Posts Tagged ‘ Gun control ’

Responding to Stephanie Metz’s Viral Rant About Helicopter Parents

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

I like to think I’m not a helicopter parent. I certainly worry but I try not to hover. And as much as I want Fia and Emmett to stay with me forever and never leave (kidding, but I do have my moments of wanting to bottle this time in my life with them) I consider it my duty to teach them independence from me.

I see friends who coddle their kids incessantly. I had a playdate once where Fia took a toy from a kid. She was 2. The mom kind of freaked. “Fia, give the toy back. You can’t take it from her,” she yelled. But the little girl wasn’t even playing with the toy. Nor did she care. Still, I instantly made sure Fia promptly returned the toy.  I want to teach my kids to share, and no, I don’t believe in the RIE movement of letting your kids work everything out on their own.  But sometimes we hover too much. Or not enough. Hard to say.

Sidenote: here is my favorite RIE moment: a mom brings her kid over and he finds a 4 foot long tree branch and starts waving it around, nearly pummeling Fia. Instead of taking the stick away she says, “I try not to get too involved because I want him to learn the space around him.” Um, okay, what about my child’s brain that almost got fractured? RIE parenting at its finest. Needless to say she never came over again.

So now I ask: who is aware of Stephanie Metz and the blog post she wrote, about helicopter parenting and bullying, that went viral? Who agrees and disagrees with what she is saying? On many points, I agree with her. But on others, I think she needs to realize that with bullying, we do live in a different world than the one she and I grew up in. There were not the Columbines and the Newtowns of the world. I’m guessing since she lives in North Dakota, she is pro-gun. Most people in that part of the country are. So her “world” is probably different from someone who is raising a kid in LA, Chicago or NYC.

Nevertheless, here are some of her points (and click here to read the entire blog):

Many years ago, there was a time where young boys could run around with their toy guns, killing the bad guys.  You could take the toy guns away from the little boys, and they’d find something else around them – a stick, their fingers, etc –  and pretend it was a gun.  Today, those little boys – if caught doing that – are labeled as threats, and immediate action is taken to remove that threat from the group.

I don’t totally buy that. I know plenty of little boys who run around playing pretend gun who don’t get removed from their group or school. But with gun violence at record numbers, shouldn’t gun-playing other than the Lone Ranger and Tonto, be, if not discouraged, at least not encouraged? And I do know that boys typically do display that behavior even if they grow up in an anti-gun house. They just pick it up somewhere, like preschool. I will say that I am not going to encourage Emmet to run around “playing gunfight” and I’m not going to buy him a toy gun. At least not now. Maybe when he’s 7 my perspective will change.

Your child, who you cater to every need, who you shelter from all things “evil.”  How will this child react when he or she grows into adulthood?  ”Debbie” graduates from high school and goes to college.  She writes her first paper and meets with her professor about that paper and the professor tells her that it’s junk and it will get a failing grade.  How will Debbie cope with that if she’s always been made to feel that no one should ever make her feel sad, or criticize anything she does?

I totally agree with her. That’s why I’m against giving rewards for every little accomplishment. Or when they play team sports and “everybody wins.” Kids need to learn how to lose. Just like they need to learn how to be bored (in regards to my technology post this week that frankly scared the crap out of me with the new research related to kids and boredom). And I do think technology has a lot to do with this as well.

Stephanie writes about how kids grow up and find rejection in the workplace and the real world. She writes about how they can’t handle it. I agree. Kids can’t learn coping skills on any level when they  grow up buried in their gadgets. They can’t learn proper socialization either. So for me, this is a combo of helicopter parenting and parenting with your iPad.  She seems on the mark with that too.

My children are all but ignored when they ask for something without using manners.  They understand that when someone addresses or speaks to them, they are to speak back.  When we go out to eat, we don’t take 5 electronic devices to keep them “entertained” for the 15 minutes we have to wait for our food.  If Hendrix is “bored” (and I use that term loosely), then he can put on his jacket and go play outside.

But where I don’t agree with her is in her stance on bullying.

There was a time – not too long ago – when bullying was defined as slamming someone up against a locker and stealing their lunch money.  There was a time when kids got called names and got picked on, and they brushed it off and worked through it (ask me how I know this).  Now, if Sally calls Susie a bitch (please excuse my language if that offends you), Susie’s whole world crumbles around her, she contemplates suicide, and this society encourages her to feel like her world truly has ended, and she should feel entitled to a world-wide pity party.  And Sally – phew!  She should be jailed!  She should be thrown in juvenile detention for acting like – gasp – a teenage girl acts.

