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. Netherland

    First, it amazes me what people find funny and what people will actually spend on! If you really need to see that word, print it out and yell it out! Yet people recklessly spend money and expect the gov't to bail them out. This young man, who wrote this book brags of much education. Perhaps he could write a book on how to get your children to sleep (IN THEIR OWN BEDS, MINUS THE DRAMA) clearly, he's not that smart! I have 5 children ages 7, 15, 22, 25 and 26, and fortunately my husband and I had no problems with sleepy time, unless they were ill. This book is not remotely amusing or anything I think I would need to buy just to see THAT WORD in print. It's just a ridiculous waste of money. People struggling to get their kids to sleep will buy this book, maybe even spend a few hundred dollars on obedience school for their dog, but not a class or book to teach their children obedience, respect or how to get them to sleep!.

    June 29, 2011 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      Honey, there are way more outrageous things Americans spend their money on these days and always have. If this one book finally made you wake up to the age of mindless consumerism, I'd say it's time you got your head out of the sand. And secondly, I hate when a parent takes a moral high ground judging others. I'd say 90% of the time, the parents that love to cast judgment and say, "Well this is what I did with my kids and they turned out great", are the same parents that have some closet problems, ex. alchholism, abuse, etc. Not accusing you of that but getting down off your high horse wouldn't hurt!

      June 29, 2011 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
    • dan

      Haha um actually this author is brilliant, he wrote a joke of a childrens book that's already sold over 400000 copies. Maybe you could with being "not that smart," try taking things less seriously and you might enjoy life

      June 29, 2011 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
    • biggs

      See you along with other people are looking at it completely wrong.....this book isnt meant to be read to children,its for adult humor. And im pretty sure you as an adult watch movies with worst language in it and laugh at that,so i dont understand why a book is an issue. The point isnt to stress the "F" word but to express the frustration parents get with there children sometimes and they really wish they could say go the "F" to sleep. People need to stop blaming movies,books,games, etc. for there childs problems and look at their parenting skills. The book is funny POINT BLANK so people need to stop crying saying its messing up our children and isnt humurous..GET A LIFE!!

      June 29, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      You're an idiot. I guess you are not intelligent enough to find this funny.

      June 29, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Socrates72

      You seem to think you are pretty smart, but you could not be more ignorant in this case. You completely missed the mark, the book is not for kids, but for adults. It is pathetic really, it seems you have a lot of built up anger after raising a group of "angels". You're that annoying lady that loves to comment on other peoples parenting methods, p.s. everyone hates you... and even you're friends talk about you behind you're back, about how annoying you are. My advice smoke a joint.... and no it won't kill you.

      June 29, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. HotSnax

    I'm waiting for the follow-up book ' Eat your #$^# Dinner'

    June 29, 2011 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Stone Cold

      Amen to that, people need to chill out a little it's a book. Entertainment, maybe the author had a deeper. I just like it. It is reality.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Meg

      Maybe "Please Stop F-ing Crying". Or is a book geared toward colicy babies going to far?

      June 29, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. J3sus Sandals

    Such a slow news day that CNN has to make an article out of the comments posted about an article.

    June 29, 2011 at 5:15 am | Report abuse |
    • kgriggs0207

      Actually, CNN highlights comments from the most active comment boards EVERY DAY–this one originally ran last night. The idea is to include readers' response to the news–to help create more of an online news community. It's called "Overheard" and runs on "This Just In."

      June 29, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bill D. Morris

    Honestly, if you are reading this book to your young child, then you are no parent. If you are so offended by this book that you are blinded to it's point, then you never grew up, Peter Pan. If you haven't at least once thought this while raising children, then you are no REAL parent. Keep your sensitivities to yourself, AND SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!

