Monday, February 26, 2007

Mother May Lose Obese Son

From the AP comes this story from Britain. There, the government may very well intervene in a case that is either becoming more common in the world of parenthood or has been going on for much longer than many of us would like to think, with many left unaware.

LONDON (AP) -- Authorities are considering taking an 8-year-old boy who weighs 218 pounds into protective custody unless his mother improves his diet, officials said Monday.


Normally, I advocate less government intervention, this is especially true in areas of how we raise our children. I also would say that government cannot do a better job of raising children, in most cases. But with this article, it goes to show that even with the inefficiency, and downright incompetency of many things that involve this enigma we call government, there are some instances whereby this inept institution would be a better lot in life, than what they currently own.

Here's why I say so (which is found right in the article):

"Child abuse is not just about hitting your children or sexually abusing them, it is also about neglect,"......


Often when this kind of thing comes up, the debate turns to whether neglect is the same as, or different than, abuse. Neglect is harder to prove than abuse, sometimes. But in this case it is apparent, there is visible evidence that the child's best interests are not currently being served. There is evidence that the mother does not show up for appointments with professionals that can help him.

Keep in mind, while this is taking place in Britain, this kind of thing is happening right here in the U.S., too.

I don't know what television show it was, I was just catching it in passing, mind you. But just a short time ago, I watched some young girl (from somewhere in America) roll herself around on the floor just to get from Point A to Point B, because she was too damned fat to walk. The parent(s) in that case must have been missing a properly functional and operational brain unit, as well.

Now, I highly doubt there is a malicious motive in every case. Sometimes it's guilt, other times it's just a case of not wanting to say no or not wanting to hear the protests. I know how it is, I have raised kids. It's easier to give in sometimes, when one wants peace and quiet. But down the road, it creates something that can and does get out of control, one way or another. But in this case (like may others), it's simply a case where the kid rules the roost.

With all of this in mind, I cannot see where there is any further point in allowing this kid to stay with the mother that allows her kid to kill himself slowly. Can you?

26 comments:

Anonim said...

Though problem. Is tough love the solution?

I guess, I'd go by your original instinct, and say this particular government intervention will not necessarily save the kid. He steals and hides food, etc. It may well be a disorder of sorts (behavioral or physiological) rather than parental neglect. The government could still help, I think; but, it has to go beyond advising and giving tactics to the parent. Or, how about a middle ground, like seeking parental consent for social services' taking custody for a trial period to see if there is anything to be learned?

Anonim said...

I misspelled one of though and tough. I know which one, but won't tell you.

Mark said...

With all of this in mind, I cannot see where there is any further point in allowing this kid to stay with the mother that allows her kid to kill himself slowly. Can you?

This sounds like we are all here living with the government's consent. If we start "allowing" mothers to remain with their children then we've gone much too far down the road of it "taking a village."

She's a bad parent. Possibly the kid has an eating disorder or something. But if this becomes a benchmark there'll be trouble.

beinghad said...

Belarus just passed an initiative similar to this that says that children from abusive or alcoholic homes can be taken and, of course, that the family will be obligated to pay for the child's care. The level of government intervention into people's lives here is much greater, so this is not seen as such an earthshaking notion. People here do not get the illusion of deciding whether or not ether they are the property of the state; they know they are. But still, this idea of having the states take on the job of proactively protecting children from mistreatment seems to be going around in the governing circles.

LASunsett said...

More than anything, it's important to note that there is no one standardized answer to this. I can see merit in all three arguments offered here. But in the wider scope of things, we must always consider that every case stands alone and is unique to the people involved.

As Anonim says, it's a "though" problem. (Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.)

From where I stand though, there is a serious health risk involved here. The kid is going to die at a young age and really has little choice in how he is being raised. Freedom is about choice. But can an 8 year-old truly make an informed choice?

As for an eating disorder, allow me to say something about those kinds of things. Like alcoholism and drug addiction, it is my firm belief that these kinds of "behavior" diseases are not classified appropriately. In all of these, there is an underlying depression that must be treated before a lasting change in behavior can be achieved.

Many will disagree with that school of thought, I am sure. But, I stand by it, just the same.

ms. miami said...

well, lasunsett, you and i will most likely disagree, but i would love for government regulations to do something to make our society healthier.

it's the 'everyone can do whatever they want if they have the money' attitude that has ruined our urban planning, allowed companies to manufacture and market anything they want to call 'food,' let employers push people to work long hours with little paid vacation.

yes, there are trade-offs, but by and large europeans, who, given cultural differences, trust the government to do the right thing and implement limits, are much healthier.

