Sacred decision by public vote.

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Sacred decision by public vote.

My Husband Wants a Gun Even Though Our Son Is on Psychiatric Meds

By Christina Vercelletto for Parenting.com
Three weeks ago, I was printing out an Amazon receipt for a tennis racket. When I grabbed it from my home printer, there was another sheet underneath: A New York State gun license application. Signed by my husband.
My head was spinning, because although I was reading the words, it just didn't make sense.
The application asked whether he'd ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. It didn't ask whether anyone else in his household had.
I texted him: "WTF gun license??? Have u lost ur friggin mind!??"
It took him a few minutes to reply, during which I stared at the phone, waiting to read something that explained the incomprehensible.
"Calm down are u going to let me talk??"
My hands were shaking. What was happening? John is the most un-macho man you can imagine. He doesn't follow a single professional sport, preferring instead "Restaurant Impossible" or "The Voice." At parties, he finds more to talk about with the women than the men. He trolls recipe websites, trying to improve his formula for vegetable soup or baked clams. He goes to Bible study every Thursday. He has never once in the 20 years I've known him mentioned a gun. The visual of him packing heat is absurd.
I finally typed: "hope u r prepared to shoot me, only way u r bringing into house"
Plus: Why Asperger's Didn't Cause the Sandy Hook School Shooting
Our 13-year-old son, Aden, takes two psychiatric meds for depression and anxiety. He has ADHD and Tourette's syndrome. Asperger's was suspected, then rejected. Nobody seems to be able to give us an exact diagnosis, but he has virtually no friends his age. On his recent birthday, he received four Facebook greetings, which in the world of FB may as well be a negative number. He hates school because he is picked on. He spends a lot of time in his room.
He is also fiercely focused and stunningly competent in visual-spatial relationship-based tasks, like building things. He can make something functional out of scraps around the house in 20 minutes -- like the alarm he made for his bedroom door -- and does so regularly. When he sets his mind to it, he can figure out how anything works. He's a whiz on the computer.
And like most boys his age, he plays shoot-and-kill video games.
After the tragedy at Newtown, my brain rested on the overt similarities between Aden and the shooter, but I pushed those thoughts down fast. Aden gets teary when those ASPCA commercials with abused animals come on. When he plays basketball, he always runs over to help up a fallen player (even an opponent). He was just named student of the month by his art teacher for his creativity with tempera paints. The prize was a pencil, which he showed off like it was made of platinum. He is my sweet Aden. Somehow, of course, that makes him different from Adam Lanza.
Finding that application sent me reeling. I decided to just pretend it never happened. Surely, my opinion on the issue was more than clear, and John wouldn't push it.
Plus: The Secret Adam Lanza And I Shared
A few days later, John and I were driving to a family party. Aden was in the backseat with his iPad. "Mom, I just shot and killed 9 guys!"
"REALLY? Faaabulous," I said, as sarcastically as I have ever said anything in my life.
I felt dizzy when John said, "I should take you to the shooting range and teach you how to properly shoot. You'd love it."
That night, we had it out. It was heated, and, thus, brief. This was the whole of it, more or less:
A gun in the house of a mentally-disturbed teenage boy?
He'll learn how to use it right.
How do we know what he's thinking? How can we REALLY ever know?
We'll keep it locked up, unloaded.
When he wants to figure something out, he does.
The world is changing. It's my right. You've heard about those home invasions.
If it's so damn secure, how will you get to it fast enough for a home invader?
We have to be smart these days, and prepared to defend ourselves.
Remember that day last year when were switching his meds, and he tried to jump out of the moving car?

Whether regular people have guns or not, the criminals will!
A criminal didn't kill those kids in Newtown. A criminal didn't do the shooting in Columbine. A criminal didn't go into the movie theatre in Colorado. These tragedies are being caused by mentally ill young males -- regular people until that fatal moment -- with access to guns!
In our house, there will be rules about gun safety, and the rules will be followed, and it will be fine.
When I told him he could get killed trying to jump out of the car, he said I DON'T CARE.
With that, I dissolved completely.
It hasn't been brought up since. Mostly because John has only been on and off speaking to me, hurt that I can't respect his opinions enough to calmly and fully discuss it. He also mentioned my lack of confidence in him as a caring, responsible dad.
I've been trying not to think about it, but (obviously) failing. Am I wrong to have shut my husband down? He usually makes good decisions. He's a smart guy, and I know he loves Aden as much as I do. I have a hard time believing he'd do anything he thought could hurt him.
Somebody please tell me what do. I'll be damned if I know.

