Not So Jolly After All!

Today was The Boy's first time at a school fayre. It was also my first time experiencing it from 'the other side', the side of the parent.

We were slightly late to the fayre as I'd misunderstood the collection time (newbie parent alert) and as I set foot inside the main hall, I craved the security of being on the other side of the stall. Nonetheless, I shepherded The Boy around the ever-changing one-way system to seek out goodies on the various stalls. We won a can of lemonade which The Boy complained about as he wanted the white Chocolate Orange instead; the dear old lady on the other side of the table seemed to have forgotten what it's like to be four years old and not understand the whole 'lucky dip' concept. He also managed to find an Orchard Toys game which we don't have (amazingly), tried his luck at rolling a two pence piece (straight off the table, six times) and refused to have his face painted.

And then we came to the jolly jar stand.

I'm a teacher, I know the stalls which make money and which children adore. They love the crafts, the face painting, the endless supply of cakes, the draw of the tombola. However, you can see them positively twitch over the jolly jars. Hordes of little bodies pushing to find the best spot and win the attention of the teacher in charge of the tickets, the hope of winning the best jar, sweaty palms holding pound coins, eager faces full of anticipation as to their treasures.


This was the contents of one of the jolly jars that The Boy won (the other jar had a normal party bag selection of chocolate, crayons, a balloon, a bag of haribo and a lolly). The dulcet tones of Peppa Pig and Suzy Sheep were serenading me from the living room at the time when I opened this jar up, and I honestly couldn't believe my eyes. I know sweets are popular in jolly jars, and they're also a cheap way of filling them up, but for it to be full of so many sweets shocked me. My fingers twitched to share it on Instagram, with a caption about having thrown it straight in the bin and desperately trying to find other bits and bobs to fill it up with before The Boy noticed what was happening.

I didn't expect to be criticised.

I don't let The Boy have sweets. He's allowed chocolate but not sweets. If the truth be told, he has got to the grand old age of four and a half years thinking he doesn't like sweets, I'm definitely not going to try and convince him otherwise!

Various people jokingly complained that I'd thrown the parma violets in the bin (I did consider keeping them), someone called me a meanie, others agreed with me but explained that they allowed their children to have sweets in moderation. That's fine, I'm not criticising anyone's decisions to let their children have sweets, it's entirely up to them because they're responsible adults and they know how to parent their children. And then came the sarcasm.

Don't criticise me for throwing them in the bin.

If I don't want to give them to my child, that is my business.

Don't mock me with a comment about filling the jar full of fruit.

Could someone explain how giving a child fruit, not sweets, is derogatory?

Don't tell me that I've been wasteful when a parent had donated them and I shouldn't have thrown them in the bin.

I paid for that jolly jar. If I want to bin it, I will.

Don't tell me how to parent my child.

I don't tell you how to parent yours!

I'm at a loss as to how throwing the sweets into the bin is me being a bad parent. I'm also very much at a loss as to how someone can use giving fruit as a mocking and belittling comment. I honestly don't understand. As it was, I filled up the jolly jar with bits and pieces lying around the house from party bags that The Boy had forgotten about and he was over the moon with it.

But could someone please explain to me how I am a bad parent because I won't give my child sweets? Can someone just talk me through that one?

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  1. says

    I think perhaps the comments might be more about them than you. As in they feel bad as they wouldn't do that? I'm not judging you or anyone on what they do because it' none of my business and I'd be stuffed if I was judged πŸ˜‰

    I let Leo eat sweets, and I'd have let him have the lot (not in one go) and have done before – we go to lots of parties and fetes etc and as he's got older it would be too hard not to (I know I COULD fight him). I also let him play on the wii for ages, every day, and play with his toy gun he was given from school and probably a lot more 'bad' things. I often think of you and think it's probably lucky we can't meet as Leo would be a bad influence.

    I'd never comment on one of your choices though, especially as yours are always the better choice!!! So I think maybe it's people feeling bad that they are not so good?

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I think you may well be right chick. I was genuinely not criticising anyone who gives sweets, I just couldn't believe that someone was having a go at me for *not* giving them to him! I'm not so naive that I don't know that he will eat sweets in the future, of course he will, but at the moment I'm the boss and I say no.

