Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Woman Suing McDonald's Over Kids Toys has Bigger Issues

I was watching the news this morning when I heard about a woman who was suing McDonald's for giving toys in kids meals.  She feels that the company is unfairly targeting children to buy unhealthy Happy Meals by enticing them with toys.  In talking about her children, she said, "I can tell them no all day long, but they still see commercials that convince them you've really got to have this."  ABC news also reported that it is "a fight she just can't win." 

If you are telling me that telling a 6-year-old they can't have McDonald's to eat is a fight that you can't win, then this mother has much greater issues than McDonald's pushing unhealthy Happy Meals on her child.

I have a 6-year-old.  She is exposed to the same media that this child is exposed to.  We drive past a McDonald's nearly every day.  My daughter NEVER asks to go.  In fact, once we were with friends trying to decide where to eat lunch and she adamantly refused to go to McDonald's.  Why?  Because she knows and understands it is unhealthy to eat there.  I even explained to her that every now and then is okay, but she still refused to go. 

Two six year old girls, both influenced by McDonald's advertising of toys with Happy Meals.  One feels she must eat there, the other refuses.  What is the difference here?

The difference comes down to parenting.  My daughter has been taught early on about health and nutrition and making good choices.  I have talked to her about how the media is trying to sell something that might not always be good for you or may not work exactly as seen on TV.  That is just one part of parenting.  The other part is setting and sticking with limits.  As a treat from school, my girls got a Wendy's Frosty and love them.  We drive by Wendy's and they ask to stop.  I say no.  And no.  And no.  And no.  And no.  And then one day, as a treat, I do take them for a Frosty.  But that time is planned and is at my choosing and it is for a special treat.

Personal responsibility and self-control also play into this.   Parents are responsible not only for themselves and their actions, but they also have to be responsible for teaching personal responsibility to their children.  We are responsible for our choices and our actions.  Self-control (which is hugely lacking in many in our society) is another component of this.  If you can't control yourself, you cannot control your children.

If this woman can't tell her 6-year-old that they can't have McDonald's, how is she going to tell her 12 year old not to do drugs or engage in other unhealthy behaviors?  How will she respond when her 16 year old wants a car?  Wants to do the things she sees television teens doing/having? 

So, even though I don't like McDonald's, I will have to say I side with them in this absurd lawsuit.


Some Lucky Dog said...

Great post! This woman needs to move to San Francisco. The city council there recently voted to ban Happy Meals in the city for the same reason.

Glenda said...

It's sad that we have come to the point that instead of being personally responsible for our own choices, we now have to sue businesses to make them responsible to not make the choices available. It's absurd. Love your post!

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