Growing a BackBone

I wanted to scream. Or shake some sense into them. I did neither.

That’s because the people who were driving me nuts weren’t in the room, or in this case the plane. They were featured in a Wall Street Journal article I was reading on how teenagers are increasingly turning to food delivery options rather than home-cooked meals provided by their parents.

The appeal of restaurant meals is easy to understand. Higher salt content, more fat content and probably tastier than what mom or dad makes. Not as healthy, but when you are 14 you think you will live forever. Why not order in?

The parents interviewed for the article seemed unable to figure out a response. They knew their children shouldn’t eat as much delivered food, but they seemed powerless to stop them. That’s when I wanted to scream.

Teenagers have limited financial resources. Back in my teen years I was dependent on my parents for meals. It isn’t that I particularly liked the cooking, but I didn’t have the cash for alternatives. It may not have been as simple as today’s delivery services, but you could always get a pizza or Chinese food delivered if you made a phone call – no apps back then.

According to the article, most of today’s teens also have limited financial resources. But that isn’t a problem, as they have access to their parents’ credit cards and delivery accounts. So they just order what they want, when they want.

And parents are complaining their children aren’t eating properly? They don’t know what to do?

Seems simple enough to me. Exert parental authority. Stop giving children what they want when you know it isn’t best for them. Is that hard? Too difficult to understand?Apparently for some people it is.

I have no sympathy for parents who are complaining about their children’s eating habits when those same parents are financing it. Cancel the food delivery accounts. Take back the credit cards.

That might not make you too popular with your children, but that is where having a backbone comes in. Being a parent is not a popularity contest. Sometimes you have to make an unpopular decision in the best interests of your children, using your experience and maturity to do so.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not opposed to restaurant food or home delivery services. But I get worried about society’s future when parents can’t see the simple solution to this dilemma.

I could hope that the Wall Street Journal managed to find a group of clueless parents, the exception, not the norm. I can’t convince myself of that though.

So what about you? Would you pay to let your children make unhealthy choices, either in terms of the food they eat or otherwise? Leave your opinion in the comments section.





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