Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shifting Context

Pick out the lovingly abusive parent:

    A parent who does not allow their child to eat cotton candy but brought along a healthy snack to the school party. The child feels a bit left out from the festivities.


    A parent who knows a child will "go crazy" after ice cream and but takes her for a "treat" before an extra-curricular activity. The child is reprimanded for inability to pay attention during the activity.

Sooo... Whaddayathink? Both? First one? Second one?

For many parents and grandparents, one of the hardest things about this diet is giving up "treats" as the children have known them. No more technicolor goldfish. No more snack bags. No more special trips for ice cream. No more juice boxes after a soccer game. Giving back "goody bags" at a birthday party. You get the idea.

As a parent / grandparent, should you feel sorry for the kid? Do you feel like the "bad guy?" Well, you can but that is a pretty pointless use of emotional energy. If a child needs to heal a child needs to heal. YOU are not doing anything TO him or her. YOU are doing something FOR him or her.

This is a context that generally bothers a parent / grandparent during the early months of being on a special diet. However, if the diet is REALLY working and provides consistent evidence that the child truly needs the special / restricted foods the parent / grandparent will gradually find their context of "normal" shifts slowly over time.

Lest you think my context is perfectly shifted, I too have been recently guilty of wanting to be the "fun" parent. Just the other weekend we were at ZiZi's school party and they had the most *amazing* farm-fresh apples. I threw caution to the wind and let each of the girls have one. This was cruel to my daughter with the apple allergy. But it had been awhile since she had had one and it was a fun day so what the heck. Poor kid had a pretty bad potty accident at the event (one of her usual side effects) and was totally out of sorts for days. My bad.

Once your context begins to shift you will find yourself with no sympathy for the child any longer. This can actually be a good place to be. Allowing someone to wallow and be a victim is not a great way to support him/her on a healing journey. Giving the child language around the food choices that empowers him/her is the way to go. Not that I'm telling you what to do, of course.

The other thing that will happen once your context shifts is you will slowly start to notice how we have become a culture of sugar and brightly colored, "blingy" treats. The average social gathering has sugar as a main attraction. The governments have been busy fighting the war against fats, but I say bring out a bucket of fried chicken for the kids instead of some unnatural shade of bright blue cupcakes. Their minds and bodies will be better for it. It is as if we don't "really" believe that sugar (and the crazy food colorings + additives) cause problems for anybody. Kid has a birthday at school? Celebrating the last sports team gathering? Holidays? Book fair? Bring out the inflammatory substances and add a side of hyperactivity to it just for fun.

Once your context has shifted, you will start looking around and feeling really, REALLY sorry for many of the children around you. They are being poisoned by the adults who love them. Many, many of them are eating so many prepackaged treats that you have to wonder about the chemical cocktails they ingest every day. Not to mention the sugar, which is added to EVERYTHING. Even bacon. Sometimes when I see those kids it feels a little unfair that my sweet babe eats the cleanest foods and still struggles to learn her letters and numbers. But time will tell and although it will take Zi awhile to catch up to her peers, she will catch up. The kid sucking down a blue colored, genetically modified high fructose corn syrup laden "energy drink" at age five... We'll just have to see how it goes for him.

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