Question foremost on parents' minds, (or that they pose to me) when Hallowe'en comes, is: "How do you manage the candy?"
I thought of this the other day when I was throwing out yet another bag of candy I found that was several months old.
I was always pretty loose about candy when my kids were young, and they seemed to do well with a combination of letting them find their limits, and with me setting up some structure when it seemed like they were really going overboard. As a parent, I found it useful to them at different moments, for me to say: "Okay, enough already." Maybe they would have gone there themselves, but I was sick of seeing them eat that degree of sugar. We never got into power struggles over sugar or food.
Ironically, as teenagers, my daughters are now asking me to help them moderate their eating at times. They claim that they need the help, they want me to 'stop' them, and although it went against my original instincts, I have had to listen to their requests to help structure them, and at least they can 'own' it. It also does seem to help them break that cycle if they have been overeating on sweets, or overeating in general. You know how the first day or two can be the hardest to stop.
But when it comes to Hallowe'en, no one says to stop. My original theory always holds as well. That if they have access to their candy and enjoy eating lots of it on this fun day, that they will eventually bore of the treats. It does seem to bear out year after year as I throw the bags out by the summertime that are still left over. (Yes, they do rake in quite a bit of candy; hey we live in NYC: one apt. building and you are set for months! This not door to door miles to cover trick or treating!)
Yet again I am reminded the rule of parenting: We can have our styles, our rules and what we want to do with our kids, but we need to remain responsive to what they also need from us: To be flexible, and to remember, that the minute you have one stage figured out, they are onto the next and need something slightly different from you!
So, whatever rules you go with for Hallowe'en, the most important one is to enjoy, savor those yummy treats, no guilt allowed, and have fun eating!
Happy Pumpkin Day!
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