Overheard on CNN.com: Parents to author: What the "f?"
June 28th, 2011
05:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Parents to author: What the "f?"

Comment of the day:

“What has happened to satire? Why are people in the U.S. so ridiculously sensitive? Why is it no longer OK to make a joke about anything? Why are people so thin-skinned? I'll tell you why: people like to complain. People like to whine.” –Barack5tar

Zacharias misses the mark

Author, journalist and public speaker Karen Spears Zacharias says the popular book "Go the F*** to Sleep" - which addresses parents’ frustration with bedtime rituals - sadly also reflects some kids' reality. She says obscenities - and worse, obscenities toward kids - is common in some households and shouldn’t be the butt of jokes.

But many people who commented on Zacharias' opinion piece on CNN.com heartily disagreed with her, saying she is taking the book too seriously.

ads98 said, “I think that laughing about a tough situation helps a lot of people deal with their problems. A parent that is overly stressed about a child's sleeping schedule might find some comfort in laughing about and realizing they are not the only one in the situation.”

Rockinruby said, “My kids, aged seven and nine, have never heard swear words in our home. They don't watch movies rated PG-13 or R. They have had bedtime stories every night since they were newborns. But you know what? I laughed until I cried when I read Adam Mansbach's book.”

FFCBairn said, “Really? So this book is the most pressing, important thing to children? Not the high divorce rates, poor education, dubious medical care, etc. It's this book because it uses the F word?”

longhorn734 said, “I couldn't agree with the author more. My child got a hold of  ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ sailed away to an unknown monster forest and I haven't seen him since. Max, if you're reading this, please come home, your supper is getting cold.”

kablarkin said, “Grow a sense of humor. This book is funny because its stuff that you're thinking, but would NEVER say to a child. Like Bad Santa. It's funny because it's so wrong.” RolandL said, “This book was meant to make you laugh and release some of that tension and frustration that naturally goes along with being a parent. Don't like it – don't buy it.”

Some readers did agree with Zacharias.

Thousand said, “The tone of the book is pretty well hideous. You all think your ‘dark sense of humor' isn't damaging to children, but you can't even see how messed up you are yourselves.”

Cartzzzz said, “The problem is that the book perpetuates the myth that kids are to blame for things like not sleeping. After raising three kids and observing how a lot of people raise their kids, I find the problem lies with the parents. If you are having battles over sleep and your kid is more than a few months old - that's your fault.”

Cruddy11 said, “Some things in life are very funny. This subject isn’t funny or humorous. I just believe that type of language in regards to your children is unnatural. It makes me very uneasy that so many people actually think its ok.”

EnochRoot said, “I don't' want to ban the book. I want the so-called parents who find it funny to not have any more children.”

SonyPony said, “Don't like it? Don't read it. Problem solved." Corvus1 responded, “Doesn't solve the problem of promoting verbal abuse towards kids as 'humor.'"

natepete said, “If you swear and think swearing is funny, you might as well teach your kids to swear as well...this is ridiculous hypocrisy.” aldrix said, “Not saying I agree with the author, but I think it's legitimate to question whether something's really worth putting out there and I believe that's what she's doing here.”

Raising a nerdy son

Columnist LZ Granderson says he’s raising his son to be a nerd. Although his son is talented at sports, he’d rather see him excel at academic subjects. He says people tend to applaud athletics more than academics, although it’s the latter that usually matters most.

People who commented on Granderson's column generally appreciated his point of view.

whodey said, “Nerds have had a hand in everything that keeps you alive and makes life worth living. From medicine, electricity, computers, Internet, vehicles, TV, bridges, houses, you name it. The world runs on nerds.”

