Follow-up to the “Treats in school are NOT needed!” post

posted in diabetes, food, review on by


I was actually very surprised by the responses and outrage about my post I created last week. It addressed the fact that bringing a “treat” to school for the whole class for your child is not needed. From there I explained why. WOW! A lot of people got extremely defensive about it. I knew it would step on some toes but I had no idea people would fight so hard to bring treats (junk food) to school for other children. I know that is not how they said it but that is what was implied with the fighting. In this post I’m going to address some of the responses. (names are left out for privacy reasons. Also a lot of the responses were brought up over and over again by different people. I do use some exact quote from people but sometimes these topics were brought up multiple times on multiple facebook pages, the quoting is so I don’t paraphrase everything that was being said.)

Response- “I think that if a parent chooses to send cupcakes or whatever to school to celebrate a birthday etc. That’s up to them….if YOU don’t want your kids to eat the “Junk” offered. Then write a note to the teacher at the beginning of the year telling them to not offer it to your kid… Helicopter parents annoy me…..there I said it.”

My reply- I first off believe this person did not read my post. She just went off on her “right” to send junk food and for me to just get over it. Yes, I hate the fact parents bring “treats” to school to give to my child. Yes, you have a right to do that. However if you knew something was going to hurt a child, why in the world would you want to? My child can only eat a certain amount of carbohydrates in a day, she can have a cupcake. However she’s allowed 45-50 grams of carbs for one meal, a typical cupcake is anywhere from 25-40 grams of carbs. That would mean the majority of her allotted carbs for one meal would be the cupcake. This is why we tell her she can’t have the “treats” brought into the class for someone’s birthday.
If you were only allowed to eat a certain amount of foods in a day would you eat what is good for your body or what is unhealthy?
I’d also like to address the “Helicopter parents annoy me…” I’m not a helicopter parent. My child has an autoimmune disease that if not treated properly could take her life. My daughter is only 4 years old. I’m responsible for her health and well-being. Part of that is ensuring she gets the proper foods and the correct amount of insulin for those foods.

Response- “I think it’s unfair and unrealistic to expect there to never be treats brought to a classroom… Helicopter parenting is right!!”
“don’t make it unfair for every other kid.”
“life isn’t always fair. We don’t all have the same salaries, same houses, same cars. We don’t all eat the same things.”

My reply-
I am taking the “being fair” part of some of the responses and will address the rest of their responses later.
Yes, life isn’t always fair. My child use to run around for hours with no cares in the world. She use to eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. She use to be able to sleep through the night without being woken up. She only had to visit the doctor once a year and got a shot “maybe” once a year. Like any normal kid.
NOW my child has to stop often from playing to get her finger poked and her blood tested. Her finger is poked anywhere from 6-10 times a day. While other children get to keep on playing and don’t have little ouchies on their fingers from multiple needle pokes (yes they do hurt). Talk about not fair.
My child needs to eat every two to three hours and before she can eat we have to count the carbs of each food. She then has to eat ALL of the food put in front of her. I’ve watched kids snack here and there, whenever they wanted, my child can not. I’ve also been at school and watched many children throw away half their lunches. If my child threw away part of her lunch her blood sugars would go low and she’s get sick, sometimes even put into the hospital. Talk about not fair.
My child is often woken in the middle of the night because her blood sugar is low and she needs to eat/drink something to get her blood sugars back up to a safe range. While other kids gets to sleep through the night if they wanted to. Talk about not fair.
My child now visits the doctor at least once every other month, sometimes more if her blood sugars have been bad. She also has to get blood work done every three months. And before she was put on an insulin pump she was getting 4 shots a day. Most kids rarely see a needle. Talk about not fair.
So lets talk about life not being FAIR. My 4 year old is already learning life isn’t fair. We’re asking you to do ONE thing, not bring treats to school for your child’s birthday. “But it’s not fair to my child”. Maybe your child needs a lesson in life not being fair? Plus I believe if the whole school says, “no treats on birthdays” then no one would feel left out because no one is doing it.

Response- “”Maybe send an alternative treat on the days someone will be bringing in a treat.””

My reply- I double quoted this because it’s just a rough quote on what many people said.
It’s all great to think this way however now you’re asking me to spend my own money on an un-need treat to make sure my kid isn’t left out because you just HAD to bring in a treat for your child’s birthday. A treat that isn’t needed. Save the cupcakes and cookies for their party in your own house.
At this point in the discussion with others I was starting to feel sad that parents were fighting so hard for their “right to bring treats for other kids in the class”. REALLY? You’re fighting that hard to be allowed to waste your money to bringing an un-needed treat to OTHER kids? I shake my head in sadness, really I do.

