21 Comments
Oct 21, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Mostly agree with everything you two said with one serious exception. It is totally ok to limit how many gifts your kids get for Christmas! And it doesn’t make you the grinch! Research has consistently shown that kids do better with fewer toys, and so many parents will tell you that fighting the battle with grandparents early and often over the toy explosion is 1000% worth it. Fewer toys means less clutter, it’s easier to clean them up, kids can find their own stuff and put it away! I just had to say this, because the holidays are coming up and I think even for committed minimal-ish parents there can be a lot of guilt over this, but there is just no good that comes from your kid getting 30 (or whatever) toys all at once. I don’t even think the kids actually enjoy it, it makes them feel out of control and the cognitive bias it immediately kicks in around connecting that kind of excessive gifting to love is not healthy!! I don’t think it’s the same as letting your kids eat 20 pieces of candy on Halloween.

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I agree with this, and I think Amy will too — neither of us are excessive gift givers and we both hate clutter and, tbh, most toys?

But I will say I think it’s OFTEN a reasonable policy to stop fighting the onslaught from grandparents — that’s their relationship to figure out with the kids (even though yes, you are the one who will end up donating all the stuff they stop playing with in two weeks…). Really depends on the family dynamics whether you can have an effective conversation about that let alone manage things. And I think her larger point of, you don’t want to waste time getting in the way of the tidal wave of joy that is holidays is fair.

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founding

This makes me think about many years ago when my husband and I were at a parade where candy was being tossed from floats and we heard a mother admonish her child, "Candy is for collecting, not eating" and we were like WTF?!?

Cut to--I sincerely think my kids enjoy sorting their candy more than eating it. They love counting how much they have of each and comparing the different brands. Candy IS for collecting, not eating after all! Anyway as someone for whom candy was closely monitored as a kid I'm relieved they can be around it, enjoy it, and get bored of it.

Great conversation. PS my favorite child knows I like Reese's cups and kit kats and gives me some of his. <3

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Oct 21, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

I remember as a kid endlessly sorting and counting my candy, and making plans for hoarding it and rationing it out for a long time. It was great fun.

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Oct 21, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Yes. My son likes to count his candy and sit on the sorted heap like Smaug the dragon and I say live it up, bud.

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founding

preciousssssss

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Such a good favorite child!

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Oct 22, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

This didn't come up explicitly, but it drives me NUTS when all of my parent Facebook friends joke-but-not-really about the "Candy Tax" or whatever on Halloween, and then use that as a reason to take their kids candy. You are a grown a** adult. You have a job. Buy your own candy.

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YES.

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Oct 21, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

What a great episode/transcript. Our kiddo is 15 months but doesn't go to daycare, so we may have a Halloween-less Halloween, aside from the pumpkin patch and perhaps a costume just for photos. But I am excited about having candy for Halloween again soon -- and now as I write this I realize I should just buy it for myself! Because candy is delicious! Oh, what a fantastic realization. Thank you! :)

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Yes get your own candy!!! (But also yes, no need for all the hoopla for the kid who is too little to get it, unless it brings you great joy.)

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Oct 21, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

This was such a good one!

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Yay thanks!

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Nov 9, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Virginia, I'm just going to keep showing up here every single post and saying how you've changed my life. I'm still working through my own food issues (and trying like absolute hell not to pass them down to my daughters), so, full disclosure, this Halloween was the first time I was like, "Eat all you want!" They were skeptical and I was like, "No, REALLY, all you want." My dad, who was there witnessing the post-trick-or-treating counting and cataloging of his three grandchildren (my two girls and my brother's boy) commented, approvingly, "I am really surprised at how much candy everyone is allowed to have. This is great." And I thought, it is! It is great! I am going to eat the hell out of this candy while my kids watch and enjoy the same! And honestly, it was the best Halloween we've ever had.

(I am a long-time follower of Amy's so it was great to hear her take on all of this too -- I would love to hear more conversations between you both!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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YAY! I love hearing people's Halloween victories like this!!

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Oct 21, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

"We are transitioning to her having more authority over her food experience. She manages the candy easily on her own because we’ve always done it this way."

I think one of the issues I see in some writing on parenting is that authors suggest that parents' actions are always determinative of their kids' behavior. The underlying message in the sentences above feels like, "Do it this way and your kid will be great! Do it wrong and your kid will have an eating disorder or, at the very least, an obsession with candy."

The longer I have been parenting (my kids are 17, 13 and 11), the more I'm convinced that they are fundamentally who they are at birth and my job is to avoid seriously screwing them up. For example, my 13 year old has always rationed treats and saved money and done all the future planning entirely on her own. My 17 year old struggles to hang on to anything (money, candy, etc.) for long. Is that because I was more anxious about the types of food he consumed than I was by the time I had my daughter? Maybe, but I doubt that's really the root of the situation. I think my kids were born with different temperaments and strengths.

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That’s a fair point — I absolutely agree that kids’ temperaments are a huge piece of this and we should have acknowledged that. That said, in every one of the (hundreds at this point) interviews I’ve done with people with disordered eating, to a person they talked about feeling pressured or restricted around food in some way as kids. It’s not causal and not every kid will respond to pressure in that wat — but for kids who are vulnerable, it can be a major contributing factor.

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Oct 21, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Every day in my professional work I see the ways in which parents can cause damage to their kids. I agree that it happens, and I agree that food restrictions will cause disordered eating in some unknown percentage of kids/adults. My concern is when parenting writers say, "Do A and then B will result" when B is really the result of lots of different factors. I think it ratchets up the pressure on parents.

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Completely agree. This is the kind of nuance I’d catch in editing a piece of writing but in the more casual flow of a podcast conversation, it can whiz by. Thanks for highlighting; I’ll be more sensitive to this.

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Oct 21, 2021Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

We try to limit chocolate specifically too close to bedtime out of worries about whatever caffeine is in it, but I guess on Halloween even that limitation needs to be dropped.

I find it fun seeing what my kid likes and doesn't like. He likes Hershey chocolate, which I think tastes like vomit. He loves M&Ms, which I can take or leave. He recently discovered Airheads out of a pinata at a birthday party and really liked them, where I don't see the appeal. He doesn't like Snickers (or really any caramel), which are some of my favorites. We both love Reese's. I feel like he's probably not going to like Almond Joy or Mounds, if he gets any -- I didn't, as a kid, and can still take or leave them -- and I'm kind of looking forward to seeing his face when he tries them.

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Yay! And yes, Halloween destroys bedtime no matter what you do, so the teeny bit of caffeine in chocolate candy is the least of your concerns.

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