This article made my jaw drop. A photo of their child accompanied it (i presume, though it could have been a stock photo, I don't know for sure). The authors name was there.

Texts between husband and wife. A beseeching plea to the public to settle a very private decision. What do you think?

Is nothing sacred? Is this child's "issues" spilled for Mom's "hits" on the internet? Is this marriage spilled all over the internet?

ETA: I realized my question was biased. Is this Mom highlighting important social issues and being "brave", or bringing a private or "real" face to the "who wants a gun" issue?

What do you think?

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I do not believe in spelling out things like this on the web for all to see. It is disrespectful for the husband and the son. I have a 13 year old and she would DIE if she found out I was talking about anything even remotely having to do with her (she may even be offended that I said I have a 13 year old, who knows these days with her)
I also do not think people outside of my marriage would be able to solve an issue like this, especially if they are only hearing one side of the story

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I think this is a very common debate that is going on in many homes across America today. It is a huge heated debate. I will say that DH and I have had some really big arguments on this situation (On whether or not to buy a gun). That said, she should not have posted publicly about her son's mental health.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"mom3girls" wrote:

I do not believe in spelling out things like this on the web for all to see. It is disrespectful for the husband and the son. I have a 13 year old and she would DIE if she found out I was talking about anything even remotely having to do with her (she may even be offended that I said I have a 13 year old, who knows these days with her)
I also do not think people outside of my marriage would be able to solve an issue like this, especially if they are only hearing one side of the story

I also agree with this. It did not help her situation any to publicly bring her DH down. I can understand needing to talk things out in your mind. A website like this where no one really knows you is a great place to do that. Publicly where people who know you IRL is not.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I do not agree with the manner she took. Airing your dirty laundry and throwing your son's mental illness out there without his consent bothers me.

However, I don't necessarily think his diagnoses mean anything about having a gun in the house (yes this is coming from anti-gun Jess lol). I have a family member with Tourette's and I would not worry about him owning a gun if he chose to.

I know there is probably more to it, at least I hope there is. Just that I don't particularly see the worry of having a gun in the house based on his particular issues. Unless she doesn't want a gun in the house at all which could be the reason but she shouldn't put that on her son.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

Hmmm,

well I will say it was enlightening in some ways for me as a reader. Made me realize that people in these situations often feel there is no harm in having guns easily accessible by the mentally ill. And when you love someone and can obviously see the positives about that individual, its hard to convince yourself they could ever be a danger to someone else. All good food for thought on why guns land in the hands of the mentally ill so often. Even if the boy in this story would never do anything, it doesn't mean someone else is having the same thought process and they're wrong.

So i appreciate thinking about it in that light.

Now that I've said all that, i'd never be caught dead sharing all of that with the entire internet.

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

She made her life fairly public, though I have seen lots worse. Maybe she wrote anonymously or under fictious names.

I think she should probably do more for her son. I am sure their lives are not easy. I just think she has gotten some bad opionions on her son's issues, but obviously she shared limited specific info.

I feel like she shared what may be going on in lots of households: battle to figure out what to do. I dont hold that against her. Often in magazines and sites, we do read personal stories written to share and sometimes looking for outside views. I cannot see why the shock exists. There is so much tmi out there that this does not begin to drop my jaw.

I think her sharing is beneficial and eye opening. However I do not ageee with all of either of their feelings on the matter or their other issues.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"myyams" wrote:

She made her life fairly public, though I have seen lots worse. Maybe she wrote anonymously or under fictious names.

I think she should probably do more for her son. I am sure their lives are not easy. I just think she has gotten some bad opionions on her son's issues, but obviously she shared limited specific info.

I feel like she shared what may be going on in lots of households: battle to figure out what to do. I dont hold that against her. Often in magazines and sites, we do read personal stories written to share and sometimes looking for outside views. I cannot see why the shock exists. There is so much tmi out there that this does not begin to drop my jaw.

I think her sharing is beneficial and eye opening. However I do not ageee with all of either of their feelings on the matter or their other issues.

Nope

Christina Vercelletto - Google Search

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I think that its awful. I don't think that it made me enlightened in any way, or brought any thoughtfulness to the conversation around either mental illness or gun control. All it really made me think is, that poor kid, and that poor marriage.

