“Game over!” I thought to myself. Children don’t stand a chance.
Parents, whose children see a giant bin of candy, know that their kid is about to behave like… well like a kid in a candy store. And for most parents that are on the fence between their child’s health and their desire to put an end to the arduous screams of a whiny kid, the low price of 98 cents usually tips them to the latter.
The candy is not the issue however. The real issue is why this giant bin of candy was sitting in the middle of the store (near the video games…hmmm) and that nobody in the store thought that it was in the least bit odd. Ask yourself this: If you walked through a Wal-Mart and saw a giant bin of broccoli would you stop and stare? Probably so. How about a giant bin of fruit (apples, bananas, oranges, etc.)? At the very least you would probably say to yourself, “That’s odd”. But we’ve gotten to a point in our lives where a giant bin of sugary candy is looked upon as normal; even expected in some instances.
As a parent with a little boy, I know it’s only matter of time before I have to stop telling my kid that if he eats candy and soda that the police are going to take him away, and start telling him the truth. But what is the truth? And what do I say when my kid asks me, “Daddy if it’s so bad for you, then why do adults sell it in giant piles like this? Don’t they realize that over stimulation of glucose receptors in the pancreas can lead to type 2 diabetes in individuals who are genetically predisposed to endocrinal disorders at a young age?” And do I really want my kid pulling at that thread?
Much like a child’s personality is formed around the time that he or she reaches 13 years of age, so is their appetite. Hunger-based survival instincts can be persuaded by longstanding behavior that has been implanted in a child for years. Therefore by allowing your child to eat things just because the opportunity is in front of them you are changing your child’s appetite from their normal nutritional instinct to a dangerously unhealthy conditioned response; much like Pavlov did when he conditioned his dogs to salivate to the sound of a bell even when there was no food to be found.
As parents we are the last line of defense for our children against a corporate society that is preying on the primitive instincts of children. These corporations are counting on the fact that overworked, guilt-ridden parents would rather desperately find a quick fix to appease their kids rather than taking the time to make the right decision.
Bottom line: Your child doesn’t need candy and soda… Not now, not on special occasions, NOT EVER. Stop feeling guilty that you are depriving your kid of things that he or she should have. Because you’re not. Would you feel that way if your son or daughter saw a giant bin of crack cocaine and asked for some? No, then what’s the difference? Besides the fact that one may kill them right away and one might kill them later in life?
Be responsible enough to say “No” to corporate greed and product placement. Realize that there are healthier options that your kids can eat that they will love (i.e. frozen yogurt, peanut butter, fruit, roasted duck with mango chutney).
Your future prom king or queen will thank you.