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Old 02-27-2007, 08:05 AM   #1  
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Default What do you all think of this? Mother may lose custody of obese child

Authorities are considering taking an 8-year-old boy who weighs 218 pounds into protective custody unless his mother improves his diet, officials said Monday.

Social service officials will meet with family members Tuesday to discuss the health of Connor McCreaddie, who weighs more than three times the average for his age.

'The worst case would be Connor getting taken into care. He is well cared for,' the boy's mother, Nicola McKeown, told ITV television.

A spokeswoman for health officials in Wallsend, North Tyneside, 300 miles north of London, said the hearing was part of a process that could eventually lead to Connor being taken into protective care. She declined to comment further.

The health agencies organizing the meeting said they 'have been working with the family over a prolonged period of time and will continue to do so.'

Officials would not say whether Connor suffered from a medical condition that led to his obesity, citing privacy issues.

An unidentified health official was quoted as telling The Sunday Times that taking custody of Connor would be a last resort, but said the family had repeatedly failed to attend appointments with nurses, nutritionists and social workers.

'Child abuse is not just about hitting your children or sexually abusing them, it is also about neglect,' the official was quoted as saying.

Dr. Colin Waine, the director of the National Obesity Forum in Nottingham, England, called Connor's lifestyle 'extremely dangerous,' adding he is at risk of developing diabetes in his early teens, and cardiovascular and nervous system problems in his 20s.

'He's really at risk of dying by the time he's 30,' Waine said.

Dr. Michael Markiewicz, a pediatrician, agreed.

'I'm not saying they can't care for him, but what they are doing is through the way they are treating him and feeding him, they are slowly killing him,' he said.

Connor's case attracted national attention after his mother allowed an ITV News crew to film his day-to-day life over the course of a month.

Connor's mother said he steals and hides food, frustrating her efforts to help him. He eats double or triple what a normal seven-year-old would have, she said.

'If I didn't give him enough at teatime then he would just go on at us all night for snacks and stuff,' she told ITV.

Connor, who lives with his mother and sister, has difficulty dressing and washing himself, misses school regularly because of poor health, and is targeted by bullies.

'People pick on us because of my weight. They call us fat. It makes us feel sick of the nutters always shouting at us,' Connor told ITV.

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Justified? Or going too far? Was just curious what everyone's opinion is on this type of an issue
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:11 AM   #2  
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There was a kid on Dr Phil that the the Dad got custody and now is doing Lot better. If there is nothing medically wrong and the parents don't seem to care about his health he should be removed befor they DO kill him him (with food)
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:18 AM   #3  
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Originally Posted by LLV View Post

An unidentified health official was quoted as telling The Sunday Times that taking custody of Connor would be a last resort, but said the family had repeatedly failed to attend appointments with nurses, nutritionists and social workers.
I read another news article that said the mother refuses to stop feeding him junk food. She claims he refuses to eat healthy foods. She also refused to put a lock on the refrigerator because she thought it was cruel to let him get hungry. He wasn't born with such bad habits. From that article and this one, it sounds like the mother is refusing to take responsibility for her child's health and wellbeing.
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:31 AM   #4  
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Yes, I agree, and this is what one friend of mine said in his email, he's the one that sent me the article. He makes a couple of good points.

"Well technically if his weight is related to how his mother feeds him then you have a case for child endangerment. But I would hate to tread on that ground. Like you said where do you draw the line? At some point as the kid gets older and wiser he may have to make those decisions for himself."

And if this woman is refusing to help that boy, then I suppose at some point someone else would need to step in.
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:57 AM   #5  
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I'm wondering what size the other family members are. They could all be overweight, in which case the child has become the "designated problem."

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Old 02-27-2007, 10:52 AM   #6  
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I heard on the radio this morning that the mother is obese as well. I think it's a good decision, and yes it is fair. If the mother can't get the courage to say "no" to her child when he wants treats, that's too bad. It all comes down to what is right for the child, and what she's doing isn't right.

LLV - I agree that as he gets older, he'll need to make the decisions and choices for himself...but who's going to teach him the RIGHT decisions? Many of us here on 3FC are overweight or obese because of how we were brought up as children, and the habits that we're trying to get rid of are near to impossible because they've been habits for so long. And at the rate this child is going, he could have major health issues by the time he's a teenager...he may even die.

I think it's a step in the right direction. I also think that, because there isn't just ONE case where the parents don't know how to say "no" to their child, more of this should happen in the U.S. as well.
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:55 AM   #7  
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it doesnt matter if the whole family is overweight, they are adults. if she is actively refusing to help her son and actively providing junk food for him, refusing the help that has been offered then she is endangering her son.

