Parenting advice

by Marinka on November 22, 2008

Is it me, or does most advice for parents in today’s magazines come from a parallel universe? Because I can’t relate to it at all and I’m sick of feeling like I’m the freak here.

When my kids were younger, I read a horrifying “Q&A” about what to do if your kids walk into your room while you’re having sex.  My first reaction was “foster care for the children”, but the advice, I swear on all that is holy, was “finish what you were doing and then calmly lead the child out of the room and explain the concept of privacy.”  Really?  Because the way I see it, it’s going to be hard for me to explain the concept of privacy with my head stuck in the oven.
More recently, I read this in Time Out New York Kids’s Antonia Kidd’s BackTalk column:

My five-year-old recently asked, “What will happen to us when Daddy runs off with his girlfriend and you go to jail?” I don’t know where she gets such ideas. Does she need a therapist?

Possibly. That is over-the-top, even for the most imaginative of kindergartners. But before shelling out $200 for a shrink, you need to do some investigating and figure out who and/or what is planting that sort of nutty scenario in your daughter’s little pigtailed head. It’s not that the stuff five-year-olds are typically exposed to is entirely innocent (that princess crap is full of evil stepsisters and people turning into inanimate objects), but as far as I know it doesn’t overtly discuss extramarital affairs and incarceration. It could be she’s picking it up from a clueless babysitter or teacher. 

Whatever. I think that this is a perfect opportunity to discuss how the whole fucking world doesn’t revolve around the kid and how does she think that mommy would feel if she were in prison, stuck in one of those hideous orange jumpsuits, when everyone with eyesight knows that orange is not mommy’s color and she looks much better in blue and red and even black?

This is also a wonderful moment to explore our legal justice system with the youngster and expand her education beyond “it’s nice to share.”  Like, why do we think that mommy is in prison?  Is it because she was mad at daddy for running off with his girlfriend? (And, by the way, shouldn’t we be cross-examining the child along the lines of WHAT GIRLFRIEND? WHAT DO YOU KNOW? THERE’S ICE CREAM AND WEBKINZ IN IT FOR YOU.)  Anyway, back to the educational aspect of this whole thing, because I value education above all,–do we think that being mad for not wanting to “share” daddy is a good thing or a bad thing?  And what does the fact that twelve of mommy’s peers thought that her being “mad” was “not ok” tell us about whether they were impartial or not?  Is it possible that instead of “peers” they were “hags”?

Children appreciate it when you are honest with them and don’t talk down to them.  And there’s nothing freaky about that.

One year ago ...

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Braja November 23, 2008 at 2:08 am

Kids know too much. They should be trained to ignore more things and not speak about what they do know to anyone else but you. And she should definitely be pumped for info. The icecream line was good. Let me know how it goes.


Vodka Mom November 23, 2008 at 6:01 am

I want to lead the shoring!!! Can I lead it????? Please??


Madge November 23, 2008 at 6:32 am

i quit reading those books when, during my first pregnancy, i read in a pregnancy book that i should not feel bad if i ate two cookies one day, i could just skip having a cookie the next day — this while i was finishing off my bag of oreos for the day. they can all bite me.


Cindy November 23, 2008 at 7:11 am

Someone said, “Honesty is the best policy.”
I couldn’t agree more. Our kids need to know the truth and often we just want to think they won’t understand, but they do more than we think.


Marinka November 23, 2008 at 7:13 am

Madge–Yes, I had the same book. I remember having many pints of ice cream while reading it. You know, for the calcium.


Comedy Goddess November 23, 2008 at 7:28 am

My daughter used to talk about her China. Some clever parents of her best friend in Kindergarten tried to tell their daughter the real word for her lady parts. And I thought my daughter was just learning world culture!


Pseudonymous High School Teacher November 23, 2008 at 9:00 am

This is fun. Wait and see what they come up with as teenagers. While taking clothes out of the dryer, I found a condom in its wrapper. I asked my 19 year old daughter and 16 year old son, who were sitting at the kitchen counter, whose it was. They looked at each other, back at me, and my son said, “it has to be dad’s” I replied that since chemotherapy had put an end to my fertile days, dad was not in need of a condom, at least not with me, and if it was his, it meant he needed it for outside the home. They looked back at each other, back at me and son said, “I’d stick to the original story, but dad might kill me. therefore, it belongs to a friend who borrowed my board shorts.”


