This post is a bit of a departure from my usual calm writing, but I needed a bit of a rant.
Why I wish you’d stop giving my kids sugar
Now before you wonder, I’m not totally against giving kids sugar. And I’m not going to go all Jamie Oliver and demand a ban on all sweet stuff. But there’s a time and place. I try to feed my boys as much healthy food as possible. I make meals from scratch when I can – Bolognese, cottage pie, curry etc. rather than using jars of sauce. Don’t get me wrong, we do have sausages or fish fingers and chips with beans a couple of times a week, and the occasional take away, but on the whole we try to keep it low-salt and low-sugar if we can.
So it really peeves me that the majority of Boo’s classmates bring in multi-pack bags of Haribo to ‘celebrate’ their birthdays. I’m not against sweets; I keep a secret stash of jelly babies in the cupboard. We just don’t eat them often and don’t make a big deal of it when we do – like linking them to special occasions.
Yet Boo is constantly having the message reinforced at school that if it’s someone’s birthday, we must eat sugary things. That probably contain e-numbers. And once he has that bag of sweets, there’s no getting it out of his grubby little paws unless I fancy a full-on meltdown in the middle of the street. You may not be force feeding sugar to my child, but you might as well be. How am I supposed to teach him that sugar isn’t healthy and should only be eaten in moderation if he’s given party bags bursting with the stuff every week?
What irritates me the most is that other parents are putting me in this position. I don’t want to be party-pooper mum who storms into school demanding that Boo isn’t given sweets. How will that make him feel to be left out like that? Again, not fair and I bloody hate that others are putting me in this position. Plus, you might think you’re being kind by giving out the sweets, but it’s not you who’ll be dealing with a hyperactive child for the next 3 hours. Thanks for that by the way.
The final straw for me, is that the school merrily dishes out these sweets on parents’ behalf. Yet when I ask them to give my child the antibiotics he’s been prescribed they tell me their ‘no obligation policy’ (though they’ll offer to do it anyway but conveniently forget, forcing me to go into school at 11am each day to make sure he has it). Thank you school. You won’t help me get my child better from Scarlet fever with his medically prescribed antibiotics, yet you’ll happily dish out sugar-filled junk that puts my child at risk of tooth decay and obesity.
You might think I’m overreacting. But consider this. There are 30 kids in Boo’s class, and 39 school weeks in the year. Even if someone’s birthday falls in the holidays they make up for it on the first day of term. That’s a lot of birthdays and chances to give kids sugar. Most weeks Boo will bring home sweets of some kind – that’s a lot of potential tantrums.
Why does it always have to be gummy, e-number infused sweets? Why not boxes of raisins? There’s plenty of ‘healthier’ alternatives if you look in the dried fruit and healthy snack section at the supermarket. And yes, I know dried fruit is also high in sugar; at least it’s the natural variety and there’s more health benefits than the empty calories offered by sweets.
There’s plenty of excuses as to why they won’t stop feeding my kids sugar (and my response):
- It’s tradition (only if you make it that way)
- It makes the kids happy (and hyperactive, and fat)
- It’s only on special occasions (yeah, so ‘special’ it happens every week of the year)
- Health food is too expensive (No. 12 boxes of raisins are 69p at Aldi when I last checked)
- It’s up to me as a parent to say no (Yep, I just love those ‘I want sweets!’ melt-downs in the middle of the street outside school while all the other mums look on and judge me. Please don’t put me in that position, I’ve got enough crap to deal with)
Surely I’m not the only parent to feel like this? Well, even if I am, rant over. I feel stacks better now. Calmness will resume shortly…
P.S. If you do feel the same, I’d love to hear from you!