Monday, August 25, 2014

Parents and (ab)normality when it comes to food

Every fall the discussion on daycare food flares up in media. Since I started to care, it has become more intense every year and each year more parents join the battle. Right now the Finnish daycare parents are starting to wake up about the crap that is being served to their children, it is not only about the sugar but also the additives, the margarine, the food-like products that are nothing more than a cheap cover-up for the real thing; served to our children every day in kindergartens across the country. What surprises me the most is the reaction of other parents. It shouldn't really, I once was the target of the angry outcry of fellow parents myself. But still it does. You would think that when parents try to improve the food situation and daycare other parents who will equally benefit from these efforts would be supportive, or at least not try to destroy the efforts. But they do. Time and time again.

I ask myself why? Is it the feeling of not wanting to admit that the place that is taking care of their child does not necessary have the same nutritional standards as yourself? The feeling of not wanting to cause problem, everything seems so fine; the daycare personnel is reporting that your child is eating well, your child is growing and you see no reason to worry, so why start a conflict? When other parents start digging in the daycare food you become upset, not with what they find but with the fact that everything is maybe not alright and you just do not want to deal with the arising conflicts. Or is it because of what you yourself  are feeding your children: way to much artificial juices, sugary yogurts, sugary berry creams, ice creams and you have convinced yourself that the amount of sugar that your child is getting  through your own hands is completely harmless? So when somebody starts questioning those juices and those yogurts  it is not the fact that they are trying to improve the food that your child is getting while you are working that bothers you, but the feeling of guilt in yourself. You know sugar is bad for your child but without it your child will not eat at home. Or at least you think so. You have tricked yourself into believing that "a little bit" won't hurt. Now that these hysterical and crazy anti-sugar freaky parents start making a lot of noise you become just a tiny bit uncomfortable about your own choices in the food isles in the supermarkets. And so you react. You react not by doing what would be in the best interest of your child, supporting the efforts of getting them better food in daycare, but by attacking the other parents accusing them of being fanatic, crazy and out of control.

As long as these sugar-parents are the loudest nothing will change. Luckily everyday there are more parents that find sugar coated daycare institutions unacceptable. Soon, they are louder. By that time the parents who say "a little won't hurt" will have to revise their stand on what they mean by "a little". Soon normal is something else than the normal of the past. I have hope. I see change coming. Keep on fighting parents!  Dare to speak up! Dare making noise at those parents' meeting coming up soon at your daycare. It is in everyone's interest!Together we can make a difference in our children's current well-being and future health! Let's make real and organic food the norm in every place where children are served food in this country!