RyanDumb said, “I thought this article was refreshing and a wake-up call to my own parenting. I was a Division 1 college athlete and played five sports in high school. My oldest son is 3 and my other son is nearly 1. I spend time with my oldest trying to teach him to catch a ball, run as fast as he can playing tag, etc. when I really need to spend more time working with him on learning to read, spelling, learning basic math. Things he will use daily in the ‘real world’ because the odds are against all athletes becoming professional.”

capnhindsite said, “Totally agree Mr. Granderson. You are taking responsibility for your child’s education and I wish more people would realize that. People complain about our schools failing our kids but rarely do you hear anyone stand up and point out that the parents are ultimately responsible for their children’s learning.”

philbangayan said, “We need more people thinking this way. Last November, the regional competition for the Siemens Science Competition was held at Caltech. Students from as far away as Washington were presenting graduate level work that can make real changes for us. How sad was it that the auditorium only had ~30 people (all family members) in it? This is auditorium that easily held 200 people and where Nobel Prize winners such as Feynman once lectured in. Yet down the road, thousands of people attended a football game.”

bcole04 said, “This is exactly what we need to encourage in our nation's children! Being smart is cool. Being successful is cool. Being a nerd is cool. If you want proof that you can be a nerd and still be cool, look no further than Steve Jobs.”

AsoRock said, “I’m praying to God that my daughter becomes a nerd as well....I was a nerd in HS and guess what? Condo near the lake, beautiful wife, fast car...I smile when I see my ATM receipts and life is good....yep,

agrib said, “Whether jock or geek, it doesn't matter, just having an involved and supportive parent will help any child, no matter what their talents or abilities. We need more parents to be involved with their children. Invest time in your child.”

dogmathree said, “As a teacher who works with students at risk, I just want to say thank you. I would like to send this to every parent at my school.”

SSBlurpe said, “Love a proud, hands-on daddy. It's terrific.”

slyer said, “I wouldn't call a kid a ‘nerd,’ I prefer the term ‘intellectual badass.’" MrAsheSin responded, “Warrior Philosopher!”

soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. A.Smith

    The book is funny and is meant to be funny. If you can't see that you have no sense of humor. Period. And just because you may not like the book does not mean others feel the same as you. Realize that and grow up. If you have time to pick a part a book like this, you have too much time on you hands and you must hate that you have no life. The would will be a far better place when all the people that have that big of stick up there butts gets old and dies. Im sorry maybe this book was not meant for your generation. Read something else more suited to your taste like Huck fin or old yeller. But wait Huck Fin uses the N word. Guess you better just not read.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • disturbed

      A. Smith. If you have the opportunity to prevent something that is ethically, morally and just plain 'wrong' from cultivating in your family, then it is your responsibility as an 'adult' and as a 'FATHER' (look up the definition in a dictionary) to prevent it from happening. This issue is not just a 'generation' issue or about 'growing up'. This is about raising your kids with the opportunity to choose for themselves. By supporting this book you are forcing habits and tainting the otherwise innocent lifestyle of your kids. You say we need to get a life... grow up... lighten up... live a little... etc. Are you so blind that you cannot see what you are fighting to approve here??!! We are talking about your kids!! do you need to look up the definition of 'FAMILY'??

      June 29, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      @disturbed...You go on a rant preaching about how life is about making choices, and being a good a parent is about teaching children to make the right choices and do what is right. You realize that this trend in America of sensoring everything, not having winning and losing teams in little league sports, and people like you trying to get everything that offends YOU banned does nothing to help children learn how to make choices and deal with tough life lessons. All you are doing is shielding children from life, and they are not going to be able to cope when they finally enter society on their own.

      June 29, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ed Sr

    I read all of the comments shown in the text of this article....................I never realized we had so many swine herding together at one time.................

    June 29, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. CT

    "I don't' want to ban the book. I want the so-called parents who find it funny to not have any more children"

    I laughed when I read this comment. Are you kidding me? The book is meant for adults, as a joke. Parents aren't allowed to have a sense of humor? Every parent has to deal with various hardships of raising children and the author of the book found one to use as an example to make light of. If I had a kid that kept me up during the night and I was deprived of sleep or sanity, I would read this book and laugh, because I could relate.
    The book is hilarious and to hear Samuel L. Jackson narrate it was priceless!

