‘Baffled’ Childless Man Would Like Us All to Know We’re Parenting Wrong

Eye Roll 54

facepalmUgh. When childless people Have Something to Say about parenting, I just feel like throwing my poo like an orangutan. I really cannot with that. Let's take New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, for example. I say "New York Times columnist" and you're probably already throwing up in your mouth a little. And I should know better to read something titled "A Childless Bystander's Baffled Hymn" all the way through without first making sure I have easy access to a glass of wine. (At the office now, not happening, must give in to troll bait and rip him a new one instead.)

I mean, I don't even believe Bruni wrote this for parents. I think he wrote it just to kvetch with his other childless friends. But let's go there, folks! Just because it's April Fools' Day, let's have ourselves a little dialogue with Mr. Baffled by Parents.

Things Parents Do that Baffle Mr. Bruni

1. Why do we give our kids "last chance" warnings when we don't really mean them? First of all, I rarely see this happen. My last chance really is the last chance. The ONE TIME Frank saw this happen has defined parenting forever. But fine -- let's address that one time someone gave their kid several second chances. So what? Parents get tired sometimes. Some parents give their kids second chances because making the right choice the first chance you get is hard for kids to do.

More from The Stir: 10 Snarky Responses to Unwanted Parenting Advice

2. Why do we treat children like adults and give them lots of choices? First of all, who says there's anything fundamentally adult about having choices? Maybe we're interested in what our kids will choose. Maybe you learn things when you make choices. Maybe it's easier to get your preschooler dressed in the morning if she chooses her outfit. You pick your battles. You want the pink polka-dot dress today? Fine. Wearing a coat? Not a choice.

3. Why are parents always fretting over doing a good job as parents? Oh, I don't know, probably because it fucking matters. Also because our parenting is being constantly judged, even by childless knuckleheads like you. True, some parents overthink it. But most of us are just trying to do right by our kids. And what the hell, we actually think parenting is an interesting topic to talk and think about.

4. What's with all the praise all the time? Oh my God, I don't think Frank even spends time with real parents and children at this point. There are some special flower children being raised by very privileged Manhattanites who get praised all the time. But most of us work a balance between correction, encouragement, and just letting our kids be.

"So parents, cut yourselves some slack," Bruni concludes, after telling us everything we're doing wrong. Frank Bruni author of the first three quarters or so of this column? I'd like to introduce you to the other Frank Bruni, the more generous guy who wrote the last couple paragraphs of this column. Apparently you two have never met and differ greatly in your opinions on parenting.

Okay. I got it out of my system. Parenting rant of the day over.

How do you feel when childless people tell you how to parent?

 

Image via Brandon Grasley/Flickr

in the news

54 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar Cass

I thought his article was extremely accurate.

Teal Chastain Blacksten

Why do parents always want to make the childless feel stupid? Just because someone is childless doens't make them a hal-human imbecile.

nonmember avatar Madeline

I'm one of those wacky childfree woman and I was a live-in nanny for a year. Mr. Bruni's criticisms seem pretty trivial and not worth mentioning. I admit I'm pretty baffled by some things parents do and I only say something when it is dangerous. Like letting your kids run around a resturaunt almost tripping waiter with a tray full of hot food (I've seen this more often than I should). I never give advice to anyone unless asked or to prevent harm.

Vegeta Vegeta

I also thought his article was accurate. He asked questions, he wasn't talking to you as a parent specifically or tell anyone they were doing anything wrong. Apparently people can't ask questions about things they never experienced for fear you'll jump down their throat about it. Asking questions is a good way to learn.

Stephanie Caldwell

I agree with your article, Adriana! Giving choices to toddlers/children is empowering to them. It takes the battle out of it, there is no power struggle and everyone is happy. THAT'S why we give choices..especially with the strong willed child.


Everyone has opinions before they have children. that's why there is a common dialogue among parents about those things you said you'd never do/ always do before kids. Parenting has fundamentals but it is rarely what we thought it would be pre-kids. 

nonmember avatar Madeline

Clearly I should have read Mr. Bruni's article before writing a comment. His article is right on par and this one completely missed the point. He is asking questions not criticizing. I ask myself the same things all the time but life was much different when I was a kid. Children didn't run the show, we got one warning, parents didn't have forums to tear each other apart, parenting wasn't a competition and kids played outside with sticks. When he tells parents to "cut yourselves some slack" he means get off the stupid Moomyblogger sites and raise your kids the way you feel is right. Don't parent the way some self-righteous blogger (who tells you that letting your child wear non-organic diaper is a form of abuse)tells you to.

bills... billsfan1104

I never agree with the NYTimes, but he is actually correct. He isn't being rude or judge mental, he is actually asking real questions. But once again, you got your thongs in a twist and acting like he is attacking your parenting skills.

bills... billsfan1104

I never agree with the NYTimes, but he is actually correct. He isn't being rude or judge mental, he is actually asking real questions. But once again, you got your thongs in a twist and acting like he is attacking your parenting skills.

sand008 sand008

Every parent is different and so is the child.I don't tell you how to live your life, don't tell me how to raise my child.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I guess I don't see the wrong in this article. This is spot on. Probably the best advice from a childless person.

1-10 of 54 comments 12345 Last
F