In these frazzled and time-poor times it is difficult to juggle the competing demands of feeding the children and getting them delivered punctually to school or childcare, while also meeting our own need for sustenance and employment.

I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew.

To this end it is worth thinking about whether schools and childcare centres could be co-located at McDonalds drive-throughs. The children could be removed from the car - if they’re small enough you could pass them straight through the window – and a helpful McDonalds employee could then hand you a coffee and a McMuffin and give the kiddies some nuggets (or whatever) before taking them to class. You wouldn’t even need to leave your vehicle, and everyone would start the day with a hearty meal.

Clearly, this idea isn’t even remotely worth thinking about, but it is worth throwing it out there in a juvenile fashion to upset the nutrition freaks and child protection obsessives who want their cotton-wooled, risk-averse, no-fun agenda enshrined in the nation’s statutes.

Earlier this week it emerged that those wicked bastards who make energy drinks, the kind that are packed with caffeine and guarana and the same mysterious blue chemical used in radiator coolant, are now selling their monstrous hell-fluid in 1.25 litre “family-sized” bottles.

Cue the pavlovian calls for government to step in. Clearly, nobody has thought about the children.

“We can’t see a single reason why the energy drink market should not be curtailed,” AMA president Steve Hambleton said.

I can think of a few reasons. The first being that governments have got better things to do, like not stuffing up the economy, and ideally not much else beyond that. Or the more compelling reason, which is that as far as I can tell there aren’t many five-year-olds cruising the aisles with their personal stash of cash, shelling out five bucks for a bottle of V or Red Bull. It is parents who do the buying, and surely no parent would be so stupid as to give their kids these drinks anyway, unless they appeared to be flagging while finishing their homework and you needed some liquid to wash down the No-Doz you had just given them.

In this era when a bag of nuts comes with a warning that it may contain nuts or traces of nuts, no threat is too miniscule to warrant government intervention, a national education campaign, and the threat of fines for those who transgress. We are having an on-again off-again national conversation about whether fast food advertisements should be banned because the “pester factor” is apparently so great that we’re all shovelling KFC down the littlies’ throats. And while we’re on the subject, how good is that 10 pieces for $10 deal they’re currently running on Tuesdays?

A couple of years ago the nutritionist Rosemary Stanton became quite agitated when Bindy Irwin was hired as the public face of a packet cake mix, in an apparently sinister endorsement of the consumption of chocolate cake by a role model whom the littlies revere.

Playgrounds increasingly resemble padded cells where something as lame as a see-saw must be placed in a 10m deep pile of bark chips lest anyone does themselves a mischief.

The other day when the temperature was close to 40 degrees I went to Big W and bought one of those tiny inflatable pools, which upon unwrapping it included a stern note translated from the Mandarin saying under the laws it could only be inflated if placed within the perimeter of government-standard permanent fencing, the kind you would construct if you had a real pool. Obviously and tragically, plenty of kids have drowned unattended, it only takes a few centimetres of water, and as a parent you cannot imagine anything worse. But if your kids know how to swim, and if you are inflating it on the lawn directly in front of the barbecue, where you and seven other adults are spending the afternoon providing constant supervision, and then you drain the damn thing the moment the party is over, calling in the permanent pool fencing guy seems a bit over the top.

I often find myself thinking of the beefcake model Fabio, the guy who couldn’t believe it wasn’t butter, not on account of any weird sexual fondness for the man but because a few years ago he became something of a pin-up boy for what you could call irrational hyper-vigilance. Poor Fabio had ridden a roller-coaster in Florida and as the ride was going down a loop-the-loop at breakneck speed a massive migratory goose flew in his path and broke his nose. To his eternal credit the very decent Fabio said he had decided not to sue. But he explained that he had decided to go public, to make sure that it never happened again. As far as I can gather, it hasn’t.
Irrational hyper-vigilance is at its most pronounced when it comes to the tiny tots. Perhaps it’s a sign of how pampered we are in the west that we fret and worry about such trifles as energy drinks or the odd burger or dangerous playgrounds, while in many parts of the world kids are born in smouldering toxic slums and still kick on into adulthood. And when I say “we” I don’t mean the vast majority of parents. Most parents I know, and I know plenty of them, are much more laid-back and sensible than the paranoid busy-bodies who want to legislate against everything.

