Be Mean or Let Them Live and Learn?

By rbergman Latest Reply 2009-04-14 16:22:29 -0500
Started 2009-04-12 10:53:04 -0500

Yesterday we were invited to an Easter Dinner, something we hadn't planned for until we got the call and were asked to come late yesterday morning. I knew there would be all sorts of sugary foods at this get together and when Laura was making her plate I cautioned her against certain foods or to only take small bits of it, such as chocolate dip for fresh strawberries, sliced strawberries and kiwi's that had been coated in sugar to bring out the juices, and sugary kool-aid. She did pretty well getting her food and for dessert she only had 2 bite size cupcakes with no icing. While at this dinner one of the other adults there had made goody bags of candy for each of the kids that were there, most of what was in the goody bag was chocolate candies of all shapes and sizes. When Laura was given hers she brought it to me and asked if she could have a piece of it. All the other kids (including her brother) were tearing into the candy like it would disappear if they didn't gobble it all up in 2 minutes. I told her she could have 1 of the kisses for now but she should probably not have more than that right now. So, she ate the kiss and put her goody bag in my purse. Over the course of the evening temptation took over and piece by piece she eventually ate nearly all the chocolate candy in there, I'd say maybe 12-15 kisses and mini hershey candy bars, along with a fun dip mini bag. I knew it was going to send her blood sugar up and I wanted to tell her no but then the more I thought about it I decided to let her learn on her own just what eating all that chocolate was going to do to her. I felt guilty for not being meaner and enforcing the fact that she shouldn't have it and if we had been at home, just our family it wouldn't have been a big deal, but I also want her to feel like just another kid at times too. She has done so well since diagnosed and lost nearly 15lbs. by doing the right thing and eating the right foods…at least that is how I justified not scolding her for eating more of the candy than she should have. When we got home around 10pm she checked her BGL and it was at 160, she normally runs between 76-90. She immediately thought it was a false reading and asked if she should check it again. I told her no and explained that she had eaten too many sugary foods and that is why she had a higher reading than normal. This morning when she got up and did her fasting BGL it was 181, she cried a bit and asked me why it was still high, so, I sat her down and explained it all to her. I told her that I could have stopped her last night from eating all that candy but that I wanted her to see just what having that much would do to her, that I was sorry it gave her a high reading and that that is why I tell her "no" so much when she asks about having certain foods and candy. She didn't say much then and went off to watch a new DVD she'd gotten for Easter.
She came back to me about 20min later and told me that she was sorry for eating all that candy but it had been so long since she'd had a lot of chocolate and she just couldn't help herself. I told her I understand that, that even I have trouble saying no when it is right in front of me. She told me she didn't like having her sugar that high and that she was glad we didn't buy her a bunch of chocolate and candy for Easter here at home because she didn't know if she could stay away from it that it is too hard.

I just wonder, was it wrong of me to let her eat all that candy and find out for herself just what it would do or should I have been the mean mommy and taken it away so she didn't have the option on her own?
I sorta feel I did it the right way and she learned why all that candy isn't good for her but part of me wonders if it was a good idea to let her live and learn.
Some of you reading this may not know that Laura is 7yrs old and was just diagnosed in early February not too long before Valentines day and we avoided the goodies then because of that reason, so, this is the first "chocolate holiday" since being diagnosed that wasn't in a controlled environment.

11 replies

Richard157 2009-04-14 15:41:01 -0500 Report

I agree wth what you did. It worked out well. It will be interesting to see what Laura does the next time she attends a party where there are many very high carb foods. I can still remember those temptations since I was diagnosed when I was 6. It wasn't easy but I adapted very well. I eat candy occasionaly now if I work it into my meal plan. This works for me since I use insulin and my blood sugar does not spike. I have to eat only a little bit of candy each time so I don't gain weight.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2009-04-14 15:03:59 -0500 Report

Robin, here's my parenting philosophy (and this is the same for diabetic kids and not).

Your #1 job as a parent is to teach your kids how to make good decisions.

And part of that process has to include letting your kids make their own decisions as they are ready to make them. If a parent always makes the decisions, the kid will never learn how. Of course, knowing what the kid is ready handle is the great balancing act of parenting.

I think it sounds like your daughter learned from the experience and will be more prepared to make good choices next time. I say, good job.

That just my two cents :-)

Antique-Dave 2009-04-14 09:28:06 -0500 Report

I agree, I always believed that my kids had to hit the wall on their own and get knocked down on occasion in order to figure things out.

You can tell them, or forbid them, try and control and police them but if you do then it is all external pressure and if you are not there then what? Plus it would make you crazy.

The pressure to make the good choice has to be an internal one, it was good to let her experiment and find her own way.
She'll make better choices and you won't have to be stressed about what she's doing.

Sarguillo 2009-04-13 12:57:29 -0500 Report

Tough love. My hat is off to you. This was a lession. Myself, I watched my mom who is a T2 eat all the bread she wanted and finish off not only her desert (big scoop of ice cream over a slice of pound cake with syrup on top)but my fathers desert that he only took a bite out of. I couldnt say anything as I dont like diabetic policing done on me. So I kept quiet. Then this morning, she tells my sister that she had a low last night, a reading of 61. No insulin, just metforin. No way, more like 161 or her meter is broken. I didnt have desert nor ate any bread and only had a few chips with salsa. Its a balancing act. We dont like it when we are policed, so I dont police anyone else, or I try not to. as a caregiver, you are in a special situation. I wouldnt know what to do in your place. Seems like you do. /Tip hat.

2009-04-12 15:21:23 -0500 Report

Knowledge is power at any age. Now she knows the WHY behind all the no's and all the meal planning. She'll do well from learning that. Yes she had some high readings but this time she could connect a reason for it and that in itself is a leason we all could benefit from regardless of our age.


rbergman 2009-04-12 16:36:53 -0500 Report

A little update on this, Laura didn't feel like eating breakfast but she did have a yogurt. Lunch was all her favorites, including corn, and still she wasn't very hungry. I looked her in the face and noticed for the first time today that her eyes were very droopy. I asked if she was tired and she said…very…I said why don't you lay down for a little while then after you finish lunch, she ate about half of her food and went to the couch, that was just over 2hrs ago and she is still asleep. When she wakes, I'll have a little talk with her about the why's of her sudden need for a nap.
I've also come to realize there was no clear answer of how to deal with last night, either way I still feel like the bad guy but maybe I only have to be just this once…

rbergman 2009-04-13 02:29:20 -0500 Report

After her nap she was at 169. After dinner it went down a bit more and was at 122 but again she didn't eat very much. At bedtime she was at 99. Glad it came down, though slowly but since she doesn't take insulin wasn't much we could do but wait it out. At least they are still on Easter break tomorrow so she doesn't have school to deal with hopefully she'll get to feeling better by Tuesday when she goes back.

Judimar 2009-04-12 14:48:00 -0500 Report


I agree with Jocelyn. Laura is a smart young lady. I think she got more out of you allowing her to make a personal choice then just telling her what it would do to her.

You are a wonderful mother.



alwaystryin 2009-04-12 11:06:27 -0500 Report

What a tough one. I certainly will not give you advice on how to raise a Child. I cannot imagine having to deal with this disease at that early of an age. What I will add is that although on the surface people may judge your decision as incorrect from a health standpoint. Sometimes learning a life lesson in the manner you taught, is the BEST way. Because of course you know the right and wrong of the situation better than anyone.

But I offer that how to engage your Daughter in proactive, and healthy decisions will help you all grow as best as can be expected. May God Bless.

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