Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Sunday, October 09, 2011



By Domenick J. Maglio, PhD. Traditional Realist

Our nation has thrived with parents having the right and responsibility to raise their children as they see fit. Parents are not perfect in all their decisions but for the most part they have given us strong morals and insight to succeed in a complex society. The state has only been allowed to intervene when the child’s life was in imminent danger. As government has grown local, state and federal laws dictating when a representative can invade the sanctity of the family has expanded.

The current line of attack on the family unit is being fought in public schools. Prayer and almost any mention of God have been nearly eradicated although the overwhelming majority of citizens approve of them. Even the concept of the family has been blurred by including all types of configurations of people residing in a house as equal to a father, mother and children.

Now the rights and responsibility of parents to determine what is proper for their children to eat and drink are being usurped by government bureaucrats and enforced by school officials. First certain foods and drinks were banned in vending machines. Now Los Angeles county school district is outlawing chocolate milk in the lunchroom.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, children in the LA united school district responded to soda being restricted in school vending machines by bringing their own to school in their lunch boxes. Ultimately parents have the power not to give their children money to buy soda and to refuse to provide soda for them to put in their lunchboxes.

Students may not have the availability to buy soda, cigarettes or drugs in school but it does not mean they cannot obtain them somewhere else in the community. By removing the opportunity to make reasonable and simple decisions like what beverage to drink, we are setting the child up not to learn to making good decisions.

Children who are not used to denying themselves are more susceptible to addictive behavior. A student whose parents tell him not to buy soda should listen to them or suffer parental consequences for not listening. These are wonderful lessons for instilling the values that keep the child on the straight and narrow path.

Parents have more time and intimate knowledge of their child than any government bureaucrat can possibly possess. By government schools decreeing what children should eat, they are undermining the authority of the parents. Some modern parents may initially be relieved to have the state taking over their child’s eating habits. These same people will not be so receptive if the menu in their homes or particular physical exercise would be dictated by government bureaucrats. Limiting parental freedom to educate their own children as to the best way to live is a slippery slope. We have seen intellectual elites in centralized nations like Cuba, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union attempt to indoctrinate instead of educate children. When government attempts to micromanage every aspect of society by gradually reducing personal freedom citizens become more dependent until they become enslaved.

Unless we want to live in a totalitarian regime, the responsibility of raising a child needs to remain in the most efficient social unit, the family.

United States citizens need to evaluate the type of society they want. The more our government schools offer programs and mandates that minimize the role and power of the parent and increase the already unrealistic job description of the teacher the more student’s education will suffer.

Educating students and parents about the importance of nutrition and exercise for health and longevity affects people’s choices. This is already happening in public schools where soda consumption is declining even in schools with soda in vending machines.

Our children should learn to make good choices not be limited in their freedom.

Better choices will not only happen in the school building but throughout the community. Students should not be denied making age appropriate decisions. They should be taught how to make rational choices, which will protect them in a multitude of situations.

Modern parents need to be empowered to be strong authority figures by our schools, not be dismissed. When parents are more precise in their expectations and standards at home, students do perform better in school. Parents and schools need to be on the same page in order to maximize the student’s learning.

There will never be enough state workers to replace the parents in the life of the child. Parents have the primary responsibility to buy the food, provide opportunities for physical activity and teach children to make good choices. Parents should be encouraged and inspired to be the best parents they can be. Hopefully no bureaucrat will ever be assigned by law more power to control a child than a functioning parent.

Dr. Maglio is the author of Invasion Within and Essential Parenting. He is a psychotherapist and the owner/director of Wider Horizons School.


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