Re: Your fault

1

I say fuck having to share my kimchi. They can stick with the blander stuff.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:35 AM
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Last week was a bad week for idiotic parenting articles. I mostly came across them due to people sharing them on FB to agree with them. "YEAH! I fucking hate it when LOSERS get a trophy too!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:37 AM
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"The juice boxes are for closers."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:38 AM
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Well, if you will read the HuffPo...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:41 AM
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Not all of it strikes me as particularly pointing the finger at parents, as much as it is pointing the finger at a wider culture and the structure of institutions. Although some of it clearly is. Not that that makes it a very good article.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:42 AM
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At least none of you ladies hired a prostitute to have sex with your disabled son without his consent.

I hope.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:42 AM
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It's also interesting how many of the lessons she draws are incommensurable with each other. Which is it, delayed gratification or always being attended to? Freedom to fail, or constant reminders of filial responsibility? etc etc


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:43 AM
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Also 5 seems right to be, though it is not too hard to see how a parent - who is used to being blamed for everything bad about their kids - could take it that way.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:44 AM
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7: Always being attended to UNTIL they are old enough to locomote on their own.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:44 AM
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2: Yes, definitely a nasty little fresh spate of these going around, many more directly accusatory than this one. Is it in honor of Mother's Day or something? "Happy Mother's Day! You suck!"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:49 AM
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I liked the one in Slate by the mother pointing out that any parent who gives their kid a snack is directly threatening her kid's life.

Being a parent sounds like an absolutely horrible experience. I can't even imagine the stress.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:51 AM
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Happy Mother's Day. I got you a copy of "Backdoor Teen Mom."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:55 AM
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Schools here now send home notes about where your kid is in terms of BMI relative to other kids.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 5:59 AM
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A point for Nordic parenting, my sister's first bike (age 5) didn't have brakes. When she asked how to stop it, they suggested riding into a tree and then jumping off before she fell with the bike. This was pre helmets, of course.

But yeah, the article itself was terrible and logic was faulty, failing to connect assertion A with result B. Korea is possibly the biggest fat-shaming culture in the world, which might better explain the lack of obesity there. China has the most competitive exam system in the world with very high stakes testing, and many parents are terrified of the consequences of doing poorly. From my data sample, Chinese parents of adolescents would much rather their kids weren't in school 14-16 hours a day and had time to have fun and be independent and do their own laundry, but there's not really any choice, even for parents who really don't care about their kids academic success.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:02 AM
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Korea is possibly the biggest fat-shaming culture in the world, which might better explain the lack of obesity there.

Is that the case? I'm not doubting you, but on a sample of businessmen who travel here, plus Psy, I wouldn't have guessed it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:07 AM
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13: They did here too, but in some incomprehensible way. We got notes a couple of years running saying that Sally either had a BMI of 88 or was in the 88th percentile for BMI, not sure which, but clearly neither was true. Our best guess was that they weighed the kids, and then calculated BMI based on the average height of a kid of that age, which made both Newt and Sally sound a little peculiar. It was all very stupid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:07 AM
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I don't think a BMI of 88 is possible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:12 AM
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We speculated that perhaps she'd been entirely replaced with depleted uranium.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:13 AM
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My brother's first bike had brakes but was too big for him to quite reach the floor as he stopped. Luckily it was a step-through, so it was easy for him to just jump off whenever he wanted to stop.

I don't read that sort of thing any more. It's pretty obvious really how to treat people decently so they grow up into decent people, I don't need tips from idiots.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:14 AM
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Apparently, it is possible. But it is remarkable enough that you can get a wikipedia page just for having gotten that big.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:15 AM
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I do think the idea of how different cultures understand their parenting practices is very interesting. (And do they trust faddish books and constant internet articles? Who knows?) But this was a pretty vapid article.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:17 AM
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Korea is possibly the biggest fat-shaming culture in the world, which might better explain the lack of obesity there.
Is that the case? I'm not doubting you, but on a sample of businessmen who travel here, plus Psy, I wouldn't have guessed it.

