My first line of defense? I'm a grand PARENT, not somebody off the street to trying to tell you how to raise your children. I'm trying to pass along what I've learned from when I was a young parent and most of those lessons were from making mistakes. Plus we have so much more information at our fingertips now, some of which has actually changed my beliefs....like spanking, for instance. I did spank my kids (as a child, I was spanked with a switch from a tree--most of our kids don't even know what that is), but I don't believe it's the right thing to do now. It doesn't make sense to hit a child in any way, shape or form now. I feel it teaches them to hit. Period.
I do believe in teaching them to suffer consequences though. Not threats of no birthday party or no dessert, which most likely will never be carried out, but actual consequences that will actually make them think twice about what happened the last time they did or said something. I feel that taking away something they value is the best way to make them "suffer" the consequences of their actions.
My biggest concern is how they are being fed. In this time of hormones, contaminated meat, chemicals and other unidentifiable elements in our food, the most basic ideal of eating healthy, nutritious food seems to be not in the forefront of many of today's parents' minds. Yes, sugar is a major factor in our childrens' diets and many parents do limit the amount of candy, but they're still drinking soda instead of healthy juices (or how about WATER for a change?) and the sweetened cereals and pastries and cookies that seem to be the mainstay of their diets. This is on top of what they DON'T eat such as vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins. It's alarming to think of how this will affect them as they get older, not to mention how it's affecting their brains right now. How do they concentrate in school when they've had a sugar filled breakfast and they can barely make it to lunch without "starving" and then have MORE sugar usually with snacks and sweet drinks?
How about the kids who are in sports? They need the vitamins and minerals to build good bones and muscles, plus they need to stay hydrated and get enough sleep to energize their bodies, not exhaust every cell they have. Sometimes the coaches are good about telling the athletes how to keep their strength up, but most of them don't have a clue that the kids might not be getting the right foods at home and that they could be a great influence by suggesting that they eat certain foods.
I try not to confront my kids about their methods of raising their children. Instead, I try to encourage the grandkids by explaining how what they eat will determine how strong they are or how they will have more energy or just by having certain things available for them such as plenty of fruit (apple slices with peanut butter), cut up veggies with different flavored dips, etc. Taking the time to make food fun or attractive is another way to help them be aware of what they're eating and want to be more aware of their bodies.
There are many online sites with ideas for healthy menus for kids and you can't expect to be able to change their (parents) habits overnight, but any effort will be worthwhile to start with and gradually you will see a difference. This site
is pretty extreme, but may give you some hints on how to substitute some of the things your grandkids are hooked on. Good luck and leave a comment if you have some additional ideas or have had the same concerns!