Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A quote that I especially liked

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. -- Neil Gaiman

My notes about a stupid parenting book

Well, right off the bat this book makes a terrible impression. The title is "Get out of my life but first could you take me and Cheryl to the mall?" And of course, the proper grammar would be, "Get out of my life but first could you take Cheryl and me to the mall?" Now, I'm not saying I always use perfect grammar, but I'm not writing a real, published book, a book people are going to pick up off the shelves in a real bookstore. Doesn't this author have an editor?

It only gets worse from there. One of their examples of a teenager talking back:

"Cynthia, would you please take out the litter box?"
"Why are you always picking on me?"

The author translates the imaginary Cynthia's words into, "No, I'd raher not take out the litter box. I would rather get in a fight with you."

I don't believe, as a teenager, that that's really what Cynthia is saying. I think she's just saying that she's busy, and doesn't feel like dropping it to take out the litter box.

Another quote: "The first step is to accept a child's right to say what he or she has to say, no matter how stupid or unreasonable. You don't have to listen to all of it, you can leave whenever you want, but you respect their right to say it."

My first problem with this is the assumption that whatever the teenager has to say is going to be stupid or unreasonable, when I know for a fact that teenagers can have intelligent, reasonable things to say and usually do. Sometimes they can be unreasonable - just like adults.

My second problem is that thought that the parent can just walk away in the middle of their child speaking. While of course, this is true, it's certainly not going to endear yourself to your child and make your relationship any better. It's saying that you don't care about them enough, or value their thoughts and opinions enough to even bother listening to them. Also, if you walk away, it gives them the right to walk away when they feel like it. Why should they have to listen to you when you're being stupid and unreasonable?

Just for the record, I'm about four pages in and I could have complained about WAAAAAY way more than just these couple of things. But I'm choosing to leave it at that for the moment, so I can get back to reading it.