Well, for women at least. I don't know about men as much, though I wouldn't be surprised if Psy were pressured to lose weight. South Korea also has the highest rate of plastic surgery, with liposuction being the most common procedure. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/niptuck-nations-countries-cosmetic-surgery/story?id=16205231#.UYzzXCsWuSM


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:18 AM
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16. Worrying about the BMI of adolescents strikes me as extraordinarily self defeating, unless they really are in the 88 range, because whether you do something or nothing, they're going to be radically different in six months' time.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:20 AM
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send your kid to a Finish school

I'm trying to work out if this is supposed to be a "finishing school," a "Finnish school," or if it's meant to invoke the question of what happens if your child doesn't finish school.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:23 AM
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23: We got one for a kindergartener.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:23 AM
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Since I know heebie is a big fan of Yglesias, I'm going to guess she meant Finnish school.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:25 AM
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Also BMI is a simply stupid measure of whatever the hell it's trying to measure. People are three dimensional, FFS. Height and weight are only part of the story.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:27 AM
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Also kind of depressing is the fat talk in China. Living in a yoga studio I get a lot of that first hand, since it is the all consuming topic. It's interesting, because none of the women weigh more than 120 lbs, and all of them would be considered quite thin in the US, but they're convinced they look like elephants. I'm tempted to find pictures of actual fat people and post them on the wall for perspective.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:27 AM
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26: The visit summary printout at the OB I was first seeing would list my BMI. As a pregnant person.

(This made me livid.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:28 AM
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Oops. 29 to 25, not to 26.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:28 AM
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As a product of the other end of the ol' parenting spectrum, I am probably more irritable than usual during the leadup to Mother's Day. It seems like every second thing on television or the Internet is some soggy paean to somebody's mother or grandmother. Is there a basic cable network for people whose colorful mothers didn't hand down meticulous recipes for Beef Wellington ravioli mizo cheesecake? Do cynical misanthropes not shop for luxury sedans?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:29 AM
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27: In the aggregate, it doesn't work appreciably worse than the three-dimensional measures that you can do without strength testing and reading muscle mass.

(I deal mostly with adults past 50. It is stupid for kids for a variety of different reasons.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:30 AM
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25 is super insane. The kids' sizes change week to week, I think. I know Nia could wear jeans last week that she couldn't today, and she's not even 88th percentile for BMI. (Or she could be; I don't know what her exact weight now is, nor do I care. But she's bulking up for a stretch that will put her at 4 feet and Mara's right behind her.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:31 AM
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I assume Psy's role is the funny fat guy.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:35 AM
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Isn't making teenagers diet completely counterproductive to producing healthy weight adults? Starving or malnourishing yourself at that point in life has lifelong consequences for height and weight and lots of other things as well.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:36 AM
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Um, as the parent of a 17-year-old, I agree with most everything she says in that article. Kids should climb trees and play more, teenagers should have household responsibilities and be expected to manage their school work on their own, co-sleeping is great, and there's nothing wrong with a little frustration. What's wrong with that? She's stating the obvious and backing it up with stats and studies.

I was talking to my son's doctor the other day about stuff he's doing (visiting colleges by himself, planning a senior year away, etc.) and she told me very few boys his age are ready for that level of independence. I attribute it to the enthusiastic tree and cliff climbing + the benign neglect of having a single work-at-home parent.

I'm not convinced that grazing is unhealthy, though -- I think our obesity problems have just as much to do with the fact that we don't let kids climb trees or play as much as they should.


Posted by: Sarah Wynde | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:39 AM
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Is there a basic cable network for people whose colorful mothers didn't hand down meticulous recipes for Beef Wellington ravioli mizo cheesecake?

"You're watching the Larkin Channel."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:40 AM
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Sally's having a peculiar bout of not liking her body right now -- I'd been fairly proactive about how "Models have a very particular body-type, there's no reason for you to look like that," and she's never been worried about dieting. Playing rugby, though, she's now getting unhappy about looking less muscular than girls she's significantly stronger than. (It's sort of the same thing that differentiates her from having a model build -- we're really big boned, in the sense of having a large, heavy skeleton. Broad shoulders, big ribcage, big knees. It's not particularly noticeable unless you're thinking about it, but it means that she can put a lot of muscle on, and it doesn't change her outline much -- the effect is still lean rather than bulky.)

