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. Sloo

    Those who don't think the book is funny need to get a f#*&ing life. Seriously. My 14-year-old son can hear the f-word and not start talking like a sailor. It's amazing...kids these days...they can actually see or hear certain behaviors and not adopt them. Truly astounding.

    June 29, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Geez

      I agree that with the second part of what you said..... Just please, dont insist I think its funny. Actually as an adult I think its immature and humor based for a 14 year old.

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

    Sweet dreams, America:


    June 29, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Xris

    Everyone is so offended by everything these days... "If you find this funny, you're a piece of ****!" Really? I guess everyone who hates this book feels like a better parent for doing so. I don't even have kids, but I've got many friends who have lost countless nights of sleep because they dealt with the frustrations of putting their kids to bed at night. Many of them found the book funny? Guess what, they work hard and take great care of their children! I think they're excellent parents! But I guess I'll have to be the one to break the bad news and tell them not to have any more children because they're terrible parents. They have a sense of humor...

    June 29, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. LightenUPSheeple

    The author of this book is getting what he wants. Publicity. Smart marketing sells more books. See this for what it is people! Now can we get on to more important matters of the day like "Ugly Betty" getting married?!? Really??

    June 29, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sean Timmons

    I read the book, and it's funny the first time you read it. It makes its point, but it's not some amazing tome that requires re-reading.

    For any parents out there, if you weren't frustrated by your child not listening to everything you said, perhaps you haven't said enough.

    Anyone who reads the book should understand that you're not saying the words to the child, you are thinking them while you try to help them to bed. You question your abilities as a parent when your child isn't perfect. You wish everything worked the way it did in the storybooks you're reading to your child, but it never works that way. You have to be more patient than you've ever been, and it's a rough thing to do.

    Please read the author's interview so you can understand the place the book comes from. Otherwise, you're just typing a bunch of words for no reason...

    June 29, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. jane doe

    It's just a book. You don't want to read it, don't. It's not the film that inspired the tragedy at Columbine: it's a mere parody of a bedtime story. Chill out and rage against something more salient.

    June 29, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Davis Todd

    Get over it. This is a Great American Classic compared to anything from the Palins.

    June 29, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. michaelfury

    O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space—were it not that I have bad dreams.


    June 29, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. Karmaslaugh

    I cannot believe that someone would tell me not to have any more children, because I laughed my butt off with my husband when we heard Samuel L Jackson read that book. At any point in time, a parent is going to have problems getting the kiddo to sleep, even if they are the best training puppy on the street, to that woman that apparantly had her children sleeping through the night at two months old, Ferber much? Crazy...

    June 29, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jim

    I can't believe people are so worked up over this book. I have a 4 yr old son, and have read the book and laughed my ass off because it is stuff I have thought, but never said to my son, and never would. What has happened to this country? We have turned into a bunch of cry babies. If you don't like something, don't read it, buy it, or endorse it. It really is that simple. Just because you might not like something doesn't mean it should be banned. Everyone needs to get over themselves and get a sense of humor back. To the person that said "If you find this funny, you're a piece of ****!", guess what, I think you are the piece of s*#$ because you are just a keyboard warrior. You can talk all big and tough on the net, but you are just a coward, and you probably find this book funny as hell.

    June 29, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. PoopGravy

    I think it is a great book although I can't read I have to get the kids to read it to me every night. They seem to F***ing love it.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. WordyNerdy

    As a relatively new (14 months in) parent, I found this book to be absolutely hilarious. If you've ever fought this night-time battle, you can read the book and chuckle...it hits close to home. Do I swear? Yes. Do I do it in front of my son? No. It's called common-sense parenting, which seems to be lacking more and more in this country. I do agree with Zacharias in that sadly, for some children, the tone of this book is reality. Unfortunately this will ALWAYS be a fact in the world....some people aren't cut out to be parents. On the flipside, you also have over-zealous parents who try to shield their kids from EVERYTHING they deem "detrimental". There has to be a balance. Love your kids. Protect them. Nurture them. Strive to make them a better than you are. Give them room to grow and experience the world as it is...not some sugar-coated "happyland". Maybe then we can reverse this whiney, thin-skinned, politically correct, no-humor having, anti-satire, taking things literally, me, me, me, Timmy called me a poo-poo head and I'm now emotionally stunted mindset that is so prevalent in America today.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      I would give you a slow standing ovation if I could. This book gives the thoughts of a parent who on the outside is smiling, singing and rocking their child to sleep for the 73rd time that night. The author of this piece either a) doesn't have kids or b) has kids who must live under horrible scrutiny. I think one day I can look at my adult daughter (who is now 2) and say "this is what I was thinking the whole time....and your time will come too". As my mom says every time I run into a parenting issue "paaaaaayback!"

      June 29, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. Steve

    Thank you thank you thank you. Finally someone else has realized that there is a time and place for everything. War books are graphic and not meant to be read to children, and neither is this one. Just because it has children in it doesn't make it a bad or "immoral" book. Adults SHOULD know the context of it and that it is a joke. People are getting too paranoid with political correctness.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Craig

    Hmmmmmmmmm.....I wonder if we examined the people who are complaining to see if they have any link to a law firm? Its the American way to "slink" money away from people any way they can, hence the reason why everyone is scared to do anything today...... North America is getting weaker by the day due to these kind of people destroying the very fabric in which they claim to save. The rest of world doesn't need to go to war with the US, we're on our way to imploding within.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. David Robatin

    Again, CNN, I think you've missed the ball. "But many people who commented on Zacharias' opinion piece on CNN.com heartily disagreed with her, saying she is taking the book too seriously." It's not that people think she took it too seriously, it's that people thought she missed the entire point. Karen completely missed the communal misery that parents feel, she missed that when friends sit around on vacation late at night, this is the kind of stuff they talk about, she missed that it's hilarious...because it's true;) As for "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.” That is an awesome sweeping generalization and I'm surprised you chose to put that excerpt in an article that so clearly differed from the opinion of the writer...and this idiot. "But you can't even see how messed up you are yourselves," seriously CNN, you need to put some time into your work if you are going to present both sides of the argument, rather that quoting someone who believes anyone with a sarcastic twist is "messed up."

    The point was that the original post was devoid of any perspective of humor...

    June 29, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
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