Monday, December 06, 2004

Is it Abuse?

I do not eat fast food. I haven't been to a Mickey D's in probably 12 years. There are a couple exceptions, like Subway or Wendy's. I'll stop at Wendy's and get a plain baked potato and small chili sometimes. 480 cals and it totally fills you up, so it's a pretty good deal.

I went there today, and my friend C from work was there with his son. The drive thru was blown out, so I went inside, as I didn't have time to wait. C and his son were waiting in line when I walked up.

"But Daaaaaad, Mom lets me get the #3!!!" he whined. The number three is a triple cheeseburger I learned as I looked up at the menu. C was trying to get him to get a kids meal, and was rather embarrassed by the whole display going on.

I've seen little C before, and I was shocked, shocked I tell you when I saw this kid. He's 8 by the way, and I bet he has put on 40 pounds since the last time I seen him.

This might be understandable because his parents just went through a rather nasty divorce, so the whole stress eating thing could be it. C's brother is a rather famous football player, household name football player to be more precise without being precise at all, and the bitch he married pretty much assumed she'd have some glamorous life, jet setting around the world. When she found out that was not going to happen, she split.

C wanted custody of his son, as his ex isn't exactly the maternal type. When I saw him at work, he was pretty stressed out at the changes in his child and how he felt helpless to stop it.

I'm pretty sure that the ex probably wanted to keep the kid because she knew Mr. Football Star loves his only nephew and will make damn sure he doesn't want for anything, including a nice house and a safe car to ride in.

Anyway, where was I going? I was thinking "How the hell did your kid turn into such a tank ass in such a small amount of time??" but I didn't say it of course. I didn't have to as he began pouring out his heart about the situation, not that I would have even if he didn't.

You see, it is very hard for a man to get custody of his child. Everyone says, "A child needs their Mother!!" Yes, this is true. They also need their Father. In the sad event of a divorce, the fact that you don't have a penis shouldn't decide who gets custody.

So I learn that she's pretty much just been letting the kid eat fast food, and he has ballooned out. C did almost all of the cooking while they were married, even though she didn't have a "technical" job outside of the house. Hell, she didn't even have a job inside the house, as he also did all the cleaning. I know this to be fact from being friends with them over the years.

Alright, I'm getting to my point. I promise. So it's really hard to prove a woman is unfit, right? Isn't loading that crap down your child's throat and turning them into little obese children child abuse? Isn't that an unfit Mother??

I mean, really, if a kid is fat when they are 8, it is the parents responsibility. You don't cook at age 8. You don't prepare your own meals at 8. It is what the parents give their children that makes them fat. It is THEIR FAULT.

There. I said it. Baring some medical problem, if your kid is fat, it is your fault. Flame away if you'd like, I can take it.

When I was little we didn't go to McDonald's. I take that back. We went once a year because my Mom loved Shamrock Shakes. We had a home cooked meal every night, and yes my Mother worked a full time job. They are tree hugger feminist type people, remember?

If I really think back to when I put on the weight I had to lose in my early twenties, it was around the time I had freedom from my parents and was working and driving. I could eat that crap to my heart's content. Coincidence? I think not.

So I think that she's unfit. Do you think that would/should hold up in court? Do you think all these tank ass kids running (I mean walking) around are the parent's fault? Am I just full of shit?


Rich Rosenthal II said...

Part of it is the economics of a cheap meal like noodles with red sauce or mac and cheese costs a fraction of what a healthy meal does and takes a lot less time. Also with both parents needing to work in a lot of families its usually the fast and easy high fat high calorie content meal. Part of it can be put down t any parent finding it very very hard to say on to a child who says, "I'm hungry. I want more." Cereals market to children are usualy high sugar, high calorie. Also nutrition isn't on the curriculum for children. Finally kids spend a lot more time sitting in front of a tv or computer than running around and playing. Its complicated I don't think I could call it abuse. Sorry to go on at length, but it was a thought proviking piece.

David said...

It's never easy, looking in from the outside. The evidence is there for you to see, but it's never easy to know what's really going on. There's always a chance that the kid is just saying that mom let's him have a number three. I know my kids are always playing the "mum lets me" card when I see them.
I'm lucky. My ex is a great mother. The kids still eat at the Golden Arches occasionally, but only as what they would refer to as a "treat".
Is it abuse? It's a tough question. A child that grows up on junk ends up full of junk. Big portions and America seem to go hand in hand (From what I can see, from the outside looking in.) Until people get less junk for their money this problem is going to get worse.

That was a good article. I'll come back and read some more.

Anonymous said...

I'm not posting anonymous because I want to...blogger is being quirky this am.
I have a stepson that is 8 and weighs 115lbs. His mother does not seem to care or worry about the consequences of this weight. We have discussed fighting for custody, but it is very rare for the state to take away a child from their mother. They have to be extremely neglectful and a drug addict (as quoted to me by an attorney). I fully agree that is their fault and someone should be held accountable, however we have not progressed enough as a society to do what needs to be done. In the same breath we have to be careful how much power we give to the courts to remove children. It needs to be hard. My only advice to your friend is do what you can, speak up for your child, and hope one day his mother gets it.

MR Hester said...

Kj - I agree with you that this is a form of child abuse. If the kid is fat at 8 then he will be fat at 10 & 15 & 20 and can look forward to diabetes, heart disease and a slew of other diseases that go with obesity. It is the parent's responsibility to teach good eating habits by example. With a little thought and planning a weeks worth of homecooked (nutritional) meals can be fixed with much of the prepration taking place on the weekend. Plus it also gives an opportunity for some "Family Time" as both of my boys help me fix dinner and have helped me since they were old enough to stand on a chair at the counter. This gives us an opportunity to talk about how their day went. Too many people today want to blame someone else for their problems instead of taking responsibility for the situation they have created and this includes your childs health, weight and activity level.

When we were growing up my parents fixed dinner everynight even though they both worked and we didn't have cereal, chips, cokes or junk food around the house. Occasionally we would go out to eat (once a month) and homemade cookies or banana pudding was our treat. Sorry to rant so much, but you already know how I feel about obesity - you get there one mouthful at a time.