Just so you know

All right. I have ideas. I think about stuff. So here is the spot for stuff I'm thinking about and want to be able to share more broadly and possibly promote. Like I have time for this.

Everything is provisional at this point and subject to change in the future - as far as the blog is concerned. In real life some things will remain unchanged.

Also, our children are not really named Lenny and Linus. We are not that cool.

Feel free to share, rant, disagree, but please remember that I'm an actual person who tries to be respectful. I'd love it if you are and do to.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Practical Solutions to Parenting Controversies: Shaming

To start with, I realize this title is confusing.  The controversy is shaming, not the solution.  My idea is that this could be a series on my blog:  "Practical Solutions to Parenting Controversies" followed by the specific controversy.  We'll see.  This one is intended to be mostly funny.  Although it's a serious issue and I have a problem with taking myself very seriously.  I mean I tend to do it too much.  Writing clearly is not as easy as it looks.

But the title does kind of make a point.  Shaming would not be OK as a way to deal with other parents when discussing parenting controversies.  Sometimes, though, some people think it's an OK way to help a child learn a valuable lesson.  Like the mom in this article who made her son wear a sign when he got caught smoking pot.  Her argument for doing this is simple.  She wants to convince her son and possibly some other kids that doing pot is not a good idea.  The problem is, that what she is probably convincing them is to be more careful not to get caught.  Plus, the "experts" quoted in the article do not recommend it.  Also this blogger feels that it will do terrible  emotional damage whether done "in real life" or on Facebook or some other digital format.

I think I understand why some parents do it, though.  They are concerned about their children's behavior and are hoping that peer pressure will help them be motivated to make better choices.  I just doubt that it will actually work.

Then there's another type of parenting behavior which might fall into the shaming category - I'm not sure.  That's taking pictures of kids when they are getting in trouble (the famous one of two kids in the same over-sized shirt as a "consequence" for having fought too much) or when they are having a meltdown.  Some bloggers also feel that this is extremely disrespectful to children and is likely to erode the bond of trust between parents and children.  Others, like the "Reasons My Son is Crying" guy have made taking pictures of kids having meltdowns into a form of entertainment.  He argues that showing the child the picture can help resolve the meltdown and that it's OK as long as you are loving and present.  It helps parents deal with the stress of meltdowns to see the humor in it, some would say.  I found a blogger who thinks that taking a picture means that the parent is not present and that it's disrespectful, but I wonder about this.  When I have offered all the understanding and support I can muster my child is often still a sodden, howling wonder and all I can do is stand back and try to hold on to my sanity.  I kind of think that taking a picture is not such a bad option at that time.  I have, in fact, done it.  But I don't usually post these.  I do think it might be a moment that my child might not want the world to see.  Unless they're too young to care.  I don't know.

Personally, I have plenty of opportunities to try to balance the ability to see the humor in the situation with the need to offer support and comfort while helping my child manage his emotions.  Lenny has, just in the past couple of days, cried because:  he discovered that our old broken down rocking chair that has been exiled to the attic is never coming back, he wanted to build a new "structure" out of Legos but would have to take an old one apart first and (extremely loudly this morning) because his dad discovered that he (Lenny) was getting dressed, so the surprise was ruined.  I am, at this very moment, broadcasting these moments of tragedy in my child's life across the internet.  I just hope that one day he will not look with mortification on this evidence that he was once a highly emotional five-year-old.

So there are some grey areas.  I'm not going to be able to clear up this controversy.  But I do have a wonderful, practical solution!  If you really feel that shaming is needed in the world just shame your pets!  It's pretty easy.  All you have to do is write down a description of your pet's bad behavior and take a picture of the sign next to the pet.  If you want you can include some evidence of the bad behavior, but that's really not necessary.  You could, in fact, make something up.  No one will really know.  Then you can post it to Facebook or Instagram or whatever.  No one gets hurt and everyone is entertained.  And if, like me, you don't have pets, feel free to enjoy the pet shaming that other people have graciously provided on the internet.

This is just one example I came up with by doing a quick Google search.  They are not hard to find.  The beauty of this one is that there is a car seat in the background.  Lots of people manage to have pets and children at the same time.  I am not, at this point, one of those people.

Our family discussed this during supper last night.  Lenny is very much hoping to one day get a fish as a pet.  When he does he feels confident that he will find a way to shame it.  Everybody has to have dreams.

No comments:

Post a Comment