LASunsett said...

MsM,

//but by and large europeans, who, given cultural differences, trust the government to do the right thing and implement limits, are much healthier.//

But, I would submit there isn't much of a difference in average life expectancies between Western Europe and the U.S.

Now in Eastern Europe is's a tad bit lower than in Western Europe and the U.S. What would you attribute this to?

ms. miami said...

But, I would submit there isn't much of a difference in average life expectancies between Western Europe and the U.S.

this may be, but keeping people alive doesn't necessarily mean that they're healthy. i don't have a study on hand, but imagine that we have a greater percentage of people suffering from various lifestyle diseases requiring disease 'management' (heart problems, diabetes, etc.).

i fondly recall seeing lots of people in their 70s and 80s riding their bikes through Maastricht in the Netherlands. I don't see that here, but then everyone has to drive, don't they.

Now in Eastern Europe is's a tad bit lower than in Western Europe and the U.S. What would you attribute this to?

sure, it depends on how a government works.

i attended a university known for prepping government functionaries in france. they have an important 'services publics' component to their education.

french people, for example, trust the government to make better decisions for society as a whole (vs. corporations) because those working in the government are educated to take this function very seriously.

i'm sure that the causes for the discrepency with eastern europe are complex, but i imagine that the philosophical differences in education play a big role.

indeed, unfortunately, the life-span for russian men has been plunging since the break-up of the soviet union.

Anonim said...

LA, aldough (close enough?) I like to disagree with you (for you're a nice guy to have across the table), I will disagree with you.

Calling the symptom by a name as "X disorder," as in "eating disorder," doesn't preclude deeper underlying causes. Could be physiological (I said), or psychological (you said). There simply are too many unknowns at hand. Unknowns not only in the AP story about this particular case, but also about the obesity condition in general. Is it genetics (fat gene)? Is it depression (brain)? Is it the unhealthful commercialized food supply and eating habits? The questions can continue. My point is, we don't know enough to lay all blame in front of the parent here; moreover, we don't know if government intervention would help. To me, any approach along the "try and see" line is fine. Yield to the parent, force and empower her to be serious about it; or, give full practical custody to the government, without estranging the parent.

Yes, each case is unique, and there are things to be learned from each case. Yet, this kid isn't the first one to be in this condition. It'd be interesting to see what's known from population studies. Any success registered by government intervention in a similar case?

I personally would not name this as parental neglect unless the mother is force-feeding (or has force-fed) the kid with particularly fattening foods, let alone jumping from that to saying "neglect is abuse" (as in the AP story).

A.C. McCloud said...

yes, there are trade-offs, but by and large europeans, who, given cultural differences, trust the government to do the right thing and implement limits, are much healthier.

Freedom means not taking away my Krispy Kremes and nacho cheese doritos! Here's the problem. When medicine becomes socialized the government WILL have right to make those kind of decisions based on perceived health risks. However, those risks will only be associated with overindulging not having a doughnut once in awhile.

Referencing overweight children will they eventually set certain poundage levels (or BMI) where a child will be taken away? Not sure I like where this is going.

ms. miami said...

ac mcloud- let me just underscore that the french government doesn't keep anyone from eating a doughnut or other 'choses sucrées.'

they do, however, make companies responsible for labeling the origin of their foods and disclosing any funky stuff (hormones, etc).

i'd have to do some research to confirm, but i'm pretty certain that fast-food chains like kfc cannot get away with offering the 'pseudo-chicken' in europe that is served at their american restaurants (there is a reason that they rarely use the word 'chicken' in their menu or marketing).

if you'd rather eat corn syrup-infused hydrogenated doughnuts and chips made with "nacho cheese," suit yourself.

good luck with that diabetes treatment later on ;)

Greg said...

ms miami, are you an enarque??

I just want to throw up when I see how our society addresses problems involving kids. People who commit violent crime against children get lighter sentences than those who commit the same crime against adults. Especially if the perpetrator is the parent.

The question here should not be whether the mother is allowed to keep the child. It should be whether we should force this child to live in an environment that is harmful to his health.

