Mom Letting Son Confront Michele Bachmann Is a Parenting Fail (VIDEO)

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Michele Bachmann ElijahThe parenting world is all aflutter over an 8-year-old "political activist" who faced down Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. Word has it little Elijah gave the anti-gay candidate what for on behalf of his lesbian mom, and the whole family is enjoying their time as national heroes with their video gone viral. Which begs the question: America, did we see the same video?

Because I didn't see an 8-year-old activist. I saw a parenting fail of the first order.

Oh sure, Elijah and his mom did show up at Bachmann's South Carolina book signing. And he did get some face-time with the candidate. Heck, he even got her to lean across her table and get real close so he could whisper into her ear.

But that's where the two stories diverge. The Elijah I see in this video is terrified, not determined. And when he's uncomfortable about pushing the issue, he's pushed by an adult to repeat the heavily controversial, "My mommy's gay, but she doesn't need any fixing." Take a look -- and turn up the volume, because this "activist" whispers:

Does that look like a kid who is hell-bent on taking down a political candidate or a little boy being used as a puppet to you? As a gay rights activist and a mother both, I confess I found the video appalling.

I've seen a look like that on my daughter's face before -- when she was asked to give a kiss to an elderly relative. He's not going to hurt her; in fact, he loves her. But when you're 5, an old man who yells (because of his hearing aids) and wears an oxygen mask can be scary. But unlike this mom, I read her facial cues.

I backed off -- immediately -- and I took her into the next room to talk about how she was feeling and why she didn't want to give that kiss. Because my kid isn't my puppet. She's a person, with her own feelings. And although I like to joke that I'm giving her fodder for her therapy in 20 years, I really am trying to turn an emotionally well-adjusted kid out into the world. Part of that means understanding her boundaries.

Elijah's mom, who has willingly put her kid out there but so far will only tell people her name is Jennifer, says her son is the one who wanted to confront Bachmann. She may be telling the truth, and I completely support the sentiment! But when she saw how hard it was for him, it was up to her to put her role as parent above her role as pot stirrer.

Have your kids ever gotten really uncomfortable in a situation?

 

Image via YouTube

independence

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tinyp... tinypossum

Disclaimer-I am definitely no fan of  Michelle Bachman: Good grief, what is wrong with people? That kid was obviously coached and obviously embarrased. This was nothing more than an ego trip for his mom and her desire to get her 15 mins. of fame. If she doesn't agree with Bachman, don't vote for her or buy her book. It's obnoxious to use a child as a pawn in that way and I felt sorry for the little guy being put in that position. People seem to have lost all decorum and respect for others these days. 

nonmember avatar JenInNC

I agree with the writer here. There have been times my child (only 3-years-old, though) has been gungh-ho about an idea until she got into the actual situation, so I can believe that might be true, but the mom should've seen his discomfort in the situation and not pushed him to do it.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

MAJOR parenting fail.  That boy was used as a pawn, and his mother is either a coward or selfish, or a bit of both.  While I absolutely agree Bachmann could stand to be enlightened when it comes to homosexuality, sending a child to fight this battle is just wrong and ineffective.  And now that poor kid is going to be a easy target for anti-gay ignorance. 


 

antfa... antfarmer101

That kid looked TERRIFIED. There's no way I would have made him go ahead and do that after he put his hands up to hide like that. I had no problem confronting people when I was that age but that's me. My daughter tends to get a little shy around strangers at first, so we don't push her. I would never force her to interact with someone she felt uncomfortable with. This mom just wanted to embarrass Bachman, without regard for the feelings of her son. Poor kid

Argentina Iraheta

I can see how people view this as the mom using her kid, but (and this just might be my personal experience) I was a very outspoken child at home. In public, I would clam up and tended to hide my face in my mom's side. So, eventually, when I said I wanted something or wanted to do something in public, she would push me so I would get used to it. If I wanted to order a hamburger, she told me to ask the cashier instead of telling her. Same for asking permission to use things, but also to say things to people even if I was afraid they would be mad.


So I will offer it as an alternative, since only the mother can really say what the case was. The boy may have mentioned to his mom that he wanted to say something to Mrs. Bachmann, so she took him to see her. He could have lost his nerve and got scared, so mom pushed him.


Mom may have pushed him to say it, but that doesn't mean she forced him. Again, I'm not saying I'm right but mom's tend to get pretty narrow minded when they feel strongly about something parenting related (see: every car seat article this site has ever published). Just keep in mind that there are other scenarios than mom simply forcing a small boy to confront a major anti-gay, political figure.

Stacey. Stacey.

An 8 year old should NOT be thinking about sexual orientation, the act of sex, or anything sex related and certainly shouldn't be forced to speak up about how his mom is a "lesbian". All he should know is he has two mommies, not that his mommies are "gay" together.

Argentina Iraheta

Adding to my previous comment: I think it's healthy to be pushed to do things you aren't comfortable with as a kid. It makes you more likely to take risks when you're older like try sports, performing arts, debate, or student government. I doubt I could have ever done half the activities I did growing up if my mom hadn't made me do things I was scared of as a kid. It's one thing to force your kid into doing something that's bad for them, but if it's something that actually builds character then I don't see the harm.

Argentina Iraheta

@Stacey: if it were a perfect world, you'd be right but the world isn't perfect. At 8, I bet he's already heard too many derogatory phrases for homosexuals than anyone ever should (from his peers, from TV, from people on the street, etc) particularly if his moms are as open as they seem about their lifestyle. I doubt that "lesbian" is a new word for him, but I do doubt that he directly relates it to sex. He probably just thinks that's the word for two mommies who love each other rather than a mom and a dad.

Megan Johnson

To be honest, the kid might have wanted to confront her, but got scared at the last minute.  I've seen it with my own kids.  They'll be all excited to do something, but when it comes down to actually doing it, they'll freak out.  I don't think Mommy Dearest there should have pushed him into it if he got scared at the last minute, though.

Stephanie Morales

I too am not a Bachmann fan, and when I heard the buzz of an "8yo 'Activist'" I was expecting an 8yo who actually TOOK A STAND and was loud and proud. But unfortunately, I only saw a mother pushing her adgenda and child to push the adgenda, and I am a LGBT Ally and Activist.

I would not dream of forcing my children to participate in something they did not want to participate in for whatever reason, including shyness.

I agree with the message, but not the tacticts used.

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