Again, factor in the technology. Factor in that peers can totally f–k with you on Facebook, Twitter, etc. This is the first generation where this is happening. And it’s not good. Add that to the peer pressure of a teenage boy and girl and we’ve seen tragic results. I don’t think kids who are bullied become suicidal solely because they had helicopter parents. But once again, when kids aren’t taught to lose, cope or be bored, it’s a lethal combination on many levels.

So go read her post, weigh in and let me know your thoughts. Her post went from 8 readers to over a million, so it’s worth taking a look at.

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pic of helicopter and stroller via Shutterstock

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Two Steps Forward One Step Back

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

I guess I should say one step back, and two steps forward. Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In short, NBC News had this description of what it means:

The Voting Rights Act requires nine states with a history of discrimination at the polls, mostly in the South, to get approval from the Justice Department or a special panel of judges before they change their voting laws. The rule also applies to 12 cities and 57 counties elsewhere.

However, it remains to be seen how it will shape up from here. No question though this was devastating to anyone who cares about Civil Rights.

But then this morning I woke up to some amazing news, also from the Supreme Court.

In a major victory for Gay Rights, the court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA as it is called. From the New York Times:

In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.

While this doesn’t mean anyone who’s gay and wants to get married can, it advances the cause by huge leaps and bounds. This is a huge victory for my state of California, which is the most populated in the nation. We will now join 12 other states that recognize same-sex marriage as legitimate in every way of the law. We are lucky number 13.

As discouraged as I was with yesterday’s ruling, today’s gives me hope for this country’s future. It is a relief to see smart, logical, non-faith based legislation passed. It’s been awhile. The defeat of reasonable gun control laws still infuriates and baffles me. Immigration is coming up next on the docket, as Congress debates the current bill. Let’s hope they act in an intelligent manner and do the right thing.

Anyway, my blog isn’t a political one, but rather personal and opinionated. And today I just want to say that the advances in Gay Rights is making me inch back towards being a proud American.


Pic of Court via Shutterstock

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Newtown Needs Your Help. Honor the 26.

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

It has been a month since the horrific Newtown shooting. A month in which normal lives were shattered beyond belief.

I was at Fia’s gymnastics lesson yesterday thinking about this. As she walked across the balance beam and did seat drops on the trampoline, I was struck by how normal my life has remained.

I can hold my daughter’s hand. I can kiss my son’s head. And right now, in this moment in time, that is all I care about. Truly.

When it happened, my grief for the families was so overwhelming, I had to seek help to get through the holidays. I also read another mom’s blog which helped tremendously in trying to not project this awful event onto my own family. I urge all of you who struggled or are struggling with this issue to read it.

So what have we learned in a month? We’ve learned there are so many whack jobs who make up this country, that we, the sane ones, need to work extra hard to get reasonable laws passed. I am calling out people like “Editor JP” who posted a handful of delusional and profoundly ignorant comments on my blog. I was tempted to take them off. But then I thought, no, everyone should see the kind of people we are dealing with in this national debate. The people who even refuse to debate. To listen. The reasonable need to stand up and overpower the unreasonable. Yes, I’m talking about people like you “JP” (are you doing your nails or cleaning your arsenal in anger?).

We have learned that the Newtown parents, in the midst of their grief, have formed a nonprofit to promote peace along with gun responsibility. It’s called the Sandy Hook Promise.

We have learned that many of the Newtown families are gun owners.

They are also reasonable gun owners who believe some sort of change must happen.

I’ll say it again: No one is calling for a ban on guns. No one is taking away the Second Amendment. All of you “JPs” out here, calm the f–k down. Yes, we all have a right to bear arms. What we don’t have is the right to bear weapons of mass destruction. As in assault weapons. Conservative Judge Larry Alan Burns recently sentenced Jared Lee Loughner–the man responsible for killing 6 in Tucson–to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in federal prison. Judge Burns wrote an article on “The Conservative Case for An Assault Weapons Ban.” In it, he clearly comes from a place of R-E-A-S-O-N.  Some excerpts:

“I get it. Someone bent on mass murder who has only a 10-round magazine or revolvers at his disposal probably is not going to abandon his plan and instead try to talk his problems out. But we might be able to take the “mass” out of “mass shooting,” or at least make the perpetrator’s job a bit harder.”

