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The Neglect Of The Fat Kid - How Parents Are Being Labelled As Bad

By Michelle Duffy     Jun 14, 2007 in Health
Childhood obesity has been labelled a form of neglect by the parents, so how can we educate ourselves before we all start getting prosecuted? According to UK social services, fat kids have been involved in child protection cases, 20 in the last year
So what do we make of the parents who, when their child was in hospital recently, they were bringing in 1lb bars of chocolate in for him every day? Are these parents really neglecting their children or are they just wanting to see their child happy? Sadly, this word we have trouble with, 'happiness,' seems to now skip along hand in hand with the word, 'food.' It is a tool for bribery and a weapon to take away if the child has not been good. Yet doctors are now telling parents off and are seeing the givers of life as being the ones who are also taking away...
Hospitals are shaping the way we view ourselves and our children. Yet this claim will now have the cruel effect of raising our fingers and pointing at the parents walking down the road with a fat child. They are calling it child abuse, I would like to call it something else...
Should we have the right to point the finger at the parent? I would like to believe that we are far from educated in bringing up our children and that it is down to the state to push more money into funding user friendly parenting classes. At the present time, these classes are too labelled. When we attend them, it must mean there is something wrong with us.
The BBC, this week, has done some homework of their own and approached 50 doctors specialising in children, paediatricians and asked the million pound question - are fat kids really a result of parent neglect?
The good old British Medical Association will be asking this question seriously at their annual conference due to kick off within the next week. It has certainly been a topic of discussion in the headlines, raising the issue of fat kids being a product of single parents families - there they go again. It would seem that the authorities cannot wait to jump upon the single parents for just about everything.
So what do the quacks have to say about all this finger pointing? One consultant, Dr Tabitha Randell, believes that parents are to blame. She said of one child of two weighing four and a half stone,
"They said she was big-boned and they were too. I think the perception of parents is a very real problem. If you see every other child in the playground with their belly hanging over their trousers you think that's normal."
Yet some doctors do think that to blame the parents is the wrong way to go about handling the issue, as one spokesperson at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said,
"Obesity is a public health problem, not a child protection issue. There may be a few families that give cause for concern where there are other matters of neglect or emotional harm and this is where a paediatrician might have discussions with social services."
So what are we suppose to do when as caring parents all we want to see is our children eat. We find ourselves backed into corners, giving in to our children by dishing up something that is unhealthy just to see them put something inside their mouths.
Many of us, myself included, have a battle to get a child to eat anything. I watch my little one skip into school with the skinniest legs sticking out of over sized shorts. Would this be seen as a form of neglect also?
I would like to see an education system put in place to advise parents from the word go as to what to feed their child. I would also like to see some form of help for parents who can't get their child to eat.
What may be more important is an education system for the experts who have become so far detached from their social surroundings that they don't realise the pressure that parents are constantly under....
Then again, we are talking about children who can't walk, they are so fat, and this is, yes, a sign of neglect, but from whom, is another question....
More about Child obesity, Form, Neglect