Please Stop Parenting My Children

Banned Books Week (Sept. 21-27) is the time of year when: (1) I acknowledge how lucky I am to live in a country with a Constitution that recognizes our right to share and receive information; and (2) I marvel at the arrogance some people have to challenge this right by demanding that public libraries and schools remove certain books from their shelves.

As I wrote last year during this event:

“For people with the audacity to challenge a book, it isn’t enough to tell their own children to refrain from checking out that book. They feel a need to make sure that my children can’t check out that book, too. They attempt to impose their views on me, my children, and everyone else without delineating why the book presents a clear harm to anyone.”

What is it about the exposure to new ideas through books that scares these people so much? It’s a question I explored in my favorite post on this blog, Please Stop Parenting My Children, re-blogged here:

The Misfortune Of Knowing

picture-for-tango1 (480x640)I am often on the receiving end of unsolicited parenting advice, or even worse, demands that the rules others apply to their children must also apply to mine.

Recently, one parent requested that my child’s school serve juice to none of the children because her child isn’t allowed to have it (for reasons unrelated to life-threatening allergies, for which I would make an exception).

Another parent suggested that all the kindergarteners receive more homework simply because she didn’t feel that the amount proposed by the teacher would be sufficiently challenging for her child. Really? I’m not even sure five-year-olds should have homework at all, much less more of it.

Thankfully, these are just minor annoyances, but they demonstrate a certain attitude that is unfortunately common: What’s best for my family is what’s best for all families.

It’s partly because of this attitude–more pernicious examples of it–that we have…

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  1. This is one of my favorite posts of yours too. 🙂

    Whenever I hear some of the reasons people try to ban books, I find myself so annoyed. Censorship is not okay, especially when you are trying to set rules for everyone. If a parent does not want his or her child to read a certain book, that is his or her choice–but please don’t dictate to me what I can or cannot allow my child to read.

  2. I love this post! First, your kid is holding And Tango Makes Three which is THE BEST. I have no children. I own a copy :). Second, seriously. Parents should concentrate on their own kids. If they don’t want them to read heartwarming stories of loving homosexual penguins trying to hatch a rock because they want a baby so badly, that’s their own business. Don’t tell me what my hypothetical children can read!

  3. I am in such agreement! I mean I haven’t even had my child yet and I have gotten TONS of unsolicited advice already about what to do and what not to do…if I dare to disagree I get disapproval. I think what society forgets is that children are individuals, not some mass of robotic drones with all the same feelings and opinions. That really just because something offends you or you think it is not good for your child to know about, doesn’t mean another kid can’t perfectly handle that content if it is explained to them in a way they can understand. Grr..

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