I’ve admitted in the past that we are regular McDonald’s consumers. I’m not ashamed of it. We make pretty decent choices when we’re there. The kids get Happy Meals with apple slices and milk. We get a side order of apple walnut salad and the kids eat more fruit than fries.
No one gets a toy until they’ve eaten all their apples and finished their milk.
Could we be eating at home? Sure.
Could they be eating better that night? Probably.
Do I let my kids tell me what they’ll eat and when? No. Never.
It’s a treat. It’s an easy way for us to eat together without having to run home and cook first. It’s counterbalanced with well balanced meals at all other times. My kids love their veggies and eat them easily.
We eat at McDonald’s and my kids still know all about nutritional eating. They usually eat their apples first.
So when I see stories about people suing McDonald’s because (and I quote) “The woman, Monet Parham of Sacramento, claims that the marketing of Happy Meal toys has interfered with her ability as a parent to provide her two children with a healthful diet.”
I’m sorry, what? This article and law suit have made my eyes bug out with unanswered questions.
Let’s start with this: marketing is interfering with her parenting?
Does her TV not have an off button? (It’s the red one on the remote if the TV doesn’t have one.)
Does she not control what her children watch? (Pst! PBS. No commercials. DVDs. No commercials. No TV. No commercials.)
Is she not the boss of her children? (Who drives them to McDonalds? Who does the grocery shopping? Who has the power to say no?)
How about, instead of blaming marketing and large institutions, we accept the responsibility that comes with having children.
Marketing exists. Things that are unhealthy exists. The world is not clearly labeled for easy and healthy consumption. It us up to us to teach our children to make good choices. The world will bombard them with information and sometimes the information is going to be brightly lit in attractive colors and come packaged with fun toys.
We have two choices. We can see what the world is throwing at our kids and teach them how to handle it. Or we can let our kids see us turn around and blame the people doing the throwing. The first option leads to grown-ups who stand on their own two feet, have a solid sense of their values, and know how to navigate the world. The second option leads to grown-ups who blame everyone around them for their problems.
What’s next for this woman and others like her? Blaming ToysRUs for the clutter in their kid’s room?
Stop blaming everyone. Grow a backbone. Start parenting your kids. You’re the boss. Not the TV.