas Crazy World November 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    I have one of those too; the candy addicted junkies. It is so bad that she goes to the bathroom in restaurants and grabs handfuls of mints to line her pockets. I’ve tried calling rehabs, but they laugh at me. No one seems to think a candy addicted almost seven year old needs help. Oh the shame.

    Sorry, I am laughing over here, but mostly because I FULLY understand.

    I finally gave it up. I try not to buy much of it, but she gets it other places. Now that she’s in school, that crap is everywhere. We just make sure they eat healthy meals and try not to worry about it. We have a snack drawer where it must all be placed. But I still find wrappers hidden in different trash cans sometimes. Honestly, I was the exact same way. The more my parents fought it, the worse it got.

    litanyofbritt November 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    i’m a bad mom. my kid is a fruit snack-aholic which is just as bad as a candy addict, PLUS my hub is a hardcore sugar fiend. he would take it in an IV bag if he could find a way.

    but- ease up on the fruit loops if you will be replacing them with fruity cheerios, which are basically crunchy colored cardboard o’s.

    baking is a good alternative to candy weaning but be careful you don’t wind up chasing around your reformed candy-holic with your new big fat ass. please. learn the hard lesson from me. and my big fat ass.

    tallulah November 25, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Candy shmandy! As long as she is eating healthy meals and brushing her teeth…it too shall pass.

    Don Mills Diva November 25, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    HA! Can I just say I am impressed at how she used sleight-of-hand to keep aside a Halloween stash?

    I have to laugh or I’ll cry because Graham is fighting a similar addiction these last few months after my being vigilant for so long.

    I have just recently resigned myself to the thought that it could be worse, really. No (normal-with-normal-parents:)) kid ever died of candy addiction and isn’t it one of the most glorious parts of childhood?

    Linda November 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I could have written this… I was so good, so diligent about the food offered and available in our house. My daughter was a good, healthy eater until she hit the age of about 2 1/2, when she turned into the fussiest eater ever.
    Then I had to start getting creative with things like granola bars, Sunrype all-fruit bars, fortified juice and other prepared, packaged foods. She was pretty much refusing to eat and I needed to get the calories and nutrition into her. It was a slippery slope, I tell you, to all manner of other processed foods… that, combined with her exposure to things like cake, cookies and ice cream at birthday parties and other events in the outside world, has turned her into a junk-food junkie, too.
    Since Halloween, she has started whispering in my ear as early as 9 a.m. every day– “Is it time for a treat yet?” And I continue to hear it throughout the day.
    I don’t want to make foods good vs bad, boring vs forbidden and I am reluctant to start fighting about food, but it’s very difficult to get her eating whole foods again.

    Niksmom November 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Oy vey, Cookie! I got bupkis for you; I'd sooner steal her stash myself! (I know, I'm not proud of that, either!)

    Good luck. I'll save her a spot in the chow line at rehab. Between me & Amy W. ;-)

    Michelle November 25, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    This is exactly what I’m afraid will happen next year!
    Peanut STILL asks me for “trick or treat”… and I only let her have a couple of plain mini chocolate bars! (H freaked and said I was stealing her candy, but no way was I letting her eat all that crap.)
    Right now we’re battling a carb addiction. I can’t have any bread/potatoes/rice on the table during dinner or she won’t eat anything else….
    Let me know if you find a solution!

    No Mother Earth November 25, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    How much does she like her veggies? I use the Hallowe’en candy to bribe the Boy into eating the veggies that he refuses to eat (i.e. everything that is not carrots). Started out well – he actually tried some new things. And he got a candy for dessert. Now he won’t eat the veggies anymore, but he doesn’t get the candy either. The shine wore off.

    Would that work?

    Ursula November 25, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    The solution: homemade muffins. No, seriously. The secret is, you can control the sugar in them.

    This is what I do: calculate the total amount of dry ingredients (or at least, of the flour and sugar). Divide by four. That is the amount of sugar you will actually use in the recipe. If the recipe calls for more than that, replace the extra amount with finely ground nuts. To up the sweetness (at least at first), you can replace the eggs with bananas, one banana per two eggs. (They work like binders, so you don’t miss the eggs; just mash or food process the bananas thoroughly.) You can add in a handful of chocolate chips to most any recipe, and turn the result into a treat.

    Now, it won’t quite be health food (there’s still sugar in there, after all), but the nuts and bananas are nutritious, and the muffins will retrain her tastebuds regarding the level of sweetness that a treat should have. Plus, helping Mom or Dad make muffins is a lot of fun for a little girl–when the kid helps cook it, they are much more inclined to view the result as delicious.

