You have to have rules for your kids so they don’t grow up to be douche nozzles. You also have to have rules to protect your children from the temptations of the culture at large. I think the influences of western luxuries are way more dangerous then a lot of the things we assume to be obvious “no no-s.” Most parents don’t let their kids play with sharp objects, but will let them devour genetically modified cupcakes frosted with high-fructose corn syrup. Parents in Africa let their kids use machetes so I think they are a lot more capable then we give them credit for, but if you leave a bowl of M&M’s in front of a TV full of cartoons I think every kid could easily be seduced into a coma for the rest of the afternoon.
But just because you have rules doesn’t mean your kid won’t question them or want to rebel against them. And you have to have some sort of reasoning as to why you making these demands, because for your child it might seem arbitrary. They want to know why you are imposing a tyranny on them.
You can just say “because I said so” or “I make the rules” but I have taken another approach. I have decided to not only explain my rational, but perhaps over intellectualize my thinking to the point where The Munch just gives up asking because she wants me to shut up.
Munch: I want to watch a movie Mamma.
Toni: No sweetie, you can only watch movies on special occasions.
Munch: Why Mamma?
Toni: You see Munch, your brain is still a developing organ. In fact your frontal lobe won’t be fully matured until you are 25. So when you watch movies, your mind is on idle. It is a passive recipient for information rather than an active contributor. Childhood is such a fragile state in your development, and I really think that the more time you spend exploring your imagination and cultivating your intelligence through actual experience the better you will be in the long run.
Munch: Ummmm, okay.
Munch: Mamma, can I have a treat?
Toni: You know Munch, you had a treat yesterday and treats are for special occasions- so maybe tomorrow or the next day.
Munch: But Mamma, I really want a treat!
Toni: You see Munch, when the body has too much sugar the organs start to deteriorate and it effects how they function. Sugar increases cholesterol, weakens your eyesight, interferes with the absorption of protein, impairs the structure of DNA, compromises your immune system, contributes to diabetes and candida / yeast infections- which trust me you really don’t want. Sugar has a drastic impact on not only the functioning of your body, but also your emotional state of being and your mind. It can make you cranky, unfocused, give you a sugar high and then you crash into a state of depression… it even affects your ability to learn. Oh, and we can’t forget that sugar is also incredibly addictive so your body will crave it despite the harm it is causing, so it is really best to be moderate in your intake.
Munch: Ummmmmm can you we go outside now?