Today at the grocery store I overheard a mom talking to her 4ish daughter. There was a tray of samples out on the counter at the Starbucks in the store. Cute little girl reached out for one. 'That's not for you.' mom said. 'Why?', 'Do you know what's in it?', 'No.' 'If it was a big piece of chocolate would you take it?', 'No!', 'Why not?', 'Because I'm allergic.' 'Do you know if there is chocolate in that?' 'No.'
I was really loving this exchange as I self checked my groceries. Always multi-tasking!
'Why do they put those out if people can't have them?' 'Some people can, but you can't and it is not the store's job to know about your allergies, it is your job.' 'Ohhhhhh,' she said.
'Thank you for being responsible!' mom said to her.
And I thank mom for being responsible! The best way to avoid unintentional exposures to any kind is for everyone involved to be aware. It doesn't matter if it is a food allergy, a show you don't think is appropriate, a toy you don't care for, the list could go on forever. Kids are never to young to learn what they are unable to have and are more likely to be aware of things in their daily lives that they can't have if they have been educated.
My kids were always happy to tell you they couldn't have something 'because Mom says it's inappropriate.' They were also happy to tell employees of any store outside on a smoke break, 'That's not a good choice. Smoking causes cancer.' Oh well, at least they were listening to us, right?
I think some parents feel like their kids are missing out on things so they don't necessarily tell them they can't have certain foods, play certain video games, or watch certain shows. These parents just make sure to avoid the offenders, and ask everyone else to avoid them too.
There will come a day when your child has to make a choice on their own and just think how easy it would be if they have been saying no thank you all along and not thinking anything of it. Than if they think since mom is not here to say anything maybe they will just try it one time.
Kids are usually happy to do the right thing, they just have to be empowered with the knowledge to do so. It is so much easier to get them in the habit when they are toddlers and still eager to please mom and dad at every turn, than when they are petulant 12 year olds who are sure we as parents are trying to ruin their lives.
I'm not the first one to say it and certainly not the last, knowledge is power.