Are some parents really so unable to resist the demands of their badly behaved children that the government has to create policies just to make life a little easier for them?
I admit that anything remotely 'nanny state' is guaranteed to put my back up, especially if it is to do with how I raise my family – but reading today that junk food will actually be BANNED from supermarket checkouts under new plans revealed by the public health minister Jane Ellison really did make me see red.
How dare the government dictate when and how I can buy sweets for my child or myself? And why the hell should other parents' lack of discipline, child-rearing skills and general nous be steering policy?Ms Ellison - new to the role and obviously very keen to make her mark - has apparently identified checkout confectionery displays as an 'area for action' and wants to stop children pestering their parents for treats as they queue to pay. Well good for her.
But may I point out there is already a perfectly sound way of preventing 'pester power' and NOT buying sweets if you don't wish to do so – it is using the word NO.
Yes, we've all seen parents losing their rag with bawling kids as they queue to pay for groceries, and little Freddie is slipping thirty Freddo Frogs in the trolley and little Lucy is demanding a Milky Way at ear-splitting levels, but SURELY government has better things to be spending time and resources on than finding solutions to this?
And given all the modern things we should apparently be concerning ourselves about - what our kids are seeing online, or who they are talking to via social networking - isn't this all a bit 'old skool'? I can remember calls for sweets to be pulled from the tills when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s.
It was never an issue under my parents' discipline as it is not under mine: you asked once, you were told yes or no. End of.
Frankly, the potential wrath of my mother if I screamed, cried, sulked, answered back or argued would not have been worth all the chocolate at Willy Wonka's manufacturing plant.
It is the same now with my own son - there are plenty of things he asks for when we go out shopping, from Lego sets to packets of Tic Tacs. Sometimes it is appropriate for him to have them and the answer is yes, other times it is not, and the answer is no. And when it is no, there is no further discussion entered into. Frankly, I find it quite insulting that because some parents are unable to use that very simple word to any effect with their kids, the rest of us have to pay the price.
I honestly think any mum or dad who supports this move should take a long, hard look at their parenting style. It is up to us to set the boundaries for our children. It is up to us to say no and mean no and not to raise kids who think that if they throw a paddy they ultimately get what they want.
Obviously the drive is part of a wider issue and the government's attempts to improve the nations' health and clamp down on junk food advertising. But moving sweets. Really? Where will it end? Will sweets eventually be banned altogether? Or put under WWII style rationing?
And is Ms Ellison proposing to ban the dedicated aisles and aisles of confectionery and crisps and fizzy drinks in supermarket too? Those seven foot high dens of iniquity, bursting at the seams with all kind of unhealthy deliciousness that are always packed to the gills with wide-eyed children choosing their treats?
Jane Ellison's predecessor, Anna Soubry, said she disliked 'the idea that if you treat yourself you should feel guilty' and claimed she 'just said no' to her children.' According to the Mail she went as far as to say: 'there is nothing wrong with sweets'. And she is right, of course there isn't – like all things in life, in moderation, and when we, the parents choose to buy them.
Removing them from the supermarket checkouts just because some lily-livered parents can't control their kids is a step too far, and to be honest, I'd ban them from the store before I'd take the sweeties away.
What do you think?
Up to parents to say no and mean no?
Or would you welcome the removal of sweets from the pester shelves?