I should start off by explaining that I am not a mom yet, but I plan to take a lot of your advice from the beginning (including unschooling) when I have children. Because all the good points you and others have made on this site, I watch parents with their children when they come through the convenience store where I work. Because we sell a lot of junk food and candy, I see a lot of food issues and arguments over it.
Every day, sadly, I see at least three different children get spanked or denied anything at all because of these arguments. These kids throw terrible tantrums that disturb the whole store, with the loudest ones obviously being the poor frustrated souls who have been spanked in parental anger, while their parents yell at them. It’s emotionally draining on everybody, including the people who have to listen to such despicable behavior … oh, and the kids are usually pretty annoying, too.
Then, the other day, I saw something that really warmed my heart and spoke to exactly what you talk about. A man drove up to the front of the store in an old, rusty truck and came around the passenger side to unlatch and lift a boy, no older than four, out of a booster seat. They came in quietly, the boy holding his father’s hand and saying something in Spanish. With a bounce in his step, he led his father over to the doughnut rack and they picked out four or five, most of them shaped like stars and decorated with fat, brightly-colored sprinkles.
After that, the boy plucked a raspberry tea out of the drink cooler and then they spent five or six minutes shopping around the registers where the candy is. They finally came to me, as quietly and peacefully as they had been in the store, and I saw that, besides the doughnuts and tea, they had chosen five tootsie rolls, a pack of gum, s ome Sour Patch kids, a banana, a strawberry yogurt, a container with watermelon wedges in it, and a Slim Jim that the father was already eating.
As I began ringing them up, the boy happened to look down and his eyes got big. He dipped under the counter and came back up with a large York Peppermint Patty. I automatically looked at the father and he chuckled in that ‘his eyes are bigger than his stomach’ way and pushed the patty to me. I rang it up and put everything in a bag. They left the store holding hands.
As they drove away, I smiled. It was nice to see a parent come in and not leave screaming with a kicking child tucked under his arm. I strongly suspect it was because he avoided the number one reason I see kids collapse on the tiles in frustrated tears. He treated that peppermint patty and those tootsie rolls as just the same as the banana and the yogurt. He treated it all like food … with none of it more shameful than the rest. =0 A
I don’t have kids yet, but I do see a lot of them interacting with their parents. I have come to completely agree with you on your theories about food! I want my children to hold my hand in affection as we leave a store with goodies and fruit (all jumbled up in the same bag), because I fear the alternative only works until they get too big to restrain and it probably isn't much fun.
A Future Unschooler