Need healthy habits+behavioral advice (long :/)
So I'm hoping some of you moms can help me. This is partially a behavior issue and partially a nutrition issue....I would like to keep them separate but I can't. I'm sorry its long...so TIA if you make it to the end or have advice!
Background: My dd is 6.5, in a private Montessori first grade. She's young for her age so will do public first grade when she moves to public school next year. She has a little sister that just turned 4 this past weekend. My exhusband and I split last year, we have been moved out for about 8 months. Dad still lives in the old house. My exh and I get along well, we do family things together, share holidays, and we have a good schedule where they see us both every day. We (meaning I....) are flexible and try to let the kids be with whomever they are wanting to be with. They still see grandparents, though my family (parents, sis, nephews) not quite as frequently since the split (they are in town).
Issue: sneaking and lying. I have read through a ton of posts on this looking for answers and I'm struggling to balance the nutrition and my eating philosophy with the sneaking. I have caught dd sneaking candy and gum a couple times. I thought we had it nipped in the bud. Then I was helping her search for something at her dad's house and found several cans of pop, candy wrappers, etc. hidden in her room there. He never cleans and the place is disgusting, so they very likely could've been old, so I didn't make much of a deal out of them. Fast forward to this week and their dad had bought them gatorade and they wanted to bring it home. It was left in the car and when getting out of the car for school DD told me "I took my gatorade inside so its not in here." Blatant lie. I asked her if it was in her backpack and gave her 2 chances to tell me the truth. Nope. I made her open her backpack. Of course massive crying ensued. DD is emotionally immature for her age and starts bawling at anything and everything....I know she's a girl and I know she's 6 and I know the divorce is an adjustment but the crying is excessive even for all those factors, and has always been her personality. Not only did she try to sneak it, she brough it up with a story and blatantly lied to my face. Next day she snuck candy and found it hidden in the couch. The lying isn't just food, but it seems everything she tells us. She told my mom yesterday that every night she goes to sleep in my bed and then I move her because she can't sleep with her sister trying to sleep. Little things like that but so obviously lies, I seriously have no idea when she is telling me the truth about anything.
And the next step. I try to do L&L and offer choices and have natural consequences. For one, I'm having a hard time figuring out what natural consequences are for this sneaking and lying. I'm also really struggling keeping up the L&L because she is SO dishonest, and then she just cries about everything. Those are our two modes: lying or crying. I know part of this is acting out from the divorce, but I don't know what to do about it. The fanciful stories has always been her, but I chalked it up to typical developmental fanciful thinking but it has moved way beyond that. I actually don't think the sneaking and lying is new either once I thought about it. My exhusband has terrible habits for everything so full/half full pop cans and candy wrappers and granola bar wrappers and things were ALWAYS all over the house. I always attributed it to him....I mean, that is who he is. But I wonder if some candy wrappers found in the couch and shoved places were DD. Maybe it started way back when I had dd2 and DD1 was 2.5? And I just had no idea?
My other big issue: I am really struggling with the sugar/treat thing. I am trying REALLY hard to give my girls good eating habits. I have terrible eating habits and am really struggling to change them as an adult. We do okay at home, but maybe not since there is the sneaking. We only ever have tantrums about it when we go to my mom's (which we do frequently) because she lets them have little stuff all the time. We were planning on having leftover birthday cake after dinner. But she also gave them a dum-dum after lunch and a small ice cream cup for snack. I completely support the idea that it needs to not be forbidden, that it makes it more attractive and makes them feel like they aren't getting it, but I think that is too much. There is NO reason for ANYONE to have ice creamx2 and a sucker(albeit small) in one day. I have a no pop rule....but they get it when my mom takes them out to eat. I am okay with it being a treat with grandma. SHe doens't understand my philosophy and I've tried explainging how her doing that creates the environment that mom is wrong. She is getting better. But we spend a lot of time there and with my nephews, and my sister's philosophy mostly matches my mom's, she gives her 2yo pop simply to avoid a tantrum. I let my girls have treats, and I give them to them a couple times a week. I think that is more than sufficient. And I struggle with giving them those becuase their dad lets them eat sugar and stuff all the time at his house. This is just NOT good for them. I'm not on the super organic, whole eating, no preservative train, but I am working really hard on cutting out sugars. I limit their fruit juice and water it down, there is no pop, I don't buy them or give them sports drinks because they are all sugar. We have water, milk, and I sometimes do a propel or crystal light mix-in. I sprinkle their strawberries with sugar for a treat, or give them yogurt with chocolate chips, or let them have a small handful of cocoa puffs with their kix. I try to do small things like that. I pick my battles too -- they can have as many fruit snacks as they want, and granola bars, and fruit "rollups" (I buy fruit leather), and pudding and jello.
Wow this is long, I'm sorry. So I guess to summarize where I really need some help: 1) how to balance the giving of treats with her sneaking? I don't think sneaking means she should continue to get them, but taking them away seems to be adding to the problem; 2) suggestions from those of you that limit or don't allow sugary snacks on how to balance that with the family dynamic where they don't feel left out? I am going to talk to my sis about getting her support when we are all around so the grandma weight doesn't have as much pull...but how else? 3) any ideas on how the heck to assert natural consequences for hte lying and sneaking and things I can do to nip it in the bud? I've instituted more one-on-one time, but it hasn't been long enough to tell if it makes a difference and I'm at a loss of what else to do. I am really tired of and don't want to be mad but with the constant occurences I'm having a hard time keeping my anger and disappointment at bay. I can take away gymnastics and piano lessons because those are big girl things she has to earn to keep...but taking those away doesn't seem to address the underlying issue. I am trying to reinforce the positive behavior, she is working toward earning a sleepover....and the only time we take beads out of her jar is for lying, otherwise sometimes she earns and if her behavior is bad she just earns fewer or none. But we have had to empty the jar twice and since the last time we emptied she hasn't even earned any.
OK I think that's all the relevant information. If you made it through....THANK YOU! I'm open to ideas.....I've talked with my mom, who is a GREAT mom...but the eating habits and health is a sticking point she just doesn't understand and I'm not sure how to balance it :/