Monday, April 12, 2010
Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we're writing letters to ask our readers for help with a current parenting issue. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I have a McDilemma and I'd like your help. This week we are moving to Berlin for the summer. We are excited about all of the opportunities this creates for our family, but there is one thing I am dreading already. The McDonald's one block from our apartment.
I don't like McDonald's. I try to avoid it for both ethical and nutritional reasons. Where we live right now, that isn't very difficult. There is no McDonald's or other fast food within walking distance of our home. That means that our kids are generally strapped into their car seats in a fast moving vehicle when we pass a McDonald's. When they do ask for it, they have been told that it is junk, that eating it frequently would make them unhealthy and sick. Sometimes they accept that explanation and sometimes they object to it, but either way it is soon forgotten as we drive down the road and something more interesting pops into their brains. I'm not outright opposed to fast food and our kids do get the treat of fast food, on occasion, from one of McDonald's somewhat more ethical (but yet not perfect) competitors. Ultimately, the reality of where we live means that access to fast food is easily controlled by us.
Now, as we get ready to head off to Berlin, I find myself dreading the potential daily battles brought on by the McDonald's that is one block from our apartment and on the way to many of the places we would want to go (the park, the pool, the organic grocery store). I don't know for sure yet, but the golden arches may be visible from the bedroom my kids will be sharing. Sigh. We will not have a car (which I'm thrilled about - lots of walking and public transportation), so strapping them in and whirring past it is not an option. I'm hoping to avoid numerous tantrums on the street corner. You know the kind. The ones that test my patience and bring out the worst in my parenting.
There are a number of ways we could approach this.
- We could forbid McDonald's altogether. Let them know right from the start that we will not be going there and why. Take the tantrums as they come and deal with them with as much patience as humanly possible.
- We could allow occasional McDonald's visits and remind them when they are begging for it that they will get their treat on [insert date] and that they will have to wait until then to have it.
- We could teach them about the perils of McDonald's, but ultimately leave the decision up to them. If they want to go there, we will, but with the assumption that if it is not forbidden and if they are armed with the information to make a good decision, that they will opt against McDonald's more often than not.
Each of these options has its merit, both in terms of parenting and my own values. Each of these options also has drawbacks, both in terms of parenting and my own values.
Keeping in mind the ages of my children (three and five) and the fact that I would prefer not to buy them McDonald's for ethical reasons (don't want my money being spent there), for nutritional reasons (don't want my family eating that crap regularly), and financial reasons (McDonald's is not as cheap in Europe as it is here and the money that would be spent on McDonald's could go a lot further at the grocery store or the market), please tell me, dear readers, what approach you would suggest and why?
Image credit: Vertigogen on flickr
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by the end of the day April 13 with all the carnival links.)
- Replace hitting with…? — Acacia at Be Present Mama is at a loss on how to handle her three year old's hitting.
- Two Questions — Alexandra at Breastfeeding Momma would like some ideas on how to strengthen her bond with her 8-month-old daughter; she's also looking for input on an emotional topic: vaccines.
- Balancing Needs When Baby Trumps Mama — Alison at BluebirdMama wonders how her child's need for noise and energy balances out against her need for quiet and space. (@childbearing )
- The McDilemma — Annie at PhD in Parenting is on the arches of a McDilemma. (@phdinparenting)
- Where is the mutually agreeable solution? When parenting calls for blood draws — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick has a child who needs regular blood tests that are torment for him. How does a parent honor a child when his health is on the line? (@RaisingBoychick)
- When To Wait To Nurse — Cave Mother wonders what age toddlers can be asked to wait to nurse.