One of my earliest memories as a kid is sitting in the back of our green Kingswood station wagon where it was my job to hold on to the metal bassinet my baby sister was strapped into to make sure she didn’t slide off the bench seat and onto the floor as Dad took a corner. Probably not ideal, especially with all the Ben Ean which was being consumed in the 70s. Within the space of a generation we are now talking about whether children should have to stay in booster seats until they are 12. Maybe it is too reckless to remove them from booster seats at all. At least until their 21st. You can’t be too careful. You can actually.

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    • Gregg says:

      05:34am | 09/12/12

      Did you get nailed for not having that pool enclosure David for seems as though your weekend has something of a sour note!

      As for Fabio, the goose flying incident is akin to that stingray or whatever it was inviting it aboard some poor guy’s tinny and nailing him about a year back, might have been Florida too whilst the closest I have come was a Kookaburra on a mission and in streamlined fashion they do look a bit like a jet fighter close up and one whooshing past just in front of the windscreen when I had the drivers side window open was a split second from embedding beak somewhere close enough.

      But I do agree on there being some stupid parents out there buying gunk that could in turn make their kids into stupid parents and that’s always a bit frightening.

    • TimB says:

      08:47am | 09/12/12

      ‘But I do agree on there being some stupid parents out there buying gunk that could in turn make their kids into stupid parents and that’s always a bit frightening. ‘

      Soon they’ll all be drinking Brawndo.

    • acotrel says:

      05:57am | 09/12/12

      I don’t care what ignorant kids want to eat, but I object to the practice of manufacturerswho lace everything with sweetners.  Macca’s hamburger buns are sweet, diet coke and every other soft drink are either laced with sugar or saccharin.  I don’t have sugar in any beverage that I drink, and my taste buds have adjusted.  I can detect even the smallest amount of sugar in coffee,  and it tastes horrible and sickly to me.  Surely I am not in a minority, and I wonder why people who don’t like greasy kid’s stuff are not catered for ? Macca’s is absurd - ‘some things are so bad that they are good’ - not Macca’s.  The only thing they have that is good, is their coffee. - Too bad if you are hungry !

    • Gregg says:

      06:20am | 09/12/12

      “and I wonder why people who don’t like greasy kid’s stuff are not catered for ? “
      There’s always subway or going home to eat lettuce.

      Maybe a nice market there for you, put a lettuce into the vitamiser and get this slimy green drink gunk the kids will probably adore and you could even go with colourful varieties by adding stuff like carrots and beetroot.
      Have an ice machine and make gunky colourful frosties and you could be a millionaire by summers end and the number of kids getting Xrays for junk food constipation might have even fallen whilst growing all those extra vegetables would have to be good for recycling carbon.

      You might even be able to get some funding from Julia!

    • ronny jonny says:

      06:25am | 09/12/12

      Don’t go to Maccas! Get your food elsewhere, bring a banana, make a frickin sandwich! Don’t moan about McDonalds, who is forcing you to eat it?

    • Steve says:

      06:39am | 09/12/12

      The non-Maccas consuming community is catered for by the non-junk food part of the Australian food industry.

    • acotrel says:

      07:20am | 09/12/12

      @ Ronny
      When I’m travelling up the Hume after being at Apollo Bay, I usually swap the driving with my wife at the facility at Wallan.  The choice of food is Macca’s or the Kentucky Fried Chickenshit, until we get to Avenel .We have a Macca’s in Benalla and once when my wife was away, I went there at 4.00 am simply for human contact and the offchance of finding something edible- not a great experience.

    • Sickemrex says:

      07:31am | 09/12/12

      “I wonder why people who don’t like greasy kid’s stuff are not catered for ? “

      Good old fashioned sandwich shop?

    • acotrel says:

      07:37am | 09/12/12

      Why would you eat a Macca’s hamburger when you could have a toasted chicken and avocado foccacia or even an egg and bacon sandwiche ?
      ‘The burgers are better at Hungry Jack’s’ -  A modern phenomenon - truth in advertising !

    • SAm says:

      07:54am | 09/12/12

      when are people going to shutup about maccas, which is far healthier (or less bad anyway) than these fancy smancy ‘cafes’ serving up ‘gourmet wraps’ (smothered in about 3000kj of sauce and cheese)

    • marley says:

      08:31am | 09/12/12

      If you don’t like sugar, don’t eat or drink things containing it.  But don’t try to impose your rules on the rest of us.

      If you don’t like Maccas, don’t eat there.  Don’t try to deny the rest of us the occasional pleasure of a Big Mac and fries. 

