Last night, when the majority of people were probably watching Madonna stack it at The Brits, I was watching a programme on Channel 4 entitled 'Junk Food Kids: Who's to blame?'
I was so shocked by this weeks (and last weeks) programme, that I felt compelled to put my feelings down. here on my blog.
If you are not aware of the programme, so far, it has been about children who have had to have their baby teeth pulled out because they have decayed so much its hurting them. Plus about childrens weight and how they have managed to put so much of it on.
Now, I think its fair if I start by saying, that since having my children, I am NOT normally a judgemental type of person. If I walked down the street and saw an overweight child, who am I to judge? That particular child may well have a disability, something medically wrong with them. But when the facts are laid out in front of you, like they were last night, I have every right to have an opinion.
Last weeks episode had me in tears 5 minutes in. There was a little boy no older than my children, having 12, yes 12 teeth pulled out. Under General Anaesthetic. It was traumatising to watch and then to see how upset and in pain he was when he came round was heartbreaking.
In that same episode a 4 year old who was fitting into aged 8-9 clothes had to have some teeth out as well. As the story unfolded it was very clear to see that the Mother had not made her child brush her teeth if she would rather watch TV instead! She admitted that she would rather have a quiet life and just give her Children what they wanted! Now don't get me wrong, we all would love for a quiet life, but when it comes to your childrens health, surely you need to look at the bigger picture. I mean, if I gave Millie what she wanted every day, she would look like a chocolate bar!
As a parent I believe that you have got to do the best you can for your child. Sometimes that means you have to be cruel to be kind, when I was doing my weekly shop a few weeks ago, Millie practically screamed the whole way round all because I would not let her have a cake! People were staring at me, it was awful, I wanted the ground to swallow me up. But did I give in? No. I ignored her screams and carried on with what was the worst shopping trip ever. Did she resent me for it 10 minutes after we left the supermarket? No. It was all forgotten about as soon as she found her lost dolly in the the car!
In this weeks episode, I felt really sorry for a 13 year old girl. Her parents had basically given in and let her have what she wanted when she was younger, and now she was faced with the possibility of surgery to reduce the size of her stomach. At age 13?! Again, as the story progressed it was clear that the Doctors were doing all they could to encourage the whole family to loose weight together, to help encourage the teenager. But the Parents were giving up at the first hurdle, and rather than help her loose some weight they were continually saying surgery would be the better option! How can surgery, so drastic, be better for the poor girl? If that was me, I know I would do everything I could to prevent that surgery. I know that dieting is hard, I am rubbish at it to be honest. But if your childs life depended on it, you would do it wouldn't you? You would get rid of all the unhealthy temptations in the house and you would do the best you could to help. I proved last week that eating fresh healthy meals doesn't cost a fortune, in fact it costs far more to eat junk all the time! At the end of the programme they said that the child had the onset of Diabetes, no one wants that for their child, surely?
But what struck a cord the most in last nights episode, was the parent who, when his child was faced with having his teeth taken out, said this... 'If your child is happy then who cares if he has to have a few teeth out'?! This was said in reference to feeding them sweets. I was so shocked I had to rewind it! Then I thought, maybe that parent doesn't have all the facts, maybe they do not know how precious teeth are. Or is it that they are choosing to ignore the facts? I couldn't decide, but seeing how scared that little boy was, again, was heartbreaking.
I appreciate that some parents do not seem to be as clued up on something I find so easy to understand (my childs health), and I do honestly think that those parents should be offered some form of education towards it. Maybe it should be compulsory for all parents to attend classes related to childrens health? I dont know?
But what I do know, in answer to my title question, is that I consider myself (and my husband) responsible for our childrens health and their attitude towards food.
We are the ones who feed them, watch over them brushing their teeth, give them opportunity to get outside and have some 'exercise' and also to educate them as to what a balanced diet is. My children have sweets, chocolate, ice creams, and even puddings on occasion. But they have things like fruit, vegetables and fresh meat daily. We, as parents, hold ourselves responsible for our childrens health, it is our job as parents to make sure we give our children the best start we can in life. We by no means have lots of money, but we still manage to feed our children a good balanced diet. We have a choice of what foods we can feed our children, I think its very important to make the right choices.
Did you watch the programme, what are your thoughts?