previous entry :: next entry

addressing the comment madness

So, I have been kind of shocked and amazed at the negative comments generated by my little blog post the other day. I mean, I knew that I had a bad day and that I said something unhelpful to my kids regarding Thomas the Tank Engine. But I didn't imagine strangers would start saying that I should have my children taken away or worse that they, the faceless internet masses, were somehow responsible for ensuring my children don't grow up to become deranged school shooters.

(In the latter case I tend to think sensible gun-control policy would do a good deal more than nasty blog commenting, but that's just from an effectiveness side of things. Certainly it's not as emotionally fulfilling.)

Look. There are some things I want to clear up here. I have said the f-word to my children twice in my life, and last monday was one of those times. I don't advocate cursing at children, neither do I advocate yelling at them. It doesn't seem to be effective parenting. And yet, parents do it, yell at their kids, a lot. You'd have to be a crazy person to disagree with me. If I see parents yelling at their kids every time I go to the playground, I HAVE to believe they also do it at home.

Now. Folks seem to be particularly shocked that I used an obscenity, not only an obscenity but the worst obscenity ever because fucking stands for SEX. And sex is dirty. Well, I don't have a problem with sex (except logistically, haha) and I don't have a problem with the word "fuck." It's impolite to say in mixed company, and it's probably good policy to keep such words away from one's children if you don't want them repeating them and risk misjudging their audience. But I also know that a parent can say "in a minute" with the force of "fuck off," or slap dinner on the table in a manner that screams "go fuck yourself." In other words, I agree that cursing Thomas is unloving to my children, but a great number of other unloving things are much worse. It's my desire to root out those other things, like resentment, that could be real troubling issues in my relationship with my children, while forgiving the minor blow-outs like cursing Thomas the Tank Engine. Because he's an annoying little shit the way he's always "weeshing" at everyone.

The troubling thing these recent blog comments reveals is how quick we are to judge others as "unfit" parents. It's a good thing it's actually very difficult to get your children taken away, and that 80% of calls to DSS ara dead-ends* (to say nothing of THREATs of calls to DSS). But I wonder if it's some kind of cultural schizophrenia, if we're trying to pillory other parents for something all parents do. I mean, yelling at kids? I totally agree, we should all stop yelling at kids. If the f-word is very precious to you then by all means don't use it with your kids. Save it for your dirty sex games.

Look, I yelled at my kids and I apologized to them. I don't need to apologize to you, blog readers. And I'm speaking now not to the readers who are my dear personal friends (which are 99% of you) but to the assholes just cruising for a scapegoat parent to criticize. Whoever you are, you are not my child, so if you don't like me or what I'm writing you have the unique ability to leave my website and never think of me again.

Do you think this entry will draw any negative comments? If not then it's a weird direct link somewhere going to that other post. We soon shall see..

*I'm quoting this statistic from memory out of Lenore Skenazy's Free Range Kids — feel free to read it for yourself and tell me if I'm wrong, it's a GREAT book!


Hey Leah

Don't know what you're talking about. I've never yelled at my kids. I've also never used a swear word, or even casually used the word "fire-trucking" I always stop for strangers and small animals.

Okay, I realize that was a really lame attempt at sarcasm, however, since reading this thread, it's come to my attention how some people out there are clearly unable to distinguish sarcasm from reality.

All to say, Kudos to you guys for showing a lot of grace under fire.

I also have my own perspective on some of what I've been reading from your commenters. Having been delivered from a legalistic and very conservative church, I have ample experience with judging others. While in that church, it was so easy for us to judge other people and other Christians in particular, because it made us feel so much better about ourselves. Judging others, was like a salve we used to cover our own inadequacies and insecurities. From that position, it's hard to see yourself. I was probably the least self aware person on the planet. I would like to think, I'm slightly more self-aware now, but you'd have to ask Carla for confirmation on that one. :)

Anyway, not sure what I was the point of my comment, except to say, that I enjoy the blog the way it is. I love your willingness to dive into the mess. Blessings to you all!

thank you for that Darren :)

What the firetruck? I don't read your plog for a fortnight and miss out on ALL THE FUN. I like cursing, meta-cursing, and being angry. I especially like cursing at other drivers, and I really wish some government service would come and take them away.

In all seriousness, I appreciate that this blog gives me the opportunity to stay connected to my extended family, and I especially appreciate the honesty and humor you two show. I suppose the negative comments are this open medium, but it's beautiful how gracefully you two have handled them. Way to make lemonade from extremely bitter lemons!

If it is part of your culture to curse at the kids, then
it is ok to do so.

Some cultures spank their kids, some
curse them etc. It all depends on the culture.

Cursing is a big part of our American culture.
All of us curse at some time or the other.
People wwho say they dont, lie.
So go ahead and discipline your kids your way
and forget these goody goody people.

A low point this week: When I screamed at Noah "STOP SCREAMING!!! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SCREAM!!!!" Oh. woops.

Haha, we were talking about that phenomenon at small group last time. I think every parent has done the same thing... and maybe only the more reflective even notice!

comments closed for this entry

previous entry :: next entry