Twice today I’ve asked myself, “Who is the parent here?” Not with my own kids, thankfully, but today I was trapped in a parking spot while I waited for the kid in the car next to me to climb from his car seat in the back to the front seat where he exited the car, while dinging my door. The door next his car seat worked because his mom opened it to unbuckle him, and normally, even though this wouldn’t be something I’d let my kids do, I wouldn’t care, accept the part that the door was so wide open, I wouldn’t back out, plus the kid knocked their door into mine. The mom was clearly bothered by the extended exit, but not enough to stop him.
When I got home, I read the story (in the British tabloids, so take it with a grain of salt) about the British teen who is severely ill after eating only chicken nuggets and fries for 15 years, since she was two years old. At first glance – 17 year old sick from chicken nugget diet – I thought this was a kid with a super size me type plan, but then I read more, including the quote from her mom:
“It breaks my heart to see her eating those damned nuggets. She’s been told in no uncertain terms that she’ll die if she carries on like this. But she says she can’t eat anything else.”
I’d be sympathetic to the mom, if this was a bad habit formed by a teenager, but this began at age two and the girl has never had a fruit or vegetable. Never. The only other thing she will occasionally eat is a piece of toast. It appears she favors Happy Meals, which means she was likely washing the food down with soda. No surprise, the girl is facing a host of health issues, although she is surprisingly trim.
This is insane. At age two, one cannot get themselves to fast food. They can scream or flip out for days, but that doesn’t make the food appear. Every parent has given in on something, but allowing a kid to lock in on an unhealthy food product is a failure. My daughter is a picky eater, but I’ve ascribed to the belief that if she’s hungry, she’ll eat what she’s served. Plenty mealtimes have featured my daughter freaking out over a single piece of broccoli, but we persevered. Friends of ours have a son who mainly eats only a specific brand of hot dogs, they even faced a battle when they tried to change the brand. Unless there is something about a child that requires a grossly limited diet, this is not okay. While it may make that mealtime go smoother, the problem goes unaddressed and the battle occurs day after day, instead of standing your ground and ending the unhealthy habit. Eat chicken nuggets and hot dogs every so often, but to give in each night is to give up as a parent.