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  1. #11
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    I guess I was too appalled to get past that, honestly. Maybe I am missing an empathy chip or something ~ I have a hard time relating to people who live in denial I guess. I truly cannot IMAGINE entertaining the idea of bringing a gun into the home with a child like that, only because I would love my child SO MUCH that I couldn't imagine putting them at risk. If reading about him playing shooting video games made me grit my jaw you can imagine my reaction to the rest of it I guess I also can't relate to a marriage like that. If my husband did something like that against my wishes and behind my back it would slay me. It would expose a giant gash in our marriage ~ so yes, there were so many things that were just gaping holes in this I guess I couldn't empathize with the author in any way to find connection or anything to really relate to her on. Could be lack of empathy on my part, I admit it.

    Not every mentally ill person is going to turn into a mass murderer, no. But if there is a 1% chance that my child is MORE likely to, and I in any way enabled that I could never live with myself, (literally, I would probably off myself), so I guess I truly cannot relate.

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    Posting Addict Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    I can see both sides. I can understand what Kim is arguing, that articles like this sort of give us a first person glimpse into situations that we don't have experience with; such as how someone with a mentally ill child may think that "it would never be my child" and bring firearms into their home. But I have to admit that my first thought was more along the line of Melissa's. I can't imagine putting all of my "dirty laundry" out in public for everyone to read, and it makes me feel bad for her husband and son. I seriously think my DH would divorce me if I consistently dragged all of our fights and private business out for the entire world to read.
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    I did want to ask if the personal situation was different would you still feel the same? Clarifying if you are against all personal blogs. For example, awhile back a friend of mine posted a weight loss blog with pictures. I would have had a really hard time opening myself up like she did, but that blog was a huge help to me. It was an inspiration in my own weight loss struggle. She opened up and let the world in her personal struggle in her life I my life was better for it.

    In your life marriage might mean that you never ever disagree with your spouse, but in my experience that is not the case most of the time. Most couples have at least one or two issues that you disagree on. Now I do not think it would be appropriate to tell our mutual friends or post on FB about our arguments, I will be honest enough to say that the occasional argument does happen. Whether or not to buy a gun is one of those times. He feels very strongly in his POV and I feel very strongly on my POV. That does not mean that we do not love each other. I related very well to the point in the article where the author was saying that her objections made her husband feel less like a man. I do think though her posting something like this publicly will only make her husband feel even less like a man and hurt her son if he were to find out. I do not think though that the struggle she was having is unique to herself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    I did want to ask if the personal situation was different would you still feel the same? Clarifying if you are against all personal blogs. For example, awhile back a friend of mine posted a weight loss blog with pictures. I would have had a really hard time opening myself up like she did, but that blog was a huge help to me. It was an inspiration in my own weight loss struggle. She opened up and let the world in her personal struggle in her life I my life was better for it.

    In your life marriage might mean that you never ever disagree with your spouse, but in my experience that is not the case most of the time. Most couples have at least one or two issues that you disagree on. Now I do not think it would be appropriate to tell our mutual friends or post on FB about our arguments, I will be honest enough to say that the occasional argument does happen. Whether or not to buy a gun is one of those times. He feels very strongly in his POV and I feel very strongly on my POV. That does not mean that we do not love each other. I related very well to the point in the article where the author was saying that her objections made her husband feel less like a man. I do think though her posting something like this publicly will only make her husband feel even less like a man and hurt her son if he were to find out. I do not think though that the struggle she was having is unique to herself.




    ah, no. I'm quite fond of blogs and have......3? Myself. They are private or set to allow a select viewership. I've blogged about some of the most intimate and/or painful and amazing experiences of my like too- from the trauma of breaking a hip to the joy leading up to a home birth / a very difficult birth and the subsequent recovery. Ive blogged avout our family since my first child was 12 weeks old- it used to be public- after a while i realized how inappropriate that was and made it private.

    Of course I disagree with my husband- I'm Italian and obviously I enjoy healthy debate. I cant imagine a healthy relationship in which people dont disagree at times. That has nothing AT ALL to do with undermining trust, undermining our child's best interest, or then passively aggressively taking revenge in the court of public opinion via "journalism". Those things are flat out ugly and I will say with utter conviction have NO place in a healthy marriage with healthy boundaries.

    ETA: I also read several public blogs which I'm super grateful for- from momastery to suri's burn book each one makes me laugh or makes me cry or does both. Love blogs. Hate exploitation of personal issues and horrible boundary setting, particularly when ones own children are the victims.
    Last edited by Potter75; 01-20-2013 at 10:54 AM.

