Today they ran a feature based on a story from the Daily Fail, sorry, Daily Mail. This one: Parents held after son, 11, reaches 15 STONE and asked this question:
Image from the dailymail.co.uk
article referred to in this blog post.
I'm sure my regular readers will know by now that kids & food is something which hits home with me. In fact, the media, government, etc, wading in and judging all parents and situations by the same standard gets me going every time.
So what do I think about parents being arrested for allowing their kids to get fat? I think it's stupid. What difference will it make to the kid or their weight? None! Or... it might make the child depressed and more prone to comfort eating, or trigger some other eating disorder; the child might wind up starving themselves or binging and purging out of guilt, fear, self loathing.... I cannot conceive of ANY way this would inspire a child to eat healthy and exercise.
Let's not forget that in this particular case the child on the autistic spectrum. I'm guessing the parents have a lot to worry about and deal with. I can't blame them for not getting everything 100% right. None of us can! And they have that added pressure.
Instead of arresting the parents or chucking the kid into care for "abuse" (I think we can safely assume the parents aren't strapping the kid to a chair and force feeding him with a funnel), why aren't we looking at HOW and WHY this family are overweight? And HELPING THEM!
I'm overweight. So is my husband. Why? Because we eat too much and do too little. My children are NOT over weight because we try to teach them the error of our ways. We encourage and provide a healthy balanced diet, where nothing is banned, but treats are consumed in moderation. We encourage physical activity. Bad eating habits are hard to break once they are formed. While we eat sensible balanced meals and encourage the kids to do the same, our down fall is when the kids aren't about and we snack on the things we shouldn't. We find this incredibly hard to break. We try not to teach them those same habits.
Imagine a whole family with the same bad habits. It's so much easier to fall back into a bad habit when you have others around you who will happily fall with with you. So you might try really hard for a couple of weeks to eat right and do more... but one day you feel weak, and so does your other half, or your kid is looking so longingly at a treat you both love when you have a moment of weakness, and BOOM! Back to square one.
And what about the "low income" family? All too often "junk" is cheaper (or is perceived to be) than "real" food. We broke this habit by ditching the freezer and microwave. No more cheap frozen microwave meals for us! We want to eat? We have to MAKE real food FROM SCRATCH! But we can afford to. We have the time and the money to be able to go shopping 2-3 times a week, buy fresh food, cook a proper meal. Not many people have that luxury. Especially when they have kids.
Surely, instead of involving the police and social services, this family would do better from being educated in healthy eating, shopping for healthy food on a budget, and cooking quick, tasty healthy meals, and suitable levels of exercise (not to mention additional support for autism). Surely we all would! Isn't this what we used to get taught in PE and Home Economics in school?
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