Focus on parents, not McDonald's, in educating children

August 11, 2010

After reading the article "Child-health advocates take aim at toys in Happy Meals" (Aug. 10), I have concluded that the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest need to put the horse before the cart and not the other way around.

The comment "McDonald's use of toys undercuts the parental authority" is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I have two (now grown) sons who, like all kids, enjoyed the toys and surprises in a Happy Meal – but the decision to buy that meal belonged to my husband and myself, not them. They were taught early on that this was a special treat and no amount of whining or crying was going to get them that Happy Meal if we chose not to purchase it.

Who is the adult here? A child will always push for the treat – ice cream, sugar-coated cereal or Happy Meal – and it is the parent who has the responsibility to say no when it is not appropriate. When are we going to stop placing the responsibility in places it doesn't belong and place it directly where it does belong – on the parent?

This goes for food choices as well as life choices. As a parent, there are many decisions made in the child's best interest that the child isn't going to like, but that's why one is a parent and one is a child. These two advocacy groups need to place their money, energy and focus on educating parents on how to teach their children to make good choices and how to tell their child "no."

This will go much further than targeting one "offender" as a scapegoat in order to get publicity. And no, I am not and never have worked for McDonalds or any fast food company that provides kids meals with toys. I am just a parent who believes that the "boss" in the family needs to be the parent.

Wendy B. Sevier, Parkton

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