      Live your life as you will, and leave the rest of us to make our own decisions about how we’ll live ours.  And the government has no place in any of it.

    • TimB says:

      08:38am | 09/12/12

      This is about as stupid as complaining that the only meat products KFC sells are chicken.

      What if Acotrel wants beef? Why isn’t he catered for? Storm their head office Acotrel! Object to their practice of selling nothing but chicken!


      (BTW you know how stuff like this is mockingly referred to as a ‘First World problem’? I think we’ve reached a level of dumb here that needs a far stronger term as a descriptor. Any ideas?)

    • getitwriteco says:

      08:38am | 09/12/12

      No acotrel you are not in the minority re even a grain of sugar being detectable in your coffee if you don’t ever have it.

    • Gianna says:

      10:25am | 09/12/12

      Agree re the sweetening of everything .....and also flavourings in all sorts of things.  Mint flavoured denta sticks, for crying out loud!

    • Zinger says:

      11:16am | 09/12/12

      Next time you comment, wait until you wake up.

      acotrel talks about sugar being put in everything fast food and you pull up a strawman about KFC not selling beef.

      Go stick your head in a bucket of water and come back with something relevant to the comment, or try making your own.

    • Docudrama says:

      12:06pm | 09/12/12

      Maybe you should try the bucket of water trick yourself, Zinger. TimB was clearly responding to the following:

      “and I wonder why people who don’t like greasy kid’s stuff are not catered for ?”

    • Gregg says:

      01:23pm | 09/12/12

      ” @Gregg
      Why would you eat a Macca’s hamburger when you could have a toasted chicken and avocado foccacia or even an egg and bacon sandwiche ? “
      Why indeed or even your egg & greasy bacon for that matter!
      I have not suggested you should.
      You’re too old to be sitting on Santa’s knee.

    • Gregg says:

      01:31pm | 09/12/12

      ” @ Ronny
      When I’m travelling up the Hume after being at Apollo Bay, I usually swap the driving with my wife at the facility at Wallan.  The choice of food is Macca’s or the Kentucky Fried Chickenshit, until we get to Avenel .We have a Macca’s in Benalla and once when my wife was away, I went there at 4.00 am simply for human contact and the offchance of finding something edible- not a great experience. “

      You’re full of missives eh!
      Here’s a couple more - ever thought of finding somewhere between Apollo Bay and Wallan or hanging on for that little bit longer to head off the main drag to find something better.
      Even pack yourself some healthy edibles before leaving Apollo Bay

      And you went into Maccas at 4am for human contact! WTF!
      Stay off that knee!

    • Zinger says:

      01:38pm | 09/12/12


      Clearly he was TimB
      .Way to back yourself up.

    • MummyM says:

      03:11pm | 09/12/12

      I’m with you Acotreal…to me Macca’s is not real FOOD…it’s full of preservaties and who knows what else…I mean you have to ask yourself, what is with the colour of the cheese? What is really in a chicken nugget? And what the HELL is special sauce?!

      I am a Mother of two, and I try and do what is best for my kids and teach them good, healthy habits while they are young. To me, feeding them rubbish is not going to help them in life,  so we don’t have fast food. My childen don’t miss out though, we make our own chips and nuggets without all the crap and head down to our local fish and chip place every now and then.

      Anyway, parents are responsible for their children. I am so over people wanting everything banned and carrying on because there are not other choices to feed their kids! We live in such a lazy society….every 3rd person has a massive kitchen with every appliance under the sun! Ever thought of cooking REAL FOOD? I cook up meals on the weekends and I ensure we have food in the house so that I don’t feel ‘forced’ to feed my children maccas or other so called food. It’s seriously not that hard.

    • Docudrama says:

      03:35pm | 09/12/12

      I’m not TimB or any other Tim, Zinger. I suggest you keep your head in that bucket.

    • TimB says:

      04:03pm | 09/12/12

      @ ‘Zinger’

      1. No that wasn’t me. Unlike some people around here, I don’t use multiple names.

      2. Whoever docudrama is, he was right. I was referring to the bulk of Acotrel’s comment where he was whining about Macca’s, and how it didn’t cater to his tastes. It’s a stupid comment to make, and exactly the same situation as my hypothetical KFC scenario.
      You don’t go to a vendor that is known for selling one thing and one thing only, and then complain that they don’t have something completely different. That’s idiotic. And given the advice everyone else has given Acotrel in this thread, it’s a point understood by everyone else but you.

      Next time, wait until you read past the first line of a comment, then you won’t make yourself look stupid with an inane reply.

