This post was originally written on 11/18/2008
When you have kids, it's only a matter of time before they get hurt. Children are accident prone. They don't have the sense to know what their physical limitations are and can be either very daring or very clumsy. Either way, it often times leads to injury. Now when you have multiple children in the household a new element emerges...roughhousing. Some also call this horseplay. My two oldest boys like to wrestle with each other. They also like to pretend they are bull riders and take turns riding on each other's back. Many times this innocent child play leads to unintended consequences. Someone gets hurt. Now, my two daughters, who are much younger, can also get hurt; usually by falling off a chair, or hitting the other over a toy dispute. As most parents would do, we try to console the injured child and find out the source of their pain. Once the crying begins to subside we resort to a habit that got started many years ago when our firstborn was a toddler...we give the kid a piece of candy. We discovered that a crying and sometimes even screaming child will quickly have an attitude change with the simple gift of a sucker. One moment he or she could be convincing enough that we should be heading to the emergency room, and the next moment...calm. We quickly learned that we should always have a source for candy in case of these types of calamities. Halloween and Valentines Day are excellent sources for candy replenishment. Easter adds more to the bucket also. It's amazing how effective a little piece of candy can be to sooth a child's temperament. Over the years, we have found that Tootsie Rolls, Pez, and Smarties are the kid's favorites for this purpose. But lately I have noticed that Dum Dums (the small little sucker) work especially well with our daughters. Now that our boys are a little older, 6 and 8, they prefer the bigger suckers with the Tootsie Roll centers, but they work just the same. Sometimes I wonder if these little tykes get hurt on purpose, just so they can get a piece of candy. And what are we teaching them for the future? To go to the refrigerator when you get hurt? Well, we have time to mold their minds as they head into their teenage years. Yesterday I was reminded of another reason to reconsider this strategy of parenting...I took my six year old to the dentist and found out that he had 4 cavities!
Editor's note: My kids are now 4, 5, 7, 10, and 12 and they all still want a piece of candy after they get hurt. Some things never change.