Just Say No!

I am just a little bit tired of having the same argument with my children day in and day out.
I say these words at least once a day, everyday, to at least one of my children.

No, I am not buying Coco Pops. Chocolate is not a breakfast food.

Milo is NOT a ‘health drink’. I do not care what the ads say. The TV is lying to you.

I’m sorry, but Nutrigrain will not make you an ironman. Hard work, protein and vegetables might make you an iron man if you exercise constantly for the next 15 years. (Actors response when I said no to Nutrigrain was “Fine then. If I grow up with no muscles then it’ll be your fault”)

No, Ribena is not the ‘healthy cordial’ there is no such thing as healthy cordial.

Mars bars DO NOT help you ‘work rest and play’

Give me strength.

Ads like this one give me the irrits.

And this one:


How the hell do we as caring, well intentioned, parents fight against this blatantly ridiculous advertising?

The short answer is…..we don’t.

Sure we can all get in a huff about how advertising should not be aimed at children. We can get ourselves all a tither about the use of kid’s animation characters to promote fast food. We can lobby to ban TV advertising during children’s programs.
Or we can remember one thing…

It’s not the kids that are doing the weekly grocery shop.
It’s not the kids pulling into the Maccas drive thru.

This might be true, however I know as well as any other parent, that kids do.not.stop.
They pester and pester and pester their parents in the vain hope that today is the day. Today might just be the day that they pester us into submission.
There is actually an industry coined term for this kind of parental torture. It’s called ‘pester power’

In marketing to children, advertisers have encouraged the phenomenon of what has been labelled pester power. This has been defined as the constant demand for parents to purchase items, be they clothes, toys, gadgets or various other goods. Pestering can consist of ‘persistence nagging’, that is, pleas for parents to purchase an item which are repeated consistently. This type of pestering is not as effective with parents as ‘importance nagging’. Importance nagging represents a more sophisticated means by which children claim that something is necessary for their educational or sporting progress, or for their general well being. Importance nagging takes advantage of parents’ desire to provide the best for their children, and plays on any guilt they may feel about not spending enough quality time with their children.
Marketing Obesity? Junkfood, advertising and kids.
Research Paper no. 9 2010–11
Dr Rhonda Jolly

12 January 2011

Importance nagging is precisely what the Actor was doing when he claimed that if I did not buy Nutrigrain he would grow up without muscles. Deflector also told me last week that if I did not allow him to take Twisties in his lunchbox his friends would not like him anymore.
Clearly my children need to work on their Importance Nagging skills.

In our house, my children know that I chose what goes into our shopping trolley, and subsequently into their mouths. Does that stop them from trying? No, of course not. They hold out hope that one day I might take leave of my senses and give-in to a box of Fruit Loops. Hasn’t happened yet though. It’s called parental responsibility and it’s spelt like this:

N. O.

In addition, I actually like the fact that my children are witness to these marketing ploys. It gives me the opportunity to teach them about advertising. I do not want to shield them from the evils of media, and then at the age of 18 thrust them into the world as hopelessly naïve and impressionable young adults, falling for every gimmicky promise the media can throw at them. Now they know that advertisers will tell you lies to sell their product.

Of course childhood isn’t childhood without a few treats. And trust me; my kids do get their fair share of treats. They occasionally eat McDonalds. They do eat cake and ice-cream and go out for milkshakes. (I absolutely unequivocally draw the line at sugary cereals)
I guess the difference between what I do allow and what I do not allow is in the application. I will not incorporate sugary high fat foods into our daily diet as substitutes for good fresh food. I will not allow Nutella as a breakfast food but I might consider it as an ingredient in homemade chocolate cake. I will not buy Milo as a pantry staple in the belief that it provides ‘good energy’ but I will buy it when we go camping as a fire side treat. The difference is that we are not pretending, or believing, that these things are a healthy option. We know that chocolate is not a healthy choice; putting it on toast with banana and calling it breakfast does not make it so.         

Advertising will only affect your children if you let it. It’s not the advertising that makes kids fat, it’s a lack of adequate parental control that makes kids fat.

So.  I’m coining a new term for parental rebuttal to Pester Power.
It’s called ‘Just Say No Power’
N. O.
Say No, and keep saying No. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…

This entry was posted in Kid Wrangling, Life and Other Mysteries. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Just Say No!

  1. Marion Hartley says:

    Well said. Like camping treats… Nanny’s are allowed to spoil occasionally. Not that I have Nutella in my cupboard. LOL

  2. Jennie says:

    Well said as usual, I agree with Marion, nanny treats are allowed, but do see nanny treats being things other than food too. Pester power can be pretty tough to ignore sometimes, stay strong.

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