Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 Favorite. It was originally published on November 17, 2013. Enjoy.
Hold on to your hats, parents: A court-appointed psychiatrist recently called a Manhattan father an ‘unfit parent’ because he denied his son’s request to eat at McDonald’s. Yes, you’re reading that right.
The man is in the midst of a custody battle with his estranged wife, and the issue came up during a visit. The father and son planned to eat at their usual restaurant during their weekly Tuesday night visitation. Instead, the kid threw a temper tantrum and demanded McDonald’s. The dad stood firm, saying choose another restaurant or go without dinner (an age-old parenting tactic). The kid chose nothing. End of story, right? Wrong.
Of course, the kid told his mom. Mom told the court-appointed psychiatrist Marilyn Schiller. Schiller immediately filed a report saying the father was “wholly incapable of taking care of his son” and should be denied his weekend visitation rights. The mom, smugly I imagine, immediately took the kid to McDonald’s.
There are many things that infuriate me about this tale, but let’s focus on the big one: This Dad, in his desire to avoid rewarding bad behavior, was doing his son an enormous favor–one that few parents take the time to make, which is why we have a childhood obesity epidemic on our hands.
I, for one, applaud this guy’s actions and am glad to hear that NY Attorney David Schorr slapped the court-appointed shrink with a defamation lawsuit. In my opinion, it’s parents who encourage their kids to eat McDonald’s that are the unfit ones. Harsh? Maybe you won’t think so after reading this list:
5 Reasons to Never Let Your Kids Eat McDonald‘s
1. It‘s a lie.
McDonald’s, really fast-food in general, isn’t real food. The “nugget” isn’t a part of the chicken’s anatomy, real ribs have bones (I’m looking at you McRib), and, most importantly, real food rots. Check out this McDonald’s hamburger from 1999. Yes, it’s been sitting on a shelf for 14 years. There’s not a spot of mold or a single maggot. If nature’s natural composters don’t recognize it as food, neither should you. If you feed your kids McDonald’s, you forever alter their concept of what real food looks, feels and tastes like.
2. It‘s heinously unhealthy.
There are few things that derail your health like fast-food. The average McDonald’s meal contains so much sodium, unhealthy fat, sugar and empty carbs, it’s staggering. It is the exact opposite of what any doctor or nutritionist (even the good ol’ USDA MyPlate) would consider a healthy diet. A 2004 study published in “The Lancet” found that eating fast food more than twice per week is linked to rapid weight gain, increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and sometimes fatal cardiovascular health problems. In fact, the processed fat in McDonald’s food (and other fast food) promotes endothelial dysfunction, which is linked to erectile dysfunction down the road. Is all of that really worth a couple of minutes without whining?
3. The company refuses to acknowledge what its food does to kids.
Sure, sure, every day we hear that McDonald’s offers a plethora of healthy choices, blah, blah, blah. It doesn’t matter. Offer as many weird, wilted salads as you want, but almost no one buys them, and certainly not kids. If McDonald’s is so healthy for kids, why doesn’t the company prove it? Instead, McDonald’s has consistently refused to assess the impact it has on children’s weight and health.
4. It hurts families.
Are you looking forward to the holidays? Planning family meals and special Christmas morning surprises? You’re lucky. For the millions of parents who have no other option but to take jobs in the fast food industry (because, you know, if they go on public assistance while looking for better work they’re called mooches), these luxuries don’t exist. In recent years, McDonald’s has urged its franchises to stay open on Christmas day. To add insult to injury, workers at company-owned restaurants didn’t receive overtime for working the holiday last year. This is on top of the frighteningly low pay, zero benefits and general exploitation.
5. Because your kids are their future.
We haven’t even begun to discuss the impact McDonald’s and other fast food chains have on the environment and agriculture (i.e. factory farming). If those issues matter to you, the last thing you should do is introduce your kids to this food. It’s no secret that one of the oldest items on the McDonald’s menu is the “Happy Meal,” a kid-sized sack of fake food accompanied by a plastic, Made in China toy. McDonald’s has and always will target children with its advertising. Why? Because kids, especially crying, screaming ones like in the NYC custody story, are very persuasive. Those commercials and toys are meant to get kids eating McDonald’s early, so that they’ll be customers for life. (Did we mention fast food has been proven to be intentionally addictive?) Once hooked, McDonald’s knows your kids will return as adults, allowing them to continue their gross, destructive, exploitative practices in perpetuity.