Well Being

Park Slope Parents Would Rather Ban Ice Cream Trucks Than Teach Kids About Healthy Eating

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ice cream for children

There is little that is more iconic than the rush of excitement that fills a child when their little ears first pick up the soft tinkling of “The Entertainer” from around the corner. Ah, the ice cream man. But kinds in the super-bougie Park Slope neighborhood will experience no such delight this summer, if area parents have anything to say about it. They've waged war against the cool treats.

This is not the first time that a Park Slope parent has waged war on frozen desserts. Back in 2009, one mother launched an assault on what she called “predatory” ice cream trucks, which were, to be fair, peddling treats to kids. But here's the thing about ice cream trucks–that's kind of what they do. It's what they've always done. It's why they're so fun! But apparently, some parents aren't cool with the fact that, when the trucks and carts roll through the park, they (as parents) have to be the ones to lay down the law.

The issue of how to combat childhood obesity is stickier than a kid who's just gone face-first into a Popsicle. On one hand, feeding kids sugary crap and instilling in them a love of junk is kind of setting them up for a lifetime of poor health and body-image. On the other, putting the fear of God (and candy) into them and making them feel horrible about themselves (like Dara-Lynn Weiss, of Vogue infamy) is a recipe for disordered eating and terrible self-esteem. Which is why moderation–and maybe, even, the occasional Push-Up in between active games of frisbee or tag–is so, so important for parents and kids to talk about from an early age.

The ice cream truck rages seems more like a behavioral problem than one of calories and sugar. The New York Post quoted one mother as saying that she “should not have to fight with my children every warm day on the playground just so someone can make a living!”

Indeed, it looks like parents aren't so much concerned about what the trucks are vending, as much as how their kids react when they're told they can't have any of it. Which hardly seems like the fault of ice cream vendors who are just trying to make a buck–and points back to parenting, not potentially-fattening treats on a stick. But then, that's also the argument used by those in favor of agressive fast food advertising campaigns aimed at children, so maybe the Slopers have a point.

But ice cream trucks also present a good opportunity for discussion with little dudes, on topics like moderation (is ice cream a food you should eat every day? Maybe not. Is it a treat that is good sometimes? Sure! Is screaming like a banshee when you can't have it a good response? Not as such, no).

Kids (and later, adults) will be faced with unhealthy choices–and they won't always be able to banish them from their sight. Instead, maybe this could be a chance to talk about how to eat healthy, while still treating yourself occasionally. Because seriously, ice cream trucks are one of the last vestiges of Americana, and more than a few people would be sad to see them go, just to avoid a couple of kindergarten melt-downs.

Image: Greenview via Shutterstock

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