Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Meals

It's been a long time since I've written a post, but I was motivated by a thought today.

For whatever reason, I got to thinking about the governments increasing intrusion into our meal decisions. I'm all for good choices and education, but legislating goes too far.

There are many parents who do fall short in their parenting. For some, it's supervision, for others diet, for others it's schooling, for others it's being a good example, and for others it's several or all of the above. But....there are many parents making good decisions most of the time.

"Good" is a relative word. There are different standards for "good." Unless we're talking about breaking laws that are hurtful to other people, the govt has no right to intrude.

Good parents are always the ones punished in these cases. A known and very good strategy for parenting is positive reinforcement. For some, a Happy Meal (candy bar or ice cream cone or donut, etc) could be a reward for an ongoing or special celebration or reason. Just b/c some kids live on a diet of hamburgers and french fries and toys shouldn't mean that McDonalds can't use the incentive of a special toy in their meal that makes their trip to McDonald's special - more than a meal, but a treat. You pay for that toy. If you send your kid to McDonalds with less money, they'll have to make a choice other than a Happy Meal. Regardless of a toy, they'll choose the french fries if they want it. The toy makes it special and brings kids to that chain versus the one across the street. It's a market principal. You can try and legislate it, but people will find a way around it and your objective will fall flat and you'll hurt the the profit for McDonald' and hence the pay and benefits for its employees, as well as the jobs required to make the toys and to serve the increased clientele generated by the toy ploy.

There are others ways that the people who follow the rules and make good decisions get punished by those who don't, but that's another conversation.

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