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That said, putting the onus on parents doesn’t mean I think parenting is easy. Even though I’ve worked as an educator, tutor, caretaker, and glorified chauffeur to various kids over the years—including while I was earning a Master’s degree from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy more than a decade ago, have worked and been published in the field of education reform, and take an active interest in what school-aged kids eat, I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be a parent.
But not wanting any part of that great responsibility is the primary reason I chose not to be a parent. If you choose to be a parent, then be a parent.
Doing so sometimes means speaking up to your own kids and speaking out on behalf of your kids to other kids and adults.
No parent can have a greater impact in their own child’s life and development than by doing just that.
If you’re a parent and your inclination is to yell through a megaphone at food corporations while tiptoeing around your kids and other adults—teachers, coaches, and the like who feed your kids foods you actively oppose—I contend that your priorities are askew at best.
Parents of all stripes who I spoke to for this column agree with me.
“As the mother of three young and perpetually hungry boys,” says Julie Gunlock, who works on food issues at the Independent Women’s Forum. “I understand Yoni Freedhoff's frustrations but am somewhat baffled by his outrage.
"Is it so hard to express his wishes to the hosts of the many activities in which his children are involved? Is it so hard to pack his kid a snack to take along with them to these many events?” asks Gunlock.
“Regular meals eaten together at home are at least half the battle,” says Walter Olson, a parent and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, “so one should also consider cutting back on all the kid socializing if it's interfering with that.”
"Parents are ultimately responsible for what their children eat and only have themselves to blame if their wishes aren't made known," says Susan Malizia, a mother of three and self-described liberal Democrat who lives in Silver Spring, Md. "Honestly, Mr. Freedhoff comes across as another whiny parent who can't seem to take responsibility for what his children eat[.]”
Malizia calls limiting her own kids’ candy intake one “of the perks that come with being a PARENT!!!"
Sure, one woman’s perk may be another man’s displeasure. But love it or hate it, it's your job as a parent.
Want more? Head on over to Keep Food Legal's Facebook page (and like us while you're there) for more discussion—including comments from me (posting as Keep Food Legal), Freedhoff, and others.