Win, Lose, or Draw? or Why We Ended our No Sugar Family Challenge One Week Early

Back in January, I let you all in on our Family Challenge of going from January 5 to March 24 without sugar or sweets in our house or in our mouths.

This past Saturday, March 17, we ended our challenge one week early.

Why? After all, there was only one week to go, and surely, if we had made it that far we could make it one more week, right?

Well, first of all let me say, my family did a WONDERFUL job of making good choices over the last couple of months. My kids said no to things that they wanted very badly including candy, cupcakes, and ice cream. They ate natural peanut butter (that they weren’t big fans of). They went without cereal for breakfast. They drank water at restaurants. And with the exception of a couple of innocent mistakes (marketing people are so sneaky – they put 100% natural on a drink and to a kid that sounds like it shouldn’t have sugar in it – grr!) and our purposeful break when Anne and I went to Chicago, I would deem the challenge as successful.

Until one day last week when my kids were “hungry” and decided that they needed to have a snack of brown sugar. Yes, I did say brown sugar. No,  I don’t know why. While most of the other sweets in the house were either pitched or hidden, there were other options like chocolate chips and sugar-free candy that they could have chosen.

We had a nice long conversation about it and what it comes down to is they had a moment of weakness. Just like we all do at times.

But as Mike and I reflected on it the next couple of days, it seemed to us that where it had started out as a Family Challenge, at some point it had begun to feel like punishment to our kids. Their hearts weren’t in it for the challenge anymore and they were seeing it as mom and dad not letting them have sugar (because mom and dad are mean!). And this is NOT the message that we wanted to be giving.

This challenge was about learning that we don’t need sugar and sweets to survive and we can have self-control and say no. This challenge was about doing something together as a family that was good for us. And when we realized that it wasn’t a positive thing anymore, we decided to end it. (And it didn’t hurt that my favorite holiday was a week before our original end date.)

So I made the kids cupcakes and we told them on Saturday morning that the sugar fast was over.

You would have thought we told them that we won the lottery. They were so excited. And since then they have wanted to eat every sugary substance in sight. They whined when I wouldn’t buy them sugary cereal, but instead bought Cheerios, Rice Chex, and Rice Krispies. They whined when I wouldn’t buy them donuts at the grocery store. They whined when I wouldn’t buy them a KitKat. They whined when I wouldn’t let them eat a cupcake for breakfast.

Yep. I guess that means that life is back to normal at the Ennen house. Mom trying to help the family make good choices and them whining about it. 🙂

What do you think? Should we have ended the challenge early? Why or why not?

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