PsychMamma November 23, 2008 at 9:13 am

You should definitely start your own parental advice column. They obviously don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.


Temple November 23, 2008 at 9:22 am

I’d suggest cutting back on little Betty Jo’s hours of Jerry Springer watching…

(love the Webkinz bribe, by the way!)


Rachel November 23, 2008 at 10:03 am

“Finish what you were doing”? Seriously??? Wow. Not what *I* would have done. Not that that ever happened to ME, of course…


Heinous November 23, 2008 at 10:10 am

lol…”finish what you were doing?” Wow. I don’t think I could look at my kid and say, “hold on while I bring mommy home buddy.”

I never thought of the webkinz bribe. See, you’re much better than those other advice weens.


steenky bee November 23, 2008 at 10:24 am

Bravo. From Utah, I hope you can hear my slow clap. Also, “Finish what you were doing?” Uh, how about no. How about hell no.


Rachel November 23, 2008 at 10:25 am

Hey, I forgot to ask: What happened to Porn Sunday??? 🙂


Marinka November 23, 2008 at 10:39 am

Yes, “finish what you were doing”. WTF?

Rachel–Porn Sunday will return soon. On a Sunday. I am “researching”.


Sandy Mastroni November 23, 2008 at 4:21 pm

I can’t believe I just spent two hours reading your blog
My ass is killing me but it was fun
Would it be ok with you if I add you to my links


Frogs in my formula November 23, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Amen! And ick, finish what you were doing and THEN chat with your kid??? WTF exactly.


kia (good enough mama) November 23, 2008 at 7:37 pm

I think I’d tell my little pig-tailed pixie that she too would go to jail for castrating her husband one day, were she in the position of having HER husband leave her for his girlfriend. Oh, and I’d tell her that it’d be sooooo worth it.


Insta-mom November 23, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Maybe the kid got the girlfriend idea because she walked in on her father having sex. Because everyone knows that after married people have kids, they don’t have sex anymore. Right?


Anna Lefler November 23, 2008 at 8:36 pm

OMG, ice cream and Webkinz. Why did I think of that?!?!

And I’m pretty good with orange, but I don’t do jumpsuits. They really bind in the ol’ crotcheroo, especially when I do jumping jacks out on the yard during morning exercise.

Why can’t anything be simple?



Heather November 23, 2008 at 10:52 pm

The finish what you’re doing line – really? What if you have just started are you really going to let your child hang out for the next few minutes or half an hour? Scarring them for life.

By the way what is privacy – I apparently lost any sense of privacy the moment I went into hospital for my first child.


Kylie w Warszawie November 24, 2008 at 3:45 am

I got nothin’. That just threw me entirely.


Kristine November 24, 2008 at 6:59 am

I’m sorry, I’m still stuck on “finish what you’re doing.” Are you freaking kidding me?


phd in yogurtry November 24, 2008 at 8:59 am

So do we finish what we’re doing with the child still in the room? Or after she runs horrified out the front door, straight into traffic? Could you check your source and get back to me? I need to write this down.


heartatpreschool November 24, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Ok, I know some people are into the whole exhibitionism thing, but really? Finish first?

Hey, maybe that could be a topic for your next Porn Sunday.


the mama bird diaries November 24, 2008 at 9:23 pm

I completely agree.

And my daughter did walk in on my husband and I…um.. doing that thing.


ZenMom November 25, 2008 at 10:34 am

See this is why I should never be allowed to host a mom advice column. Because my answer to the first questions would have been:

“What?! You have kids and you still get to have sex?! Bitch. Also: It’s called a door lock – look into it.”

As for the second – easy answer: “Stop letting the kid watch Jerry Springer.”


Z November 25, 2008 at 11:27 am

Whenever I get around to raising kids, I’m definitely coming to you for all my child-rearing advice! 😉


Mama Cass November 25, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Really? Finish what you are doing and talk about privacy?


Sandy Toes November 26, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Okay..thanks for the chuckle in midst of all my cooking..saw you on my blogherad and stopped by!
-sandy toes
p.s. do the people who write these magazines even have kids??


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