The news I listened to first thing this morning led with a headline similar to this: According to a new review of Minnesota student survey data, children and teens who drink a lot of soda pop are twice as likely to steal,
beat up someone, or bring a weapon to school compared to their peers who don’t drink it. Wow! Let’s just put the soda companies out of business, and we can cut our bullying and violence in half, right?
As it turns out, they are not suggesting that the study proved that drinking soda had anything to do with acts of violence or crimes committed by children. No other contributing factors were studied. Hmmm… Could it possibly be that children who wear dirty socks are twice as likely to steal or beat up someone?
My point is this: At the end of the day, parenting is about imposing limits and guidelines upon our children from the outside until they become able to self-impose these disciplines on themselves. We need to do this with love, kindness, and consistency. If children are having too many sugary drinks while in our care, perhaps we are not plugged in and are missing many OTHER things that they need us to hear/see. Perhaps the study should go a step further to discover WHY children are allowed to have so many sugary drinks a day.
I am not an expert in this area, and perhaps there are things associated with too much soda that just might contribute to these actions. However, I would suggest that ultimately we turn our focus back to a few basic points:
1. Every child needs a loving adult to educate him and assist him in making good choices.
2. Every child needs loving, consistent boundaries set and imposed upon her throughout her life. As she matures, we should expect self-discipline from her.
3. Rules without relationship breeds resentment. We must first love our children before we impose rules.
4. Every child needs and deserves unconditional love and support from the adults in his world…adults who are there for him each day and involved/interested in every detail of his life.
5. Once we give children these things, I have a feeling that the number of sodas they drink will be a non-issue—although too many might lead to physical concerns.
Let’s focus on what matters. But let me take this opportunity to say, “Offer water instead!” If you do that along with points 1-5 above, your child wins!
Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.