- I don't love you Mama! — CurlyMonkey wonders what to do with her daughter's intense feelings. (@curlymonkey_)
- Help a Mama Out — Danielle at Born.in.Japan isn't getting much sleep with her cosleeping, night nursing, cranky little guy and hopes you can help with some suggestions for shuteye. (@borninjp)
- Dear Abby: My daughter really misses her Daddy — Darcel at The Mahogany Way needs to know how to help her daddy's girl get the connection with her father she needs — and not feel left out in the process. (@MahoganyWayMama)
- What's Going on at School? — Deb at Science@home is in a quandary: how can she find out what really goes on at school without stepping on the teacher's toes? (@ScienceMum)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Advice — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to find volunteer work that includes her toddler. (@CodeNameMama)
- How do you deal? — Erin at Beatnik Momma does not want to engage in "mommy wars." She'd like your input on how (and how much) to discuss her natural parenting choices with curious friends and family who parent differently. (@babybeatnik)
- Dear Abby — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts gave her son a banana...and no solid food since. What's the next step in baby-led weaning? (@thegrumbles)
- Excuse me, I have a poop question — Jessica at This is Worthwhile has a question for you about toddler tinkling. (@tisworthwhile)
- The Half Empty Nest Syndrome: What to do when Momma gets replaced by a cow? — Joni Rae at Kitchen Witch Momma is suffering from "half-empty nest syndrome": what do you do when your babies start growing up? (@kitchenwitch)
- Peer Pressure — Kate at Momopoly worries what message her daughter's new friend is sending — but how to break up such an infatuation? (@Momopoly)
- When I Fall Down — Katherine at Momioso.com needs your wisdom on how to be more gentle and at peace with herself. (@naturalparent)
- A question of sleep and sanity — KeepingMumSane needs your toddler cosleeping advice in order to, well, keep mum sane! (@keepingmumsane)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice — Lauren at Hobo Mama needs a chiropractor … or help getting her 36 lb toddler to walk up the stairs. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Driver's Ed for Mommies — Maman A Droit is a self-confessed terrible driver and is scared to drive with her baby in the car.
- Solo Parenting — Mammapie at Downside Up and Outside In needs tips for being a single working mother while her partner's away. (@mammapie)
- Itsy Bitsy Biter — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting needs your advice about her daughter, otherwise known as the pitbull.
- How Can I Avoid Beauty Obsession? — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is at a loss ever since her tomboys turned into wannabe princesses. (@bfmom)
- Seeking Stability in Chaos — Michelle at Seeking Mother is in a heart-wrenching position. She needs your input on how to make a toddler feel secure during a time of transition, the illness of a parent, and multiple (new) caregivers. (@Seekingmother)
- Mama, That's Too, Too Boring! — Michelle at The Parent Vortex started out asking how to encourage her preschooler to get dressed — and four days later, she began to without prompting! (@TheParentVortex)
- Dear Lovey Hart, I am Desperate. — Mommy Soup from Cream of Mommy Soup has several questions for you, from how you play favorites when no one's your favorite to how to tell off strangers curious about the ample size of your family. (@mommysoup)
- Diaper Duty Dilemma — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries has a simple request: talk to her about cloth! (@babydust)
- What Do You Need My Son — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start wishes her calm four-month-old hadn't turned into an inquisitive and dramatic six-month-old. How do you handle changes in baby's personality? (@pchanner)
- Dear Natural Parenting Community — Sarah at OneStarryNight wants to know how to respond to criticism from family and friends over breastfeeding. (@starrymom)
- Natural Parenting Carnival — Help — Sarah at Consider Eden feels like either her to-do list or her parenting is suffering, because she can't do both! (@considereden)
- To potty learn or not to potty learn - that is the question — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes wants to know whether it's time to start potty training. (@sheryljesin)
- Seeking Patience — Starr at Earth Mama looks to the collective tribal wisdom of this community to learn how to teach patience to children.
- A Dirty Girl Comes Clean — Tashmica at Mother Flippin' is struggling. How do parents deal with their inability to keep their children protected from danger? (@Mother_Flippin)
- Uli and the Pussy Cats — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis has a toddler who likes to put kitties in headlocks and ride them like horsies. How best to separate the little beasties?
- Perceptions of Discipline — Zoey at Good Goog doesn't use conventional discipline with her child — and doesn't know how to respond around people who do. (@zoeyspeak)