We just had a talk about how that's actually the same sort of thing as sweating about not being model-emaciated: if she's going to be worrying about her musculature, she should be measuring it by what she can do, not what she looks like. There's a very limited amount you can do about changing what you look like, and getting dissatisfied about it will just make you crazy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:40 AM
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Sarah, I don't disagree with you, but the one size fits all tone of these things is hugely irritating. Fact is, kids are pretty different, parents are different, and life circumstances are different. One size never fits all.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:44 AM
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teenagers should have household responsibilities and be expected to manage their school work on their own

Except in China, it's the opposite of this. High school kids are in school from 7 am to 9 pm, and then have parents monitoring their homework after class. They usually have full day tutoring on the weekends. They are waited on hand and foot, since they're supposed to be studying nonstop. The yoga ladies joke that their own kids don't even know how to boil water.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:44 AM
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They should add boiling water to the test for getting into the whatever they need to get into to not have to grow rice/assemble iPhones.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:45 AM
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We had lots of independence when I was growing up. Only one of my classmates managed to accidentally shoot his refrigerator and most of us didn't smoke enough that adult smokers could smell that we smoked. I'm going to call that a win.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:47 AM
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BMI of 88 is quite doable, for an average height man that's only somewhere around 650 pounds which has certainly been achieved. I think you would have noticed on Sally, though.
would list my BMI. As a pregnant person.
Maybe they forgot to divide the BMI by 2 to get the average of you and the baby. Doing so shows that you're in good shape, but the fetus is due for some dieting.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:53 AM
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Body mass index of 88, and looks less muscular than girls she's significantly stronger than?

Ms Breath? I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but we think there is a significant chance that your daughter is a Terminator.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:58 AM
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What's wrong with that? She's stating the obvious and backing it up with stats and studies.

Because she's "backing it up" with things like

Consider the facts to back up her assertion: Sweden, where children are given this kind of ample freedom to explore (while at the same time benefitting from comprehensive laws that protect their rights and safety), has the lowest rates of child injury in the world.

That parenthetical is doing quite a lot of work there. Or:

American school children score in the middle of the heap on international measures of achievement, especially in science and mathematics. Finnish children, with their truncated time in school, frequently rank among the best in the world.

American school performance is largely predicted by wealth. Wealthy American children are doing fantastic, even by Finnish standards. Poor american children are doing lousy. Attributing that to the long school day is ridiculous. Or placing it in a context that implies that the typical parent had much control in the situation.

It's taking societal problems and wagging their finger at parents for not being neurotic upper-class parents, and then it will mostly only be read by neurotic upper-class parents.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:58 AM
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if she's going to be worrying about her musculature, she should be measuring it by what she can do, not what she looks like.

The real test is whether she can beat up the other girls on the team.

That's a problematic approach to building self-esteem, however.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 6:59 AM
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Wealthy American children are doing fantastic, even by Finnish standards.

Except at Finnish grammar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:00 AM
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Whatever chemical the brain produces when we are annoyed, my receptors are now broken.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:01 AM
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37: I've never really liked Larkin, or that poem.

Also, there is the anecdote about Larkin lurking outside a pr0n0ph@gy shop, the proprietor peeping out the door to ask: "Was it bondage, sir?" (Hitchens in the Atlantic: "It was.")


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:01 AM
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Texas schools are going to have to start a module about not touching the giant, rat-feces-loving snails


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:01 AM
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If every snail really does carry a dollar, that is going to be a hard temptation to resist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:10 AM
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It's taking societal problems and wagging their finger at parents for not being neurotic upper-class parents, and then it will mostly only be read by neurotic upper-class parents.

