moutain dewAn elementary school in Melbourne, Florida, recently doled out small amounts of -- wait for it -- Mountain Dew to students, along with some trail mix, to perk them up for the high-stakes standardized tests they were taking each day. This apparently has been a 10-year-long practice of Creel Elementary (I know), but it's since been stopped, thanks to a grandmother who contacted the local media about the practice.

Time to talk about soda, Moms! Yet another divisive parenting topic that has us on either the "cool with it" side or the shield-it-from-your-child-as-if-it-were-whopping-cough-in-a-2-liter-bottle side. I, personally, consider myself a member of the latter group. With the exception of a random occasion here and there, I have zero intentions of allowing my daughter to drink it. And if she were given, ugh, Mountain Dew by her elementary school to "get her excited for a test," you best believe I'd be annoyed. Allowing kids to have soda is a parenting decision, not a school one.

Whether you think parents have become overly sensitive coddlers, who don't want their kids coming within a 20-foot radius of anything but outlandishly expensive organic produce, fact is, soda is bad for kids. In addition to it being a big contributor to the obesity epidemic, it's been linked to behavioral problems and tooth decay. (Are schools going to foot kids' dental bills for parents?) Caffeine can also increase kids' blood pressure, cause sleeplessness, and aggravate already existing anxiety disorders. Bottom line: It's bad news and ought to be a decision mom or dad makes as opposed to the school principal. (Remember, the soda wasn't just available, it was given out to kids.)

Again, when my daughter is older, I have no intentions of locking her in an ivory tower in an effort to shun her from any and all sugary, high-fructose corn syrup-y, aspartame-y, sodium benzoate-y drinks. Once in a while, yes, I'll put on my "fun parent" hat and allow her to enjoy some, as I do with candy and sweets. But it'll be in an exceptional situation: A birthday party or a vacation; not part of her regular routine. And as silly as that may sound to some, that's my decision, not the school's.

Do you let your kids have soda?

 

Image via uberzombie/Flickr