Just say no to bad parenting.

It’s no new thing to hear about some parental advocacy group, children’s rights organization or whatever kicking up a fuss over the government not having stepped in to bubble wrap our kids. It’s not even a new thing to hear about it happening in the form of a lawsuit against Mcdonalds, for having the nerve to sell those ridiculous little toy type thinggies with their happy meal. The reason for it, though? Yeah, that’s new.

In the latest round of the campaign to protect us from ourselves, the ultra-meddlesome Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s on behalf of a California mother of two. The suit alleges that the burger chain’s Happy Meal — which comes with a small toy — is deliberately marketed at small children so they will pester their parents to bring them in to the fast-food restaurants.

D’uh.

The lawsuit states, “Children eight-years-old and younger do not have the cognitive skills and the developmental maturity to understand the persuasive intent of marketing and advertising. Thus, McDonald’s advertising featuring toys to bait children violates California law because it is inherently deceptive and unfair.”

Okay. Maybe. If the kids didn’t have parents.

And there’s the main point against such insanity right there. It’s not local, state and/or federal governments’ jobs to parent your kids. If you don’t want your kids eating at Mcdonalds, then for the love of all that is holy, please to be not taking your kids to Mcdonalds. It really isn’t hard. They do have one very small point, I’ll grant them–kids don’t generally know better. But that’s *why* they have parents. Granted, not every parent bothers to actually take the time to teach them any better, which falls on the parents more than anything else–but that’s still no excuse to have governments at any level stepping in with one-size-fits-all type rules. Particularly considering there do exist some parents who see absolutely nothing wrong with an occasional trip to Mcdonalds, or wherever else folks want state/federal legislation in place to say is universally bad for kids–yes, my parents were of that mindset and I turned out just fine. Also from the article:

When our kids were eight and younger, they didn’t have the cognitive skills to understand it was a bad idea to run out onto a busy street — an activity inherently far more immediately dangerous than eating a burger or nuggets and fries. Did I sue our city government for failing to make its streets less attractive to naive pedestrian toddlers? Of course not, I taught our kids to check both ways before crossing the road.

Should manufacturers of stovetops be sued for making the elements such an attractive red colour when they are turned on “high”? After all, young children lack the developmental maturity to understand that if they touch the pretty burner they’ll get, well, burned. Or is it, perhaps, up to parents to teach their kiddies this valuable no-touch life lesson?

When I was growing up, it was up to the parents–and the decent ones actually did what they were supposed to. But that was also 20 years ago. The lawsuit hadn’t become as popular an option then–it still isn’t quite so popular in Canada, but they’re trying. The requirement to actually raise your kids hasn’t vanished simply because, also at least 20 years ago, Mcdonalds started marketting toys with happy meals as an advertising gimmic. As long as you have kids, the requirement to actually be a parent sticks. Or should, if you actually give a damn. This reasoning from the lawsuit currently in progress, though? Smells of not really giving a damn.

Monet Parham, the 41-year-old Sacramento woman who is the subject of the CSPI suit, explains that, “busy working moms and dads know we have to say ‘no’ to our young children so many times, and McDonald’s makes it that much harder to do. I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat.”

Oh my stars. What ever would we do without the Monet Parhams of the world looking out for our children? Pray tell, will she also save us from the parels of crazed teenage run-ins with drugs, sex and alcohol? Oh please? Tell you what. Instead of me snarking at her yet again, have this, also from the article.

Life is inherently deceptive and unfair. It is, therefore, our job to teach our kids, ourselves, to avoid those pitfalls they can and to adapt to those they cannot. Indeed, while it’s one of the toughest challenges of parenthood to train our kids to know right from wrong, good from bad, healthy from unhealthy, it is also one of the greatest satisfactions. What kind of achievement would it be if our job as parents consisted solely of having advocacy groups pester the government on our behalf to enact laws and regulations to do our child-rearing for us?

And yes, what about those parents who have no problem with letting their kids have a little fun, but at the same time have absolutely no problem with telling kids absolutely freaking not when it needs to be said? Or should the default answer just be to sue the government for providing the option in the first place?

Suggestion for Ms. Parham. Don’t say no to the happy meal. Just say no to bad parenting. Then go fix yours. You’d be doing your poor kids many more favours.

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