She has a callous disregard for his health if she is refusing to try..that is neglect at best, abuse at worst.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:32 AM   #8  
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I'm not sure how I feel. To play devil's advocate: There are parents who do other things that endanger their children's health. Where do we draw the line? What about parents who smoke, should their children be removed from home because of the dangers of secondhand smoke? What about parents who feed their children baked goods with trans fat? What about parents who live in an unsafe area, where children are not allowed to go outside and exercise for fear of the dangers in their neighborhood?

I don't think reading a couple of short articles about this really could tell any of us enough of the circumstances to make a decision as important as removing a child from the parent's custody. Just my opinion.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:39 AM   #9  
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I have mixed feeling about this. I have seen the shows where the 90 lb. 3 yr. olds are being fed nothing but junk. Where the parents say "he screams and cries if I don't give it to him". A big part of me says, let him scream, he'll eventually get used to eating healthier food if it's all that is available. A parent has to do what is right for the health of the child, even if it is an unpopular decision according to the child. An example of this, I had to take my son to the dentist at age 6 and have 2 of his teeth pulled. His teeth were overcrowded and believe me , he was mad at me for a few days. He got over it. But, it had to be done.

I think sometimes parents need to grow up and get a backbone. We cant' be saying "Oh, he won't let me do this or that". Who is the parent? Since when did we let a small child decide what is best for themself? As in this case, I think it's more the fear that mother will have to change, than that the child will have to change.

My conflict with this is "where do we draw the line?" Will there be a certain number of lbs. that a child is overweight before it's removed from the home? Do we really want government interference with child rearing? Everywhere I go now, I see obese/overweight kids. Most often with obese/overweight parents. Should parental education become a requirement for the parents of these affected children? Just some thoughts to ponder.

Tammy, we were posting at the same time. Excellent point. What about parents who Smoke, parents that are alcoholics or use drugs? Should their kids be taken away? I know that here where I live the meth. problem runs rampant. The kids of these drug pushers are given back to them when they get out of jail. That couldn't possibly be a healthy environment for kids either.

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Old 02-27-2007, 12:12 PM   #10  
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How can any parent CONSCIOUSLY allow their child to suffer the side effects of morbid obesity? The kid has difficulty washing and dressing himself? c'mon, is the mother a complete moron--she's whining that he pesters her? Sounds like there is no control or understanding and if they skip appts. aimed at educating the FAMILY in nutrition...they are neglecting the welfare of the child, blatently.

I understand the other elements brought up for child care, i.e. drinking, drugs....and I still don't have an answer about those guidelines (except the obvious of course).

ok, i'll get off the soapbox, don't even get me started on smoking, i'm biased, my sib. has an aggressive cancer.....I almost stomped on a co-workers Camels yesterday and offered to bring in pics on what she could look like with 1/2 a face.
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Old 02-27-2007, 01:52 PM   #11  
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I have never understood any parent that claimed they fed their child junk because s/he refused to eat healthy foods. We aren't born with Happy Meals in our hands. Our food habits are learned behavior. If a child refuses to eat healthy foods, who is to blame?

Regarding smoking, it's illegal in some states to smoke in a car if you have a child passenger. Exposure to second-hand smoke has also been used successfully to win child custody cases.

I think perhaps a certain amount of intervention is necessary. It may be hard to know where to draw the line, but wouldn't it be worse to do nothing?
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Old 02-27-2007, 01:58 PM   #12  
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Ya know, if the mom is overweight also, you'd think she would want better for her son!! I have been trying to teach my boys good eating habits from the time they started eating solids, always offering healthy stuff. The odds are stacked against them, having two overweight parents.

There's no excuse for what this mom is doing to her poor child. Let him scream for junk food. If she keeps offering healthy alternatives, eventually he will eat it...probably sooner, rather than later!
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Old 02-27-2007, 02:05 PM   #13  
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The point that kid's are picking on him at school really gets me -- what mother would create this problem for her son? To probably see your son cry and not want to go to school because of this, having to help an 8 year old get dressed, shower, etc. I have a 7 year old son who would eat only junk if allowed -- the key is I DON'T ALLOW IT!! Mom's in charge not the kid. If I had to put a lock on the fridge to save my son's life, you know it would be done.

