McDonald’s, Tubby Kids, and Bad Parenting

I suspect this one won’t get a lot of “Likes” or shares, but this needs to be done.

A Washington-based consumer advocacy group – the Center for Science in the Public Interest – is threatening to sue McDonald’s … over Happy Meals. According to CSPI, McDonald’s is engaging in “unfair and deceptive marketing” by including toys in their Happy Meals. Luring small children into the chain to stuff their faces and … well … you know … get tubby.

Putting aside all sense of parental responsibility, CSPI’s litigation director Stephen Gardner claims that “McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,” going on to say:

McDonald’s use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children’s developmental immaturity – all this to induce children to prefer foods that may harm their health. It’s a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction.

I Know. I Know.

Before you even ask how McDonald’s can undercut parental authority, allow me to refer you to Michael Jacobson, the executive director of CSPI, who had this to say during an interview with the Associated Press:

At some point parents get worn down. They don’t always want to be saying no to their children. We feel like an awful lot of parents would be relieved if this one pressure was removed from them.

Standing firm with CSPI as a parental voice is Sheila Nesbitt, a project manager from Champlin, MN, and a parent of a six-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl, that had this to say:

McDonald’s makes my job as a parent more difficult. They market cheap toys that appeal to kids and it works. My kids always want to go to McDonald’s because of the toys. I try my best to educate my kids about healthy eating but it’s hard when I am competing against the allure of a new Shrek toy.

Sigh …

From the cheap seats of the 39-year-old Look Dumbass Editor’s office, one can’t help but wonder if this 36-year-old wonder parent fails to remember that Happy Meals with cool prizes inside have been around since the late 70’s. Ridiculously overweight and unhealthy children … that’s a much more recent phenomena.

A hop, skip, and a jump away in my favorite Canadian city, parents are being urged to try and keep their kids healthy after a new study found that the majority of young kids in the Greater Toronto Area will be spending the summer sitting on their ass.

According to the study, 49% of parents claimed they were “too cash-strapped” to afford programs for the wee ones, while another 26% claimed … it just doesn’t fit in with their schedules.

With a growing number of today’s 20-year-olds having cholesterol levels normally seen in 60-year-olds, and teenagers sporting a 300% increase in high blood pressure rates over the past decade, allow me to offer some retro advice …

If you are a parent of young children and you’re over the age of 35, you likely grew up with Happy Meals. It’s also likely that you grew up with parents that had a backbone. They didn’t moan, cry, or feel awful and guilty day in and day out for telling you “no” every time you moaned and whined for something.

Turn off Oprah, Dr. Phil, and all the other touchy feelie “advice” shows, stop blaming McDonald’s and everyone else … and grow a set.

It worked for your parents. It worked for their parents. It’ll likely work for you, too.

In Closing …

If you are one of those parents that can’t afford to send your kid out for activities, allow me to tell you what my mother used to tell me as a child whenever I was sitting inside, whining that I was bored and had nothing to do …

Here’s a ball, there’s the door. Get your ass outside and play before I find something for you to do. — My Mommie. Circa mid-70’s, early 80’s.