    June 29, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Conor McCartney

    people need to light the F$%K up
    everybody calm down

    June 29, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Whitney Mckee

    I love this book, I plan on buying a copy for every expecting couple I know. It is reality, that children hate to go to bed, and will try anything and everything to get out of bedtime. I think this book is geared more towards parents and the Inner thoughts they have when it's time to put the kids to bed, and the child keeps messing around and won't go to sleep. The great thing about books is that you don't have to buy them and read them if you don't want to. I find it a very good book and the Audio version with Samual l Jackson is actually very soothing and makes me sleepy.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. steven shelby

    Humor?!, those that find humor in this book to be prime examles to the lack in children's upbringing in todays world. Low values, absent curtisy and low morals. But, that is just the way it is...those that find humor in this book are low grade parnts!

    June 29, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike R

    I miss the days when I could laugh at something without being scared of repercussions.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. steven shelby

    Ehh…Poor spelling in a fit of disgust has no bearing on the content 🙂

    June 29, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    Is CNN so starved for actual news that it writes articles just rehashing the comments from a previous article that itself should never have been written?

    June 29, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Crys

      the fact that their 'rehash' generated another seven plus pages of people arguing, would say in their thinking, they did something right.

      June 29, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. C

    I don't see why this is getting so much press. II think we use expletives too much in things, and it really isn't funny. But this is a book for grown ups. All the best parents around me have their moments of frustration, their "Go the f- to sleep" moments. It doesn't make them bad parents. But those moments are one reason why I choose to not have kids. Ladies and gentlemen, you will have a lot of moments of frustration as a parent. If you think you'll have "F" moments everyday, please don't reproduce. It's OK to not nowadays.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. C.S.

    The "pussification" of America has led to much of the hate for this book. If you are one of those people in this country that is so easily hurt/upset/cry baby, do the world a favor & essentially "grow a pair", because you'll need them if you plan on making in today's world.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. CM

    Profanity is the language of the inarticulate.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      Like that hack Shakespeare?

      June 29, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Ph.D. from M.I.T.

      to Ian – touché. Obviously CM has only ever read the bowdlerized version of Shakespeare (which may be why he has no sense of humor).

      June 29, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ian

    Wait, did CNN just post a "best of" comments section and call it an article? Wow. New low.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ed Sr

    I apologize for my comments...........I have dementia and lash out at people sometimes for no good reason...........Please live your lives in peace..........The way you want to be is the best way to live...........Please forgive me, knowing someday soon I will forget how to type.........The next thing I post is bound to be extra crazy as I will be slipping back into the depths of old age once again........

    June 29, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Ph.D. from M.I.T.

      to Ed Sr – If you truly have dementia, then my thoughts and prayers go out to you. And if you are a troll, then please use your "power" for good instead of evil 🙂

      June 29, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • C.S.

      the older you get, the more stuck in your ways & ideals you are. The world is constantly changing and evolving, if you don't allow new ideals to merge with your existing ones you'll never see what good the world still has in it.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. MTrop

    First – I've noticed that somehow people's opinions about this book has taken on the connotation of being the litmus test for good parenting. I'm seriously floored by that..

    I really disagree with the assessment that anyone who can't appreciate the book has any or is any less quality of life than people who enjoyed it. Conversely, I also disagree with those who believe that people who like this book aren't thinking the right way about their kids.
    Personally, I couldn't get any enjoyment out of it, and I promise it's not because I need to find a corner to get old in and die (as one person believes). I don't like thinking of my daughter in the same context with swear words and ultimate frustration, and that's that.

    I would never say that someone who likes a book must therefore be a bad parent. As much offense as people take to that statement, I've seen a lot of "bad parent" comments aimed at people who don't like it.

    Anything that has to do with how we raise our children brings out the protective defensiveness in people, and I can understand that. People need to step back though, stop trying to band together (the people with a sense of humor vs. the squares, or so it seems), and just move on.

    Just like the vast majority of parents who loved this book are awesome parents, so are those who didn't. Most of these people are absolutely right about the fact that it's just a book; it's just a joke. If that's all it is, then no mud slinging required.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
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