People Mean Well, But…

Why is it that complete strangers feel the need to force food at my children? 99.9% of the time this food isn’t safe and contains an allergic food. These ignorant, but kind people obviously just adore children and think food is an easy way to light up a child’s face and to make their day. Well, that’s just wonderful for most, but not for my son who is allergic to at least one ingredient in every pre-packaged food on the market. So, these strangers insist my kids take the food and absolutely refuse to take no for an answer. We tell the stranger that my son is allergic, multiple times, doesn’t matter. They keep at it! My kids know not to take food from strangers, but since they’re always with someone they know when this happens AND the stranger is adamant about giving the food to them, they accept it. Then when we’re out of ear shot my son always asks “does it have allergies in it?” It breaks my heart every time. It’s such a hopeful question and his face is all lit up with the potential to eat something normally off-limits. When I tell him “yes, it has allergies honey/no, you can’t have it,” he looks so sad that it physically hurts me. Lately he’s been more upset by this then before and usually ices the cake with a pouty lip and “but why do they even make something with allergies in it?

So, little does this well-meaning stranger know, instead of making a kid’s day, they just shattered his week.


Candy from strangers.

FROM: Allergies


  1. selenarae on April 26, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I totally understand. My daughter has never had a piece of candy in her life. I bought some potentially safe candy, but I just haven’t even had the guts to try it out, yet. She sees people eating colorful candy all around her and wonders what it is. Sometimes my husband eats candy and it happens to be gross (there are some cheap, yucky candies out there) and luckily she sees him spitting them out, and she tells me, “some candies are yucky”, but the other day she said, “I would like to have a candy, some day” and it just tugged at my heart. We’re about to go on a 3-day vacation, so I don’t want to try and new food items right now, but after we get back, I will give one a try. One part of my brain says that candy is not necessary to live and why should we risk it, but then again, this candy is likely very safe and she just seems so sad, feeling left out so often.

    I do also get very irritated with people who won’t take no for an answer. I completely understand the initial offer, as they are just being nice, but once the polite refusal is made they need to let it go.

    • Jennifer on April 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Hey Selena – Candy free is obviously better for her anyway. I love to bake, so I do bake quite a few sweets for Tristan. And when I find an allergy free candy, I tend to buy it since it’s so rare he can have candy. Hopefully, because of all these restrictions, our kids will grow up with less of a sweet tooth and really healthy overall.

  2. Tracy Bush on April 26, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Can I just say that as a food allergy mom, I completely and totally understand how you feel! One one hand, people are not trying to be mean and they don’t understand to what extent this bothers our children. On the other hand- why, why, why does food have to be the main staple of kindness and prizes and motivation? In school- why can’t they give out non-food items? Why not have non-food parties? Why is this so crazy to other parents? Our kids are so strong most of the time and you’re right- it breaks our heart as a mother when they actually do get upset about it because it doesn’t happen so often… maybe Google videos on children giving their perspective on how it feels to have food allergies? I know there was one a few months back. Maybe watching with him will make him feel not so alone in this struggle? That and many extra cuddles! Remind him that evn though he can’t have that food that it means that you and he get to spend special time together and make even better and healthier food together that you know will be tasty and safe.

    • Jennifer on April 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      You’re right – I just signed a petition about this – keeping food restricted to cafeteria’s at school. Teachers and other parents shouldn’t be able to make the dietary decisions for other parent’s children. How did bad food become this obsession for children?

  3. Kim on April 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I remember when I was a little girl, I was not allowed to have chocolate or basically anything with milk including ice cream and it was torture when my family or friends would eat these treats in front of me. My mom would hand me a carob bar and say, “these are just as good if not better than those chocolate bars.” Unfortunately I had already tasted the “good stuff” and knew there was a huge difference but I just ate my carob bars and went on my merry way. It’s probably not as hard to go without the goodies if you never try them in the first place! And it stinks how people force candy/food on kids (and adults even) when they don’t know what dietary restrictions they may have. I think we have to stop focusing on food and using it as a reward. Obviously with child obesity on the rise it would probably make a difference.

    • Jennifer on April 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      I totally agree with you on taking the spotlight off food as a reward and certainly removing it from classrooms. Interesting to hear your thoughts on food allergies as a child. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Annemarie K. on April 30, 2012 at 12:16 am

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this new body wash treatment for Eczema called CLn. A friend forwarded me a video of it with a doctor talking about how well it works and I’m curious to try it. Here’s the video: Do you have any experience with it or know anyone who’s tried it? I’ll try anything at this point and really like that I don’t have to get a prescription for it. Thanks!

    • Jennifer on May 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Hi – never tried it. I’m not sure how natural the ingredients are.

  5. lucylox on May 1, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Your post is so very true – sadly. Both my daughters have allergies and are always excluded in food based treats/activities/prizes etc. It may be healthier, but food seems such a big deal to most kids you can’t help but feel like crying when they have to turn everything down. At least they’re both young enough to still feel a little special at being a bit different – I dread what they’ll feel like as teenagers when they want to be the same as their friends, not different…

    • Jennifer on May 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Yes! And I worry that as teenagers they’ll want to test the “system” more and maybe will be more reckless with their allergies. Yikes! How can we be sure to raise them to be smart and think before they act?

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