Okay; Let’s Talk Childhood Obesity.

Loathsome. First of all, we are only addressing the less important half of the problem. Our terrible American diets. We are leaving out the fact that we and our children NEVER exercise. We park as close as we possibly can to any doorway we may enter, throughout the course of our day, often circling the parking lot in our cars like vultures of concrete and painted lines. We’ll take ten minutes of aimless driving to find a space a couple of slots closer to the door, rather than park at the end of the lot and walk for a whole forty-five seconds (oh, my!). There are never kids playing hockey in the street, or football at the park, these days. They’re all inside, shooting computer-generated images of kids they’re shit-talking in China, or Europe, and watching endless hours of mindless cartoons, like Spongebob and Johnny whatever-his-name-is.

If we made the time to institute real changes, like a little olive oil, in lieu of butter (and margarine is the WORST, by the way… it’s full of free radicals, people!), or a game of Wiffle ball, in place of Call of Duty, we might be able to beat this thing. Here’s the problem; US. We parents, are where this stuff begins. I ate awful school lunches, too, but my dad didn’t cook me lard for supper, or throw frozen nuggets in the oven every single night, or go to McDonald’s as a way of life, rather than as an occasional convenience. Kyra has had, maybe, three Happy Meals, in her whole life. We’re big on pastas, spinach (even as a nice spinach pie, with all those carbs; it’s better than over-processed frozen cancer machine meals), and lean meats. We don’t go overboard with the healthy foods and ground chuck is fine, in moderation. I like salmon and chicken, but I’m not about to go to veggie burgers and tofu. We have the occasional hot dogs and macaroni, but the thing is, we eat a balanced diet. Some fats are okay, but candy bars as a rule, are not. Self-control consists of MORE than not eating that crap, yourself, it includes saying “no”, when your kids want it, all the time.

I find that the parents who are afraid to discipline their children end up having all kinds of problems, throughout childhood and adolescence, from their offspring. If Kyra wants to throw a fit and scream and make a fool of herself because she can’t stay in the bouncy-house as long as she wants to (which, believe me, is forever; she’d move in, if she could), that’s fine. We’re still leaving, and now, she’s not getting any reward for being a “big girl”, and coming nicely, when it was time to go home. I’m not about to give in and let her stay on it longer, to avoid being embarrassed, and this is a huge issue, in parenting.

Then, you have the part-time parent problem. You guys know what I mean. This is where the parent who only gets the kid on weekends, wants to give in and break up the schedule, because s/he is afraid of being a “jerk”, for the limited time they have, together. This is a hard one to tackle. Children need limits, and the problem they have with punishments and consequences for their infractions, are very short-lived, whereas the lesson learned, by the enforcement of these limits (most notably, that you LOVE them enough to do so) are long-term and essential to their development as people.

We parents must start to step up and take responsibility for the proper care of our children, because all of their experience starts at home. We must be a good example, not just set one. We may not have the time to play, or we may be exhausted after work ( I know; I play all day at work, with kids about Kyra’s age, and then come home and play, too), but that doesn’t matter. If we flop around on the couch in front of the TV; that’s all our kids will do. If we want to feed them crap from the freezer section because it’s just too hard to boil a pot of water and saute some veggies in olive oil and garlic, what can we expect, but, childhood obesity and heart problems? If they know we love them enough to be truly selfless with our time and attention, we can’t go wrong in being exactly what our children need, to grow up well and strong and bright.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ceciliag
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 15:37:47

    That is so true, we allow our kids to be grumpy eaters.. it really is so easy to fix.. but eating bad food allows a bad attitude to creep in and then it really does become too hard.. Hi, I’m C, nice to meet you..

    Reply

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