Take PC out of Parenting by Marybeth Hicks

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hicks_marybethI’m not sure how to explain my reticence to speak up.

Perhaps the dark-brown muck oozing its way into the roots of my hair is causing me to doubt my credibility. Perhaps the aluminum foil squares hanging wildly in my face are cutting into my self-confidence.

Or maybe it’s the knowledge that one of the women whose conversation I am overhearing — and whom I dearly wish to admonish — will soon stand over me with a pair of scissors and my hairstyle in her hands.

Whatever the reason, I don’t comment. Instead, I pretend to read a magazine while listening to two women, both mothers of 12-year-old middle school students, lament the difficulties their daughters are having on Facebook.

“I just cannot believe the things these kids write on their walls,” one woman says.

“I know — and in their text messages too,” the other agrees.

Worried about their daughters’ emotional health and about the long-term consequences of rumors, gossip and high-tech teasing, their chatter continues for a solid 15 minutes. It’s a rambling, estrogen-infused diatribe about the indignities of the nasty texts and Facebook comments their daughters endure at the hands of other, meaner middle-schoolers, but also the great parenting strategies they use to make sure their girls do not respond in kind.

“I said, ‘You had better not do that.'”

Masterful. Really.

Oddly, though, at no point in their conversation does either gal question the wisdom or necessity of 12-year-olds participating in social networking sites or of owning and using cell phones to communicate with their 12-year-old posses.

I say “oddly” because this is the first thing that pops into my mind, and the very comment I’d love to blurt out. In fact, what I want to say is, “What hallucinogen are you women taking? Facebook was not created for immature, overemotional, pre-pubescent 12-year-olds.”

Or better, I might say, “Hey, ladies, did either of you read Facebook’s privacy policy that specifically prohibits the participation of children under age 13? Or any newspaper or Web site describing the dangers of children being wired and unsupervised? Because I hate to break it to you, but yours are.”

But again, I don’t say anything because it’s not polite. In fact, commenting on other people’s parenting is considered more than just intrusive or rude; it’s politically incorrect.

The Fort Hood shooting incident taught us the ramifications of political correctness and its impact on our military. For several years, Nidal Hasan made his jihadist political views known to his co-workers and superiors, but since it would be rude to point out the inherent anti-Americanism of his religious and political opinions, the folks who could impede him simply sat there with aluminum foil on their heads.

The result was a “politically correct” tragedy that has changed the lives of more than a dozen families.

Political correctness is wreaking havoc similarly on our nation’s children. The public schools are fraught with bold and bizarre ideas such as “gender education” and graphic sexuality classes that make the former notion of “health” class look like a reading primer from the 1950s.

Curriculum has been hijacked for political purposes, with revisionist history, “climate science” and PC literature at the forefront of the public schools’ outcome-based agenda. Now, the Obama administration is suggesting that children spend even more time in the classroom and less time at home with their parents.

Parents who speak out against the PC establishment that influences their children are labeled bigots or racists or homophobics or prudes, simply because they want to protect their childrens innocence and keep them from indoctrination at the tender age of 11, when, for example, fourth-graders in Massachusetts can be asked to draw pictures of the reproductive sex act.

It’s clear that remaining quiet isn’t serving our children’s interests. We need to worry less about how we’re perceived and more about the generation being raised by people who are politely keeping the truth to themselves.

Copyright 2010 Marybeth Hicks

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4 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this! You put thoughts that have been in my head into understandable words! You tackled a very difficult subject very nicely. My oldest is only 6 but already have to maneuver our way around on the PC obstacles. It’s good to know there are other moms like me out there!

  2. I know exactly how you feel. I have friends whose kids are older than mine as well as nieces. I have seen what can happen and seen some of their facebook pages and it scares me. I have already told my 8 year old daughter that there is no way she is going to have a facebook page, period. EVER. It is too easy for them to get into trouble.