    • Angry_Of_Mayfair says:

      04:26pm | 09/12/12

      Worse.Those “diet” crap things are laced with Aspartame. Cirrhosis, anyone?

    • ronny jonny says:

      06:01am | 09/12/12

      We have let the nannies, worry warts and safety nazis take over society. We have become a dictatorship of the do gooder, where we must be saved from our own stupidity by taking all responsibilty out of our own hands. Some dumb arse backs over their kid in the driveway? Ban four wheel drives. Inattentive parent allows child to drown? Force everyone to put enormous fences around pools. Too irresposible to put medicines and poisons out of reach? Must legislate for childproof lids (I hate those effin lids).
      It’s not the evil corporations fault, it’s not the governments fault, it’s not societys fault, it’s your fault.

    • acotrel says:

      06:30am | 09/12/12

      If we all adopted a mindset to recognise our duty of care, and act to control the risks in our lives, we wouldn’t need prescriptive laws - only performance based ones directed at outcomes and best practice. Most of our new laws are written that way.  We are in transition from an authoritarian system to a more democratic one.

    • nihonin says:

      06:40am | 09/12/12

      ronny, it’s not my fault, the government hasn’t passed legislation stating it is.  wink

    • ronny jonny says:

      07:25am | 09/12/12

      acotrel, that requires way too much effort and personal responsibilty. The control of risk by regulation leads to everything being geared towards the lowest common denominator and it frustrates the hell out of me. We organise everything around safety for the stupidest people in society at work and in the home. The amount of brainless bs I have had to sit through over the years in the name of safety would blow your mind. The time and money spent to demonstrate duty of care is ridiculous and in a corporate setting it is all about preventing lawsuits from dills who hurt themselves.

    • Mike says:

      07:50am | 09/12/12

      Correct Ronny Jonny.  No one considers the “hierarchy of controls”.  “Just ban it, that’s easier” is usually the answer.

    • AJ from WA says:

      09:24am | 09/12/12

      @ronny jonny - you left out another group - the general fun police (GFP) who are one of the biggest problems.

    • kaiser says:

      06:22am | 09/12/12

      Fair comment on the nanny state: completely agree.

      But don’t you think the media are a tad part of the problem. They go out of their way to find an ‘outraged person’ to provide a counter-point to any action. 

      While trivial in cases such as this, on the big issues which you refer, governments have a defacto no-disadvantage gun held to their head. So no party would actual tell anyone they are going to do anything bad coming into an election. They have tell BS and then do what they need to reform in their second year of office and hope everyone has calmed down by the next election. Makes democracy hard to work.

    • Sickemrex says:

      06:34am | 09/12/12

      “there aren’t many five-year-olds cruising the aisles with their personal stash of cash, shelling out five bucks for a bottle of V or Red Bull. It is parents who do the buying, and surely no parent would be so stupid as to give their kids these drinks anyway”

      That’s a happy land of sunshine and butterflies you live in Penbo. Have you seriously never seen primary school aged children buying caffeine soft drinks? Many parents let even pre-school aged kids drink soft drink regularly on the pretext that it’s only a special treat. Yeah, a special treat that happens almost daily. I don’t do it but I can’t say I don’t give a stuff because we’ll all be paying for the treatment of diabetes and obesity by the public health system. People ARE that stupid.

    • Bec says:

      09:07am | 09/12/12

      “there aren’t many five-year-olds cruising the aisles with their personal stash of cash, shelling out five bucks for a bottle of V or Red Bull. It is parents who do the buying, and surely no parent would be so stupid as to give their kids these drinks anyway”

      ...Then why did I see an 8 year old girl at the supermarket the other day buying a 4 pack of blueberry flavored Red Bull? Parents are that stupid.

      I do agree that it probably wasn’t the intention of the companies that make these products for children to consume them. But it does happen.

    • TheHuntress says:

      03:08pm | 09/12/12

      I’m having a little chuckle to myself over this one - I very rarely allow my son soft drink - it’s something he’s allowed when we go out for lunch or a meal, or it’s his birthday party. He had just turned five years old when my husband and I had married and my lovely husband, bless him, took him to a little cafe at the beach, after we made a spontaneous visit, to get him a drink.

      I was very interested to see when they came back to sit down that our son was clutching a lurid bottle of “Vitamin Water” - a product I reserve a special kind of disdain for. I was puzzled, wondering what sort of planet my husband was on giving a five year old ultra-caffienated, highly sugared lolly water. But instead of saying something this time I decided to let him work this one out for himself.