….”So what’s the alternative? Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don’t let people who already have them keep them. Don’t let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don’t care whether it’s called gun control or a gun ban. I’m for it.”

…”I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos. I say it as someone who thinks the Supreme Court got it right in District of Columbia vs. Heller, when it held that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to possess guns for self-defense. (That’s why I have mine.) I say it as someone who, generally speaking, is not a big fan of the regulatory state.”

 Quoting from the article in the New York Times, on the Sandy Hook nonprofit, one of the founding parents said,

“We hunt, we target shoot. We protect our homes. We’re collectors. We teach our sons and daughters how to use guns safely. We’re not afraid of a national conversation in our community and in Congress about responsibility and accountability. We know there are millions of people in this nation who agree with us.”

Another parent who lost his 6 year-old boy said that he’s not done being a parent to Benjamin. Because there is so much more to be done on Ben’s behalf.

Those 20 children cannot have died in vain. Nor can the other 6. Or the countless others who are shot to death every day in this country. Do something to show your support for change. Perhaps it’s signing the Sandy Hook Promise. Perhaps it’s something else. Tell me what you have done. I can sign more than one pledge as long as it harkens towards peace and reason, not violence and hatred.

Do what is reasonable, what is right, what is logical. And what keeps us and our children alive.

If we can’t draw a sensible line on guns, we may as well call the American experiment in democracy a failure.”–Judge Larry Alan Burns

Picture of Sandy Hook courtesy of Shutterstock
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A Great Blog–No, Not Mine

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Oh, don’t let the title fool you. I think my blog is simply amazing. Maybe the best out there… (ha).

But in all seriousness, I do want to talk about someone else’s blog.

I got so caught up in the Sandy Hook tragedy there were moments where I felt like I was neglecting my own family while grieving for those in Connecticut. Then a friend sent me the following blog and it seriously helped me shift my focus.

The author isn’t at all cold-hearted. But she is logical. And from what she said, she too, goes down a dark path when tragedy strikes others.

At one point in my mourning my husband said, “You gotta snap out of this. If you want to be depressed, be depressed for everyone. Have you seen what’s happening in the Congo lately?”

Of course I had, as I read the New York Times every day (until I had to stop last week because of my emotions). I told him though, the thing is, Sandy Hook is much more similar to my life than the atrocities being committed in the Congo. It’s no more or less tragic. But it is different. I could “feel” how those parents in Connecticut must have felt (or so I thought before reading this great blog below and realizing I couldn’t and shouldn’t put myself in their shoes).

Phil didn’t buy my rationale. And I really don’t either.

I will continue my crusade for Gun Control no matter what. But instead of putting myself in the shoes of those who have lost their children, I will walk in my own shoes. I will hold on to what I have and know. Not only is it far better for me, but in many ways it’s also respectful to those parents who have lost so much. I can’t imagine what they are going through. And why should I try? It does no one any good.

But don’t take my word for this. Please take a moment to read this incredible blog post on Mama’s Minutia. She says it much better.


Picture of blog via Shutterstock

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Tragedy in Connecticut: How To Prevent the Next One

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Last night was rough. One of my two babies were up just about every hour. Emmett kept losing his pacifier. Fia couldn’t find her stuffed doggie. Emmett’s teething. Fia’s scared of her shadow. And so it goes.

This morning, bleary eyed, we both looked at each other and confessed to the same thought:

Thank god we have children who are crying out for us.

We knew those families in Connecticut would do anything to have their babies back…

Those poor mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts and grandparents would do anything to hear their babies crying out in the night. They never will. Sleepless nights will take on a whole new meaning. Darkness has fallen. Evil has been revealed.

Like everyone I am heartbroken. I am trying my best to compartmentalize so I don’t walk in their shoes and take my mind to the darkest of places.

And like many people, I am angry. How could this have happened? Again?? And Again??

Many people are saying, “Now isn’t the time to debate gun control in this country.” But I say: REALLY? THEN WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME? BECAUSE 20 INNOCENT BABIES WERE MURDERED ALONG WITH SEVEN WOMEN–MOTHERS THEMSELVES.

Yes, I’m pissed. I’m infuriated. I want to scream. And I want this country to change. Quickly. Because god forbid this happens to my child. Or yours.

