I read with interest and sadness the Wall Street Journal article "As World's Kids Get Fatter, Doctors Turn to the Knife" on the rise in bariatric surgery on children. Subtitle: "Obesity rates are soaring in Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf states, leading to a boom in bariatric surgery on children." Read the entire article here.
A boom. On children. Really?
I have no doubt that lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyles, and access to unhealthy foods are all contributing factors. Forgive me if the know-it-all me is coming through here, but I have to wonder if child rearing is not also playing a part.
Caveat: This article is about a particular child in Saudi Arabia and I know nothing, nothing, about child rearing in Saudi Arabia.
That being said, there is a problem with childhood obesity in this country too and I do have quite a bit of experience and knowledge of child rearing here. Maybe there are extenuating factors. Maybe a metabolism problem. Maybe some other unique feature of the digestive system which is fearsomely complex. Maybe it has to do with medications or the fact that we humans have been eating for a long time things that aren't really food. Maybe.
But as a mother I have to wonder where obedience factors in here. My children always needed permission to eat, particularly if the food was in the category of sweets or treats. The only foods my children could eat without permission were fruits and vegetables. Those they could eat at any time, even right before dinner. Was this dictatorial? I don't think so. As the adult I'm responsible for making sure my children make good choices.
I also have the responsibility to require obedience from my children. I realize this viewpoint is rather out of favor right now. But there is a reason children are put under their parents' authority. They don't have the maturity to make good judgements! Some children will eat an entire package of cookies. Parents need to prevent that from happening for the child's sake!
Children must be required to obey their parents. It's Biblical. It's true.