Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say.......

Why is saying NO to our kids sooo difficult?
I find it's a word that trips of my tongue fairly easily in many other circumstances.

Actually, I'm quite good at saying NO to the kids but it always comes with gut churning guilt or doubt.

"Can I have a cupcake?"




Face crumpled with disappointment "Awwwww I really wanted one."

The moment is over. I have said No and we are walking away from the cupcakes but the sad face is heartbreaking. Then the conversation in my head gets going.
Why shouldn't she have one? She's a kid, childhood is about candy and treats and fun.
But here's what I know - sugar makes her hyper, then she'll start acting out. Then we'll fall out and the whole thing will end in tears. If I just steer her over to the fruit she'll pick a pear and be just as happy. I'll be teaching her healthy snacking habits which I know from (bitter) experience is a skill really worth having.

There are times when cupcakes and the sugar high will work - 4.30pm in the supermarket is not one of them - I know I'm doing the right thing but oh her sad little face.

Causing disappointment is one of the hardest things about parenting for me. It's a physical thing - I feel it and it's uncomfortable. Having the strength to say NO is often hard to do.
I remember being told that if it was easy then I was doing it wrong and it is so true.

I don't feel the markets are helping - they definitely have a child catcher approach to merchandising. Maybe we could lobby for baskets of apples or carrots at the check outs. Surely, everyone would benefit.
What parent wouldn't love to have a trip to the market without a meltdown and the inevitable disapproving looks or even comments?
We might be disappointing those who are just waiting for their chance to judge but adult disappointment I can handle!

Who's with me?
Dear Safeway........


  1. While I agree with you about the point of sale marketing to kids, I must say I'm not on the same page in the saying no department. I have NO problem with that whatsoever. Maybe I'm just mean.

    And oooo, that guy from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is so creepy!!!

  2. Many supermarkets do have a "kid-friendly" checkout aisle, which does not require you to run the gauntlet of chocolate bars and other inappropriate snacks. If yours doesn't, ask them why they don't yet, when so many others do -- and imply you'll go elsewhere if they don't join the trend.

    Another idea: when your child reaches for the brightly-colored eye-level junkfood, push the blame onto the store and add yourself to the list of victims. "No, honey, the store is trying to trick you. The food that's going to make you strong and healthy is up here on the top shelf, see? Do you think Mommy is tall enough to reach it?" And by the time we finish giggling over how short I am, we've forgotten about the Dora soup or Elmo noodles or whatever-it-was.

  3. I'm just impressed that you pulled off references to two of my favorite musicals - Oklahoma and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Yeah!! And if the cupcakes at Safeway are anything like the cupcakes at Whole Foods, then I have a feeling they look about 17 thousand times better than they taste. Not that that will help any child feel better about the no...


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