Is it cruel to not let kids eat junk food? Ever



  • nevadavis1
    nevadavis1 Posts: 339 Member
    I wasn't allowed to eat "junk food" as a kid, though it was junk food as my parents defined it... So I could have fried chicken, but not fries or chips. I could have ice cream sometimes, but not candy... My brother and I would scrounge money or spend our lunch money on junk sometimes. So it can backfire. Though I never developed a taste for some stuff, like cheese puffs or a lot of chips.

    So I don't know if it's cruel but it can backfire.
  • animatorswearbras
    animatorswearbras Posts: 1,001 Member
    It's not cruel unless as Gloriam says you're eating it in front of them, lots of people bring up their families with the same diet restrictions as they have (as long as it's done healthily and all their nutritional needs are met) like I have vegetarian friends who have never eaten meat, but I imagine it could turn into a bit of a forbidden fruit situation especially if their friends get it all the time, constant bombardment of advertising or it's treated like a reward by their peers. Bit of a mine field, I don't have kids but if I did, junk would be an occasional thing rather than a regular thing and I wouldn't stop my kids eating junk if they were invited to a party or a friends house for dinner.
  • Bry_Fitness70
    Bry_Fitness70 Posts: 2,484 Member
    What is hard is when other parents have no dietary standards for their kids so you have to deal with "Why can Johnny drink Coke, a bag of Twizzlers, 2 candy bars, 3 pieces of cake, etc., and I can't?" So you are always having to battle against the lowest common denominator, which is the permissiveness of parents who don't give AF and just feed their kids whatever they want. And then they yelI at them and complain about their behavior when they are hyperactive from all of the sugar and food dyes.

    I permit "junk food" very sparingly and just take the hits of being a "mean parent" by disallowing it most of the time. When they are 18 they can eat whatever they want.
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,465 Member
    Mine was a virtually zero junk food house. I kept the Canada Food Guide on the fridge. There was no candy in the house. No desserts with dinner. I didn't forbid anything either though, and sometimes there was home made cookies. It wasn't cruel and my children were not overweight.
  • ladyhusker39
    ladyhusker39 Posts: 1,408 Member
    I don't think it's cruel, but it can end up backfiring. I think it's wiser to teach kids how to make smart choices with food. For us that involves a lot of age appropriate conversations that have taken place over the years. It's also helped me learn a lot about food what terms like "junk food" really mean. It's not so black and white.
  • Old_Cat_Lady
    Old_Cat_Lady Posts: 1,200 Member
    There is an entire back-story to this. They may not even be her own kids. They may be under 3.
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    edited June 2017
    It could be. If you caught your 10 year old with candy and punished them it would be cruel. If grandma bakes cookies and you snatch your child away from them like they are poison it would be cruel.

    If you do not serve low nutrition foods and drinks in your home it is a choice for your household.
    It is an unrealistic amount of control over your child to say you will never let them eat "junk food" if you plan to let your child leave the house before they are 18 years. They will go out in the world and have interactions and opportunities you can not control.

    I think it is better to teach moderation and good nutrition to your children and guide them in making choices rather than being draconian about food.
  • kristikitter
    kristikitter Posts: 602 Member
    I don't think it's cruel, in general - I was never bothered by junk food as a kid (in fact I could never understand how people got "addicted" to soda, Coca Cola was a birthdays/Christmas-only treat in our house). Teaching balance and nutrition to your children isn't the same as making your kids eat only raw vegetables forever. Yeah, they'll kick back sometimes (especially if they have friends who eat a lot of takeaways, or take two chocolate bars in their lunchbox, or whatever), but it's not killing them

    It DOES become cruel if you:
    - Enforce a 'no junk' rule with punishment or intimidation (risking an eating disorder later down the line)
    - Eat it in front of them (I'm just picturing Miss Trunchbull here haha)
    - Forbid them to eat it at any time at all, to the detriment of their social life (at a party, for example), as you risk their ostracisement

  • laurenebargar
    laurenebargar Posts: 2,670 Member
    My parents didnt put a limit on any treats in the house, and would buy the treats we asked them for, sugary cereal, desserts, ice cream, and yes I became over weight but the foods I mainly go for are foods that most parents wouldnt consider unhealthy bread, pasta, etc. I was underweight as a child so my parents probably were just happy I was eating extra calories, but as I got older I do wish they had taught us about portion control more
  • kschwab0203
    kschwab0203 Posts: 610 Member
    I think every parent has to make the choice they feel is right for their child.

    My cousin doesn't let her kids have junk food. She's also an Herbalife lady so she makes them eat and drink a lot of that crap instead. She's happy with it.

    My brother let's his kids eat what they want when they want. If they ask for ice cream and chocolate milk at 9:00 p.m. they get it. If they want brownies and cookies and a soda for breakfast they are allowed.

    Me on the other hand, I let my kids have junk, but I limit it. They do not get dessert every night because I just feel they should not expect to have it. They get one snack of their choice and that's all. They are only allowed soda if we are out to dinner or at a family gathering.