I don't think that's what she saying -- she's telling neurotic upper-class parents that they are doing it all wrong, and they should be more like non-neurotic non-U.S. parents that have figured out parenting. Of course, these parents will pay atttention to her only because they are so neurotic.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:14 AM
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50. The link is interesting, because half a century ago I lived in Africa, in a region where giant land snails were part of the local fauna, and people picked them up all the time - usually to lob them over the garden fence into the street or waste ground. I never heard of anybody getting meningitis or anything else from them, although there were other snail borne diseases we were careful about. I wonder if they've become infected more recently.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:21 AM
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39: Sarah, I don't disagree with you, but the one size fits all tone of these things is hugely irritating.

True. I'm assuming she's writing to the audience of well-off Huffington Post readers. Back when my kid and I lived in a run-down apartment complex next to drug dealers and a killer (killing was fact, drug dealing based on supposition, really -- the little plastic vials sprinkled around the stair landing seemed odd to me), I was the extremely over-protective parent who didn't let her 5-year-old play in the parking lot unsupervised. That was very strange to the other kids. And he didn't get to climb trees because there weren't really any accessible for such things. So circumstances vary. I'm guessing, though, that not so many HuffPo readers of parenting articles are worrying about the drug dealers next door.

But I personally didn't find that article nearly as parent-blaming as some of the other ridiculous stuff online and also much more sensible in terms of advice. I'd really rather read twenty articles that advocated letting kids play more and eat family dinners than another one about testing in schools and firm discipline. In Florida, on FCAT week, parents should get up an hour earlier and make a full breakfast (I assume bacon and eggs and orange juice?) for their children, because obviously, if your kid doesn't do well, it's your fault for not being supportive enough.


Posted by: Sarah Wynde | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:24 AM
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53: You should write a book about how African moms teach their kids to touch snails and why we must do that here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:26 AM
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I'm guessing, though, that not so many HuffPo readers of parenting articles are worrying about the drug dealers next door.

Eh, maybe? Lots of people read the internet. Also, we seem to have a drug dealer on our block, if the cars pulling up to a certain house, honking once, and having parcels run out to the car and exchanged for money are any indication.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:29 AM
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29: Ugh. My midwife was pretty good about weight gain -- she kept an eye on it, but all she ever said was that it wasn't my weight gain that mattered, but the baby's. (I suspect it would have been a different story if I hadn't had a textbook weight gain total.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:30 AM
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The snails are an intermediate host between the worms' real host, rats and other mammals. If infected rats AND snails are endemic, the lungworms burrowing into human skin will become a problem.

It seems like there have been many outbreaks of lungworm meningitis in the 20th century, mostly associated with spread of the worms to new places where the snails already live. Rather than being associated with spread of the snails.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:31 AM
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one of the things you find in rat feces is a form of meningitis called "rat lungworm."
You do not find meningitis in feces unless there is a brain in the feces. You may find a bacterium or virus or fungus in the feces that causes meningitis in humans.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:31 AM
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59. You know the expression, "Hey! Shit for brains!" Well...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:32 AM
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The spread of snails is mostly butter with garlic and parsley.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:32 AM
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49: Down with pornophagy!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:37 AM
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"You have a potentially fatal brain disease, but your rat feces is healthy."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:37 AM
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Yeah, if you watch Discovery ID long enough, you'll see lots of stories about pornophagy. (Eep.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:40 AM
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re: 19.last

We were discussing parenting stuff at work, as I'm a new parent and my boss [Californian] and some other people were discussing child rearing. I made some comment like:

'Don't be an arsehole to them; don't let them be an arsehole to you.'

Which I think they thought was me being glib, but it doesn't seem _that_ far off.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:43 AM
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You can't make a toddler not be an arsehole.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 7:57 AM
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"Y' wipe their noses, y' get 'em to school, y' put food in 'em when they ask, y' make 'em piss b'fore bed."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 8:01 AM
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re: 66

Well, yeah, up to a point. Although one has to assume that the process through which they steadily de-arsehole does involve some parental involvement.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 8:05 AM
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Toddlers aren't arseholes! Four year olds, maybe, the fuckers. You have to have a degree of intentionality to be an arse, I think. Toddlers are just massive solipsists, and will only seem like arseholes if you impose your own adult morality on them.

