Apr 22, 2013 0 Share

Tooth and Consequences


Photo of rows of red disposable soda cups with straws.
iStockphoto

I received an email from Cameron’s employment support specialist this week. She was doing her quarterly check-in with Cameron’s manager at work to see how things were going. The only issue brought to her attention was the fact that Cameron drinks a significant amount of soda on the job, and his manager is concerned that it is contributing to his hyperactivity.

Now first of all, let me just say, yay for Cameron’s manager in caring enough to bring this to the attention of Cameron’s employment specialist. It is not the first time he has expressed concern with Cameron’s on the job consumption of calories. This time around, the service provider suggested that I ask his manager to limit the amount of soda Cameron is allowed to have while at work.

I know Cameron’s manager and adult service provider have Cameron’s best interests at heart, but really? Is this the biggest concern his manager has with Cameron? And is imposing a limit on the amount of soda Cameron is allowed at work the appropriate response? I would be much more interested in knowing what type of behavior his manager is seeing that leads him to believe soda is the culprit. Perhaps the behavior is something that can be brought to Cameron’s attention, and Cameron will then realize the consequences of drinking soda. I am trying my best to prepare Cameron for adulthood and eventual independence. I am NOT a proponent of soda. We don’t have it in the house, and Cameron has been put on notice by me about limiting his consumption when he’s out on his own. Having enforced limits on what he can eat and drink “while he’s under my roof” will not help him when he’s on his own and no one is there to play the role of enforcer. Cameron needs to start making the right decisions without being told what the right decision is. I’ve been pointing him down the path toward the right decisions for 18 years. It’s time he start making them.

Another example of making the right decision would be his morning routine. He rarely allows himself enough time to get through his morning routine before the bus arrives. And the last item in his routine is brushing his teeth. I thought I had helped solve this problem by telling him to put toothpaste and a toothbrush in his backpack, and brush at school. I assumed he had been doing that with regularity. And then I happen to ask him if he needed another travel-sized toothpaste one day.

“Well, I haven’t been brushing my teeth at school lately because my toothbrush got this black stuff all over it. But I brush my teeth for four minutes before bed.”

And guess who just had two cavities filled after years of perfect dental exams? Since I’ve been able to blame the cavities on the lack of brushing and the soda drinking, maybe he has learned his lesson. I’m not suggesting I would let his teeth rot to prove the consequences of his actions. But, sometimes consequences are better than Mom always enforcing the rules.