Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Honey, we're killing the kids

Okay, I don't think I've done the soapbox thing yet on the blog, and anyone who knows me knows it was only a matter of time...

I can only hope that someone out there reading this (other than hubby) has seen the human tragedy that is TLC's "Honey, We're Killing the Kids!" If not, watch it. Learn how not to kill your kids before you even start them down the clogged artery path. The premise of the show is that a nutritionist studies the nutritional (better stated: non-nutritional) tendencies and exercise habits of a family with kids. The nutritionist then feeds information about the children (height, weight, caloric intake, aerobic output, etc) into a computer model and then ages the children up to 40 years. Then she reveals the tragic outcome to the parents. Considering that most of these kids end up looking like a cross between Shrek and a punching bag, the parents are usually shocked and vow to change their habits. Then comes the tricky part- actually changing their habits.

Dr. Nutritionist then goes to the family home once a week for three weeks, giving the family three new rules to follow each week in an attempt to turn their lives around. The first rule always involves changing what they eat by throwing out all their processed, pre-packaged foods and eating only fresh foods. This is when the parental vows usually start to crumble. After raiding their pantry, one family was left with only ketchup (which is packed with salt, but the mom threw a fit). Another family was left with brown sugar and table salt. Then the family makes the obligatory trip to the grocery to try and figure out what they actually can eat. The ketchup mom didn't know what broccoli was when she saw it. How do you get so far in life as to having children and not know what fresh broccoli looks like?

The rest of the show usually involves children who scream and kick and cry when their TVs are taken from their bedrooms, who weep at the thought of eating vegetables. It is unreal to me. There are usually rules involving the parents, too. Those usually dictate that the parents stop smoking, guzzling coffee, eating dinner in their recliners...The parents are usually the ones who fail miserably. The kids are generally pretty receptive to the healthier lifestyles after the second week. Then again, they feel better and look better and are way less tired than they used to be.

It all goes to show that kids aren't so bad- their parents are. Isn't it just as easy to put an apple in a lunchbox as it is to throw in a Little Debbie cake? Most of my friends make fun of me because they say that our children will be weird. They swear that when our kids come to visit them, they get to eat Oreos and play video games. I don't have a problem with Oreos. My children will get to eat Oreos, but they will get a few Oreos, not a bag. I mean, my all-time single favorite food is a Pronto Pup, but I don't ever eat them. Instead, it's baked fish.

When we got Otis, we swore we wouldn't let him have weight problems. We are really strict about making sure he eats only what he needs because overweight dogs have such awful health problems. Our reasoning was, if I were to become overweight, I have myself to blame. If my dog becomes overweight, it's not his fault- it's mine because I am the one who feeds him and he is completely reliant on me to take care of him. It's the same with kids to a degree. Yes, a ten-year-old can raid the fridge on his own, but aren't the parents the ones stocking the fridge with all the wrong things? Aren't the parents the ones that are sending the signal that it's okay to overindulge by not monitoring what their children are eating/overeating?

I am not a perfect picture of nutritional health, and I don't claim to be. I just can't imagine life the way some of these people live it. I can't imagine deep-frying my kids' dinner. I can't even imagine deep-frying my dinner!

This is my plea to the handful of people who actually read this blog: don't deep-fry your dinner! Of course, the people that are reading this wouldn't do that anyway...I'm getting off the soapbox now, I'm all riled up.


feather nester said...

Oh, I have to see this show! The main problem is that we don't get TLC. I 100% agree with everything you said. My life would be perfect if we could live in the same show and I could come over to watch TLC with you.

mowask said...

It is rather disturbing. I haven't seen the show but it sounds pretty close to reality. I have posted (ranted) several times about the amount of sugar and processed foods kids get on a regular basis... given to them by their parents. It's all about priorities and choices. I am frightened for kids and their parents when it see how unhealthy they are and how they live. We believe in pedal power (no motorized toys here), organic foods, no hydrogenated oils, low sugar, lots of water, playing outside and taking walks every evening. I read an article two months back about the fictional family and the real family... we fell almost completely underneath the fictional family. I was offended by the notion that the fictional family was some unattainable thing. And that there must be something wrong if you were fictional. I'll get off my soapbox before I really get on it. Glad to know that others are just as disturbed over this matter.

die Frau said...

I could rant for hours. HOURS. This is why I agree with my dad that we should put birth control in the water and make people take a test to get the antidote, or to procreate. It's its own form of child abuse, as is spoiling a child rotten. As a parent, I think your job is to create an independent, well-adjusted child whom others won't want to kill when standing next to them in line.

When I was a kid, my parents only let us have sugar on our cereal on weekends. We made popsicles out of orange juice. Yeah, we ate our share of cookies and things, but we didn't have the computers and DVD players and video game systems that today's kids have. At one point mom thought I was watching too much TV and banned it for a month, affording me only the Muppet Show and the Dukes of Hazzard on Friday nights. She couldn't have done a better thing.

I don't think I could watch that show because it would make me so angry, as do those Nanny 911 shows. In case any of you are interested, John Rosemond is a former family psychologist and now does speaking engagements talking about practical parenting. His website,, is pretty good. Basically he espouses giving the kid limits and not being one of those obnoxious, overbearing parents who spoil their kids and then wonder why they're monsters.

Although I would totally watch the show with Ouiser and Feather nester.