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Ronald McDonald in court

burger kingfast foodhamburgerhappy mealjunk foodmcdonaldtoy

Ronald McDonald It's not that I'm a huge fan of McDonald's. It's just that sometimes it seems that as a society, we have grown tired of the heavy lifting required of parenting and turned to government and the courts to do it for us.

First there were the municipalities, including San Francisco, that banned restaurants from giving out toys with their children's meals unless those meals met nutritional requirements set forth by the government in question. Now a Sacramento mother and the Center for Science in the Public Interest have filed suit against McDonald's, saying it shouldn't be allowed to advertise its Happy Meals.

"I don't think it's OK to entice children with Happy Meals with the promise of a toy," said Monet Parham, complaining that her children besieged her with a litany of requests for the children's meals so they could collect the toys.

It's certainly not fun to be around whining children, but what is there to stop parents from responding to a litany of requests with "Sorry, no"? Or even, "We can go to McDonald's once next month, but if I hear about it any more for the rest of this month, there will be no trips there for three months."

The barrage of advertising aimed at kids is annoying and, without parental intervention, potentially harmful, but it's nothing really new. Commercials have touted heavily sweetened, refined and artificially colored cereals as "part of a nutritious breakfast" for as long as there's been TV.

Government has a responsibility to limit cigarette and alcohol advertising to children because it's illegal to sell to them. But should that be extended to hamburgers and shakes, which are (at this point, anyway) perfectly legal for children to consume?


Hands off our Happy Meals

How to tackle childhood obesity?

-- Karin Klein

Photo: A Ronald McDonald sign overlooks the counter at a McDonald's restaurant. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


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Govind R.

Ok, seriously, get over it. If the kids whine, that's fine, they will whine. That doesn't mean sue because everyone advertises to kids (or nearly everyone).

Parents need to be insistent in their refusal to kids if they don't want to get them happy meals. The kid will complain, but it is up to the PARENTS, not the government, to decide what's best for the kids and they need to learn to stand their ground and be firm, not capitulate to kids who repeatedly ask when told no. They need to know that "no" means "no".

Once again, it's now resorting to scapegoating instead of proper parenting. This suit should be thrown out of court.


Can I sue Ms. Parham when her kids whine around me? Because surely, as their mother, she could do something to stop them.



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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