Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

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Does letting your child become obese constitute child abuse?

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Jamie
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Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Jamie »

Excluding medical conditions, if you let your kid get obese is that child abuse?
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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Sigma »

I read this and was not sure :|

Abuse:
'the non-accidental commission of any act by a caretaker upon a child under age 18 which causes, or creates a substantial risk of, physical or emotional injury'

or creates a substantial risk of, physical or emotional injury' - well I think if you allow your child through poor diet to become obese then you meet that criteria. But then the parent may be loving and showing that love through food or allowing the child to dictate the rules so to say. But then as a child we rely on the 'adult' to do right.

So it may not be intentional and abuse is a strong word - but you are not really looking out for the child if you allow the child to become obese. There is physical risk - health. So the childs needs are not being met. So yes it is a form of abuse - maybe through good intentions or lack of education or understanding but the child will suffer ill health at the hands of the adult.

not sure, that sounds very harsh but correct also :roll: I do not think abuse has to be intentional to be termed abuse. So it sounds about right-ish.


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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Liz »

i think it could be termed abuse yes, but nothing is ever as clear cut as that and whilst it may be considered abuse - perhaps neglect - i think it comes down to the intention behind the act. Parenting is damned hard when you have not experienced good parenting yourself and knowing what a child needs in terms of a balanced diet is fine often in theory but the practice of it can be a completely different ball game.

Financial considerations not least when little money is around. It isnt easy then to ensure a child is given the right quantities of the necessary foodstuffs to ensure healthy growth and development. And exercise too. Many children these days spend a heck of alot of time staring at a computer screen and never see the outside world except to go to school, let alone play outside and do all the things which the older ones amongst us might have been able to do as children.

Part of me wants to defend those care-givers who perhaps havent got those necessary parenting skills to ensure a good diet and a balanced lifestyle.

I felt quite angry reading the title of this poll. Too easy to pass judgement. Even as i know it may be termed abusive and the consequences of that for the child can be life-long.

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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by JellyBean »

I think this is a difficult question to answer due to many variables involved.

If parents are obese, and have been obese their entire lives, they may have very little knowledge of what a healthy diet entails. These parents are not abusive, but they are uneducated. Also, many people who were comforted during childhood by having been given sweets and cookies and snacks will tend to comfort their own children in the same way. I don't think you could call these parents abusive.

Also, choosing a healthy diet costs more. A family with limited finances may not be able to afford to buy many fruits and vegetables. And they may find that buying a meal from the dollar menu at McDonald's actually costs less than purchasing food at a grocery store and preparing it themselves!

I don't think we should sit in judgment.

Many parents are honestly doing the very best they can in order to provide for their children.
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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Carrie »

I think it is yes. There is a world of information out there about the health risks of being obese for people to draw on - even if they grew up not knowing about it or being able to change what their parents fed them, they owe it to their children for them to be healthy - & to me that means not obese. Not to even touch on the teasing & bullying that will unfortunately almost inevitably happen. Also obese doesn't happen overnight, it takes a long time, & all that time could be used to make gradual changes. I'm not sure I agree that healthy food is more expensive either, I don't think it is.
I realise I am probably setting myself for being knocked down here as I don't have children but that's how I feel about it.

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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Jamie »

If lack of education is a defence for a parent to allow their child to become obese then surely the same would be true for general child abuse too? Obviously we know that isn't true, so I wonder what part of our society/culture allows us to follow the ethos that feeding a child to obesity is just a lack of education? I also don't follow the argument about money. We were extremely poor when we were growing up but that didn't mean we weren't fed healthy food and made to exercise a lot. Laziness springs to mind and that just wreaks of neglect to me.

I'm with Carrie on this one, although like her, I don't have kids either so perhaps I can't comment.
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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by NIgirl »

Erm not sure about this one!

Probably because I'd have to add neglect to the ever growing list if this is the case!
Initially I was with Liz on this one....really not so sure anymore though!
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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Liz »

Jamie wrote:If lack of education is a defence for a parent to allow their child to become obese then surely the same would be true for general child abuse too?
I think they are 2 very different issues actually. And i think a lack of education is in part what this is about. I think too that children these days - alot of children these days dont get the exercise that us older ppl here praps did. i work in a school setting and have asked children questions on how they spend their leisure time, their answers were fairly illuminating. Shocking actually at the amount of time that children stay indoors even. I think too its the age we live in. computers, play stations, tv and the like are the norm. if children happen to play football or do some other sport on a regular basis then they are the lucky ones who probably wont grow up to become obese.

I dont think its necessarily as straight forward as simply letting your child become obese. I think the life styles which ppl have these days also play their part. The junk food era, the ready meals, the snacking generation. Combined with 'poor' parenting skills. Ppl who have never been taught how to cook basic healthy food. Why not? because their parents were never taught either.

This poll pressed my buttons. My stuff probably. i'll own it. But i dont think its as cut and dried as other forms of child abuse. YES! it could be classed as neglect. But i think you have to look further into it before you stand there in judgement.

