Gullible Parents Flip Out Over Fake Story

the onionA funny fake-news story in The Onion just got even funnier. And also sadder at the same time.

It turns out that a satirical blurb poking gentle, hilarious fun of parenting studies -- "Study Finds Every Style of Parenting Produces Disturbed, Miserable Adults" in the humor publication's October 26 issue -- has been taken a little too seriously by some people. A real research center mentioned in the faux article has been inundated with calls from people requesting more info. Apparently lots of parents thought the study was real. Even some people who worked at the research center mentioned, the California Parenting Institute, were confused.

Honestly, anyone who follows parenting studies can understand why.


"A study released by the California Parenting Institute Tuesday shows that every style of parenting inevitably causes children to grow into profoundly unhappy adults," The Onion deadpanned.

It then went on to faux-quote the faux-study's lead researcher as saying:

Our research suggests that while overprotective parenting ultimately produces adults unprepared to contend with life's difficulties, highly permissive parenting leads to feelings of bitterness and isolation throughout adulthood ... And, interestingly, we found that anything between those two extremes is equally damaging, always resulting in an adult who suffers from some debilitating combination of unpreparedness and isolation. Despite great variance in parenting styles across populations, the end product is always the same: a profoundly flawed and joyless human being.

Ha. Ha-ha. Ha-ha-ha! Sigh. Sniff.

When you stop and think about it, isn't this really the underlying message of pretty much every "parenting" study ever? You're damned if you do and damned if you don't and damned if you're anywhere in between. We're "helicopter parents," overprotecting our children, or we're crazy "free-rangers," destroying our children by granting them too much liberty. We push our kids too much or not enough. Whatever we do, it's basically bound to screw our kids up for life.

Small wonder, really, that people thought the study was real, don't you think?

Do you think the confusion over The Onion's satirical article was understandable?


Image via _rockinfree/Flickr

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