10 most bizarre parenting stories of 2013

Ian Mendes looks back on 2013... and realizes the year was marked by some truly bizarre parenting stories.

Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Follow along as Ottawa-based sports reporter Ian Mendes writes about the joys of raising daughters, Elissa and Lily, with wife, Sonia. 

It’s that time of the year when everyone is compiling their lists of the best things that happened in 2013.

So keeping with that theme, I wanted to put together a list of the 10 most bizarre parenting and child-related stories from 2013.  (Sadly, the ridiculous fuss around the royal baby did not make my list.)

1. Dad called unfit for NOT taking his kid to McDonald’s

Yes, you read that headline correctly. People who constantly eat at McDonald’s are generally considered unfit, but this takes it to a whole new level. A court battle in Manhattan turned nasty when a psychologist tried to claim a father should not have custody of his son because he didn’t cave and take the tantrum-throwing toddler to McDonald’s. What’s next — a parent being chastised for not allowing an eight-year-old to play Call of Duty?

2. Mother fined for not giving healthy lunch

Sticking with the health theme, maybe this mom should have sent a McDonald’s lunch to school with her kids. A Manitoba school deemed the lunch this woman packed to be unbalanced — because it lacked a whole grain. So naturally, they fined her $10 and gave her kids Ritz crackers as a supplement. Because as we all know, only Ritz crackers contain the vital nutrients to get kids through a long day of school.

3. Women says she won’t hand out candy to obese kids

A North Dakota woman said she wasn’t handing out Halloween candy to obese children this fall, instead opting to give them a note about healthy food choices. How was she going to determine who was obese or not – especially on a night when kids are wearing oversized costumes? I don’t condone egging people’s homes on Halloween, but this woman is an exception. Also, if she loves health food so much, some dried quinoa on her windows would be a nice touch.

4. A six-year-old is cited for sexual harassment

An innocent playground kiss was originally deemed as sexual harassment and placed on a boy’s permanent file, listing him as a predator. Welcome to 2013 everyone.

5. I want to put my kids in Catholic school – but not have them subjected to religion

A Brampton dad opened up a debate when he said he wanted to put his kids in Catholic school, but there was one significant catch: He didn’t want them to be subjected to any talk about religion. You can’t make this stuff up.

6. Wide spread anger in France as kids have to go to school on Wednesdays

Those poor kids in France. Now they government wants them to go to school on Wednesdays. I can only hope that 2014 won’t be so cruel to them.

7. Woman gives birth to four babies – but they’re not quadruplets

One of these things is not like the other.

8. Mom forces tween to wear thrift store clothing 

If you’re a fan of public shaming, you will enjoy this story.  But many people thought this mother went too far in her punishment of her daughter.

9. Parents brawl at a minor hockey game

Because a recap of the best 2013 parenting stories wouldn’t be complete without some Canadian dads fighting at a meaningless hockey game.

10. NORAD Santa causes controversy

And a late entry to the mix: An advocacy group is criticizing NORAD’s Santa Tracker because it shows a fighter jet escort on the radar. Seriously, if you’re a kid and you believe in Santa, who would you want guiding that sleigh — a near-sighted reindeer or an F-18 aircraft?

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