Meet Georgia Davis, officially the world's fattest teenager. At fifteen years old the girl weighs an astounding 210 kilograms (just over 33 stone) and consumes a massive 14,000 (fourteen thousand) calories every single day. Her daily diet includes an entire lasagne, two loaves of bread, a gallon of soda, two plates of chips, seven sandwiches, an entire chocolate cake and a hell of a lot more.
Unsurprisingly the doctors have told Georgia that she could die any day due to her weight. She can't even walk two steps without having to stop and catch her breath, has to sleep in a specially constructed bed as she can't in or out of a regular one, and has just been banned from the school cafeteria as she eats too much. Georgia says she started overeating at the age of five, when her father died. I say she's not the only one who's suffered some traumatic event at that age, but she is the only one to have gotten up to seven times her needed calorie intake and be drawn to my attention for this article. No doubt eating sweet things made her a little happier for a while and her family encouraged it, desperate to ease her pain in whatever way they could. As she gained weight I can see them telling her how it's okay and that she deserves some happiness, forever pushing her towards overeating as a way to find happiness, and reinforcing the idea that, no matter the problem, food is the answer. We've all seen something similar at some point. A bad habit or bad behaviour forgiven by a parent or guardian because the child is having a rough time.
I've seen it way too often. The child goes one of two ways if it continues unchecked – they either start looking for sympathy everywhere so they can have more freedom or they indulge in the habit/behaviour. It's not the child's fault at that age. Human nature dictates that we push against our bounderies. If those bounderies cease to exist then a child will get worse and worse until they know where the line is that they can't cross. It's common sense and anyone who considers themselves mature enough to bring a child into the world should know that. As far as I'm concerned, Georgia Davis is a victim of child abuse as her bounderies were removed to the point that it threatened her life. Luckily for Georgia she possesses enough character to try and change her ways and has booked herself into a "fat camp" in America to try and drop 100 kilograms, and I wish her the best of luck in that endeavour. However she's not the only child to go through such abuse by lazy or inconsiderate parents or guardians, and it's becoming more prolific.
More and more people are having children for the wrong reasons. More mothers, by their own admission, wish their daughters would grow up quicker so they can go clubbing together. More parents are planning a new birth to be a playmate for an older child. More parents use the television or computer as a babysitter instead of actually talking to their children. And all of those parents wonder how other people can let their children get away with so much – be it stealing, getting into fights, doing drugs, drinking or plain old overeating. Each of these parents would judge someone like Georgia harshly not once realising that it's parenting like theirs that creates such a bad mindset. Are you one of them?
But You're Not A Parent, What Do You Know?
What do I know? I know that a child isn't a toy to be discarded in front of an electronic box when you're tired. A child isn't looking for you as a new friend, they need you as a parent. A child appreciates discipline in the long run as long as it's fair. A child cannot be allowed to get away with something they wouldn't normally be allowed to just because they're having an emotional time. And a child will eventually become a parent of their own child, passing on what they learned from their parents, both the good and the bad.
I suppose parenting all comes down to one question – are you willing to do whatever it takes to raise a human being who is well adjusted enough to actually be worth something in this world to themselves and others? I know I am.