The greatest kindness a parent can show to a child is to teach them that no means no

The news seems to be full of the story about the 8 year old boy who is 15 stone, and the possibility that he may be taken in to care.

Here are a few of my observations on the story.

1) You can be locked up for over feeding a dog, but not a child. This is odd in itself.

2) His mother claims that if he is given healthy food he spits on it. WHAT ! My goodness, if I had done that as a child my parents would have made it clear in no uncertain terms how displeased they were. What on earth is going on with the mother that she allows an eight year old boy to spit on his food ?

3) She says he won't eat vegetables and fruit. I remember I wouldn't eat some vegetables. I remember my parents leaving me at the dinner table and it was explained to me that I could get down when I had eaten my vegetables. I once sat their for about an hour and a half by myself until I realised they were not joking. I ate my sprouts and learnt an important lesson. My parents were not kidding and they meant what they said.

4) He will only eat fried food, says the boy's mum. So don't give him fried food. Believe me, faced with hunger or eating something else, even something they don't like (or claim not to like), children will take the food 99 times out of 100. We went on a residential trip last September with some children from school. A number announced they did not like vegetables, they didn't like sausages, they only liked chocolate iced cream, they hated baked potatoes, they only ate chips, and so the list went on. When it was clear that they had a choice of eating what they were given (good wholesome home cooked food which was really rather nice) or they could starve, they ate the food, and the number of children asked for more of something they professed to loathe was astonishing.

Too many parents, and you see this on these Super Nanny programs on TV, are afraid or scared to say no to children. In truth, the greatest kindness a parent can do for a child is to say no, and teach them that life is about trying new things and making compromises.

Should the 15 stone boy go in to care ? I don't know, but is his mother badly letting him down as a parent ? You bet she is.

1 comment:

David Allen said...

NB, the world has moved on since you were a lad. If any parent tried to pull that sprout stunt these days, their kid would be on the phone to Childline and Matrix Chambers would be offering to represent the nipper on Legal Aid in a case to defend their human right to eat bargain buckets of fried chicken and chips