Am I the Worst Mom Ever for Not Allowing McDonalds?

Am I the Worst Mom Ever for Not Allowing McDonalds?

Since this is the last week before school starts, I’m consciously making an effort to explore our city and have an adventure every day.  Monday we strolled the wooded paths of North Park Nature Center, Tuesday we took the bus and El downtown and Wednesday, well my son is begging to go to McDonald’s.

He is close to six and has never been to McDonald’s, is that so bad?  There are millions of delicious restaurants in our city that offer real, fresh food, why support the chain that is contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic?  Did you see the movie Super Size Me?  After watching that disgusting movie, I vowed never to eat the chemical filled food at The Golden Arches again.

I understand the convenience, cheap price tag and kid appeal that the chain offers.  I do.  My son told me he felt left out because he is the only one of his friends who has never been to Mickey D’s.  No mother wants to hear that their son feels excluded.

I also worry that this is one of those situations similar to the playing with toy guns debate.  If I prohibit him from fast food his entire childhood,  he might grow up to rebel and eat there everyday?  Kids want what they can’t have, right?

It seems silly. The more I resist, the more he wants to go.  Is this really a battle that is worth fighting?  It has been over 10 years since I’ve been inside, maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe they have healthier options these days?  I’m trying to teach my son to have an open mind and not be negative; I guess I should practice what I preach.

Today we are going to McDonald’s.



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  • First I must admit, we are regular McD's visitors. But I get not going there. But I also think you are right that keeping him from it entirely may lead to over indulgence when he is able. You never know, he might not even end up liking it if that's not the way he's eaten for this long.
    My more healthy eating son loves the walnut and fruit salad (fruit nuts and yogurt?) and I'm sure I'd still be surprised by the crap in it. But

  • My husband hates McD's, and I am not a big fan myself. There are times when the kids (ages 9 and 8 right now) want one of the Happy Meal toys. We eat fresh, healthy foods most of the time, but we don't really have a problem with buying store bought cookies or something occasionally.

    We give in and go to McD's maybe every three months or even more sometimes. When we do, the kids inevitably eat about half their meal (although now with the apple slices they eat a bit more). I get food that is absolutely tasteless, and I immediately regret it.

    Then, we ask the kids how it was, and they admit to only wanting it for the toy and that we make better food at home. This lasts 3-6 months... we ask them how their food tasted the last time they went to McD's, and they remember that it was awful and they lay off for a while.

  • I think that the statement "If I prohibit him from fast food his entire childhood, he might grow up to rebel and eat there everyday?" is very true.

    Growing up, we had McDonald's OCCASIONALLY. Same deal with other junkfood. My mom wouldn't stock the house with hostess, cookies, TV dinners, chips, sugary kids cereals, soda, etc. When we had McDonald's, it was more once in a while, like once a month. I was pushed to eat balanced. I can't even fathom a meal without a serving of fruit or vegetables now in my adulthood.

    For me now, I just don't find McDonald's appealing one bit. Maybe it's because I'm a foodie and I like to make healthier and more flavorful versions of burgers and such, but I also think getting the "bad stuff" in small amounts and learning how it's not ideal for regular eating is what kept me from being a junkfood junkie.

    Now I treat bad food as occasional. I'll admit I like Taco Bell here and there, but I'll usually indulge once every few months. I still think it was because of how my parents raised me. I've had friends though who were given anything and everything they want, and now they won't even touch a salad and think vegetables on a pizza is a sin. Others who were barred from it their whole lives also grew up into junkies once they gained the freedom to get it on their own.

    Teach your kids moderation, and when they're older, teach them to prepare meals and even cook. Believe me, the greatest thing I take from my parents is they taught me how to cook...and I do it like crazy, always experimenting in how to make healthy versions of all the yummy stuff.

  • Your kid will not be scarred for life if you never take him to a McDonalds.

    Your kid will not have a heart attack at 11 if you let him have a Happy Meal every few weeks.

