How many times has your toddler burst into a beg-whine only to have you, well, begging for some wine? Whining of any kind can grate on a mama’s nerves, but it’s the persistent whine after you’ve said no to a sweet treat that can really send the mellowest mama into orbit. Not that I’ve been there.
The good news is you are not Barbie, which means you actually can put your foot down! The bad news is if you dig in your heels too much – or in the wrong way – talk of sweets will turn sour in seconds.
You see, when it comes to dessert and sweets, you have to be a clever cupcake. And by doing so, I mean you have to change your thinking a bit if you grew up with adults who:
- Offered something sweet as a reward for achievements: good grades, a home run in baseball or a clean room.
- Doled out dessert only after all the food on your plate was tucked in your tummy.
- Created the idea that sweets only coincide with celebration.
The problem with these three examples is that each, in its own way, leads to picky or emotional eating: I got an award at school today; I deserve to have something yummy. I don’t like green beans; why can’t I still have dessert? I got picked last for kick ball; at least some ice cream will make me feel a little better.
So do your kids a double-scoop favor and don’t give sweets so much power. Instead, level the playing field and offer the cookie with the meal. It just may mean the difference between a child who appreciates a treat and one who relies on one. Plus, this kind of thinking is bound to leave an impression on your kid for when he’s raising his own little ankle biter. And that, healthy mama, is one syrupy sweet thought.