Teenagers and self-discipline with food

Slightly off the Halloween topic but re self control and junk food…I’m finding food self discipline just doesn’t EXIST for my T1 teenage boy (13) or any of his non T1 friends. They just Hoover up what’s in front of them like food zombies, poor things. Point being, I think there are times in the teenage years when growth spurts and puberty metabolism overcome even a decent amount of ingrained self-discipline. I keep the food in our house healthy out of pity – if I needed 6-7 thousand calories a day (which is what a teenage boy often needs) it would be awful to look around and see a bunch of stuff I knew I “shouldn’t eat too much of” while the little voice in my brain stem was shouting EAT, YOU FOOL. I’m sure when he’s an adult, healthy choices will be way easier, but I figure life is demanding enough self discipline from him right now, he shouldn’t be ambushed by a donut :grinning:.

God bless you, peanut butter. Our growth chart and our budget owe you so much.


Self discipline is a learned skill, like any other. My teenage son (and my daughter before him) eats what we allowed them to eat and isn’t allowed to consume candy without limitations. In fact, Haloween is the only time of the year we really even have candy in the house. We also don’t do sodas because they’re just proven to be so unhealthy. If they’re not exposed to the bad things, they can’t gorge on them, and at the same time they learn about moderation in all things.

I tell my kids that they should consider themselves lucky that they get to experience candy in the quantities that they are allowed to have them…same with holiday presents and everything else. When I was a kid, I didn’t get to celebrate anything due to my families religion…so when my kids complain about a present, I take it from them and tell them that they’re not worthy of the gift. When they complain too much about wanting more candy, I take all the candy from them. Eventually, they learn moderation and how to appreciate what they have.

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@katiereeder When I was a (nonD) teenager food was never safe around me.

I would sit on the couch on Sunday and eat a half gallon of ice cream out of the container while I watched the NFL football game on TV.

Now, as an adult, I do neither.

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Teenagers and self discipline can indeed be difficult. My son (14) goes through periods where he eats two or three dinners to keep the hunger at bay. I am honestly amazed that he has the self discipline that he does. Being that we eat pretty heavy on the protein side, our grocery bill is a little obnoxious, and watching my son eat 8-10 oz of meat is amazing, but in the long run, glad we can do it for him. At least he can eat the protein without thinking about it much.


Ditto. My kids eat a LOT of food…but it’s all stuff that we don’t mind them eating. Our bill is always crazy, but we definitely limit the bad foods. It’s crazy watching the kids sometimes and wonder where all the foods even going!

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I am glad we are not the only ones who see difficulties with impulse control in our 13-year old when food is concerned.

I think a bit of cheating is to be expected and part of the territory. I remember periodically sneaking some of my mom’s pies from the kitchen. I feel grief at the amount of self-discipline that we need from our kids at an age where we (I) did not have any. Like @Chris, I am in awe when I see how much self-discipline they have at times. And, of course, I am sometimes frustrated when they don’t—but I shouldn’t be. They are kids and they are doing so much better than we have any right to expect from them.


I am of two minds about this. I practice the same thing: we don’t keep too much temptation at home: no sodas except on special occasion, no tempting high-carb snacks etc. But, at the same time, I remember the vicar’s son syndrome:* those who are deprived of reasonable access early on can become excessive when getting personal freedom as young adults.

*Vicar’s son syndrome: it seems that, in the UK, the sons of vicars had (have?) the reputation for enjoying 4-letter words, and prurient sights and songs :slight_smile:

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Meh, I was deprived of everything as a child - including love…but I turned out OK and don’t eat, or do things to excess.

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We try to just not judge him. Teenagers are going through so much, and to fight over food, in addition to the other fights you need to have is pointless. Other parents are in awe when we are over at someone else’s house and our son will consult or inform us about his insulin approach, and it is usually something that is difficult to manage, since parties are usually populated with food we wouldn’t normally prepare.

We also allow diet sodas since life isn’t perfect and he enjoys those.

My son’s brother is a carb-a-holic and so we often have things in the house that aren’t great for a diabetic. My son, has always preferred meat and cheese so he doesn’t really view it as a restriction.


9 posts were split to a new topic: Large families with one more more diabetics in the family (differences in management)

I think, in the end, there is no “right” approach…it’s whatever works best for you and your children and family. Everyone eats and drinks differently that that’s what makes our world a wonderful place. No one should ever judge anyone about anything imho. Tolerance, understanding and empathy are important in all aspects of life.

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