    My two bits: When my kids were little, during cold winter Sundays, I'd take them to a local McD's or Burger King with an indoor playground, get them each a kid's meal (which they rarely finished) and let them climb and play for a hour or so while I sat and read the paper. Cost six bucks, and we still have most of the toys. Pretty hard to argue with the practicality of that.

    As for seeing your kids eat healthy, that's an ongoing parenting job in this junk food-saturated culture. No one thing will make or break that

    -- mm

  • even julia child liked to have mickey-d's french fries once in a while...of course that was before the vegan police made them stop frying with beef tallow.

  • The message of SuperSize Me was pretty clear. If you eat MickeyD's for every meal for 30 days, it will play hell with your body chemistry, and long term, can kill you.

    They also talked to lots of nutritionists who admitted that once in a blue moon...meh, fine.

    You are (were) placing far more importance on it than it deserves. There is nothing wrong with saying "no" to your child, no matter what American culture tells you. But it's also okay to say "yes" on occasion.

    Some people use food as a a reward, which some will tell you attaches food to good behavior, which will make them get fat. Some will tell you denying goodies will connect it to rebellion, and they'll get fat to annoy you, and you mention. Here's the rule of thumb - everything you do will ruin your child, unless you read MY book, and not that guy's.

    Go if you want to go, say no if you're not in the mood, but don't be like those people who would wear a hat that said "I don't go to McDonalds, you obese scum" if they could.

  • Early on in the article I was commending you for your solid stance and not caving into the McLemmings.

    Now I see you have given in and have taught your son to behave as the rest of society sheep.

    Tell me why it is so important to let you son get his way in this case?

    Are you not the parent that is teaching your child to not cave to the advertising brain washing that is destroying our society?

    Your for a FACT , know that this form of "food" is unhealthy for his body , and to forget that so easily only shows you are not showing him the strength to combat future peer pressure battles he is looking to you for his guidance.

    Be strong and let him know you made a mistake , and go forward and he will be the better for it.

  • No, the worst mom in the world, that would be Casey Anthony.

    I agree with most of the other posters here in that it's OK to go once in a while. My kids also admit they go for the toys more than the food. I think it's a good opportunity to talk about nutrition, and how foods taste (the ones at home, vs. healthy restaurants vs. fast food.)

    P.S. I'm guessing that "Bones" probably doesn't have kids of his/her own.

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    When my daughter was born, I made a vow that I would never feed her anything *I* wouldn't eat. That started with rice cereal (ew) and now extends to lots of other things, including hot dogs (double ew) and McD's, which I haven't visited in years.

    If a friend has a birthday party someday, I'll let her go and she'll eat the disgusting processed food and drippy french fries like the rest of the kids. I don't want to exclude her from normal kid activities and make her feel like a weirdo. And once in a (very) blue moon won't kill her. BUT will we ever go there as a family just because "everyone else does it"?

    Hell, no. I don't want to eat that garbage either.

  • No, you make sense. Your kids need to go every now and then just to be able to be "like the other kids" but good for you that you're not there instead of cooking 5 nights a week. Way to go, Mom!

  • While there are lots of better options than McD's, or other fast food joints, it's not the gateway to diabetes for them to consume a big mac and fries once in awhile. Unless we start restricting our kids from eating all junk (cookies, cake, cupcakes, pizza, etc) then taking a stance against McD's seems inconsistent. I think we all perceive McD's to be the bully because they are biggest symbol of food gone awry in our society. But, check out the doc Fathead, which is a response to the mostly ridiculous premise of Spurlock's in Supersize Me. McD's isn't the boogyman. Our lack of self control and accountability is the problem. I understand wanting to teach our kids a more responsible and healthier way of eating and thinking about food, but the occasional McD's isn't going to sabotage those efforts.

  • I raised three children and remember taking them to McDonald's twice. Of course, when they became teenagers and started to drive, they went there and to other fast food joints. However, the early years stayed true to them and today as adult citizens, they eat healthy and two of them have never taken their children to any fast food chain. Meals are at home together, either after a sport practice or before the practice, but always at home.
    I am very proud of my child rearing and the results it has borne on my grandchildren as well.

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