    Now the hard part: other than the muffins (or other healthy, fruit-and-nut based snack), you have to remove all the candy and the sugary, candy cereal. The screaming will stop after a couple weeks and a few dozen muffins!

    ewe are here November 25, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Clever girl, to stash away a supply of Halloween treats before you removed the bag.

    It sounds like an extreme addiction, but she’s manipulating you, too. Perhaps limit her to one special treat a day, say mid afternoon or after a meal, but to get it behavior has to have been good or she hast to eat the meal… otherwise no treat. In other words, treats on your terms only, not because she’s being a screaming horror.

    All Things BD November 25, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    We haven’t outlawed the sweets, we just keep it on a high shelf and the girls are allowed one piece a day. No questions asked, even before breakfast if they want, but that’s it for the day. If you whine about it later, the deal’s off.

    FYI on the sugarless candy: if it’s got a sweetener ending in -tol, it has a laxative effect. One hike in the mountains with a bag of that stuff was enough to learn that lesson the hard way.

    Syko November 25, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    What did your mother do?

    Sounds like Wondergirl is just following in Mom’s footsteps. I wouldn’t worry about it either. Maybe try to replace some of it with things that have SOME nutrition, like graham crackers with honey, or some caramel sauce to dip apple wedges in. Or make rice krispie treats (do they have rice krispies in Canada?) Cracker Jacks, granola bars. All these things may have a couple of vitamins and are still sweet.

    I have to laugh at her methodically dividing out her stash into baggies and hiding it all over the house. The kid’s serious about her sugar!

    Elaine November 25, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    I think just keep doing what you’re doing. Offer healthy substitutes and give her occasional treats. Let her know they’re treats, but don’t make it into too huge a deal. And you can start cutting her fruit loops with cheerios and her corn pops with rice krispies too. I think it’s mostly a phase helped along by a natural disposition for kids to want sugar.

    Shelia November 25, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    When I was growing up, sugar was outlawed in my house. I vividly remember eating the big lumps out of the brown sugar and even sneaking jello packets and pouring them into my mouth like they were pixie stix!

    Now that I have 4 kids, I don’t make it a big deal. Candy is everywhere and by making it an issue, I would be making it an ISSUE! We have enough to deal with and Candy certainly is at the bottom of the list!

    I never take their candy away and they pick out their faves and end up throwing most of it away themselves. We always wants what is forbidden (like married Chris Meloni, purrrrr) and I have found that whatever I feed, grows!

    With eating disorders abundant in our society, I refuse to feed the issue of candy with my kids! All 4 kids are happy, healthy, and only one tiny cavity in the crowd! Not too bad if I do say so myself!

    It’s not worth it! Doesn’t meant she bathes in soda pop and lives on Sugar Daddys, but find that happy medium where she doesn’t feel deprived! That way, you and she can enjoy brownies and ice cream at midnight without guilt and bond over chocolate. It won’t be the sweets she remembers… it will be you! Lucky Mom, lucky girl!

    Velma November 25, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    I tend to be a “all things in moderation” parent, which means that the kids are allowed dessert after dinner and the occasional random treat.

    Halloween is tricky for us because of my son’s peanut allergy, so we limit trick or treating in the first place, then at home the kids swap out certain candies for “peanut safe” candy, which has the added bonus of usually being the less-coveted non-chocolate candy. After a couple days of extra treats, we are back to dessert after dinner if everyone has been cooperative, and I’m fine with that.

    I realized a while back that my kids were getting far more sugar in their diet from juice than from sweets, so now I worry more about them drinking water than having dessert after dinner.

    Overflowing Brain November 25, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    All things in moderation, I say. I also have no children, which makes that a lot easier I assume.

    My aunt, who has a 5 and 7 year old (and is 34 weeks pregnant with #3, gah) has always had a policy of not letting it be an issue with the kids. She won't bargain at dinner for treats, some nights they have them, some nights they don't. And while her kids LOVE candy, they don't expect it every night and have come to understand that it's a luxury to be enjoyed a few nights a week and certain seasons each year.

    And also, might I suggest Mint m&ms? They're God's other gift to Christmas.

    Her Bad Mother November 25, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Syko – my mother restricted candy pretty seriously, and I’m convinced that it fed my obsession. Which is why I don’t want to make a ‘deal’ out of it, but also, seriously, the girl is MAD about her freaking candy.

    Her Bad Mother November 25, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Oh, yeah, and we also have carb issues and butter issues. As in, the only foods she’ll eat – other than tofu, cherry tomatoes and occasionally cheese (and, obvz, candy) – are bread and butter. She’ll eat half a baguette and steal sticks of butter. (So, no, No Mother earth, she does not like vegetables :) )

    Keeping the diet balanced around here is totally hard.