That said, foster care or other care at the hands of the gov't is usually only marginally better than care from an abusive parent (and sometimes it's worse). So, my solution would be to charge to woman with child endangerment. Why do I think her attitude will change once she faces jail time or hefty fines. Give her probation conditional upon changing the child's eating and activity habits. You would think the embarassment of world-wide notoriety as a bad parent would be enough. Alas....

ms. miami said...

salut greg- je suis science-polarde (at least their programme étranger- i didn't do the whole enchilada). really the pre-enarque crowd.

Mark said...

I'll go with anonim - don't think there's abuse here. Now if the mom was tying the kid down and stuffing him with crisco that'd be different. Arrest her. But rather the kid grows up fat and happy with his mom than depressed and angry that he's not with his mom and has to wake up at five in the a.m. at government fat camp to be ridiculed by state sponsored drill sergeants which will no doubt lead to a physcological disorder which will no doubt lead to a lack of showering and stalking happy fat people which will eventually wind up in a murder.

Good job fat camp. You're just like boot camp for kids who smoke pot. Worthless and demeaning.

ms. miami said...

ac mccloud- following a bit of research, i have to retract my earlier comment about kfc. apparently, they are not currently using psuedo-chickens.

however, people are working on introducing such psedo-animals into our food supply:

http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/a/184440.htm?terms=frankenchicken

LASunsett said...

One other thing we must consider is this:

If the child were emaciated and skinny with bones showing, would we then think it to be in his/her best interests to remove the child?

You bet we would.

For those of you that disagree with me, remember, this is not to be done as punishment for the mother. It's for the best interests of the child. Nothing more.

I have heard on the way home from helping my daughter move to a new place (enter Advil for soreness)that they are going to let the boy stay with mum for now. Maybe they have her attention, now. She has skipped appointments in the past, maybe she has agreed to keep them from now on, and they are going to watch her.

Most of you know me that I am not for government intrusion, as a general rule. Goodness knows that they are way into our business, way too far these days, in places that are clearly none of their business. But one thing the government should do is look at these things, when a child's life is at stake. And this kid's is.

AC, I share your concern about the slippery slope factor here. It's a valid concern. But, this is something I don't mind my tax money going toward.

A.C. McCloud said...

i'd have to do some research to confirm, but i'm pretty certain that fast-food chains like kfc cannot get away with offering the 'pseudo-chicken' in europe that is served at their american restaurants (there is a reason that they rarely use the word 'chicken' in their menu or marketing).

Could you explain that a bit more? The typical KFC bucket contains things like legs, wings, and thighs. Are you suggesting they are fake, bones and all, or is it something else that makes them pseudo?

if you'd rather eat corn syrup-infused hydrogenated doughnuts and chips made with "nacho cheese," suit yourself.

good luck with that diabetes treatment later on ;)


Just got my physical and things are fine right now, thanks. My uncle is a baker, BTW, and is doing well at 75. Everything in moderation, Ms. Miami, as they say. That's the key. ;-)

LASunsett said...

AC

//The typical KFC bucket contains things like legs, wings, and thighs.//

Don't forget the breasts. Breasts are important too. ;)

ms. miami said...

ac mccloud- please see my retraction a few comments above yours regarding what kfc is currently serving.

also, please check out my link regarding why fake chicken is just a matter of time:

http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/scitech/release.cfm?ArticleID=1098

LASunsett said...

MsM,

If you can, could you tiny url that site? It cuts off on blogger.

ms. miami said...

la, here you go:

http://tinyurl.com/ahxsl

LASunsett said...

MSM,

Merci.

Anonim said...

I don't know what tinyurl is. I can guess or try to find out about it, but isn't it better to enter HTML code for your hyperlinks? LA uses this, hence must know how, already. It's simple. For example,

<a href="http://poli-yy.blogspot.com">Take me to LA's place</a>

Displays as:
Take me to LA's place

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

//I don't know what tinyurl is.//

It's a site that allows you to condense a long url into a small one. Type in the tiny url that MsM provided and it will take you directly to the link she wanted us to read. Some people don't want to remember the long code to hyperlink, so they tiny url it. Either way is fine with me

Anonim said...

Yeah, that's what I'd guess.

Of course, the code is not long at all (the longest part is the url, which is a copy-and-paste deal inbetween the quotation marks. But, sure, it's fine either way.

A.C. McCloud said...

Don't forget the breasts. Breasts are important too. ;)

Nice catch, LA. The omission means nothing. I enjoy a breast or two myself, but not the fake ones.