    June 29, 2011 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. alan

    I am the father of a 3 year old who has never been a good sleeper. From the day she came home from the hospital she has not been a sleeper. We questioned the Pediatrician who upon hearing of her lack of sleep time commented that she's healthy and happy so obviously does not require addituional sleep. Still healthy, still happy, still does not sleep. The World goes on

    June 29, 2011 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. DP

    Anyone who has not had these harmless thoughts while retrieving water, blankets, etc for their child is full of baloney. It is funny, that is it. It was what parents are thinking as they fight with bedtime, not what they are saying out loud, loosen up people!

    June 29, 2011 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. SR8CReliant

    Miss Zacharias referred to the use of "obscenities" in the book as "violence" against children. I don't recall there being any violence in the book, just a lot of wordy dirds. The same words kids pick up on the playground, & hear on TV. You can't exhibit violence against a child with this book unless you beat them with it. These same parents probably had their kids ears pierced, which to me is the ultimate violence against children: poking holes in kids with needles, how hideous. And it is defended as culturally acceptable. Well I say teaching children the correct use of language is acceptable, but censorship is not. One person's cussing is another's normal. Deal with it, it's not a kid's book anyway, just satire. Zacharius: get a life.

    June 29, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    No one in the book ever says a word to the child. I know this because there are no quotation marks, and the lack of phrases like "he said" or "she said". Also, it's fiction and it's poetry. If you don't like it, it's your problem, not the book's.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kate

    It is a PARODY. Like South Park, Family Guy, etc. it is for adult consumption. Trying to apply principles to parody and satire is, well, misguided at best, stupid at worst. By their very definitions parody and satire defy principles, makes us laugh at them and realize that we need to loosen a few of them up if we're going to get through this life marginally well-adjusted and happy.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. SPUNK

    Please stop reporting about this book as though it were news.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Caroline

    Is it not ridiculous that Americans fight so much for the freedom of speech but when someone says something "offense" we Americans become overly sensitive? If all those who oppose this book put their berating efforts into subjects that actually matter, such as our government and the economy, maybe America wouldn't be in the mess that it's in.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. juljo

    Coincidentally, on the day that I read this book (and laughed heartily) my six yer old son, who generally sleeps like clockwork was pulling out all of the stops about sleeping.

    Instead of the general frustration that usually follows the bought of defiance, my husband and I would laugh to ourselves "go the &^%@ to sleep!" before attending to our son's needs.

    I think THAT is the point of the book. To alleviate the frustration that comes from parenting as to NOT affect their children.

    Of course this book does not even come close to the parental blood sport that takes place around this country....judging other parents.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. MJ

    Wow ! I've nver seen a counter article on CNN. But it's right – the book is funny. What parent struggling to get a kid to just go to bed so they can relax for a few hours hasn't had these thoughts in their head. It was very funny

    June 29, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. Osama bin Laden

    I am looking for the next book ..... Blow up the Fen world.

    June 29, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Doomguy

    Damn, I was hoping I would see my comment. It was a decent troll.

    June 29, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Smackme420

      Doomguy, sorry about using your reply section for me to say something about this issue. My NEXT DOOR neighbors kids are 3, 6, and 8 yrs. old. Not only do they CONSTANTLY use the "F" word but, they direct this language to their OWN Mother and she replies by using language even WORSE! It is constant, loud, and although they are children, they understand in what context to use this language. Behind the parents back, I tried to at least explain to them what they are saying and why it is not appropriate in ANY context because of their age. I RARELY swear. It takes great pain, frustration, etc. for me to use bad language, and even then I try to take the "high ground". The parents caught me explaining this to the kids and chewed me out. "It is not up to you to parent our kids!" My only response? "Some one has to!".

      June 29, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Apalled


      Well you're just plain wrong on every count. Coming from a person who was also allowed to use any words I wanted in the appropriate environment and would swear to the high heavens at my mom only to have her use those same words back at me was more than a non-issue, it was actual a sign that we didn't mean any of it at all. That's outrageous and terrible that you decided to take it further and actually try and teach these kids something that goes against what the rules in their hosue are. If you have children you should know that if you show a kid any crack in the rules they'll start questioning everything. I would reccomend that you keep your ugly nose out of other people's homes and mind your business.

      June 29, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
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