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. Jen

    Are these people kidding? My husband and I read to our 2 year old daughter every night, and rock our newborn son to sleep. We also rarely curse in the house, and certainly never direct it towards our children. Yet, I found this book hysterical! How can any parent say they haven't felt this way after the 5th time their child has gotten out of bed or while lying on the ground next to their bed trying not cough for fear of breaking the silence? And to say it is the parents fault if any child over a few months old has sleeping problems is ridiculous! I know a lot of wonderful parents who struggle with bedtime every night. Perhaps Cartzzzz somehow managed to avoid the "terrible two's". Maybe he/she could share their amazing parenting skills with the rest of us. Get a sense of humor!

    June 29, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • T

      Perhaps the person who said that has that philosophy of the "cry it out" method of putting kids to sleep.. for this parent of 5, I believe THAT is lazy parenting and mean. Babies and kids need love and assurance.
      This book was so funny because we all have felt like this at some point but would not actually say this to our kids. While we all know that some people are bad parents, this book is NOT a reflection on that serious issue...

      June 29, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. J from NC

    I have concerns about even bringing a child into this world. Reading these comments only strengthens my opinion.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. AWest

    If they have never had a child with sleep issues they will NEVER understand!!

    June 29, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. John McClane

    We wonder about the leadership in this country, then CNN and other news outlets continually give a voice to idiots like Karen Zacharias. We need to ridicule these idiots, not give them a voice. People who object to this book are so blindly stupid, it amazes me, yet this is what we are faced with. All opinions are *not* equal. Some are educated, and some are mired in illogic and stupidity. Anyone who doesn't realize that this book is for adults and NOT to read to children is at the shallowest end of the gene pool. They should be eradicated.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jimmerson_a

    Before commenting about how bad the book is, did anyone stop to think this might be a book for grown-ups? I don't criticize R rated movies for using strong, adult language, but I don't use this language around children. Come on guys, use a little common sense and stop complaining so much.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. Nikki

    Very funny book!!! People need to stop taking things so serious and just enjoy the humor in things. If you are reading it to your kids then change the "word" Geesh. I did not take it for a children's book but rather a book for the child in me. I wanted more when I finished it.
    THANK YOU for making me laugh.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. Funny guy

    My kid got a casting call last night to play the kid in the book for the movie version. Can't wait!

    June 29, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. JamesLondon

    People who have a problem with this book need to grow a backbone. It is a humorous and satirical work and should be viewed as such. "Verbal abuse towards children"? Oh please. Compared to other stuff that's out there I would hardly put this in that category.

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

    Come on people, get a sense of humor. You can't honestly say that you have never had frustrations with your children, or used inappropriate words in a situation before. If you are so perfect that you have never cussed, then you shouldn't even be reading this article in the first place. This is a book – paper and ink – meant for adults with a sense of humor. It is not telling you how to raise your children or how to act. If you don't like the book, don't read it, but don't try to tell others how to live their lives. That's just ignorant.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. LS

    F-U to all you liberal pansy want to be parents or to the parents who run to their kids every time they get a hang nail. This isn't a picasso we're critiquing here it's the type of book you look at and say, oh how I would love to say that sometimes when they have to go to sleep. You have too much time on your hands if you're knee deep in controversy over this book. I think it's a riot and only wish that I had come up with the idea first....

    June 29, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kay

    Good grief people take a chill pill! Have we become so enmeshed with regulation that we're wiling to even have our sense of humor taken away??? I shared this book with my grown children and they laughed just hard as I did. It's so funny because it's sooooo true! Unless you're a saint of some sort, or lying to yourself, you can't have kids without having having thought these words at least once in their lives!

    June 29, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. lf

    That woman is truly pathetic. If people like that did not exsist the world would be a better place. This is just an example of when some TOTAL LOSER doesnt like something, they dont want anybody else to like it either.



    Good day. loser.

    I was proud to write this, and join the fight against horrible people like yourself. Please never share your opinion in public again so you dont get NATIONALY EMBARASSED!!!

    June 29, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jackie

    I agree with Karen who I just saw live on TV........totally sad and demeaning to our kids/grandkids.

    Yes, it may at first be funny. Yes, you may have thought it at some point and most would have immediate guilt for not having more patience with their children. BUT, if we don't set a better example than this....well, it explains the sad state of affairs we see today with many children/teens/young adults. NOT all of them but you have to admit that behaviors are pretty bad from a large proportion, there are record numbers of kids on ADHD drugs for behavior problems, etc.

    Karen – thanks for taking a public stand. I and millions of others are with you! OH and I don't have any time on my hands – I am a super busy professional, however, when I saw your comments I had to take the time to support you.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jim in MD

    Please... what, this woman has NO sense of humor? Again, those who wish to read the book for a laugh is great. But would you read this to a child? Probably not, if you're a responsible parent. Who is she to get up on her high horse and dictate 'sensibilities' to others? I believe (and my opinion is just as valid as anyone else's, thank you) that anything that can give a laugh these days is a good thing. Besides, kids hear this and worse every day from the entertainment industry.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. Anothermuse

    The need to over analyze every situation is ridiculous. Of course parents shouldn't swear at kids, it doesn't take away from the fact that people think these things all the time. This is a short snippet of escapism, end of story...It's not a sign of declining values, the sky is not falling because people are reading it, but hey, it's getting headlines...

    June 29, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
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