Saturday 1 October 2016

Parents confess to bribing children with sweets daily

Published 10/05/2016 | 02:30

Children are offered too many sweets by parents
Children are offered too many sweets by parents

Parents openly admit they are "bribing their kids" with sweets on a daily basis to get some peace and quiet, according to a new survey.

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But the sugar-laden goodies - which are now a normal part of many children's diet, instead of being an occasional treat - are fuelling rising obesity levels, according to Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, director of human health and nutrition at Safefood.

A Safefood survey found that more than 40pc of parents routinely gave their children treats such as crisps, chocolates and sweets at least once a day or more.

"Parents told us that they considered this daily food treating as 'bribing up their kids' and they routinely gave these to ease any difficult situations," said Dr Foley-Nolan.

"They were surprised to learn that crisps and biscuits fall into the treats category, as these have been given as daily staples - for example, after school or after dinner at home."

However, some parents are cutting back, she said, and successful strategies include restricting sweets to weekends only (30pc), buying smaller-sized treats (23pc) and limiting the treats to every other day (23pc).

"Tactics like having healthier snacks, such as raisins or popcorn, in the car or your bag, or even a non-food treat, like football cards, can also help," said Dr Foley-Nolan. "Of course, if you don't buy them in the first place, your children won't constantly ask you for them."

Psychologist John Sharry said: "It takes time and patience to break bad habits but the good news is it can be done. Learn to say no gently and firmly. Make it a family project to become more healthy and happy. Sit down with your children and plan out some positive changes that you want to make together."

Irish Independent

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