Dear Dr. Debbie,
My husband and I agree on most things, but we are in frequent disagreement about food for our family. I lean toward economy and nutrition — trying to stay as informed as possible on the latest updates about artificial sweeteners, GMO’s and so forth, and he leans toward convenience and taste. Not that I don’t disagree that food should taste good, but I think that within standards of economy and nutrition one can find plenty of tasty food choices. At least I can. Sometimes I weaken, rationalizing that family conflict is probably more harmful for our children than an occasional bit of junk food. But I cringe every time I see contraband wrappers and cans in my husband’s car after he’s been out with them.
Don’t miss last week’s column Getting kids to listen — Good Parenting
Dear Food Purist,
I agree that family harmony is an important nutrient for growing children. Spouses are usually more similar than dissimilar on critical matters, but it is rare to find a couple in complete agreement on everything. Compromise is the order of the day here. You need to trust each other to care for the children (and mind the family budget) in each other’s absence. Since the issue of economy and good nutrition are more important to you than to him, it’s up to you to settle this.
A calm discussion is in order between Mom and Dad to discuss limits on junk food. As long as none of the children has a life-threatening allergy, food choices can be widened beyond your superior wisdom about what’s in food, sometimes even extending into the “Generally Regarded as Safe” category as recommended by our federal government. This is a list of foods that research has shown cause problems in laboratory animals. Note, plenty of carcinogens, including artificial sweeteners, are found in foods marketed to children.
Perhaps you can lead your husband to some websites whose authority he respects. Otherwise, help him to come to an agreement about how often (once a week?) he and the children can reasonably stray from your expertise on this matter. And to please destroy the evidence so it doesn’t upset you.
Deborah Wood is a child development specialist in Annapolis. She holds a doctorate in Human Development from the University of Maryland at College Park and is founding director of the Chesapeake Children’s Museum. Long time fans and new readers can find many of her “Understanding Children” columns archived on the Chesapeake Family Magazine website. You can find her online at drdebbiewood.com.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments or submit a question to Dr. Debbie at Betsy@jecoannapolis.com