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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Sigma »

Jamie wrote:so I wonder what part of our society/culture allows us to follow the ethos that feeding a child to obesity is just a lack of education
Not lack of education more a lack of being able to apply that education. Tis one thing to quote and another to understand it and actually apply that knowledge.
Sigma wrote:So it may not be intentional and abuse is a strong word - but you are not really looking out for the child if you allow the child to become obese. There is physical risk - health. So the childs needs are not being met. So yes it is a form of abuse - maybe through good intentions or lack of education or understanding but the child will suffer ill health at the hands of the adult.
I stand by my words. Though, if a parent is not willing to work with 'outside' help - gp etc etc then there is a serious case of abuse. But if the parent is simply not thinking and all other areas of the childs needs are met, then ... It gets more complicated than simply pointing abuse, in terms of helping that family it becomes less complicated. Is it abuse - yes. The word abuse includes - use wrongly or improperly or excessively - as a child you do indeed rely on a caregiver to adhere to that.

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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Jamie »

I think it is that simple to pass judgement.

Sure, I understand lifestyle plays a part in this growing problem. But who controls the lifestyle? My friends Son started using his PlayStation more and more. They simply limited him to an hour a day and gave him incentives not to use it. Sure, he was a pain to be around for a while and I'm sure living in that environment, with a stroppy teenager, is a nightmare. But that's what I call proper parenting.

I've thought my stance about not having kids perhaps wouldn't qualify me to comment. But, like Liz, this post and the replies here, have pressed my buttons too. I would like to debate the subject and I feel it is worthy to do so. This is what this forum is about!

I accept there are different types of abuse and in the same way I accept slapping a child once out of anger is different to physically abusing a child everyday of its poor life. But, its still abuse.

Letting your child become obese (yes, parents do 'let' their children become obese) is a form of abuse - intentional or not, it is neglect (not withstanding medical conditions). Parents buy the food, dictate the lifestyle and provide the motivation and encouragement (parenting). I can't get away from those statements no matter how much mitigation I hear about PlayStation's, fast food, long working hours etc etc.

I'm happy to be convinced otherwise.
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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Liz »

OK! so it's abuse! but where does that get you? where does that leave the parents who allow that?

Having judged them - and that's exactly what you are doing - what are you going to do now?

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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Jamie »

Yes, I'm happy to judge a concept or an issue. I won't judge individual cases because that isn't fair or right.

I agree with you, it is abuse. I also agree with others, it isn't black and white and that there are varying scales of abuse.

What will I do now? I'm not sure where that question comes from? You haven't asked anyone else what they are going to do now in other debates that have started here? Still, I'll do my best to answer. I'm giving a talk at the Bristol Samaritans next month (gulp!) I may work it into my presentation. I'm also fully supportive of the government's initiative to generate healthier lifestyles. I'll also continue to debate, as long as anyone is interested ( :wink: ) and is listening ( :oops: )

I also agree with Sigma's point that education is also about arming people to act upon that education.
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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Liz »

Jamie wrote:Yes, I'm happy to judge a concept or an issue. I won't judge individual cases because that isn't fair or right.
i wonder what the difference is?

i wonder too why you feel i am attacking you when i didnt actually name you!

i think what has so pressed my buttons is the wording of the question and the use of 'your' - because that brings it closer to home. Makes it personal for those of us who have children.

Now my son isnt obese, he was perhaps a little on the overweight side in his teens - not least when he had an ingrown toe nail and couldnt exercise for a fair amount of time. Perhaps i feel on the defencive because of that. But also i think because of my work in school and the situations there i come across. An inner city school where there is much in the way of poverty which permeates through every part of life. Part of me wants to defend those parents i have come across who through no fault of their own are struggling with seemingly impossible odds. Education is paramount. For those parents and their children who ironically through healthy eating being included in the curriculum throughout school life may be able to teach their parents the rudiments of good and balanced diets. It's a slow process because the roots run deep.

And because all the education in the world may make little difference when the roots are connected to emotional eating for example. Praps that's why i struggle here because of my own issues with food. Food is an emotive issue!

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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Jamie »

I guess I did feel attacked. Not sure why I'm defensive - perhaps its because i feel so strongly about this. I thought your reaction was worded as though it was aimed at me.......
Liz wrote:OK! so it's abuse! but where does that get you? where does that leave the parents who allow that?

Having judged them - and that's exactly what you are doing - what are you going to do now?
It followed a few minutes after my post and the word you stuck out at me...especially as I'm one of the only ones voicing the 'yes' opinion at the moment.

Why do you want to defend parents who are finding it tough and yet overfeed their kids? I understand wanting to change their opinions and feeling for their situation but not with respect of food.

Put it another way, food is a coping mechanism. This can be used by parents with their children. Selfharm is also a coping mechanism...now that doesn't bare thinking about!
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Re: Poll - Is letting your child become obese, child abuse?

Post by Liz »

Jamie wrote:IWhy do you want to defend parents who are finding it tough and yet overfeed their kids?
Because its damned hard being a parent and society does alot of judging without delving too far below the surface.

It isnt as simple as that. things seldom are.

Breaking the cycle is life-long. Generational too.

Praps the next poll could be about alcohol abuse - it seems to me that alcohol related problems are much more acceptable to ppl than issues surrounding food. Eat too much and you are 'simply' viewed as being greedy - drink too much and its seen less seriously - which is desperately sad given that we seem to be growing a generation of binge drinkers.

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