Hello. My friend has a son and downplays his eating habits. It’s not serious according to her as it’s just a learning disability. He is 10 years old and only eats fast food, usually French fries, pastries or chicken tenders. I’ve seen this almost everyday for the past 7 months and when I finally had the courage to say something, she said it’s only twice a week. Should I have stayed quiet? I feel like this is some sort of negligence. She makes a good living so it’s not a money issue to buy healthy food as she is also an active athlete. Maybe I’m the one who crossed the line? Advice please and thank you. I feel bad and told her I think she’s a good mom and I would support her in helping her son as I can’t imagine how hard it will be to break this habit. I don’t know what to do.
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reader, Honeypie + ♥, writes (10 January 2018):Plenty of studies suggest that children (especially) DO NOT benefit from "fast food" because it is over saturated in all things our bodies do not need not can process.
I watch a 3 year old who is the most picky eater I have ever met. His mom NEVER really cooked anything (only used the microwave for frozen "kid" dinners and served fast food. When he is at my house he eats LOADS of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat is harder to get him to eat (unless you serve him fast food/fried stuff - which I don't) so I went for "alternative" sources of protein for him. I didn't have him for a good 6 months and when he went for his 3 year well-child appointment he was diagnosed with deficiencies. A CHILD needs good sources of food to mature, not only their baby, teeth, bones but the brain. I had mentioned to his Dad that I felt his language was not progressing at all and neither was his other skills. (which is why I didn't watch him for 6 months because his mom got mad at me for pointing that out). (Now I only watched him 1-2 times a week so apparently not enough to make a dent in the health problem)
The doctor pointed out the SAME things (thankfully it was the Dad that took him to this appointment, NOT his mom)
Now my point with this whole story?
His parents are LAZY when it comes to feeding him. They are OK to live on fast food and it has been EASIER to feed him fast-food chicken nuggets and fries than having to cut up some fruit and veggies, to look up recipes, try new things. Also the kid would throw a fit when not getting junk food. So again EASIER to give in, than PARENT him. Telling him him no is just "too hard"... Though when he is over here, he EATS what I make, he tries new things and he doesn't get ANY NON ZERO ZILCH fast-food. We do eat burgers, pizza, chicken nuggets - but it's all made from scratch. Not deep fried but oven baked.
All you can do is perhaps find a nice cookbook for kids, so HE can get involved with the food too. There are many books that caters to the parents who likes to involve the kids. Maybe it will give her an idea of what to change.
Overall, I don't think you overstepped your boundary as a friend.
However, it IS her choice in how she proceeds.
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reader, YouWish + ♥, writes (10 January 2018):On the contrary, you were a true friend to her and to her son. Was it none of your business the food choices she made for her son?? While the people who would say "Yes" would be justified in saying so, I think you did the most loving, the most caring thing you could do. Fast food every day will wreck the health of anyone, kids and adults alike. There is absolutely ZERO benefit to eating that greaseball fat, and kids who get it on a regular basis (i.e. more than once per week) tend to develop illness and obesity at a far greater rate than their healthy-eating counterparts.
I understand why your friend does it. It's easier to swing by a drive-through and grab food you KNOW your kid will love and find delicious rather than buy groceries and craft a nutritious and healthy meal followed by cleaning up afterward. I get that it's tough especially if someone's either a single parent or is a full-time worker.
If he's got a learning disability and is a really picky eater, there are healthy alternatives, such as lean grilled or sauteed chicken breast tenders instead of McNuggets, or cut up apple slices rather than fries. Free the proteins of all the fat, cholesterol, and grease.
You were a true friend. I know you cared, and even though she may have gotten defensive or been in denial in front of you, she thought about what you said.
One thing though -- I hope you did NOT say these things to her in front of her kid. Never undermine or criticize a mom in front of her child, not for any reason whatsoever.
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