If my diabetic son goes to a birthday party or trick or treating on Halloween, is it all right for him to break his diet just this once?

Think how many "just this once's" that would make in a year. Before long, just this once becomes an everyday occurrence and bad habits are established. Your son's health and maybe even his life expectancy are diminished.

It's hard to see your child deprived, when other kids are loading up on goodies maybe it's even harder on you than on him but diabetes is going to be with him all his life. Now is when the lifetime behavior patterns are established. You're not being kind when you let him break his diet just this once. One thing you can do on occasions when your child is being deprived is figure out some way he can get extra attention. Attention is an even more satisfying commodity to the young (or the middle aged and old, for that matter) than ice cream, cake, and candy. Let him pass out the forbidden food to others in much the same way that some alcoholics like to act as bartender at parties.

You can also give more parties at your own home. That allows you to present approved food in such entertaining ways that neither your child nor the guests will realize, or care, that they aren't getting the junk food of their hearts. As for Halloween, the first decision in these hazardous times is do you allow your child out at all?

Why not help sort out the acceptable healthy foods and save a few sugary ones for handling reactions? What about the rest of the candy? In our house the garbage disposal is a great eater of "nondesirable foods." Knowing that resisting candy will be rewarded by an exchange gift at evening's end might make trick or treating less frustrating for a child. For example, exchanging the candy for a Halloween storybook at bedtime can be fun.

Use your own imagination to help your child stay on the diet instead of using your pity to allow him or her to break it "just this once."

A colleague of his who sees many diabetic children and young people says that a number of young diabetics, especially teenagers, who don't want to be different and who long for the fun foods their peers get to wolf down, totally rebel. They refuse to follow their diets and as a result stay constantly out of control.

This doctor makes a deal with the kids. If they promise to stick to their diet at all other times, they get six Hog Wild Days a year, six celebration days such as Christmas or their birthdays or graduation day when, as far as food is concerned, anything goes. "Do you know how high they usually kick up their heels on tho^e days?" the doctor asks. "A coke and a hamburger or a hot fudge sundae. Big deal."
Dr. Power, himself, adopted the Hog Wild Day method with his adult heart attack patients. "Everyone needs a binge now and then," he says, "whether it's mint bonbons, Big Macs, or a cholesterol quiche. Something in most of us calls for a break from the routine. . . . There's room for the occasional departure for a holiday. It is the daily habits that get us into health mischief, not the occasional celebration.

Only you know your child well enough to decide whether the Hog Wild System would be a safety valve that would let off enough steam to allow him or her to simmer down to a good daily dietary routine or if it would only break down the already flimsy barriers against hazardous eating habits.
If you do opt for Hog Wildness, you should have a clear understanding with your child that the six days are to be spread out over the year and not clustered into an orgy week that could prove disastrous.


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