Kids vs. Food

After watching this Man vs. Food episode (Adam eating a burger with ghost chili peppers) with the kids, we went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner.  Claire wanted to try the Habanero sauce, a la Man vs. Food.  She carefully put a drop on her tongue, let the heat soak in a bit, and then proceeded to wait (she called it a two minute burn) before sucking down her glass of water.

Grady followed suit, but wasn’t ‘man’ enough to hold his burn for long.  He dove right into his water like a starving horse after a desert crossing.  Claire loved the whole scene, providing commentary like a sportscaster during an overtime hockey game.  Grady was a follower, yes, but probably won’t take on the next dare from his older sister.  It was a fun dinner entertainment game, and I didn’t think much of it at the time.

But where could this behavior lead?  Sticking your tongue on the indexflagpole on the triple dog dare of a friend?  Trying to drink a gallon of milk in an hour?

Or have you heard about the cinnamon challenge?  Or maybe in college you might have tried to join the Century Club?  I tried that one…and there’s no way I’d want my kids to follow in those footsteps.

It makes you think as parent whether certain kids are born with a more risk-taking personality.  And to what extent does your parenting create or stifle risky behaviors in your kids.  And while you want to urge your kids to try new things, you certainly want them to avoid something that can be dangerous.  Some risk takers are handsomely rewarded in life (entrepreneurs, hedge fund managers) while others simply turn into cinnamon snorting, beer chugging frat boys.

I guess it’s about balance when it comes to parenting – that, and avoiding ghost chili burgers.


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