"Sometimes I go into the bedroom and shut the door for, like, a half-hour and have a little bit of chocolate, then I'll go rinse my mouth out. Seriously. You feel responsible. You don't want to teach them bad habits. You don't want to teach them your bad habits," she said.
Eli Federman in Miami Beach, Fla., understands. He's the senior vice president and co-founder of an online startup that offers flash sales on electronics, but he and his wife quickly realized that handing over an iPad to their daughter before she hit her second birthday was a mistake.
"She was always attracted to the iPhone. When she was around 1 we bought her the mini iPad. We thought because of the kids games that are on there, and because of the learning apps, she could interact," he said.
And interact she did.
"It just got so out of control. Even when she went to sleep she would request it. She'd be in the crib shaking the crib going, 'iPad, iPad, iPad.' She refused to go to sleep without it. There was no moderation. We were, like, we have to get rid of this, but we wanted it for ourselves, so we lock it in the chemical cabinet and wait to use it when she's sleeping or we're out or something," he said.
Writer Laura Hedgecock of Farmington Hills, Mich., blogs about family and the importance of sharing memories. She also comes from a long line of treat stashers.
When she buys Girl Scout cookies, she keeps a box for herself and savors it for days, whereas her two teen sons scarf their share in a couple of hours. But they're on to her.
"I hide chocolate in my underwear drawer," she said. "In their opinions, no craving is worth delving into that territory!"
But there's more going on, Hedgecock said. Growing up, she "stayed out of the marshmallows that Mom hid in the electric skillet, or just took one, and left alone the Hershey bar Dad had at the bottom of the magazine rack by his recliner."
It's not about the hiding, she said: "It's about respecting what is special to someone else."