I caught up with an extremely disturbing programme today which was on Chanel 4 last night, Junk Food Kids. It wasn't billed as being about child abuse, but I strongly feel it was, and that the appropriate authorities should be stepping in and dealing with the perpetrators; namely the parent/carers, or better still educating them on how to care for their children before they reach this sorry state, because clearly they have no clue!
Mum of four year old Tallulah, allows her to eat pretty much whatever she likes, "because it's easier" she felt no guilt at missing an appointment at a dental clinic to educate her on how to brush her daughters teeth, because "who needs to be shown how to brush their teeth in circles, she doesn't want to brush her teeth when she could be watching TV"!
It's not often I shout at the TV, well, not that often, but my heart was breaking for these kids, who were being badly let down and ending up in surgery having almost all of their milk teeth removed!
The professionals were laying the blame firmly with the parents, albeit not to their faces, but lets face it, a four year old is not responsible for the weekly shop, and although she may accompany Mum, she shouldn't ultimately dictate what goes in the trolley. Sadly the Mum kept trotting out lines like, "you do it for a quiet life" and "it's easier to just let her have it".
Yes, yes it is easier to opt for the quiet life and pander to your child's every whim, but don't you want better for them than a life of obesity, and laying on an operating table at the age of 4?
Apparently this is child abuse: But this isn't:
Maybe the child that turns up with bruises, acquired them because Mum wanted 'the easy life', because the threat of a smack keeps that child quiet in much the same way that a bag of sweets keeps another child quiet. And if the beaten child needed surgery because of those injuries there would be uproar; neglect, abuse, we would shout, social services would be in and there would be all sorts of questions to answer. The same with a malnourished child, that would be completely wrong and professionals such as teachers or nursery workers are aware of looking for signs of malnutrition, physical abuse or neglect etc.
So how do we live in a Country where it is ok to overfeed your child? When does an obese child become a victim of abuse?
Should there be more
restrictions on food and fast food? I'm partial to the odd McDonald's
and I like a glass of Diet Coke so I don't necessarily want to see these
banned, but how do we control the intake of such sugary goodness?
I am not a perfect parent, I have made many poor decisions, and I was mortified when one of my children needed a filling. We also eat our fair share of rubbish, because sometimes life's hectic and you do want to go for the quick fix. I also believe there are perfectly well looked after and loved children out there, who for one reason or another have needed dental surgery or are overweight, so to scream "I blame the parents!" helps no one. But some of these parents do need to take responsibility for their lack of care towards their children, and somewhere it needs picking up that they need educating on how to properly do this.