3 Parenting Fights I Refuse to Engage In

Linda Sharps
Healthy Living

I was just reading this very pleasant book that's part memoir, part cookbook, in which the author describes in loving detail some of the culinary adventures she's experienced in feeding her four children. The more I read, the guiltier I felt, because it became clear that what her kids eat on a regular basis and what my own children eat aren't exactly on the same menu. Or even the same restaurant.

I guess I was supposed to be inspired by the author's methods of getting her kids to enjoy new foods, but we were coming from such different places. Her kids seemed like they sprang from the womb with a willingness to eat such things as wasabi peas and mango lassi, while my kids essentially weep in terror if you approach them with something other than a bland carbohydrate.

Obviously, this has something to do with the environment they were born into, and it's true I haven't been much of a cook over the last five years. It's only in the last month or so since I've been at home full time that I've started preparing a family meal each and every night, but even now I usually make two things: one meal for my husband and me, and something else entirely for the kids.

My boys will eat turkey sandwiches, scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes, noodles of all kinds, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, yogurt, applesauce, and grapes. Oh, and anything sweet, of course. But no kidding, that's just about the whole damn list.

I used to bang my head against a wall about my older boy's pickiness. I tried and tried to get him to try things and he just wouldn't. I can still remember the epic fight we had during one dinner when he refused to touch his waffle because there was a speck of unmelted butter visible in one of its squares. I was so angry with him, just utterly frustrated with the stupid food refusals, and my husband and I made him sit there until he—eventually, tearfully—ate part of it. All three of us were completely upset and it ruined the whole evening.

That was the night I said to myself, Enough. No more food drama. If he won't eat something, fine.

My second son was a great eater until he hit the toddler years, and then he started getting picky too. And you know what, I've never even engaged with him on it. If he won't eat something, I shrug and put it away. That's it. The part where you might disagree with me is this: I do let him eat something else later on. If someone doesn't finish their dinner but wants a bowl of cereal before bed, I'm okay with that. I could hold my ground and lecture them about how they should have eaten earlier, but I just can't make myself care enough to get into that battle.

The second thing I don't fight about is guns. Now, I should tell you that my husband is pro-gun, and he goes hunting every year, and he goes shooting with his family for sport. So our boys are growing up with more exposure to guns than your typical kid, I guess. We talk a lot about safety and both kids know they are absolutely never allowed to point a toy gun—even if it's just a stick they're pretending is a gun—at anyone, ever. But if they want to race around the house making that abominable "pshew pshew pshew!" sound as they shoot whatever target they've invented? I'm not going to try and stop that. They love this game and I remember doing that sort of thing as a kid and I just can't get behind the idea that guns are so awful kids shouldn't even be allowed to pretend to shoot Decepticons because the next thing you know, they'll be stalking their classmates at Columbine.

Lastly, I don't fight about outerwear. You want to pitch a giant stupid fit because you think you don't need a coat? Fine, just don't come crying to me when you're cold. The end.

Okay, your turn. Are there any parenting fights you avoid altogether?

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