I fully believe that parenting involves taking care of the health and well being of your children and teaching your children the value of health without forcing it on them. Based on my childhood and the observation of other children who grew up in strict (or not strict) households I have learned a few things along the way that I hope you can benefit from as a parent also.
I grew up in a strict christian household in which we did not celebrate halloween. We had a church function on that night but still went home with a big bag of candy. My mom was the health conscious one in the family making many things organic, homemade, getting the food for the family at a local co-op etc.
One thing that they did that always stuck with me was when we received our candy from that night they would limit our candy (sugar/crap/treat) intake each day. So we would have our bag in the kitchen and have a few pieces at a time. This is extremely valuable for any parent and child because if a kid get’s his hands on a large bag of candy and starts going to town their immune system and blood sugar levels are immediately affected in a negative way.
Not only that but if you want your kid to behave, not throw fits and be flying off the walls then you’ll limit their candy intake. Ideally you can find a way to enjoy halloween, trick or treating without the candy but that’s a difficult task.
If you decide you want to let your kid’s enjoy the night and get candy then at least do them the courtesy and favor to their health that allows their body to process the sugar a little bit at a time. They can then appreciate the treat as a treat and not as a staple food in their diet.
Children do not know any better. They will literally eat candy until their stomach hurts and they’re sick. New parents may not know this but candy is extremely addicting for children.
One study found that sugar is MORE ADDICTIVE THAN COCAINE.
It is your responsibility as a parent to teach self-discipline and to instill balance in your children. If you don’t, who will? I firmly believe that self-discipline is one of the most positive traits you can teach your child (without force) and allowing them to see and understand the value of what you teach. My parents instilled in me the basic understanding that “If you’re going to have candy or sugar at least spread it out and don’t OVERDOSE on it all at once.” That has stayed with me, although I really don’t eat sugar at all anymore except for in a dark chocolate bar here and there.
If a child does not have self-discipline who’s to say that when they grow up they will not have any self-discipline when it comes to alcohol, drugs, or anything else? Really think about this. I’m not saying that not instilling self-discipline will lead to this but if a child does not have self-discipline and is not taught this then as they grow they will not have the self-discipline to apply to other ares of their life.
Halloween is a Valuable Teaching Lesson For You As a Parent
Self-discipline teaches your child the importance of being accountable to themselves. Being accountable for your decisions, and the effects of those decisions. Your job as a parent is to make sure your child is healthy and provided for first and foremost.
I think that often times in America especially “Happiness” is put far before self-discipline, health, accountability for one’s actions and far more important things. Happiness is learned over time. We are all happy at different times for different reasons and your child WILL not be happy 24/7 and if you choose to let them go wild on genetically modified candy and sugar then you’ll have to deal with their actions thereafter.
I’m not saying you should completely avoid halloween like my family did, i’m not saying your kid’s shouldn’t have candy, shouldn’t have sugar… ever. I’m advocating sobriety in decision making and instilling that in children at as young of an age as possible.
We live in a highly consumer driven world. In America we literally teach our children to consume and to consume as much as possible. How is this setting them up in life? are they prepared to contribute to society or just take from it? Halloween is about “Getting as much candy as humanly possible” I know, I was once a kid.
If all that you get from this is to teach your children to be accountable for their actions, teach them it’s about the experience of participating in a community event (whatever you do for halloween, whether it be trick or treating or going to a local event) teach them it’s about the experience, not getting as much candy as they can possibly get.
Your children will benefit long term by you being an extra-ordinary parent that most have decided not to be for their children in the name of ‘happiness’. I hope this can be some food for thought that you consider as a parent (or grandparent!)