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. Truth in your Face

    the worlds biggest joke....... is us.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Taha

      we fell for it.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • scoobydoo

      My dogs breafs stinks – he needs hes toofs brushed.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
    • supremeamerican

      Well. Maybe if the liberals would actually contribute to society instead of sit around taking wellfare checks, and demanding others contribute to society, and telling others how to vote, maybe if these liberals actually did something. Maybe then, they'd quit complaining about nonsense.

      June 29, 2011 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. John Hillman

    Dissent is inherent in freedom of speech.

    Just because someone disagrees with any assessment does not give anyone the right to tell people "agree with me or shut up". The Nazi's did that – how did that work out for the world?

    June 29, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      Who are you, Glenn Beck? This isn't anything like Nazis. Nazis killed people. Comment boards don't. Free speech works on both sides of the fence. She can say one thing, and we can say another. We still find it funny, and she's still going to say it's not.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
    • K240

      I call Godwin's Law on this comment.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
    • supremeamerican

      That's what the liberals do today in America. "Agree with me or shut up you bigot"

      June 29, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. 8andSkate

    This is a non-story. No one is really flaming out over this book. The sales of the book are fine, CNN. You don't need to do this. Move along back to real news. You crazy kids and your fresh out of college innocence.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  4. Deployed Dad

    I preordered this book and laughed my #$$ off when my finace read it too me over Skype (USAF Deployed to Middle East). I agree that Americans in general are overly sensitive and need to relax a little. This book is absolutely hilarious and recommend it to any parent with a modern sense of humor.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Doc

    Our whole issue with curse words is ridiculous. I'm going to borrow from a movie to make this point: If you shoot someone, they die. You hit your partner, love dies. Your drop a bomb, lots of people die. You say the F word, nothing actually happens. The FCC only censors one of these things from TV and Radio.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      say it to your boss and see what happens

      June 29, 2011 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Doc

      John, I saw that and every other "curse" word to my boss all the time. My boss says them back. But I'm a corpsman, it may not work for everyone's job.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Doc


      June 29, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. BK

    I had the worst toddler/preschooler ever. period. His meltdowns at bedtime were legend in both my family and my unfortunate neighbors. Anyone that knew my son at the time QUICKLY agrees with me.
    He is my oldest (yes, he survived and is now a happy 17 year old) and I was still rather young. I can remember praying to God ~ for strength not to kill the boy. he would make bedtime prayer an Olympic sport. He would God Bless every toy and blade of grass on this earth. He would drink like a camel and have a billion questions and concerns. After this the meltdown would begin. I love my son with all of my heart and was very pent up and stressed due to his meltdowns. I didn't know what I was doing wrong... as I tried EVERYTHING. It was a very difficult time for both me and my son to get through.
    As I said, he is now a happy, well adjusted 17 year old. when this article appeared I found the book and I read it to him (as a 17 year old not a toddler). We never laughed so hard in our time together. Both of our rib cages were on fire. He of course has seen photos, heard stories and even watched a home video or 2 of his bedtime as a little one. Do you know how hard it can be to laugh and bond with a 17 year old "too cool for mom" teen? Even writing this puts a grin on my face at remembering him laughing and falling over.
    My point is this book has its place. Child experts need to take a step back from their studies and books and take a long hard look at real family life. This book isn't meant to be read to small children. Its meant to take those parents who are frustrated after the 20th trip to the potty and tell them its okay to laugh at your frustrations. Whatever any child experts studies are in, the truth is laughter is the best medicine. A laughing parent is always better then a pent up frustrated parent. If you have small children and feel the same frustrations, have heart as it does get better. Read this book to yourself and laugh knowing your not alone. Then put it up in the closet and save it for when said evil preschooler is an adult so you can share that laughter with them. The day your grandchild enters the world (which for me better be a long while longer...) hand that book to them and smile. It makes for great bonding.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    To those that get your panties in a bunch when you hear 'swear words'...

    F&%(3+ You!!!!

    They are words, they only have the meaning you attach to them. It is YOU who is overly sensitive here. Should kids read this? no! Should it be read to kids? NO!!!

    So your problem is where other adults find humor? Pushing YOUR morality on others? THAT is self righteous BS and that actually offends _ME_.

    I haven't read this book and have no plans to. But your condemnation of where other adults may find humor is as offensive to me as, I presume, 'naughty words' are to you. Grow up and pick a real battle that impacts your kids like how our public education system continues it's slide into the toilet. If you think an F bomb intended for adults struggling to find humor in a real life situation is a bigger problem than the myriad of problems that face children and society today, you have a screwed up sense of priorities.

    If the humor offends you, don't read it.

    Otherwise shut the hell up, raise your kids as YOU see fit, and leave others with a different sense of humor alone.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Word! I was going to post a comment, but you said everything I was going to.....

      June 29, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Clark Nova

    Check out Samuel L. Jackson's and Werner Herzog's readings of this book on YouTube.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. GuestGuy

    The whole idea that this book is for adults only and shouldn't be shared with children is the only funny thing about this sad situation. Adults and parents no longer keep things between themselves, they share every sick and degrading idea with the children of the world. The book, and those who think it is funny that the book should exist, are pathetic.

    June 29, 2011 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
    • donuthead

      I know you are..but what am I???

      June 29, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
    • BK

      Ahh stop watching so much TV. Reality is the majority of parents in America are loving and kind and raise their kids the best they know how to. Do we make mistakes? yup. Do we get frustrated with our children? yup. Are we human? yup
      However society only gets to hear the bad parenting stories on nightly news and CNN. How many times do we hear about the parents of the child who graduated college with a B- average? We don't. Those billions and billions of parents don't make the news because their story is too common to make headlines. I am a parent and I did read the book to my child ~ my 17 year old child who is happy and well adjusted and thought the book was as funny as I did. I think parents who would take this book seriously and read it to their young child ... well they have way more problems and issues then a book =/

      June 29, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Tia

      Don't judge all adults/parents just because you lack the ability to keep things to yourself. Most adults are quite capable of keeping things to themselves. Maybe one day when you've matured mentally, you too will be able to keep things between yourself and other adults and not share it every f&*(#ng thing with your kids. That you can't is far more pathetic than you think this book is.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. BUJ

    The best Deals, Coupons, Rebates and Savings in every Zip Code across the USA, Canada and from around the world in every Industry, go to http://www.zipcodepromotion.com/

    June 29, 2011 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. JRambo

    The people upset about something like this are the same Parents that i see out in public with kids that throw temper tantrums, do not listen at all to anything the parent is telling them, run around stores out of control, scream in restruants, and the Idiot parent is heard trying to reason with the child rather than use good old discipline.

    June 29, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. Pop Paris

    SLEEEPING AND SCREWING ( used in the same sentence ) IS FOR ADULTS . . . NOT CHILDREN !
    The so-called 'author' didn't use "Go the hell to sleep" because the book wouldn't have sold, THAT'S WHY !

    Love, Paris

    June 29, 2011 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. dsavio

    a lot of people apparently have trouble distinguishing a work of darkly comedic fiction from a manual on how to speak to your children

    June 29, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. njmiller

    Some people need to get the sand out of their clam. Gone are the days when Americans were proud and hardworking. Now everyone wants to b!tch and complain about everything.

    June 29, 2011 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. Semiahmoo

    Why do we always need to be dummying things down. More shock, swearing, tattoos, mixed martial arts, violence. Why? Things were better without this garbage.

    June 29, 2011 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Answer

      Heard of the word 'change'?

      September 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
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