Bad Parenting, Nope. Bad Divorce = Bad Psychology. Yep.
November 25, 2013
From television ads to bus stop bill boards to public service announcements on YouTube, we keep hearing warnings about pre-diabetes in children and the importance of helping young people adopt a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, for one single dad, trying to do the healthy thing for his young son — refusing to take him to McDonald’s caused him to be labeled as an unfit parent by a psychologist assigned by the courts in a divorce case.
McDonald’s certainly does not seem to be an ideal role model when it comes to eating healthy; who among us has heard “get fit — eat a Big Mac!” But even if a few of their menu items are not entirely bad, their commercials promote their burgers and fries and shakes and Happy Meals for kids. David Schorr knew that all those glitzy ads did not make for healthy food. So concerned that his five-year-old son was eating too much junk food he refused to take him to McDonald’s for dinner. As kids often do in response to hearing “no,” to something the child threw a major fit. Trying to be a good parent, Schorr stood firm and did not cave in.
Sounds like good parenting to me, but apparently not to a psychologist and angry soon-to-be ex wife.
After refusing to eat anything but McDonald’s, Schorr, who was separated from his wife, took his son back home to his mother — continuing to offer him dinner somewhere else. The child continued to refuse to eat.
The boy told his mother his dad would not feed him dinner, which was not entirely true — on the scheduled visitation dinner date in question, Schorr simply told his son he could opt for dinner anywhere except McDonald’s. The boy refused other options and chose to forgo dinner if he could not have McDonald’s.
The boy’s mom reported the incident to the psychologist, Marilyn Schiller, appointed by the courts to evaluate the couple and their son as part of an ongoing contentious divorce. Bari Yunis Schorr, the boy’s mom, indicated that her estranged husband had refused to feed the boy. The psychologist in turn, told a judge that David Schorr was an unfit parent and should no longer have weekend visitation rights.
Schorr is an attorney and benefits manager; a professional with no criminal history, a good father. Still, until the case is heard, Schorr has already suffered the effects of the allegations made against him and has been limited to alternative weekend visits and Tuesday night dinner visits.
I find it unconscionable that parents who try to encourage healthy choices and set boundaries for their children could be called in question. Even more shameful, a psychologist assigned to advocate for a child should know that five-year-olds throw fits and going to bed without dinner (in this case by the child’s own choice) is not abuse. Telling a judge to give custody to a mom who takes her kid to McDonald’s to the point where the child will refuse to eat anything else, and then punishing the dad (and the boy who will see less of his dad), sounds like this psychologist needs to go take some parenting 101 classes herself.