    To each their own.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    Hmm. I wouldn't use the term cruel but I do think that it could backfire in that it could create a bit of a forbidden fruit effect--child wants "junk food" and will sneak to have it. It could also be socially isolating for the child, depending on how far the parent takes it.

    My daughter went to a friend's house for the first time and the mom served turkey hot dogs because they are "healthier". My daughter did not eat the hot dog because she didn't like it. My daughter eats an overall very healthy diet and has no medical or weight issue. She's not overly picky. The kid loves salmon and steamed broccoli and tomato juice. Anyway, later that night my daughter was hungry and the parents gave their kid a snack but would only give my daughter the cold turkey hot dog left from dinner, which she would not eat. I didn't hear about this until the next day when I went to pick her up and the mom laid into me about how she has RULES at her house and she doesn't bend them for ANYBODY. That conversation did not go well. My daughter pulled back from that friendship entirely and I'm hearing the same kind of thing happening with a few other girls. I feel bad for the other little girl but I'm not subjecting my kid to her mother.
  • abbynormalartist
    abbynormalartist Posts: 318 Member
    If there are no medical issues at play, I think it would be pretty crummy, close to cruel, to never let your kid have a piece of cake at a birthday party, or cookies at grandma's house, or candy on Halloween. I can see that causing some twisted views of food if you're purposely denied something. I think it's fine not to buy that stuff to have at the house, though if you find a way to keep it out, let me know. We don't buy it but somehow (thanks to gma and Easter!) we've still got a bag of "treats" my 5 year old dips into daily. She can pick one thing after school, so it's usually a piece of gum before going out to play with friends, or a (child sized) handful of m&ms or similar. Our dinners are super healthy and full of veggies, especially since I also have a 10 month old who eats what we eat, so I don't worry about occasional treats.
  • Lizzy622
    Lizzy622 Posts: 3,705 Member
    It depends on what you mean by forbidding it. I didn't keep chips or candy in the house usually but I also did not forbid it. My children did have it at friends' or relatives' houses or when they came home from trick or treating. At Christmas and Easter, we usually had some candy around also. It is a matter of developing that healthy relationship.
  • slaite1
    slaite1 Posts: 1,309 Member
    I don't know. Overly controlling your children tends to backfire. I had a good friend as a kid who's mom controlled everything (including her food, they only ate "healthy" food). When she came to my house she binged hardcore. But in my house we had plenty of "junk", nothing was off limits. However, we also ate full meals, lots of fruit and vegetables, and led active lives. I didn't learn bad habits until I was an adult. Only one example, but still. Forbidding things only makes most of us want them more.
  • MotherOfSharpei
    MotherOfSharpei Posts: 1,152 Member
    In elementary school, my friends and I were each allowed to take a candy bar, soda, or juice box to have with our lunch one day per week. We chose to all take our treat on the same day so we could share with our friend who was not allowed to have "junk food", even at birthday parties. Even if you "forbid" it, I can pretty much guarantee a child who is older and in public without you will discover it. I think it's more beneficial, as others have said, to teach moderation.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,204 Member
    edited June 2017
    Our kids have "junk" food...we have taught them the difference between these "sometimes" foods and foods you eat for meals and a bit about nutrition, etc. They understand that their gummy worms are "sometimes" foods and that they need to eat "real" food most of the time.

    I think putting the clamps on a kid like that and forbidding junk food is bound to backfire...better to teach them responsibility. What sucks is when they're at a friends house or something and the parents just let the kids eat youngest has come back puking in the past from eating so many sugary snacks and little in the way of actual food...we had a talking to with those parents.
  • estherdragonbat
    estherdragonbat Posts: 5,285 Member
    My weekly allowance used to keep pace with the vending machine at the Y, so I got a quarter a week (circa 1978 in Montreal), which let me get a chocolate bar. I should probably note that I was at the Y for "Swim and Gym", so I was being somewhat active, though being an unathletic non-swimmer with motor coordination issues, not as active as I could have been.

    I don't recall candy in the house except for Halloween. Treats would be rationed out for a couple of weeks and then... not sure if my parents ate the rest or tossed it but it would suddenly be "all gone". Mom baked regularly, but second dessert helpings were rare and usually at least half the size of first helpings. (Of cake, at least. Cookies... she'd try to pick out a smaller one, but they were more uniform in size.)

    One of my sisters and I ended up overweight, but I really think it was
    • a combination of the aforementioned coordination issues making me lousy at gym and completely turned off by the idea of being active. No matter what I tried to do, physically, it was never right. And I guess we tend to gravitate toward what we're good at. Team sports were torture and as soon as gym became optional, I dropped it.
    • Being socially awkward. Friendships were hard for me. As I got older, I'd go parties and spend more time at the snack table. If I had food in my mouth, I didn't have to stand around awkwardly wishing small talk came more easily.
    • I was frequently bullied and had some emotional issues. Food became a comfort.

    I'm not going to pretend that I 'never' ate junk food, but I'd say that it was more overeating on what was around me. Mostly starchy carbs.
  • Carlos_421
    Carlos_421 Posts: 5,132 Member
    Cruel? Meh...
    Unnecessary? Yup.