The Effects of Sugar


Sugar affects each of my children differently. With some, we avoid it at all costs. With others, we encourage it.

Encourage: Liam. Whenever Liam has a huge frown on his face, I make him eat. He has low blood sugar that affects his mood. The same is true for his dad. We have to keep snacks on hand so that Liam doesn’t deteriorate into catastrophic thinking (which I discussed in a previous post). If I really want to boost his system, we give him chocolate. It brings him back into balance. We have also discovered that it gives him acne. Sometimes, it’s worth the breakout.

We can take this “boost” too far. Once, Liam had pancakes breakfast. His grandparents were with us, so his pancakes got drenched in syrup. Later that morning, he was literally shaking:

“What’s wrong, buddy?”

“I’m okay, Mom.”

“You’re shaking!”

“I don’t know why.”

I did – sugar.

Discourage: Mea. In past posts I have discussed how Mea’s teeth are highly susceptible to cavities. Mea usually feels “punished” when we deny her candy. Because she gets cavities easily, we’ve tried to explain to her why she cannot have candy. Unfortunately, this has caused her to steal candy from us and other kids…. To give her candy and destroy her teeth? Or to keep it from her and cause her to act out – it’s a sad situation.

However, when other kids are getting candy, like this past Sunday at Easter, we cannot be cruel. While I didn’t let her have both pieces, I gave her one chocolate cross. Her eyes lit up and a broad smile stretched across her face:

“Thank you, Mom.”

The blessing of sugar.

Highly Discourage: Kieran. Kieran is extremely sensitive to any kind of sugar. We’ve significantly changed the household diet due to this sensitivity. No more “white” bread. No juice (except for organic types). No candy in the house. No soda, except dad’s (which also has caffeine). Even cereal is scrutinized.

High Fructose Corn Syrup will keep him from being able to sit still, will keep him awake at night, and will usually end up in some consequence for him, due to impulsivity.

This Sunday, we let him have water ice WITH red die (another enemy to Kieran’s system). At 10:45 that night, he came into my room:

“I can’t sleep.”

“I know, buddy. Sorry. It’s my fault. I didn’t say no to the water ice.”

“I wanted it. It’s not your fault.”

“But you need your sleep.”

Thankfully, it was a long weekend.

We got to talk late into the night, my lying against his back to calm him down enough to sleep. We don’t snuggle as much because he’s a young man now. Sugar gave us some special time together.

8 thoughts on “The Effects of Sugar

  1. Your post is sensitive and important, Aileen. As a parent you must make decisions for your children that are sometimes difficult but always done with love and reason. Your final paragraph is a concrete image of that love. By the way, the photo is adorable!

  2. Perhaps non-sugar treats might be the way to go for all of your children. I imagine if we learn early that an apple, or sweet strawberries represent a treat, we would feel good about eating these. Sugar has recently been linked to cancer. That alone seems like a good reason to substitute. Good luck:)

  3. I find it interesting how you handle sugar in your house. Boy, that must be a challenge! It is interesting how sugar impacts your children in different ways. Kudos to you for keeping everyone in check!

  4. A great post around te theme of sugar – loved the way you described its effect on each of our children. What a balancing act! Aileen, all these posts are a book – really. Make time for a Highlights weekend or other SCBWI event. They are all so good, and parents and teachers would read this book!

    1. Thanks, Lynne. If you know when an SCBWI event is coming, I would appreciate learning of it! I do get their FB posts but it’s a new world. One step at a time.

  5. What an interesting structure to use to characterize your kids. I got to see each of them through an unusual lens. More important, I got a peek at your relationships with them. I enjoyed it.

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