Friday, June 18, 2010

Perfectly Rational Parenting Things That I Really Hate

Millie writes:

Let me say right up front that someone will have very cogent arguments for each one of these things (well, cogent to themselves). Some of them are things that MOST people wouldn’t find fault with. Still, they cause me to see red!

1. Beauty pageants. This is child exploitation, pure and simple. No, it’s not “helping your daughter learn poise and self-possession while she competes for valuable ‘scholarships.’” It’s teaching your daughter (or your son, for that matter) that it’s what she looks like that matters, and that if she looks “better” than another little girl, then she IS better than the other little girl.

2. Leashes. Look, I get it that some toddlers are like greased lightening and they will be flat GONE if you take your eyes off them for even a split-second. I had to call for a lock-down in a local grocery store not once but TWICE when Jack was little, because he could disappear while I was blinking – so yes, I get it. I don’t care. You might as well go all the way and put a collar on a child as a leash. It is humiliating and dehumanizing to the child. Hold his hand, belt him in the cart, or leave him at home.

3. Letting your kids be disruptive in public. Again, I get it: you may not have a sitter, you may really need to get out, or you may think your kid is old enough to see the movie/ eat in the restaurant/ go to the school concert. If your child is screaming or crying or running around in any of these venues, it may not be your fault that they're fussy, but it is your fault that you are not controlling them. Take them out, walk them around a bit; maybe they’ll calm down and be ready to try it again, maybe they won’t and you’ll have to take them home. Either way, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your child doesn’t bother the people around him when he’s in public.

4. Circumcision. This one is a hot topic, and I hesitate to even bring it up, but with the recent flap-doodle where the American Academy of Pediatrics came out FOR “female genital cutting” and then reversed their decision after the public outcry – not to mention the outrageous “research” being done at Cornell University - and I warn you, don’t click that link unless you’re prepared to be infuriated - it has to be said. I firmly believe that this is a decision to be made entirely by a child’s parents, but in my opinion, genital mutilation is genital mutilation, whether it’s done to a girl baby or a boy baby. Babies are perfect as-is, and I think that we should leave the to-cut-or-not-to-cut choice for them to make themselves when they’re adults.

5. Earrings. Speaking of ritualistic disfigurement, what on Earth are people thinking when they get infant girls’ ears pierced? Surely they are gilding the lily – what can be more beautiful than a baby girl? What is the point of taking them to a crowded mall, restraining them bodily while a total stranger drives bolts through their heads, and then subjecting them to six weeks of cleaning, twirling and fussing – not to mention the likelihood of infection? People! Don’t poke holes in your kids, and don’t get parts of them sliced off! If you want to make your kid an original, dress them funny or give them any weird haircut they ask for (hair grows back).

Besides, if you pierce a newborn’s ears, how will you bribe her to get straight A’s when she’s nine?


  1. Oh, what a list!

    1 and 5 are definitely on MY list too!

  2. I will write an entry tomorrow on leashes and how totally useless and humiliating they are - but AMEN!!!!!

    I'm still in the circumcision quandary If it were me, I'd have skipped it, but John wanted the boys to think that they were just like their dad . . . . .

    Earrings, bah! I had my ears pierced and it's a rare day I even remember to put earrings in -

    Letting your kids be disruptive in public - should be on the Ten Commandments "Thou shalt not raise social twerps.

    But the one that rages me most is BEAUTY PAGEANTS!!!!! What are those parents thinking, and Millie, when your six are raised, I propose we picket beauty pageants, all of 'em!!!!!!

  3. I was in Wal-Mart (yeah, I know) a while back and heard the most blood-curdling scream from what I could instantly tell was a newborn. Coming around the corner, I saw a fire-engine red infant absolutely shaking in some person's arms (I don't know if it was a man or woman, I was riveted on the baby), emitting the most pitiful wails I had ever heard. For effing earrings, which are undeniably, cannot be debated (unlike circumcision which is also usually unnecessary, but at least debatable), 100% in all cases for all reasons, unnecessary.

    Honestly, I could kill.

    B. Jules

  4. So, here's my deal. I'm nearly 12 months pregnant (okay, so 36 weeks, I may have exaggerated .. a bit) with number four. Ages of the children already out of the womb are: nearly six; nearly four and nearly two. I got a monkey harness and leash for my son (who is now nearly four) when I was massively pregnant with his sister (who is now nearly two), because he took off running down a long hallway in the building our pediatrician was in. At the end of this particular hallway are automatic doors that lead straight out to a parking lot.
    Have you ever tried getting a near two year old to stop running from you? Shoot, have you ever tried to get them to do ANYTHING successfully on the first try? Yes, there are miraculous moments when that occurs, but not often
    I digress.
    Anywho, after that little heart-stopping event (he ALMOST made it to the door before I was able to get to him), I bought a monkey harness and leash, right? I used it while I was pregnant, and I think that's about it.
    Then I got pregnant again, and now my near two year old "gets a monkey hug" if I'm out by myself in a public setting where I'm not going to be able to run after her easily. She's hit the stage where she'd like to be independent and fights me on holding hands for long.
    I find the monkey leash to be a great compromise. I love my leash. :)


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  6. Brianna,

    See, this is what I'm saying - there are also perfectly sound reasons in FAVOR of each of my "triggers" (well, I can't think of one for #5). A leash is CERTAINLY preferable to having a baby run into the street or out the door!

    There are things *I* allow (like cursing in older teenagers) that other perfectly sensible parents would not put up with for one moment. What is your biggest "I can't believe they let their kid ACT like that!" peeve?

  7. Talking back and being disrespectful TOTALLY gets my goat. That, and throwing absolute FITS--but the parents not reacting. A toddler needs boundaries and needs to be reigned in when they're that out of control, you know? My pet peeve is when the PARENTS do absolutely nothing about it. Grrrrr.

    And on #5: TOTALLY agree with you. I didn't get either of my daughter's ears pierced, and don't plan on doing it with this one, either. Totally their choice.


  8. I finally read the article provided by Millie, as well as googled Dix Poppas (tell me his name isn't a joke!).

    The obvious is never address anywhere I can see. Why can't the patient wail until she's 18 to make her own decision on whether or not to have herself reduced? If we can't allow others to make their own sexual decisions for themselves, we shouldn't be parents.

    Why does Dr. Poppas have to 'stimulate' the child every year from age 5 on? What does it matter if a 7 year old enjoys masturbation? If her parents educate her on basic social norms, a kid will learn that some behaviors are inappropriate regardless of the sex of a child, the size of their genitalia, etc. Keeping some things private is ALWAYS in order, not just for girls.

    This is just wrong, wrong, wrong. I had no idea that this sort of 'circumcision" was being performed in the US. If the size of a girl's clitoris does not interfere with her ability to urinate, leave it alone!

    I have to say, Dr. Poppas reminds me of Dr. Mengele, who wanted a master race. Just what size does Dr.. Poppas want his women to be?

    Where does Cornell get its money? I want a list of endowments to the medical school so that I can START BOYCOTTING THEIR PRODUCTS!!!!!


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