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    I am a fan of blogs as well, but when I blog I try VERY hard to be respectful of what I post about others. If it is something that I have even a little bit of hesitancy about, I dont post it.
    I do think all couples disagree, but 9 times out of 10 it is something very private to that couple. Dh and I are arguing right now, but this time it is all about him not wanting to acknowledge that his girls are growing up, I posted about this argument, but only after really thinking about whether it would bother him or DD. I also leave my blogs private, I put pictures of the kids on there so I do not really want strangers having access to that
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    I love weight loss and fitness blogs; but typically those don't cross major boundaries into airing families' private business. It's not that I expect that families don't argue, but that for the most part I don't think that family arguments should be written up for the public's entertainment. To me, that's imminently disrespectful.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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    I think it is one thing to have a blog that you write about your family and possibly about a child or spouse's illness or disability. It can be very freeing to air your thoughts and can be very helpful to those in the same boat who are trying to find someone who has to do the same things they have to do.

    That being said, I do not support her basically saying she thinks her son has the potential to be psychotic or playing out her entire argument to the world. It's gross. Arguments in a marriage are either stupid (which is the majority in my house...you know the kind where you are fighting because someone used the last k-cup and didn't fill the holder etc. and big ones like cheating or going behind each other's back. Either way..no one needs to know these things)

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    Okay I will go against the grain. I think she is brave. I think she has something really important to say that she feels MUST get out there, and the context is that she is writing on a parenting site about special needs kids. It's the right context. She's not hiding behind a fake identity, she is boldly saying "this is OUR problem" and owning it. I am guessing that she wouldn't be writing for Parenting if her husband had issues with her airing their personal situations, and that she believes she is helping her son, and other kids like him, and other parents like her.

    I have no issue with it and I think she is writing about something important.
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    Quote Originally Posted by freddieflounder101 View Post
    Okay I will go against the grain. I think she is brave. I think she has something really important to say that she feels MUST get out there, and the context is that she is writing on a parenting site about special needs kids. It's the right context. She's not hiding behind a fake identity, she is boldly saying "this is OUR problem" and owning it. I am guessing that she wouldn't be writing for Parenting if her husband had issues with her airing their personal situations, and that she believes she is helping her son, and other kids like him, and other parents like her.

    I have no issue with it and I think she is writing about something important.

    Agree with completely!!

    And my $.02 . It's a current issue. We all say we want to remove the stigma of mental illness. How do you think it's going to be removed if it's not talked/blogged about? If people who have no relatives/friends/co-workers with no mental illness take and/or learn something from a blog it's doing something good.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by freddieflounder101 View Post
    Okay I will go against the grain. I think she is brave. I think she has something really important to say that she feels MUST get out there, and the context is that she is writing on a parenting site about special needs kids. It's the right context. She's not hiding behind a fake identity, she is boldly saying "this is OUR problem" and owning it. I am guessing that she wouldn't be writing for Parenting if her husband had issues with her airing their personal situations, and that she believes she is helping her son, and other kids like him, and other parents like her.

    I have no issue with it and I think she is writing about something important.
    I don't see how writing about her real son and his real mental health issues in this public way helps her son. I really don't. I can see how it could help her career or get her hits in the controversy it creates......or how it could garnish her sympathy or criticism.....but I don't in ANY way actually believe that this article helps her son or his mental problems. In fact, lets say he gets help via talk therapy or gets totally stable on medication and down the road a potential employer is googling him ~ if, say it comes down to a "normal" candidate or one who was once scary and unpredictible, who do you think might get hired? If this kid is trying to integrate in with his peers, do you think that articles like this HELP him? I don't. I think that they set him up to be teased and ostracized, or for kids to look at him as a kid who may become a killer, because, hey, if his own MOM thinks it why can't they? It is a parents job to PROTECT their children, not to thrust them into the national debate and expose their mental health issues without their consent for all of the internet to read for all time! To me there is nothing brave about that at all.

    I love this article about this growing trend.......


    Shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, Liza Long, an "author, musician, and erstwhile classicist," published a viral essay with the provocative title, "I am Adam Lanza's Mother," comparing her own mentally-ill teen son to the alleged Newtown killer, and herself to Lanza's first victim: "A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books," Long wrote, concluding from this and other troubling incidents that her son is likely on his way to opening fire in "a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom."
    Long's essay was only the most outlandish version of a popular genre: parental overshare. In July, for example, on a New York Times opinion blog, Beth Boyle Machlan, "at work on a memoir about mothering and mental illness," described her daughter's O.C.D. Despite the lack of violence, Machlan's essay may be more disturbing than Long's—we get an account of the girl's therapy session, and hear Machlan calling her daughter "bunny" and "sweetie." Private scenes the reader should not have had access to.
    But with the response to Long's piece, serious public opposition to parents spilling their own children's secrets began to emerge. Another writer, Sarah Kendzior, took issue with Long's discretion:
    Over the past few days, we have had a number of calls for 'national conversations'—about guns, about mental health, about safety. We need to have a national conversation about the online privacy of children. Mothers should protect their children, not exploit them for media attention.
    The first go at this "national conversation" seemed ill-fated. Kendzior had also made weaker critiques of Long's parenting, diverting attention from the privacy angle. Tensions high, the two made peace so as to avoid a "mommy war." Kendzior, though, did not back down, later arguing, "The greatest threat to children's privacy online does not come from corporations. It comes from parents."
    Still, anyone looking to question the ethics of parental overshare faces a tough audience. The ubiquity of confessional writing has spilled over into confessions that implicate not so much the author as the author's still-underage offspring. Readers are meant to celebrate confessional parenting-writing for its courage, perhaps also because it is a rare creative (sometimes lucrative) outlet for women who identify primarily as mothers. Yet these parents' "courage" involves telling stories not theirs to tell. Confessional writing is about risk. An author telling of her own troubles risks her own reputation and relationships. But an author doing the same about her kid risks primarily his, not hers.Meanwhile, on the New York Times's parenting blog, Jillian Keenan responded indirectly to Long, thanking her own mother for not publicizing an adolescent outburst. Keenan's plea could not have been more sensible: "Parents should be the first line of defense to protect their children's privacy, but sometimes they aren't," she wrote, blaming the media for publishing "gratuitous material that could damage a child's long-term personal or professional prospects." Yet Keenan's hook was that she herself had once drawn a knife on her mother. She also referred to having gotten her partner's permission to mention him in an article (also in the Times) about her spanking fetish. For some commenters, this diminished her credibility, obscuring her argument.
    Parental overshare, as I define it, does not refer to parents discussing their kids with friends and family. Private or anonymous communication doesn't count, even if in this day and age, everything could theoretically reach a mass audience. Nor does fiction. Two criteria must be present: First, the children need to be identifiable. That does not necessarily mean full names. The author's full name is plenty, even if the children have a different (i.e. their father's) last name. Next, there needs to be ambition to reach a mass audience.
    Parental overshare does not always deal with tragic circumstances. It ranges from family secrets to lighthearted anecdotes. There are girls whose fashionable mothers want them to lose weight. Boys whoneed professional help with their homework, or who will never go to Harvard like their old man. Children with messy bedrooms—literal dirty laundry.
    Hanna Rosin distinguishes between writing like Long's, which she considers libelous, and "mommy bloggers embarrassing their children." One might also view them as equally problematic, but for different reasons. While serious revelations pose a greater threat to a child's reputation, humiliating stories may be more likely to destroy a parent-child relationship. A child might sympathize with writing about his illness, but not about that time when he was three and wet the bed. And a story of everyday parenting challenges could still reflect poorly on a child down the line. Between two equivalent candidates, who would hire the one who once begged for $600 jeans?
    Parental overshare's most obvious flaw is its potential to humiliate. But what if the kid's OK with it? Some authors, Long included, reassure us that their children approve. Yet children are not in a position to veto their guardians' livelihood. Nor do they understand what it means for information to be private. It's generally understood that what kids put online about themselves can hurt them later. How can a child consent to a memoir?
    The reader assumes that the parent will do what's best for her child. While the parent may set out to do this, using their own children in the service of a larger argument clouds their ability to self-censor. And with confession can come vanity.
    Indeed, it often seems as though what motivates parental overshare isn't so much the potential for a post to go viral as the parenting accolades from strangers. An interviewer said to memoirist Amy Chua, "Perhaps [...] the crucial thing is not how pushy you are as a parent, but how engaged," to which Chua replied, "'I'm so glad you say that!'" Reviews of John Schwartz's memoir insist upon how "understanding, empathetic, caring, and, well, perfect" Schwartz and his wife clearly are.
    Online commenters and reviewers often ignore that parents may misjudge their own parenting. More upsettingly, they do not question the acceptability of parents mining kids' lives for material. Perhaps they assume these kids are if anything privileged to have such attentive (and often well-connected) parents.
    Where, then, should a parent-writer draw the line? The simplest way is to ask if a given anecdote would be appropriate if its subject were not your child. Would you publish that essay about your colleague or sibling? About a friend's kid? If you consider the power dynamics between parent and child; the childhood secrets only a parent can know; and the trust children have in their parents, you see why parental overshare, however well-intentioned, is unethical.
    Bolding is mine. Article is from Atlantic Weekly
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