By René Syler
Oh wow, here we go again. It’s a topic we’ve dealt with before on the site but it’s in the news once again. And get this; Good Enough Mother feels a course correction coming on.
An Ohio 3rd grader who weighs more than 200 pounds, has been taken from his mother and placed in foster care because of his extreme obesity. The mother had been warned the boy needed to lose weight after he was taken to the hospital with labored breathing. Following that incident, he lost a bit of weight but then started to gain it back. His mother is incensed, saying she feels officials are making it seem like she doesn’t love her child. And this is where I have to change my tune from my earlier post.
Now before things get heated, hear me out. Granted this case sounds extreme but if the mother had been taught what to do (and it sounds like she had been since the child was losing weight initially) but chose not to, how is that NOT negligence? It’s so many shades of wrong, especially since her boy was already developing health problems. So if state officials could prove the child was in imminent or future danger, what other choice was there?
As a mother you want your kids to have the very best life has to offer. That includes living life to the fullest. Hobbling them with extra weight and predisposing them to conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes doesn’t fit that description. Given recent studies showing a third of kindergarteners are headed toward a lifetime of obesity, this is something that we must take very seriously and soon.
Okay so let’s debate. What do you think? Was the state right to take this child away from his mother or did officials do what they had to do to save his life? Will this be the beginning of a slippery slope, possibly overwhelming the foster care system? Or are there other alternatives that could have been used? Fire away!
René is the author of Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting and founder of its subsequent website, www.goodenoughmother.com.