“Lala, why does the ice cream truck play that song I know?”
One day while driving little miss home from school, she asked me the above question. I held back saying “Because they want to entice little kids in hopes of you nagging your parents so that you can be one step closer to DEATH BY SUGAR all in the name of profit”. Instead I said, because everyone knows that song and we all love it, so they play it to make people happy. Oh the lies we tell children!
This question of hers made me think though… what will my stance be on the ice cream truck when I have children some day?
Most people don’t realize this, but much of my schooling was not just in the biochemistry of how food gets digested, absorbed and transported. Much of my schooling was in the psychology of food. Who, what, where, when and why people eat. How to counsel an obese minor, and their parents. What is does to someone’s social life if it is suggested to them that an entire food group be taken out of their diet, and so and so forth. So when I ask myself “What will be my future stance on the ice cream truck be” – in terms of my pretend children of course 😉 much more than “How many grams of sugar is in a spongebob ice cream treat” is taken into consideration.
Children are delicate beings, and I don’t just mean their tiny little bones. The psyche of a child is a precious, delicate and amazingly complex thing. It is wonderful and intricate and I honestly at times think that children can be smarter, wiser and more compassionate humans than a lot of adults I know.
What a lot of parents don’t realize is that the way you talk about food, use food and make food a part of your life will teach your child how to do the same in their lives. If a child is brought up to never eat sugar, they will be likely to go hog wild in college (discretely mind you), gain weight and then possibly develop an eating disorder. In the same way, a child who is brought up to eat whatever they want, whenever they want will most likely become tired, not interested in they normal likes and even emotionally distant over time. This scenario often leads to seeking out the help of medical professionals and rather than your young adult child viewing food as amazing, powerful and a healing fuel, them viewing it as just something you eat to satisfy taste buds.
Either way, in both extremes, the result is an ingrained theology of food to an individual that will harm them physically, emotionally mentally and possibly even spiritually.
So today I ask you, what is your stance on the ice cream truck? How do you teach your child about the who, what, where, when and why’s of food? Do you find that involving your child in the process of making your food helps start or direct a conversation with them? Maybe you are currently struggling in this area of parenting (who isn’t), if so, leave a comment below and maybe we can all help one another out by talking about healthy parenting concerning food.
Hypothetically speaking, I would allow my children to get ice cream a few (like 3) times this summer under my supervision (because my parents and in-laws will spoil my children to no end and I’m thankful for that). This may be from the ice cream truck, or maybe I would offer than instead of getting it from the ice cream truck that we take a family walk (or a mommy-daughter/son walk) up to the ice cream parlor so that some “exercise” is included into the activity. I would attempt to communicate to my children why we weren’t getting it if they asked and I said no, something along the lines of – since we are going to nanna and pappa’s tomorrow, and they always have a lost of treats for you there, it’s probably best we don’t get ice cream today because I don’t want us to get belly aches… would you want to get a belly ache? Or maybe the conversation would go something more like… since dinner is in just a little bit, why don’t we eat that first and then look at making our own dessert tonight. The idea for me would be to give my child the memories of getting ice cream from the parlor or the truck so that they don’t feel deprived, however without going nuts and not caring about our health because it’s summer.