Response- “Banning snacks is not the solution and will only further alienate children with Type 1 diabetes, since all the other kids will know that they (or rather their nosy and/or power-hungry parents) are at fault.”

My reply- Please read #1 to address the “nosy and/or power-hungry parents” part. It’s not about power, it’s about protecting my child’s life. I’d hope all parents would want to protect their children, especially if they have a medical issue. I’d really hope they’d fight to protect them any way they can.
If NO child in the whole school brings treats in for their birthday then ON ONE would feel left out because no one is bringing in treats, no one. That would not alienate my child more because it would be a school wide rule for all kids, not just her class. I know at most schools there are at least 1 child who is effected by treats being brought in. There are many children with nut allergies, gluten allergies, religions (that can’t eat certain foods), type 1 diabetes… that are in schools today. If the school would make it a school-wide rule that no outside treats are allowed then no one would feel left out and no one would feel alienated. It sounds simple to me but I may be wrong.

Response- “Kids are VERY resilient and I don’t think we give them enough credit! Your school aged children aren’t babies anymore (as sad as that is), I’m sure if they know they can’t have treats or if their teachers (or people you’ve left in their care) know they can’t have treats, then I’m sure they have other options- or other activities for then to do while the other kids are snacking on something sweet. ALSO I highly doubt that the child (who for whatever reason can’t have sweets) is sitting there at the table with sob eyes, surrounded by all their friends watching all the other kids, feeling completely horrible about themselves.”

My reply- This is true to a point. However I know she has had to sit their while kids ate their cupcakes and she really wants it. She’s only 4 and has only had t1d for one year. She has a hard time understanding why she has to do the things she does (needles, doctors, tests…). One of those hard things is watching her classmates enjoy special treats for someone’s birthday while she sits there. (to be fair her teacher has been working on helping her feel safe) I’ve asked her how she felt about it all and she told me it makes her really sad. A lot of times the cupcakes come home to us and when then have to figure out a good time to let her have it, if at all.
Your suggestion is to make the teacher come up with other actives for my child to do while kids eat a treat that wasn’t needed in their first place. I think this is unfair to the teachers. If you’d just not bring the treats there would be no issue. (I keep saying that (“If you’d just not bring the treats there would be no issue.” but it keeps falling on deaf ears. It seems people shut off and think of the defensive thing to say to fight for their right to bring treats for other kids.)

Response- “1 of my favorite childhood memories is of my mom and I making sugar cookies for my birthday to pass out in class. This was a tradition in my family and a recipie that was passed down through generations.”

My reply- It’s great we want to do with our kids what we did as a kid. However things have changed a lot since we were kids. Take for example, I LOVED having a peanut butter sandwich in my own personal lunch, it was the only thing I’d eat. Now a child could be suspended for bringing a peanut butter sandwich for her own lunch. It’s not fair but it’s what the schools are doing to keep children with nut allergies safe. So why do we have a double standard for other food related issues? It doesn’t make sense. We could avoid harming another child by not providing foods that could hurt them to eat. I’m talking about supplying food for other kids, not their personal lunches.

Response- “Not having ANY treats is not good either, the same as having too many. Every child should feel special especially on their birthdays.”

My reply- These are two different statements rolled out into one. Yes, we should teach moderation, but that shouldn’t have to be forced upon us by unnecessary treats being brought into schools. This should be done with parents and their OWN children.
I remember when I was a kid the teacher would have a paper crown for the birthday child and we’d get to pick out of a treasure chest a special prize for our birthdays. Everyone in the class knew it was our birthday and we all felt special on our day. At my daughters’ school the Principal calls the children’s names that are having a birthday over the intercom, then each kid gets a pencil. The whole school knows it’s their birthday and my kids say they love it. No food was needed to make a child feel special on their birthday at school.

8- Some positive responses. “Our school doesn’t allow any outside food or drinks to be handed out. A child can bring food for themselves and that is it! I think it’s a fantastic policy!”
“No unhealthy foods in our schools. No treats either. Our kids get yogurts, fruit and other healthy options for birthdays and school celebrations. Quite honestly, they love it. Especially making their own yogurt parfaits”

My reply- I’m glad to hear that schools with the “no junk food” rule are surviving and the kids are ok. With the backlash my other post created it sounded like their children would die (or something like that) if they couldn’t bring treats for other kids in their class on their birthday.

There was a very long discussion on this topic on two of my friends’ facebook pages, as well as my own. I will keep on fighting for my child’s right just as much as you will keep on fighting for your right to bring treats for other kids. So let’s end with with a cute photo of my child, one I keep fighting for. Take a deep breath, everything will be ok.


(finger poke photo done by teneleven photography)