A few years ago I was lying on the grass under a tree with family by the Lake. It was sunny, warm and we were deliciously full from our picnic and just lying around.
I’ll never forget the sight of a stroller being pushed past us on the footpath. Because I was lying on the ground I was eye-to-eye with the toddler sitting merrily in the stroller, kicking his legs and sipping a baby bottle that had been filled with Coke. The Mum stopped pushing the stroller to talk to someone and the toddler and I were then facing each other. He grinned at me. All his teeth that I could see in that smile were rotten. They were black, brown and rotten-looking. The toddler then threw his bottle on the footpath. As the lady whom the Mum had stopped to talk to picked it up to give back to him she said “Oh is that Coke in his bottle?”, “Yes” said Mum, “Its all he’ll drink, he drinks it all day. He won’t drink anything else. But I only sometimes let him take a bottle of it to bed at night. Not every night”.
Then they carried on with their conversation about something different and walked off pushing the stroller.
This whole incident was about 10 years ago, and I still remember it. The casual way that the Mum said “Oh yes, its all he’ll drink”, and the rotten teeth this poor wee lad had when he grinned at me. Of course he could have had those teeth for lots of other medical reasons and I am not judging this, the poor wee darling.
However, this little toddler only drinks Coke in his bottle because HIS MUM GIVES IT TO HIM. Its that simple.
The detrimental effects on this wee child’s health from drinking endless coke would take up my entire blog. In fact, entire websites have already been dedicated to side effects and health issues from drinking this soft drink.
The solution is simple : Don’t Let Your Children Drink Coke.
When your children are wee babes and kids, you have the power to control what goes into bottles and cups. Why would you chose Coke??
Then once they are at the stage of making decisions…start the education!
Its not as hard as it sounds : just tell them from the beginning that the drinks they are allowed to have are ………………. (and fill in the gaps for them, ie, gingerbeer, juice, etc). And never, ever weaken on this.
Always have a friendly reminder when you hand over money for them to buy lunch or if they are going to the Movies and say “Remember, we don’t drink Coke”, and it works.
Never have Coke in the house, ie, for birthday parties buy other drinks. And don’t buy Coke just for visitors or anything like that – your visitors will cope just fine without it – just don’t have any relationship with Coke at all and your kids won’t miss it. Theres a million other tasty drinks you can offer them instead.
Tell the kids that you love them and value their health, and that is why they are not allowed to drink Coke. Rave on about how yummy gingerbeer is, and tell them a couple of the detrimental health effects of Coke every now and then to help them understand.
If you have older kids, and you’ve decided to ban Coke, then I think the best solution is to really bring home the health effects. And gross them out with how Coke can be used to clean grease off driveways and blood off the Motorway after a traffic accident.
Once your teenagers start going out and making decisions for themselves, of course you cannot control whether they are ordering Coke or not. But you can certainly give them a good grounding and understanding of why it is so detrimental, and hope for the best.