  3. So I am not the only one who felt this way!!!! Thank you for your post! I am the mother of 4 children, my oldest is a 12 year old girl who, thankfully, has not pressed the issue although we have had long discussions discussing why ALL her friends and her cousins have cell phones, IPod Touch, and Facebook accounts and she does not!!! My good friends who I respect and admire have allowed their children access to pandora’s box and I must not say anything! While taking my kids to the library – to read books – not hang out on the internet – I observe dozens of middle schoolers and younger who’s parents consider leaving them unsupervised in the library as a “SAFE” option and are completely unaware of the sites their children are accessing on the internet without any parental guidance nor restrictions. Legally, Librarians are not allowed to tell the children to get off of inappropriate sites – as protected by our constitutional right to freedom of information. Am I fighting a battle, a technology battle, that I will lose and my children will have no protection from the predators waiting on the other side of the virtual wall????

  4. You started off right. You implied originally that parents are responsible for keeping their children off those networking sites. It is true that parents should be diligent in monitoring their children’s exposure to things not intended for the eyes and minds of young children and teens. It is true that some parents really have no idea about how to set limits on their children. I think we need dialogue in this country about how parents really are hurting their children’s chances of growing up and becoming confident, intelligent, and articulate thinkers and humanitarians.

    But you must admit that it really is rude to comment on other people’s parenting in random situations. When I am at the grocery store and see a typical suburban stay-at-home mom in yoga pants with her kids in tow and boxes of sugary cereal, sugary juice, processed foods, and high-fat, high preservative frozen foods and treats in the shopping cart, I keep my comments about how badly she is serving the nutritional needs of her children to myself. Because it would be inappropriate. And she keeps her comments about the organic baby yogurt and milk in my cart to herself too.

    However, rudeness aside, the overarching intention of your article was clearly bigger than the rotten parenting skills of your beauty parlor friends. Your statements throughout are pretty inflammatory. You can’t even write an article about protecting children from social networking sites without resorting to inflammatory comments about the President, the Military, and teachers.

    As a 4th grade teacher I can tell you right now that never have I, nor any of my colleagues, ever “asked (our students) to draw pictures of the reproductive sex act”. Not once. And we are a mix of social conservatives, evangelical right wingers, and social progressives. I looked up the Massachusetts State Standards and Curriculum Framework and no where does it say anything about drawing “reproductive sex acts”. Where did you get your facts?

    And what “revisionist history” are you talking about? Is it wrong to teach children about the women’s suffragist movement? Is it wrong to teach children about slavery? Is it wrong to teach children about the Industrial Revolution? Is it wrong to teach children about our founding fathers? Because these are the topics teachers cover in class. You use inflammatory words (and schewed unfounded facts) in a sloppy attempt to articulate the thoughts of people who think like you, but rather than stick to facts and logical reasoning you resort to inflammatory, catch-all statements.

    You state that, “Now, the Obama administration is suggesting that children spend even more time in the classroom and less time at home with their parents.” I can see how this could be a problem for some parents. However, can you even consider that this could be a positive thing? Think about it. Kids spend more time at school, and less time on their own looking for friendship and attention they might not get from parents. In the meantime, they also get the academic help they need and access to things like art, music, and extended physical education. Most of my suburban middle-class students do not get to go home straight to their parents right after school to work on a craft, or bake cookies, or simply sit and chat because many of them are sent straight to after-school tutoring, learning “academies”, soccer practice, little league practice, swim lessons, church school, language classes, daycare, and many other after-school functions. A great number of them don’t even get home until 5, 6, or 7 o’clock. And this includes children whose parents work outside the home and those with stay-at-home moms or dads.

    If you really do see parents monitoring their children as a problem, why don’t you consider writing a cohesive article/paper/blog entry about the issue instead of making this all so obviously political. How un-American. Pick yourself up from your bootstraps, dust yourself off and get to work doing something about what’s happening instead of simply lamenting about how awful it all is and how awesome you think you are.

    You are right. Our children are under attack. They are under attack by people like you who want to further their own ideological agenda rather than protect and nurture them.

    God bless you and God bless America.

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