    Eva November 25, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    My mom didn’t restrict candy so much as we just never had it available so it wasn’t an issue. I’d try cold turkey on this. After a few days honestly she might be over it–that’s supposedly how sugar addiction works. Not that I’ve tried this approach on myself.

    My two-year-old loves sugar, too, but she is a good eater in general, so I try just to keep her unaware if we own the stuff I don’t want her to have. That said, she had a huge chunk of Toblerone with me today.

    Fairly Odd Mother November 25, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    It’s so hard, esp. when they get older—my girls take dance lessons and after class, everyone gets a lollipop. Even the kids in the waiting room. The teacher has been doing this for 20+ years; I doubt she’d stop now.

    But, I had to learn to adopt an “everything in moderation” mantra to my life b/c I once had an eating disorder. To rid my house of sweets would surely send me right over the edge. SO, we have some sweet things around and have some guidelines/rules: only fruit for dessert during the week; they can have a scoop of ice cream or such on the weekends after dinner. No candy before noon (that’s the “post-Halloween” rule; they don’t ask daily).

    It’s funny b/c they are pretty even-keeled about sweets now. Sweets don’t really have the ‘forbiddan appeal’. I even have to throw out cookies and cakes b/c they go stale before they are finished. But, man, they go through fruit like you wouldn’t believe.

    April November 25, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    wish i had a good answer. hehehe. still loving the clockwork orange outfits.

    Her Bad Mother November 25, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    FOM – yeah, see, emilia just doesn’t like fruit. but maybe if I got some of that caramel dip…

    Cait November 25, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    I was pretty much identical to Emilia: candy hidden everywhere. She's better at it than I was- ziplocs! So smart! My sister was the same way. She also had the bread & butter diet. One time when she was 2 or 3, we were getting ready to sit down to eat. My mom asked, "Where's Meg?" She was hiding under the table eating a stick of butter. She made it 3/4 of the way through.

    Honestly, we were super picky eaters until we each studied abroad in high school. So hey, if she keeps it up, send her off with AFS!

    When I have kids (and let's hope thats not for another 5 years), I plan to go with candy in moderation. Sometimes a reward, sometimes just because, sometimes because I want some candy and can't hide it from 'em.

    What about putting the cereal into baggies and that being a trick? I would not have fallen for it but hey, maybe… Also just for a temporary solution, I think Frosted Flakes starting making a less sugary version.

    Bea November 25, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    My mom heavily restricted sugar – no candy, no sugar cereals, no Oreos in the house … only the occasional batch of whole-wheat chocolate-chip cookies. I STILL have a scarcity mentality when it comes to dessert – every time I see one I stuff my gob, whether I’m hungry or not, because it triggers that emergency-response: brownies are available! eat as many as you can! who knows when you’ll see some again?

    I was just reflecting on this today – how Pie will grow up in a very different atmosphere and we’ll see how it turns out. She has my sweet tooth, for sure, but she’s allowed to have Frosted Flakes for breakfast, and she’s had a piece of Halloween candy after supper every night since Halloween. That seems to keep her tided over.

    metalia November 25, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Hmm. See, we’re in the same boat you are, so I’m gonna sit back and read the rest of your commenters’ suggestions. :)

    Mamalang November 25, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    We are a moderation family. My husband was on a very restrictive diet as a child, and those foods are like crack to him now. Our church asks the kids to “tithe” 10% of their halloween candy to the church for the community cand jar. Keeps it stocked for most of the year, and reduces the amount of candy in the house.

    But the butter? My daughter once said grace…”thank you lord for the butter. Amen.” Nope, no butter issues here.

    Gry November 26, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Oh silly you! Everyone knows that once you start with methadone you’re never going back! :P

    Anonymous November 26, 2008 at 12:50 am

    i say sit her down with all the candy and tell her to eat it till she doesnt want anymore…my moms done similiar things to me to that effect…. its worked for me…i just dont know about candy…she’s pretty darn smart tho, i dont think i ever thought of ziploc bags lol

    But maybe if she gets sick from it she wont want it anymore

    Heather November 26, 2008 at 1:03 am

    My oldest daughter was the same way…complete with the stashing. She also wouldn’t eat much besides carbs and very little in the way of fruits and veggies.

    We allowed 2 pieces of candy per day. I drew 2 pictures of candy pieces on a calendar and we’d mark off each piece as she got it.

    As far as the other, she’ll expand her food intake variety as she gets older. My daughter has and I used to get so worried about her food jags. Now she’ll even ask for things like carrots sometimes.

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