These days, parenting is all about limiting the things that we assume screwed us up as kids, television and sugar being the most popular. With Lucy, her first taste of ice cream was sometime around 18 months. Before then, if she wanted to enjoy a sweet treat she could enjoy a somewhat overripe banana. With Rocky, ice cream was introduced…earlier. Lots earlier. And Veronica? I’m not sure, but I suspect she grabbed a soft serve on the way out of the womb. This is just the way it is with kids as the younger kids benefit from the rights to formerly forbidden treats that their older siblings earned. But still, despite lessening the severity of the limitations we’ve placed on our kids, we still run a tight ship. Candy leaves our stash a piece at a time, and then usually only if they catch us sneaking a handful.
And here’s why:
You don’t want them horning in on your stash
Leah and I like candy. I mean, we really like candy. How much do we like candy?
- you wouldn’t be wrong if you said a good portion of our marriage is build on a foundation of Sour Patch Kids and Twizzlers. Before we were officially dating, we were taking walks together to The Den to buy candy and 50 cent Cokes. Neither of us wanted to lose our partner in sweets, so we decided to spend the rest of our lives together.
- When we first moved to Chicago, we didn’t make midnight trips to Walgreens for beer. We went for Nerd Ropes.
- We have, on more than one occasionally, seriously considered starting a candy blog for the sole purpose of getting credentials for The Sweet and Snacks Expo (aka, the Candy Convention). I’d really love to put together a post debating which is the all-time greatest candy: Lemonheads or Sour Patch Kids.
- This is our candy cupboard. Note that it is well out of the reach of children:
So, the last thing we need is our kids getting their greedy little fingers all over our candy. If they want a snack, they can have a carrot. Leave my Smarties alone.
Watch your kids’ candy consumption, because more for them means less for you.
You will own your kids
When we potty-trained Lucy, we found the bribery method worked very well. We started with marshmallows before graduating to M & M’s. I don’t believe that would have been nearly as successful if she had regular access to desserts and treats.
(I won’t mention how the bribery-based potty training has gone with Rocky. Let’s just say it doesn’t entirely support my thesis)
But when the treats are truly a treat, you can completely manipulate your kids. The key is turning a lollipop into an object of their most desperate desires. Want them to behave on a 45 minute train ride downtown? Shove a lollipop in each kids mouth (and a nipple in the baby’s) and sit back and relax. Want your kid to get through an evening out at a restaurant? Dangle the confection above their heads with the guarantee that only through good behavior will they earn it. If you can find a way to literally dangle it, even better.
But again, the key is scarcity. Scarcity leads to demand and demand leads to power.
Rule your children. Rule them with corn syrup and yellow dye #5.