      And don't talk such rot! They'd completely be friends.

  2. says

    i never wanted the boys to like sweets (yet at least – it is my guilty pleasure) but theiur Granma (paternal) who got them to like them eventually. because he has older cousins who do like them and a cousin same age as B who has a dairy free intolerance so has been allowed sweets as he cant have chocolate, Granma would hand out sweets soemtimes and I was always pleased that B would not want to try one saying h didnt like them. Jenson actually tried them first (he has such a sweet tooth) and now B will eat the jelly hairbo type ones but thats it, which is a shame because now he eats the ones in the party bag which i used to lol. But i dont buy them sweets.
    i have to say as this was a school event, i am surprised sweets were allowed and maybe a lesson is not to buy a jolly jar ( i have not heard of these) and steer the boy towards something else. that is a lot of sweets but some parents do allow their kids to eat them and i guess as it was a school fayre, maybe a parent of an older child donated it??
    It is YOUR choice so dont feel you should have done anything differently (which i know you dont), i feel bad now that i put sweets in those jellies at B's party .
    ps, i am with Emma i would have eaten them all myself – except for the parma violets yukky!!! actually, if truth be told those sweets are not my favs so i may well have binned them too. x x x

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I know there will be a time when I can't control his access to sweets so much, but while he's young and I'm very much the boss still I'm saying no. I'm lucky because he actually doesn't like sweets (or so he thinks) as he can't stand the sensation. If The Boy has older siblings then I'm sure he'd be scoffing them as much as possible!

      You'll soon realise that schools have to be hypocritical about healthy eating at times as it brings in the money for these events; wait until you see the school fayre!

      My main issue is not that the sweets were there, as it was my choice to let him have a jar, it's that someone criticised me for *not* giving them to him!

      (Don't feel bad about the sweets in the jellies, they fitted the theme and it was one or two! Look at all the healthy food you did too!)

  3. says

    I always put my kids' sweets in the bin. If I didn't, I'd end up eating them which isn't good for anyone lol. Seriously though, I don't let my kids have sweets very often. They are lucky if they get on once a week. What you decide to do with the sweets is up to you.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      That's why they went in the bin to be honest, my teeth are bad enough without me risking more fillings or fractured teeth from chomping on a refresher!

      Thanks for your support.

  4. says

    We allow ours to have chocolate but not sweets. We occasionally let them have jelly sweets but never lollypops or chewy sweets.
    They all know what they're allowed and what they're not and they throw them away themselves if they get them in party bags or kindly refuse them if a child brings them in for the class on a birthday or after a holiday.
    Their teeth and not putting all that rubbish into their growing bodies are 100% more important than a few seconds of pleasure so I'm totally behind you!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      If there had been jelly sweets, he could have had a few of them and I'd have shared them with him, or held them back for later. But those sweets are all rock solid boiled sweets, or crack your teeth in half refreshers; not going to happen! I think that's really good that your children bin the ones which they can't have, well done for teaching them that. Thanks for your support.

  5. says

    I allow Holly to have sweets, now I feel a bit guilty myself! What you do is your business, no one should criticise that. I guess putting stuff on social media makes people think they can comment on our decisions?

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Oh please don't feel guilty that's certainly not my intention! If they'd been jelly sweets then he could have had them, but not those rock solid ones. And yes I suppose by putting it on social media then I'm opening up a discussion, but I never thought that someone would criticise me for *not* giving him the sweets, do you know what I mean?

  6. says

    Hands up. I love Parma violets and called you a meany for binning them! Apologies but I hoped the πŸ˜‰ would be taken as a jokey comment. Yes sweets are crap and we rarely have them here – we do have chocolate treats and cake though. My two would go bat crazy if they had eaten the contents of that jar and I admire your stance. My comment on IG was in no way meant to be taken as a criticism.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Oh I took your comment completely in jest, sorry if I implied otherwise! My only issue is that someone was critical that I wouldn't give them, and then told me I was wasting them. It's not like it was actually nutritious food that I was throwing away! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  7. says

    I think the thing is, if you put it out there, you've got to reasonably expect that people are going to disagree with what you say and as it's the internet, there's a good chance you'll get less than desirable responses. It's your decision how you parent you child and if you're happy, then that's the main thing!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      You're right, by putting it out there then of course I'm inviting a discussion. However, never did I imagine that someone would be critical that I *hadn't* given him the sweets, surely that's the wrong way around?! I'm more than happy that I don't give him basically blocks of solid sugar, my mouth is atrocious because of my sweet tooth and I don't want that for him.