      It took about fifteen minutes and our boy was going CRAZY on the playground. My husband, bewildered asked what had happened to him. I told him to read the label on the bottle of drink he had just bought for our son. I had to say that I was amused when a look of realisation spread over his face. He has NEVER bought any kind of energy drink for a child ever again.

      Lesson learned.

    • acotrel says:

      07:28am | 09/12/12

      We have one really good restaurant in Benalla.  I went there the other night with my wife on my birthday.  There was a family there with noisy kids, which was a little bit irritating.  But as I said to my wife, at least the kids were learning to appreciate what is actually good (quality).  And I believe that is important.  We have about three independent food outlets in our town selling top quality stuff at about supermarket prices - I always support and recommend them. I suggest it is a matter of promoting a mindset which appreciates quality, and it doesn’t cost substantially more to pursue it.

    • Fed Up says:

      07:37am | 09/12/12

      We are becoming a less democratic society by the decade,one that is becoming totally more dependent on Gov control.
      We’re constantly being told what to do,how to think and how to react.
      We are losing our individual identity.
      We are being systematically changed over time to becoming a race of Elois.
      It’s not the Gov or societys job to take responsibilty from us….

    • J Hoover says:

      10:55am | 09/12/12

      I’ve been saying the same thing for years Fed Up.

      Why, just last week I felt obliged to make this very argument to the local beak, who took it upon himself to reprimand me for the way I choose to raise my child.

      You see, my eldest son Edgar, had just come home with his report card. As usual, the young fella had flunked out of every subject. His maths grade was particularly bad. Now, as a responsible parent, I felt it was my duty to help the young lad out with his work. After giving him the hiding he deserved for sullying the family name, I decided I should probably give the kid some help with his schoolwork. I’m not one who is big on book-learning, so I figured some real-world experience working with numbers would do just as well.

      Once his mother had fallen into her usual afternoon stupor brought on by her newly acquired appetite for over-the-counter codeine tablets, I packed the boy some lunch and headed off with him to the track, where I figured he could learn about about probability and percentages.

      Unfortunately, when we arrived I discovered it was a non-racing day. It looked as though the day would amount to nought, when all of a sudden I remember a conversation I had been having with the Vietnamese forklift driver at work, regarding some weekend activities he had planned for that very afternoon.

      We hailed a cab and travelled to the outskirts of the city, and dropped in on a cockfight my work acquaintance had going. Young Edgar loves animals, so he was quite excited to see some cocks in their natural environment - a fighting pen.

      I gave him a couple of 50s and told him to place some bets. At that very moment, who should arrive but the fun police, who duly proceeded to arrest us all on trumped up charges of animal abuse and illegal gambling.

      After a night spent in the holding cells, I appeared before the beak who, as I mentioned earlier, proceeded to lecture me about my parenting style. Although I tried to explain that this was all a big misunderstanding and that I was simply trying to help young Edgar with his maths homework, the beak wouldn’t hear a word of it, and he slapped me with a $5000 fine and a control order.

      I ask you, what right does the government have to tell me what is the best way to help young Edgar with his homework? And why does it feel the need to interfere in the business dealings of an entrepreneur like my Vietnamese friend?

    • Noelene says:

      01:25pm | 09/12/12

      J Hoover
      What an infantile post.The sort of parents that give their children a belting and take them to cock fighting venues will do that in spite of what the government says.Most responsible parents do not need government regulations…full stop.I do agree that regulations are needed on labelling of food and drink.Parents need to know what is in food and drink,but they don’t need warnings.

    • J Hoover says:

      03:42pm | 09/12/12

      You’re right of course Noelene.

      My eldest son Edgar often tells me I have an infantile sense of humour. I don’t know why, but I can’t help but find myself to be a constant source of my own amusement.

      I remember one year for April fool’s day I thought it would be hilarious to make Edgar think I was on fire. I liberally doused my pants in Zippo fluid and set them alight. I ran into Edgar’s room screaming for him to help me.

      Of course, by the time I got to poor Edgar’s room I actually was on fire. I hadn’t checked what my pants were made of, and it appears that a product that is 90% nylon has a tendency to melt.

      Suffice to say, it was a less than pleasant way to end my favourite day of the year.

      You will be pleased to know, however, that it looks like I will get a handy little settlement from the company that made my pants. You can’t legislate for stupidity, but the common law sure likes to help protect it.