Also, personality traits that make small children hard work to parent, like stubbornness and getting obsessed with one thing at a time, and always wanting to do their own thing, and not letting you help them, ect ect ect, are all things that we generally think of as Good Things in adults (determinedness, focus, knowing their own mind, independence and so on). I found that very encouraging for a while.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 8:12 AM
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I really liked that article (and sent it to my wife, who responded that we should move to Finland). I didn't feel it was parent-blaming at all, just a useful refresher course on the range of cultural styles in parenting. I like those comparisons as they make me feel more free to experiment in our own parenting style and resist cultural pressures here if we want.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 9:24 AM
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I really liked that article (and sent it to my wife, who responded that we should move to Finland).

I feel like this is the crux of my problem with the article. Things in other places are better, which means you/we here are doing it WRONG. So... what am I supposed to do about that? Keep my kid out of school until she's seven, and spend all those years looking for a school with six outdoor recesses a day?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 10:53 AM
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Me too. I agree that these are basically real problems, but they're societal, and several of them amount to "are you a poor American? Stop being that." (ie obesity, terrible schools). Yet the article is framed as these silly individual American parents! Who ostensibly want what's best for their kids but do everything WRONG! and not as "we should have legislators that pass actual laws addressing these things."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 11:08 AM
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I guess I just didn't take it that way, in terms of individual fault -- taking for granted that we / I screw up all the time (the human condition), perfection is not the goal, we are all intensely limited by our social circumstances anyway, etc. So the effect of the article was just to expand my horizons rather than make me feel at fault. Totally agree with what you're saying re there is not much individuals alone can do about a lot of this stuff. But maybe hearing about Finland will help me support my kid in resisting the homework hegemony and roaming around outside more often.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 11:14 AM
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There may be something gendered in yours/my/Blume's response? Tut-tutting about parenting is usually code for "Mom is wrecking her children" and nit-picking what Mom does is a national pasttime.

(But also, how exactly do you not take:

The lesson for us: if you want to help your adolescent do well in school make them feel obligated.

not as a personal admonition?)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 11:19 AM
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I'm sure it's gendered. (But also curious about how this appears in gay couples -- is there one parent who worries more/feels more 'responsible'?). I suspect there's a biological element that contributes to the social element; the combination of pregnancy/breast-feeding gave my wife a different kind of relationship with the kid from moment one. Like, there's social pressure on mothers but there's something in the relationship itself that makes women peculiarly vulnerable to it.

It may be individual too, the whole notion that it's the parents job to give the kid the very best possible upbringing (vs. a good upbringing) has never made much intuitive sense to me. There are so many limitations on us as human beings, limitations on our physical and cultural circumstances, and so many limitations on our knowledge of the future and what is the right path to take, that it just seemed like an impossible and nightmarish standard. This applies to many forms of perfectionism that are pushed on us in American society. I may just be lazy or something though.

Re 74.2 -- I just took the general 'us' as some vague hortatory journalistic framing, her editor told her to put in a lesson for the reader, who cares really. I just don't take it personally I guess.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 11:42 AM
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The lesson for us: if you want to help your adolescent do well in school make them feel obligated.

I hate this advice for itself.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 11:48 AM
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The tread title has a Sondheim song stuck in my head. I imagine I am alone in this.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 12:02 PM
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... make them feel obligated.

That seems wrong to me. `Expect that they will contribute to the family as they are able, and respect their efforts' seems right, though it's too long.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 12:10 PM
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77: You are not alone in this!

(And in my case it displaced a separate Sondheim song, but that makes good sense in its way - I saw him speak on Tuesday night.)


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 12:29 PM
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Well now I have it stuck in my head.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 12:42 PM
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IOW, No One Is Alone in this...


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 12:47 PM
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Smearcase, no one is alone. (pwned on preview, but fuck it.)

What with Into the Woods from this thread and Led Zeppelin from the title of another one, this place needs deworming.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 1:01 PM
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7 etc: The beauty of judgmental pieces like this, in which you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, is that you can read them the other way too -- no matter what you do, you're a great parent! This is how I entertain myself and keep my sanity.