      • says

        Oh absolutely, it's the weirdest thing to take a stand on! I mean my own children have pretty unrestricted access to sweets (which I find means that actually never ask for them) but I'd never judge someone for NOT giving their children sweets. It's a strange thing to get on your high horse about!

  8. says

    I tried and failed to say no to sweets. However, I do limit them as best I can (she has 3 great nanas and 2 sets of grandparents, all of whom seem to see anything sweet as a 'treat.' It's difficult as I love them too much to argue about it.
    However, I admire your choice, it does no harm to throw them away, and your son didn't even know and so was perfectly happy. I also am surprised about the amount of sweets via a school event.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I'm almost positive that there's a time when I will have no control over the secret sweets, but I'm lucky that at the moment he doesn't have ready access to them. My mum is a bit of a one for giving him treats, but they'll come in the form of little cakes, or Peppa Pig cookies etc, which aren't so bad.

      Thanks for your support and your comment, I appreciate all the positivity.

  9. says

    I've never heard of the 'jolly jar' until today. I saw your tweets but didn't comment at the time – mostly cause I felt a bit guilty as I let Mushroom have sweets more often than I should! (He does know to brush his teeth after though, and enjoys doing so). I do notice the difference if he's had a party bag with a few in them and this amount is ridiculous, even with my lax parenting when it comes to sugar these would last us a couple of months (well, unless I eat them first)! But the main thing to take from this I think, is that there will always be people who want to judge other's parenting and whatever you do, they will find a way to judge – if not this, then something else. If you're happy with your choices, it's none of their business. It's not like you asked for advice or feedback! I admire your stance and if I was you, I'd just ignore those who don't get it.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I really didn't mean to make anyone feel guilty, it wasn't about whether he'd had the sweets or not really, it's more about the fact that someone had the audacity to have a go that I *didn't* give him them!

      Thanks for commenting lovely, I appreciate it. (And I actually blocked her in the end as she annoyed me!)

  10. says

    No Jolly Jars at our school, what a tricky fayre it turned out to be. You carry on doing what you feel is right, I bet the other parents are just jealous their kids are gobbling sweets. Your jar, you paid for it, your decisions not theirs!

  11. says

    I too prefer giving kids choc over sweets. I'm used to being criticised as my mother refused to follow my request and always has had sweets for them to eat to make her cool granny. Halloween is a nightmare as my eldest just takes the sweets until they're gone. The longer kids can stay off them the better.

    I'd never heard of Jolly Jars. We have raffle prizes I guess.

    I suspect if someone is worrying about where their next meal is coming from, binning any calories would be hurtful. I have to admit to throwing away sweets too as I'd eat them otherwise.

  12. says

    You're not a bad parent at all. I missed this whole jolly jar thing, I'm guessing now it happened on Instagram? Z would love a jar of sweets …or fruits. Having so many in sight for z would send him giddy over the edge and he'd just want them constantly! We usually give him a few but end up hiding the rest, else it just ends in tears for us all!

    • says

      P.s I looooooove Palma violets. And love hearts. But after one particular incident of eating one too many love hearts in one sitting (as an adult!), and having the worst stomach ache ever, I don't eat many anymore.

  13. says

    I'm with you on that one. I hate the judgemental parents! Oh alright, you had sweets growing up and turned out ok. So did I! I was also taught to respect people and not to be rude.

    Keep your chin up! πŸ™‚

  14. says

    Are you serious? People need to parent their own children and let you parent yours. Whenever people/family start telling me how to parent/feed/ etc. I make casual remarks about who pays dental bills…who stays up with sick kids. I cannot stand when people meddle.

  15. says

    I'm with you, I was working at the school fayre last week and let my boys buy a few sweets but kept them as they are allowed sweets but in moderation. Then I got criticised for voicing my opinion on the fact they were selling bubble gum. That's a big no no in my book, especially at primary school. I was being bah humbug apparently!!

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