Being a Parent Takes Responsibility

Being a parent is a tough one. Seriously. You don’t get a lot of training besides what your own mother and father did. There are books you can read and websites you can refer to, but everyone’s kids are different and none of the authors have met your children. So how do you know what to do?
The problem here is that common sense just isn’t that common (you’ve heard that before right?) and parents can sometimes combine that with just taking the easy way out. I’ll give them take-away food and let them stay up late if it makes them happy. That can be the ‘rut’ that a lot of parents get into where they just let the kids do and have whatever they want so that the peace is kept. Once you’re there and the kids know what they can have, it’s very difficult to get back to discipline and giving them what they need, as opposed to what they want.
Kristi and I have always been ‘different’ in that we tend to edge away from the conventional in a lot of areas. Not that we’re hippies or anything like that, it’s just that we look at things differently. Instead of asking ‘why’, we say ‘why not’. Instead of giving our kids crap food because “they like it” (of course they like it – it’s made to be tasty) we give them the same food that we eat and 95% of the time they love it. Also, they haven’t been exposed to a lot of ‘wrong’ food; they’ve never tasted a cola drink, they have sweets and chocolate sparingly and always as a treat NEVER as the norm. So we’ve come to a point where our 5 year old Emily is asking for salad sandwiches for her school lunches. She’s in great shape, she’s happy and so are we. She doesn’t feel like she’s missing out at all.
Back to fizzy soft drinks, I once saw a parent give one of these sugary monsters to an 18 month old who was not sleeping at night because “he likes it”. Do you really think that a kid who can’t sleep needs sugar and caffeine? The poor little one was mainly hyperactive during the day – he doesn’t need ADD drugs he needs less sugar in his diet. He also needs to know that he doesn’t get treats when he’s playing up.
I’m not a parenting guru and I don’t think anyone is, but I must remove my hat in honour of my darling wife Kristi who has always had a clear vision, instinctively, about what her kids should be exposed to from a dietary point of view. What you put into their bodies determines who and what they are. There are a lot of overweight kids out there and I don’t think there’s any excuse for that. How can you say you care for and love your children, then feed them food that makes them overweight. Worse still, you do that, see the results, then continue to do that.
This blog post started as a thought about parenting in general but I’ve realised, in wrapping up, that pretty much all of the problems that parents face come down to basic discipline, sticking to your guns and plain GOOD FOOD. Real fresh food can be so satisfying and beneficial on so many levels, not just nutritional but also behavioral. We’ve made some ‘interesting’ meals (from a kid’s point of view anyway) and our girls have vacuumed up everything on their plate.
Give you kids a real chance at a healthy, happy life by starting with the fuel you put in front of them and I think everything else will start to fall into place. If you’re not there right now then there might be some resistance but again, it’s about making a decision for your family’s well-being, sticking to your decision (which is another area where parents can fail) and watching the wonderful change in your pride-and-joys.
What’s been your experience with bringing up kids, or watching someone else bring up theirs?