Seriously, go read the article and tell me if it doesn't leave you laughing and wondering where these people got their parenting licenses.
I agree that advertising is sneaky and, it would seem, largely beyond our control as parents. Well, guess what, folks? It’s not that difficult to control. Turn off the fucking television.
Yeah, I know, they’re still going to see TV at friends’, or on those days when you just can’t deal. So don’t freak out. Acknowledge their cravings for whatever is being hawked on the screen, and then provide them with tools to make good choices.
Talk to your babies about what commercials ARE, who MAKES them and what they are trying to make us DO. Use that scene from Toy Story where Buzz realizes that he’s "(Not a flying toy)” to explain that commercials make things look lots better than they are in real life.
Talk to your kids about why good food is important and how their bodies use it. I don’t think that it’s just my boys' innate genius showing when they talk about how their cousin Maggie always eats candy and drinks soda and that’s not good; she should be eating protein and vegetables and fiber.
Yes, my children know about fiber. They know it helps their bodies ‘suck up’ vitamins and it keeps their poop soft. Miles once extolled the virtues of Raisin Bran over Froot Loops in the cereal aisle for all to hear. I beamed with pride.
Damn right I brainwash my kids. That’s my job.
Seriously, I am not a fanatic about this. There is white flour in my kitchen and chocolate milk mix in my pantry. And every once in a while I give in to a request for Krispy Kremes. It is always cause for celebrations and high-fives in the store and, once we’ve returned home, very likely forgotten on top of the fridge.
The whole point of advertising is to create a demand and feed that creation. Kids like sweet things. We all do. And advertisers know how easy it is for kids to prey on their parents’ frazzled nerves at the supermarket. Yes, the market is saturated by more types of breakfast cereal than I can name, crackers which are exactly the same as those in the next box, except shaped like Scooby-Doo and cost fifteen cents more, ‘lunch box meals’ (term ‘meal’ used loosely) consisting of processed cheese food, crackers and salami, Capri sun to drink and the reward a bag of mini M&Ms. It grosses me out, but I can see why it’s there. It works. Why should the industry stop doing what works?
Are they contributing to childhood obesity? Indirectly. Are they a major factor in the epidemic? Come on. It is the responsibility of parents, starting in infancy, to make good choices for our children until they are equipped to do it for themselves. Teach them to question what they hear on television. Teach them to not be ruled by outside information.
Don’t get all sanctimonious and say that the junk food industry is preying on the powerless masses, providing an “empty calorie delivery system.” Just don’t. This is not the tobacco companies, folks, and you are not buying cigarettes for your babies (Unless you yourself smoke in your home, and then shame on you).
The real shame is not the proliferation of junk food, but the increasingly weak spot which exists in parents who cave to the demands of three year olds, thereby turning them into more demanding (and persuasive) ten year olds. That’s turning a generation of kids into whiny adults with attitudes of entitlement that make me want to spit nails.
If you think the only thing your kid will eat is junk food, stop fucking buying it. When they get hungry enough they’ll eat whole wheat bread and apples. . . which you will be required to expend some effort to prepare (Hey, I didn’t say it was gonna be easy; slicing apples is tough work- harder than opening a bag of Cheetos.).
Seriously, you are the parent. Your children don’t get to tell you what to do.
Kids are influenced by everything. That's how they learn about life. It's our job to help them sort through it all and get to the good stuff.
Last time we went to the store I told Miles and Jack they could pick out some cereal from a handful of choices. They chose Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. The reason: There was a photo of C-3PO and R2-D2 on the box.
Those crafty Kellogg's advertisers win again!