I truly don't understand how people justify selling out their family, either to reality TV or this new wave of mommy blogging or "dirty laundry here is what goes on in the privacy of my relationship/marriage/everythoughtthatenters my head journalism". I just don't get it. I can't imaging having to read about my childhood, my mothers eye rolls, my parents death threats, their secrecy, my (theoretical) mental illness etc as an adolescent or as an adult. Its horrifying to me.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

While you didn't get anything out of it, can you see why others might have? I mean we easily say all the time how guns shouldn't be in the hands of the mentally ill and it seems so obvious that we have to do something about it. But when you don't have someone in your life that is mentally ill, i think this article shows how sometimes its not as obvious. I think people want to believe that their own loved one is different, or that you have the ability to prevent it instead of saying "its too dangerous, too much of a gamble"

especially because its true, not everyone who is mentally ill is going to turn into a mass murderer, most don't, so i would imagine some people cling to the idea that their own loved one is in that category.

I'm not using this to justify doing it. I just found it interesting how quickly you wrote it off as not enlightening.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

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 Smile 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.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

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.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

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.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

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.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

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

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

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.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

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. Wink and big ones like cheating or going behind each other's back. Either way..no one needs to know these things)

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

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.

Sapphire Sunsets's picture
Joined: 05/19/02
Posts: 672

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

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.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

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:
[INDENT]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.[/INDENT]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

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

The article in the original post may help some families that are struggling with something similar, I just would not risk my child's trust in me by publishing it.

Here is a situation we dealt with concerning dd2. She has a kidney condition that has causes some medical issues throughout her life. I was speaking to one of my students parents whose child had some of the same issues. I mentioned that dd had the same thing (didnt even say which dd) and said which doctor we took her too. My DD overheard me and was mortified, she felt that anything concerning her body or health was not acceptable for me to discuss with others. After really listening to her and thinking about it I felt bad, she was right it was not my story to tell. I have heard her talk to her friends about it, and to her teacher so she is not ashamed to have it, she just needs to be in control of who she tells.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

"Potter75" wrote:

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.

Well I don't think it helps his mental health issues, that isn't what I was saying. In this case, it's about protecting your child from committing a terrible act, about protecting the people who might be innocent victims, protecting everyone. So I think there can be a good motivation there, and that hiding behind anonymity might dilute the message.

But I get what you're saying. There's a reason I'm not out there writing about my kids' personal lives in a public setting.

But I look at scale, too. There are people doing mom-swapping shows on "reality" tv, families appearing on shows all the time, and these get exponentially more exposure than some column in an online parenting magazine. I would never have heard of this article if it hadn't been posted here, but I've heard of plenty of those awful shows and know the names of some of the families. The article/blog was posted in a very specific community, on a niche site.

I just can't dismiss the author that easily as someone who is only trying to profit off of her son, not any more than any other writer who loots their families for stories. Fiction writers do it all the time and don't think the people who know them personally can't figure it all out, because they can. I don't see this post as one of the worst, the ones described in the article you quoted are a lot worse.

I think including the photo wasn't a great choice, though.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I agree with the article Melissa posted. I also wanted to say that in general I kind of have a problem with parents creating online personas (which will never ever truly go away and will presumably accessible via web searches forever) for their young children. This can take the form of writing about their kids in this way, or in the form of people who create Facebook pages and whatnot in their children's names. I realize that most of the "baby" Facebook pages are totally innocent, a way for the proud parents to share pictures and updates on their children with their loved ones, and all of that. But it bothers me that the potential is there that whenever anyone searches these children's names, for the rest of their lives even, there are going to be things out there on the net that come up that they didn't have any choice over, that they already have an online persona that wasn't of their own creating. That just seems wrong to me. But maybe that's a different argument.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

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.

ITA with this, and I'd say that she *is* helping her son if she can keep him from ever getting his hands on a gun when he's not in full control of himself. He takes two psychiatric drugs -- for depression and anxiety -- and I think that fact should preclude having guns in his home even if he's not the legal owner. I'm not fond of parents putting their kids "out there" like this, but she's made a career out of it already, and I don't think this is the subject to censor herself.

bunnyfufu's picture
Joined: 10/21/05
Posts: 203

Yikes, this kind of first hand narrative always makes me cringe.

I blog for a living. I don't post my kids names, No pics of us either. It is a hard line to write in a way that is personal and inclusive - as well as anonymous. But I try. Because, ultimately people aren't reading to know about me and my kids . . . more of an every-mom kind of thing.

So in that way, I would not do this. I question the long term value of it vs. the long term cost to her family.

But, as an issue I think it is real and way more prevalent than I'd considered.