    • Mouse says:

      03:56pm | 09/12/12

      JHoover, I am becoming a fan of yours…......  *chuckle chuckle*  :o)

    • Mike says:

      07:48am | 09/12/12

      All too often, people use “Occupational Health and Safety” as an excuse not to do anything.  Not because of some high moral drive to do the right thing or because they don’t understand the law, more likely because they just can’t be bothered….because they have a hard time explaining WHY they can’t do it, except “OHS”.

      - A boot supplier claimed it was banned from accepting dirty boots for return.
      - Cafes and restaurants refused to heat up baby food.
      - A golf club told players that golf buggies were not health and safety authorized.
      - A hospital refused the use of a microwave on a ward.
      - A gym-goer was told he could not lift weights without wearing sneakers.
      - A woman was banned by her boss from wearing sandals in the office in the summer.
      - A passenger was refused a blanket on a flight but told she could buy one.
      - A campsite banned sleeping in a camper van.
      - A primary school’s tree house had to be located away from the premises because of a risk to children.
      - A council banned a nursery teacher from taking children to a garden.

      and my favourite one recently that I saw - a baby business that didn’t want to see if a car seat fit into someone’s car “because of OHS”, but they’d happily sell it to them…however, refunds were questionable because “it might have been involved in a crash” - between the store and the car park (!).

    • Gerard says:

      07:58am | 09/12/12

      “Irrational hyper-vigilance is at its most pronounced when it comes to the tiny tots.”

      Not really. Compulsory bike helmets, compulsory superannuation, internet censorship, poker machine restrictions and the plastic cups in pubs rule are at least as bad as the laws regarding young kids.

    • Sergio says:

      12:33pm | 09/12/12

      What on earth could you possibly have against compulsory superannuation?! Are you not planning on living past retirement age?
      (Though if you’re riding around with no helmet and glassing people in pubs then perhaps you’re not…)

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      08:27am | 09/12/12

      Penbo child mortality in this country has halved over the last 20 years or so. It’s probably a quarter of what it was when you were a kid.

      And this is a good thing.

      Believe it or not some people value their kids and want them growing up safe and happy.

    • marley says:

      01:21pm | 09/12/12

      @Austin - that probably has more to do with vaccinations and better pre-natal health care than with the state regulating kids’ diets.

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      08:32am | 09/12/12

      —The first being that governments have got better things to do, like not stuffing up the economy, and ideally not much else beyond that. —

      Yeah I guess we can all live without schools, hospitals, roads, sewers, garbo’s, water and all the other services needlessly provided by a Government that should just get out of the way and let corporate greed run rampant for the good of the economy.

    • John says:

      09:21am | 09/12/12

      Not sure you’re right Penbo.  There are far more stupid and/or careless people in this world than you think.  You’d be out of a job otherwise,  judging by the content of today’s news media—especially the online and popular commercial versions.  There’d be hardly any news to report if there were no fools. Even if I don’t care about protecting the idiots from themselves, I’m rather interested in protecting the rest of us, especially their kids and me.

    • StanleyG says:

      09:34am | 09/12/12

      l’ve always believed that when you’re communicating with someone what you say is only half of the communication process.The other half is HOW you say it.l am very strongly anti smoking,anti junk food other than an occasional treat(yes,l plead guilty),and lm sad to say that the perception we are becoming a nanny state is because some people do need nannying. But even l hate these miserable looking,cats bum mouthed,overbearing fingerwaving w^*kers who condescendingly get on telly to make their case. lts human nature to look at these people and say “f#&k off,l’ll make my own decisions”.Whats needed is some friendly faces to explain the dangers of these habits and appeal to people’s sense of responsibility. As annoying as these people are,they are trying to help,and they are often right,its just unfortunate the message gets lost in translation.


      09:40am | 09/12/12

      Hi David,

      Are we really thinking of our children or our own comfort zones and personal priorities? Yes, our lives our maybe so much busier in some ways than the previous generations!  However that doesn’t give us the right to justify feeding our children ready to go convenience foods and buying them everything in sight in order to feel like we are good enough or better parents than the rest!  Life can be a competition but parenting isn’t a race or a competition at all. We all have to try and do our best within limitations.