But, to take him away when he's obviously loved (oddly, with food), how many foster homes are lacking now for the kids who are terribly abused -- you really need a better option. Someone should do their grocery shopping and probably shadow that kid around all the time if mom won't monitor him. It would cost less money than the legal battle and care to take him away. Maybe some fines for mom or something but she needs some sense knocked into her -- would she give him cigarettes and beer if he threw a fit? Probably not, what's different with food that's going to kill him?
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Old 02-27-2007, 02:26 PM   #14  
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I really think this is a sad, sad situation. And it probably occurs more then we realize. Not necessarily with having the kids taken away, but with parents having no regard for their children's eating habits. I don't know how I managed to be 287 lbs and have 3 daughters without weight problems. Oh yeah, I do. I fed them healthy foods. I said for years I wish I ate the same things that I gave my kids. It was definitely more do as I say, not as I do. Although of course they didn't "see" much of my "bad" eating, not much of it was done in there presence.

I have mixed feeling about this as many of you do. I think this woman needs some education in the good food and what's best for her son department. BIG TIME. It's a tough call, a tough call indeed.
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Old 02-27-2007, 04:38 PM   #15  
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My kids are not overweight, but because I've been reading more about nutrition lately, I have recently drastically changed their snack habits. My daughter is 8, and my son is 4, and they BOTH threw a fit at me at the same time yesterday, because they wanted to go to Subway, and I was going to the grocery. When I told them that I was going to the grocery no matter how much they whined, they decided that they were going to starve, and needed a snack to eat in the car on the way home. I told my daughter calmly that she was nowhere near starving, and we were going to eat when we got home, and I finished cooking. I said "I love you, and that's why I'm going to make sure you are healthy, and no amount of you yelling at me is going to make me want to make you unhealthy." She got it. She understood that what I said was true, and made sense. Her little brother was still whining, but he does a lot of what his sister does. She told him "We'll eat at home. Some kids don't even get to HAVE food, you know." I don't know where she got that, but it all worked out well. They stopped harassing me.
Clearly these parents are suffereing from some sort of denial or delusions. The question about alcohol and cigarettes points it out perfectly. Of course they wouldn't hand him that kind of poison if he demanded it, and to me, that means that they are not fundamentally bad people. They have a twisted relationship with food, and it clouds their judgement. They can't control themselves, so how can they expect a little boy to conrol himself. They don't know what to teach him, because they don't know it. NOW they're under pressure from childrens services, the media, and the public all over the world, and in danger of losing their kid. They can't be thinking strait. The fact that they won't see the nutritionalist bothers me, but maybe they're balking because they're being bullied. The way this is being handled does not sound like a loving supportive thing. I have read so many stories about Childrens services taking kids away when something mild was wrong (and I don't think this is mild, don't get me wrong) and putting kids in homes where they are molested and killed instead. The approach is entirely kid centered, which it should be, but here's where they go wrong. A kid taken away from his real parents has a new kind of scar. Everything that can possibly be done to support the PARENTS needs to be done. We may not like the parents. We may think that they are stupid, and that this is inexcuseable, but for the sake of the kid, his parents need to be healed. I personally know of a case, because I belong to a sleep apnea support group, where childrens services took away a womans kids because her house was not clean. They gave her a day to get it clean, and she failed. They admitted that she obviously loved her kids, and did not abuse them, but said that the environment was too dangerous. They put the kids through all sorts of physicals, and the entire family through psychological testing. In spite of the psychological testing saying the woman was sane, Childrens services told the court that it was a fluke. They insisted the woman was mentally ill, because why else did she not just clean up her house? They spent months in court, and finally took the screaming kids from the crying mother. 6 police cars showed up to remove them, and the whole neighbohood came out to watch.
They never asked the woman why she didn't clean the house. Thousands of dollars they spent, part of it trying to prove that a sane woman was insane, and they never sent the mother for a physical. The mother had no idea why she was to tired to clean up when custody of her kids was at stake. She believed that they may be right. That she must be crazy. After an episode at the hospital when she thought she was having a heart attack, she found out that she had very severe sleep apnea. She was lucky to be alive. One day of treatment and she was better. Two days, and her house was clean. A YEAR later, she got her kids back. They paid foster care for a year. 50 dollars would have bought the woman a physical. One question, "Why DIDN'T you clean up?" would have given them a hint that this woman was ill. In fact, her life was in danger. She is now a good friend of mine, and I tell you, there is not a sweeter, kinder hearted mother on earth, but they've all been traumatized. She's terrified when her house becomes the tiniest bit messy, and she doesn't know what may have happened in foster care, but her youngest clings to her for dear life when strangers are around.
Anyway, I'm biased, but I really hope Childrens services tries to help this family as much as they can before they take the kid.
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