This was the headline I read scrawling across CNN this morning:
McDonald’s: Get rid of the Toys or Get Sued.
It made me pause…. what pansy ass parent or organization is threatening to sue McDonald’s if they don’t get rid of the toys?
Now, I get it. Please, I do. I am no fool. The correlation is that the toys make kids want the food, the food is bad for you, toys = bad food that must taste more yummy. But at what point did parents not realize they have a choice what they put in their kids body.
In my house its more like Toys = Charlotte wants food. Charlotte = Ask mom. Ask Mom + Lecture on food= No. No = temporarily whiny child. Temporarily whiny child can go to her room. Mom = Win 100% of the time.
Last time I checked Charlotte wasn’t old enough to drive herself to a fast food joint. She isn’t old enough to even decide what channel on TV she wants. Its not like we are flipping and she says “Hey, look, All my Children is on, lets watch this!” and I pull up the popcorn to enjoy some torrid love affair with her. When she says “Lets go to McDonald’s because I want that chicken nugget/playground/Shrek wind up doll” , it’s me that has the power. It’s me that has the choice.
I am so sick of parents not taking responsibility for the behaviors their kids have. If they are brats, eat poorly, have bad exercise habits, or have bad grades and they are 5…its your fault. I am not saying 100% everything deters back to the parents at all ages, because at some point you have to trust your kids to make valid decisions, but good development starts in the home; especially when children are young enough to relate toys with food.
We go to McDonald’s on occasion. I have no problem admitting that. Its a sometimes, not an all times, food. I do my best to balance healthy eating and the “splurge” moment, but no matter the splurge, the values I am consistently trying to ensure in Charlotte that she understands the difference between those things. That fresh fruit and vegetables are healthy, that fries are not.
Education, not restriction, is the absolute key.
Yesterday Charlotte came to ask me if she could have one of the “healthy fruit roll-ups”. I buy fresh fruit roll-ups, fresh fruit snacks, real orange juice (not concentrate), 100% fruit juices and I make a point to tell her what is healthy and what isn’t healthy. So when she approached me for a snack, she knew exactly what she was asking for.
Right now, as I write this, she is watching Nick Jr and there is a Pillow Pet commercial and she is yelling from the other room “MOM! ITS A PILLOW PET! I WANT THE PENGUIN.” Should I whip out my credit card and order? I am sure you can guess the answer to that.
Charlotte does get a lot of extras. She is an only child and she has privileges large families simply cannot budget in. That, however, does not give her free reign to buy, go, and eat whatever she damn well pleases in life.
If people want to push for regulation of something, push for regulation of candy bars at the front aisles of grocery stores that I have to pass when I check out (but I can still use the word NO just as easily) or removing soda machines in our schools. To take out toys from a meal that I have to drive her there, pull out my card and pay for as a parent, and make all the choices to get her to the point of putting that food in her mouth, makes me the responsible one- not McDonald’s. Regulation of the toys is an excuse, but its not the answer.
Parents need to sack up. Stop allowing corporate America make your corporate household decisions.
It doesn’t take a village-it takes 1 strong role model.