      Our best rewards at the end of the day, aren’t about winning the prize gold medals or approvals from others. They just happen to be the well adjusted, healthy, and happy children, around ourselves.  Nothing more or less, and life is all about teaching our kids about being responsible, respectful and caring human beings.  I still don’t get all the hype with consuming huge bottles of energy drinks?  With all the caffeine and other substances in these drinks, are we really being wise?  Just imagine all that caffeine in their little bodies and their kidneys working overtime to get rid of the harmful stuff?

      I still prefer a healthy sandwich to chicken nuggets and good old freshly squeezed orange juice to any fancy, colorful and sugary drink any day!  When we are offering our kids foods we always have to look at the natural vitamin, mineral contents and nutritional value firstly. If there is none, then they aren’t even worth the bottle or the packaging they are presented with.  I surely have never felt guilty and ashamed about the fact that I couldn’t but chicken nuggets or energy drinks for the members of my family.

      When are we all going to get the message that true parenting isn’t necessarily about what we can provide for our children materially.  However nothing happens to be more valuable than our undivided attention and quality of time we can all dedicate to just communicating with our family members.  Remember the song “video killed the radio star?  I feel the same way about all those latest electronic devices such as smart phones, lab tops as well as iPads!  How much time our family members are spending on those instead of getting connected with those close to us? 

      For me on a personal level life in general wasn’t necessary easier in the previous generations because there was so much more sense of responsibility, hard work and true dedication to everything they did such as preparing home cooked meals, less over all expectations and more family time minus all the distractions.  And I also wonder what ever happened to all that time we were supposed to save with having all the latest innovations and gadgets in our lives?  Kind regards.

    • youdy beaudy says:

      10:02am | 09/12/12

      When i was a kid it certainly was a different society. Children were to be seen but not heard. Children couldn’t sit in the same room as their Grandfather and Uncles when they were talking. We would go out and play in the bushland and learned to befriend all of the wild things, snakes, lizards, birds, goannas etc. Sometimes we would play with matches and nearly come close to burning down the town.

      We would head off with Uncle or Grandfather down the coast in the ole Ford V8 pilot and it would be special to sit in the dicky seat in the boot. No seat belts etc. Most people couldn’t afford a swimming pool so we all went down to the river and played in our canoes. We made spears, bows and arrows from reeds and 6 inch nails, would be very proud if we made the best shanghi by finding the perfect forked branch off a tree and had good rubber from left over bike tubes and a nice piece of leather to make the pouch and then we would fire rocks everywhere sometimes have small battles. Some kids would shoot their daisy air rifles at each other. We never drowned in the river, got into minor trouble most of the time and had a great inventive childhood. We had to follow the rules of the family of which Grandfather was the traditional head and no one would go against Grandfathers command even his sons our fathers and uncles and aunts.

      No refrigeration, Ice chests instead. No TV, no Stereo, only the old radios with dad and dave on air and we would listen to the overseas news on the old radio. We ate beef dripping on our toast as butter was expensive to buy for some families. They had no motor mowers or brushcutters like today, no chain saws and would cut the long grass with sythes. The milkman and the paper man and the baker would home deliver. That’s all gone now.

      No internet, no nothing. So we grew up in that enviroment and were better off for it. Those who were children then will know what i am writing about. We were free. Mother went to the hospital to have the new babe and it was just that easy, not the mamby pambering they have today. There were no Big Macs, no Kentucky fried chicken or other junk food places. It you bought a hamburger or fish and chips as a treat you got what you paid for. Hamburgers were great with real meat, real eggs etc, on big buns and the fish and chips were wrapped in old newspaper and you could reach in to the folded packet to search sometimes successfully for the last chippy which was the best of the lot. Chips were hand made not mass produced with chemical flavours.

      Yes, a nanny state it surely is today, shame really. We had a great life as kids, at least i did. A life of exploring, swimming doing all the things outside in the bush and living like huckleberry finn.

      However, society is far different today than in the 40s and 50s and of course a lot of people worry too much about their kids and there is the problem with being sued for something or other. Children today are not necessarily brighter than we were but the demands were different.

      Children do get drowned and that has always been but many don’t. The policy that Peter Garrett put forward about teaching kids to swim young is a good one and should be implemented. But, with all that protectionism that is practiced at the end of the day one cannot know where children are all the time and their unfortunately be tragic events regardless. But i don’t think that we should become overcontrolled. Junk food is quick, down the hatch quickly, and people feel satisfied but that type of food is ok for a treat but should not be eaten all the time as it affects the health in a negative way. Drinks that are full of sugar and caffine are not good with youngsters as we know and should be avoided. Children should be full of energy naturally, inquisitive by nature and bright in their ways. They don’t need artificial stimulation at all. For God sake let them grow up and feed them properly so that their brains develop correctly. The human brain takes a long time to mature, so good nourishment is absolutely necessary for a growing child but the other things that happen when children are not supervised we have no control over. We don’t want to end up with some type of genetic problem in our children and handed down to theirs later on in life because we were too lazy to look after their diets correctly.