As Nicholas Kristoff said in his Sunday columnWhy can’t we regulate guns as seriously as we do cars? The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns.

I have a hard time believing that when the Second Amendment was adopted, our Founding Fathers thought we all have the right to bear Weapons of Mass Destruction. And sorry folks, but if you are allowed to carry around guns and rifles that can spray out enough bullets to kill that many people in a matter of moments, then those are WMDs.

Let me repeat what I am saying here: It is NOT a Constitutional Right To Carry Weapons of Mass Destruction. Do you understand????

The studies back up the facts: More Guns=More Homicides. Look it up. Click on this link. Do I need to make myself more clear?

Those of us who think that the easy access to guns had oh, possibly something to do with this massacre are not saying, “Guns should be illegal.” We know that isn’t going to happen. We are also not claiming that violence won’t happen even with stricter regulations. It still will. And yes, I know a school was firebombed back in 1927, killing 40 some kids. And that the Tokyo subway was bombed with Sarin Nerve gas, killing 13. Your point, is what?? Shit happens? No matter what? Horrible, awful, violent shit? Yes, I know. We all do. But what really infuriates me is that the gun-toting NRA lovers refuse to even engage in a debate about gun control. They refuse to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, if a young kid of 20, who was a lunatic, hadn’t had access to guns, then perhaps this wouldn’t have happened. Shame on them. Shame on everyone who supports them. And pray to your god that you never have to walk in the shoes of those Newtown moms and dads, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts and grandparents.

People on the gun-loving side are saying, “…more money needs to go into mental health.” Yeah, we get that. There are a lot of wack-jobs who need treatment. But really, it’s a lame diversion. Is that really the best you can come up with? And if it is, why not look at both gun laws and mental health? Why can’t you be a lover of the NRA and still recognize that the system is F-CKED?

My favorite quote is, “Guns don’t kill. People do.” Like my brother said to the idiot who posted that on my personal Facebook page:

“@Tara…there’s an enormous world of difference between pulling the trigger on a weapon of mass destruction and the damage you can do with a butter knife — just to use an example less absurd than the trite and infuriating cliche you cite.”

Yes, I will be defriending Tara…whoever that is. I don’t need 513 “friends,” most whom I don’t even know. So goodbye to those who spew out garbage.

Other people talked about how, “We can’t prevent senseless violence. People will find a way to kill no matter what.”

Oh, okay. So let’s just do nothing. In fact, let’s just do away with any and all regulations and move to pure anarchy. Genius idea, folks. That must mean you also think that after 911 we shouldn’t have put restrictions on people carrying knives (not just butter knives either), explosive devices and paper cutters on airplanes, right? And that we shouldn’t have beefed up security at every airport across America and the world? What world, by the way, are you living in?

You’re basically saying that if someone wants to mow down a classroom or blow up a plane, they will find a way. And therefore no restrictions should be put in place? Well then here’s an idea: let’s start selling knives at airports–hell, even guns–for people to carry on with them. Or sell them at convenience stores near schools? (well, you can practically get a gun anywhere already, so sadly, that’s not a stretch). Why not? Isn’t that part of the “right to bear arms?” I guess it doesn’t factor into the gun-loving culture that WMDs weren’t around in 1791. And that maybe times have changed.

If we can’t even have a reasonable discussion on this, then we are doomed. As a nation, as a culture, as a society. Think about it.

In the meantime, I go back to what I am: I am lucky. I am tired. I am lucky to be tired. Because my children are alive. They cry to me in their dreams. I cry back…

Thank god we weren’t part of the screams coming out of that firehouse in Newtown when the parents were told their children were gone. 

…I tiptoe into my babies’ rooms. I pick up Emmett. I find “my spot.” It’s a crevice under his chin. When his head is slightly tilted back, my lips fit perfectly into it. I keep them there and feel how soft his skin is. My nose is in the crook of his neck. I breathe him in. I whisper into his ear how much I love him. And that he is safe. I place him gently back in his crib.

I tiptoe into Fia’s room. I place my hand on her stomach and feel her breath. Her warmth. She is my little oven. I touch her hair. It is damp with sweat. I brush her wet bangs off her forehead. I hold her hand. In her sleep, she clasps back. I whisper to her as well. “Mommy loves you. You are safe.”

And for this night, and this night only, I tiptoe back to my bed, knowing what I say is true.

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