Thursday, May 02, 2013

Bad Parenting Confession

At Easter, the ducklings got bags of candy from the church Easter egg hunt. In a fit of hurried Easter cleaning, I tucked them out of the way up high in their closet, intending to get back to them later. We do not take a Wonka Sr. approach to candy, but we do try to dole it out very slowly and, in the past, under supervision.

Then I sort of forgot about the candy, or at least it sifted down to the very large receptacle in my brain labeled, "Things I Really Ought To Do Something About One of These Days." Until one day I was tidying up their room (let's not go into THAT parenting question) and came across a sizable stash of candy wrappers. Evidently they had not forgotten about them. So then I thought perhaps I really should address it except I wasn't quite sure how. They hadn't eaten all the candy, so evidently they were not consuming it recklessly, I hadn't expressly forbidden the candy, and mostly I just really didn't want to be bothered with it.

I continued taking the blind-eye approach until I saw the boys dashing past me outside with something in their mouths. This raised two red flags in my mind--one being that actively hiding something from parents is a different category from not bothering to mention it, the second being that just possibly they were eating something dangerous from outside (though on reflection, the latter was very unlikely). So I made them tell me what they were eating and assured them that it was fine--eating a piece or two of candy once a day was not going to hurt them, just not to bother me about it.

No such luck. Immediately, and ever since, I have been barraged with questions. Can you get the bags down? My bag is out and everyone else still has some! How many can we eat? Can we eat this kind?

I kind of wish I had just let them keep hiding it.


Phyllis said...

I've never had that exact thing happen, but I'm right there with you. What I hate most about candy bags is the constant begging/fussing. Sometimes I think I'd rather just let them stuff themselves and throw up on the first day that it's given to them, so that I could clean it up and then be DONE.

Diary of an Autodidact said...

Benign neglect isn't a bad approach...

the Joneses said...

There's a part in a Disney show where the parents realize their kids are involved in some impossibly awful scheme. The parents hadn't noticed because they were fighting over what color to paint the bedroom. (This is not a show that plumbs the depths of family issues.)
The parents face their children sternly, and their conversation goes along the lines of:

Mom: "Honey, we really have to deal with this."

Dad: "OR, we could go paint the bedroom in a thinly-veiled attempt to get out of responsible parenting."

Mom: "Can we paint it Desert Dusk?"

Dad: "We can paint it black for all I care. I just don't want to deal with this."

But I don't identify with that, or your post, in the SLIGHTEST.

-- SJ