A lovely snapshot of a friend's children, right?
Today, I'm back over at Rory's for Coffee Chat discussing an article written by Issa Waters, No Excuses Parenting Isn't Hard. Curious to see what had Rory riled up I went to go have a read.
Articles like this make me angry. After the anger fades they leave that lingering taste of disappointment. What was the point of that? More important to me is why would BlogHer have ever picked up that piece for their family section? I thought they were known for some integrity but maybe I'm overstating it.
Before I go on, I'd just like to say if you liked that article, if it spoke to you, please explain it to me. I will willingly eat crow on this one if I have completely missed the mark. I read some of her other stuff from her blog and found it rather thoughtful, not this article.
I'm not a parent, so you will find no parenting tips or judgement but I do have eyes, a brain and forty some odd years of life behind me. This is what I got out of this article.
Provocative title, kind of guarentees a look see. Expressing her love for her child, okay, segue into child abuse, an odd comparison story, some strange conclusions and end with a catchy phrase.
Parenting is supposed to be a loving relationship between parent and child, and it should look like one, and that shouldn’t be hard.
What did I just read? What was the point? Other than a whole lot of self congratulation about loving your child therefore you would never be abusive see how wonderful I am?
This isn't a factual piece, not one single line of fact. Not a helpful piece, no external links, no tips on anything. Is it meant to raise awareness of a very serious topic? Hard to do with no facts. A discussion starter? No, doesn't really pose a question either. Okay, so it's an opinion piece, written by a parent, on parenting. Fine but with less than a year of experience under her belt a very shallow perspective on the whole thing.
What killed me about this article was the abuse tie in. I have some experience there and the trite, facile way she treated it makes my blood boil. It trivializes a very serious problem. By her definition, everyone I know grew up in an abusive home.
The assertion I love my child therefore I will not abuse my child is ridiculous. Abuse has as much to do with love as rape does to sex, nothing. Unfortunately, most abusers would also claim to love their victims. Now we can bandy around definitions of love and what it means until the world ends and never agree. Abuse is about absolute, often brutal control rather than guidance. Not love, not hate.
Her scenarios are flawed, we can be just as bad to each other as we are to children, probably more so. Feigning shock and surprise, all I can say is either you don't get out much or you really don't pay attention to other people. You want to see shocking adult to adult behaviour, go to a Little League game.
You want to talk about abusive child adult interaction, fists through doors, trips to the ER, climbing out you window fearing for your safety, days of abandonment until a neighbour finds you, that's abuse. It doesn't happen in public, the trigger isn't as predictable as a spilled drink. If it really were that easy to spot, would victims have such a hard time being believed and helped?
No where in your scenario is there an attempt to make even a passive assessment of the situation despite your "concern". Engaging the parent in conversation as you help clean up the mess,"I'm glad it's not just my kid who spills things", "Don't worry mine does it all the time too". Anything to diffuse or at least assess the situation. It's far easier to sit back, judge and pat yourself on the back for not being that person.
I can't think of a single parent who would hold up what you describe as anything other than a parenting fail.
I’ll bet there are people who aren’t actually assholes trying to be mean to their kids because they think that’s what parenting is.
Are you kidding me? That statement is absurd.
As for your closing statement, take a good look at the picture at the top. What do you see? Two children happily playing on a crisp autumn day? That's what I thought when I received it, oh how my friend laughed. What is shows is a little girl all pleased with herself because she just sucker punched her brother and he's not laughing he's wailing, All in the instant it took to pose for a picture. Looks can be deceiving.
I'll agree, parenting isn't hard. Any idiot can have a child. Being a good parent, that's hard. It shouldn't look like anything, it should be everything.
If you'd like more information on child abuse or prevention, this is a great place to start.