I ignore my kid? I'm teaching independence.

I pay them lots of attention? I'm showing them love and support.

I have high expectations? I am setting them up for success.

I have low expectations? I am teaching them how to have a stress-free life, and to discover their own dreams.

etc.

Right now I am teaching my 6-month old independence by commenting here. Go me!


Posted by: Forza | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 2:40 PM
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For a more interesting and less judgmental take on cultural differences in parenting, I recommend Nicholas Day.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 9:53 PM
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my wife

Wait, you guys got married? Mazel tov!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 10:06 PM
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Make them feel obligated to do well at school? Ffs, that's terrible advice - partly because it's not achievable without being a twat about it, surely (e.g. my friend whose parents still regularly complain about the X thousand pounds they spent on her education), and partly because the negative effects of that are going to last for a long time.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 2:57 AM
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I don't think there are any ways of organizing society that don't have negative effects, and probably fewer ways of raising people. Do you think `work hard at school'* is a worse expectation than the converse? I can't say the kids I know who were brought up to not work hard are having a great time of it as adults.

*`Do your best' instead of `succeed' is an important distinction, to my mind.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 10:06 AM
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85: no, actually we haven't, I just get bothered by saying 'partner' all the time. Although as she warns me, if I represent her as my wife to the public then we will be common law married, ceremony or no, so if she tracks down this thread then the deed is done.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 11:57 AM
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86, etc.: re the 'obligated' debate, I think the problem is saying 'make them'. You shouldn't have to cram obligation down peoples' throats, it should emerge naturally from your values and your relationship. A family is a community and I generally think people should feel obligated to the communities of which they are a part (and others in the community should feel reciprocally obligated to their best interests). In other words, people shouldn't be libertarians. Right now all our kid-involved obligations run one way but as he gets older hopefully there will be a gradual transition to a sense of mutuality. (All of this is an ideal that I will probably wince when I think back on in ten years).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 12:01 PM
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I'm not saying working hard at school is a bad idea. The quote says "do well" which is a stupid thing to say - not all kids can, and some will do well without working hard. I certainly encourage doing one's best, but the only obligation to do as well as possible should be to oneself.

And yeah, I agree with PGD about family obligations - everyone here is expected to pitch in in that sense. They don't owe me A*'s though.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 12:46 PM
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88: Ah, okay. I'm totally going to testify that you're married if any judges come snooping around, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 3:27 PM
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Huh! DC still has common-law marriage.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 3:33 PM
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92: Was just looking that up.

A common-law marriage exists if the two persons are legally free to marry, if it is the intent of the two persons to establish a marriage, and if the two are known to the communityentariat as husband and wife.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 3:36 PM
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And are willing to make florists and caterers sad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 3:43 PM
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the only obligation to do as well as possible should be to oneself.

I can't endorse that; school is expensive in many senses (starting with limited places, in almost every culture). If it isn't important enough to you to do as well as you can, leave it to someone else to try.

Same holds for a whole lot of stuff -- we almost can't, and reliably don't like to, go through life without using up limited resources. I think individuality comes in deciding what the best return for their use is, not in deciding whether or not to do one's best.

In hindsight, I should probably have gone into septic engineering.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 4:02 PM
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If you have eyes on your butt, you still can't see the septic tank.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 4:05 PM
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Clivus Multrum, baby.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 4:17 PM
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You are using a clivus multrum. Beneath you underneat the floor is a container shaped like a large shoe sitting on it's toe...

I forget the rest. I could recite the whole thing for years, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 4:34 PM
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Also I didn't used to add extra apostrophes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 4:34 PM
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I can't endorse that; school is expensive in many senses (starting with limited places, in almost every culture). If it isn't important enough to you to do as well as you can, leave it to someone else to try.

I'm confused now - do you mean US school = university? Because I read the quote as referring to an adolescent, and assumed secondary school, 11-18. In which case you can't just leave.

Anyway. Shouldn't have read the thread, having said I don't read these sorts of articles.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-13 4:59 PM
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I learned today on Facebook the being poor is a lifestyle choice.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-12-13 1:09 PM
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