      Anyway to finish this. We grew up as i stated above and we are still here and many of us oldies wonder what the world is coming too with all the stuff that we have to put up with today. Where will the human race be placed in the next 50 years or so, that’s if we are still here, with all the modern things like junk foods and junk soft drinks and a society which is totally glued to technology to the point of obsession. We should think about that and re introduce some of the old ways so we can preserve something that we had before to help our failing world and bring back some respect for the Grandfathers and the traditions.

    • Gregg says:

      10:49am | 09/12/12

      The good ol days eh yb, times when you could go and fossick in the rubbish tip for old prms to get billy cart wheels and maybe get a steering wheel off a car to use for steering too.
      Found a great stash of stamps once at Ferny Creek tip up in the Dandenongs and that got my stamp collection started.

      Life has changed in a lot of respects and there is still plenty to enjoy even if many kids these days may not just miss out on the basics but also have absolutely no appreciation for other than living in a concrete jungle.
      That said, you do not necessarily need to return to some of the old ways to have respect for I reckon no matter where and how you live, that will be something which can only be bred into you by parents who have the quality and can set examples and sadly it seems as though that is greatly lacking by too many.

    • Helen of Troy says:

      10:21am | 09/12/12

      I read an interesting article regarding perceived risk to child safety and how it has changed over the last fifty years. This isn’t verbatim but the stats showed in the 1950’s kids travelled unsupervised from their home in a radius of about 9 kms. (cycling etc) In the 60s it diminished further…in the 80’s it was down to about a kilometre, and today ? The average distance a child travels unspervised is to their front gate. However, the actal risk of child abduction is exactly the same.

    • Martin H says:

      10:45am | 09/12/12

      I get a laugh at the children being dropped at the door of their catholic schools by parents that would not want their darlings walking to school in case of someone hiding in the bushes. I’d be more worried about the school than the bushes.

    • Anjuli says:

      10:49am | 09/12/12

      I was born in 1934 growing up I remember walking unsupervised by the age of 4 to the shop at the top of my street and go in and out of neighbors houses . At 6 yeas of age ,walk about a mile to my piano teachers house ,when I was able to ride my big sisters bike I used to ride every where along the country lanes,in the North East of UK .I was too young to understand the freedom I enjoyed ,when I think of it now ,I am saddened what has happened to society ,maybe the stats are the same for abduction of children , older and wiser I for one would not like to take the risk.

    • tez says:

      12:35pm | 09/12/12

      Ever thought about the amount of Red Bull & V drunk by Truck drivers traveling the highways deside you or go to a building site and notice the empty can about?

    • FFS says:

      02:03pm | 09/12/12

      David (journalist): RIGHT ON! I started reading the other comments and stopped. As per usual it decends into a tit-for-tat personal debate amongst those with nothing better to do (Zinger to TimB “Go stick your head in a bucket of water…” etc). Re-read the article, and stick tot the topic. I for one completely agree with David “you can’t be too careful. You can actually”.

    • Rray says:

      03:10pm | 09/12/12

      I know BAN all forms of advertising altogether. Imagine being able to watch or listen to anything without being bombarded by inane direct or subliminal adverts.

    • ramases says:

      04:25pm | 09/12/12

      It all boils down or should boil down to several little words, that’s “taking responsibility for ones own actions” Now if a parent decides to buy this crap for little Billie or Anna then its their choice and they should take the consequences and not shout that its wrong or immoral or whatever as they didn’t really have to buy the crap in the first place.
        Unfortunately in this day and age “personal responsibility” has been so eroded by Government that most modern people don’t really know the meaning of the words. Most of what we do or say has some policy or decree or law against it or a hefty handout from the Government attached. People make decisions not based on need or the fact that they can afford it but what price is attached to it and how much can we get for this or that decision.
      Until the day comes where a Government tells the people that their decisions are their decisions and not the Tax payer decisions or the Governments decisions then we will have this ban it or change it mentality getting worse.
      Get a grip people and take responsibility for your own actions and not expect to be wrapped in cotton wool for all your miserable lives or sue someone for your own failures, like child supervision.


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