Parents are often criticized for letting their children eat fast food, but one father in Manhattan says he was branded as an "unfit parent" after refusing to let his son eat food from McDonald's.
Attorney David E. Schorr recently found himself in a familiar tug-of-war with his nearly five-year-old son, who threw a fit, demanding to eat dinner at McD's. Wanting to avoid giving his son junk food, Schorr offered the boy a choice between "anywhere but McDonald's" and no dinner at all. The toddler chose the latter.
The Associated Press reports that when Schorr's estranged wife found out about the incident, she relayed the story to the couple's court-appointed psychologist, who allegedly characterized Schorr as "wholly incapable" of being a parent and then encouraged a judge to limit his custodial arrangement.
Schorr has since launched a defamation suit against the psychologist, Marilyn Schiller. He currently sees his son on alternate weekends and for dinner every Tuesday. Whether or not a judge will further limit the time he spends with his child hasn't yet been decided.
The attorney told The New York Post, "I wish I had taken him to McDonald's, but you get nervous about rewarding bad behavior."
If the incidents laid out in Schorr's suit are accurate, they may just be a first. Parents in general are used to facing public scrutiny, or at least a heaping dose of side-eye, for feeding their kids fast food, not for refusing to. McDonald's processed, high-fat fare is hardly the stuff of nutritionists' dreams, and fast food is a frequently mentioned culprit in childhood obesity rates.
McDonald's has tried, pretty unsuccessfully, to revamp its image in recent months, especially when it comes to kids. Last month the company announced it was replacing Happy Meal toys with books and has promised to phase out soda entirely from its kids' menu options over the next several years.
But plenty of what remains on its menu is far from nutritious, and the company continues to draw criticism for the onslaught of marketing that it consistently aims at small children.