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. dakotacookie

    The woman just on cnn needs to get a life. The world isn't a safe place, and sheilding kids from it will likely hurt them as adults. Because someone curses, especially in the way it was done here doesn't make them bad. This lady is an uptight person with no life who should live in seclusion with her family, if this is how she feels. NO ONE WANTS UR OPINION ON THIS MATTER. But I guess it takes all kinds.

    June 29, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. vrmay

    I was at my wits end trying to get my 4 year old to sleep. Evenings usually left me in tears because In my head, I was thinking the same thing written in the book. When I read the book, I laughed so hard, I cried and I felt so much better because I wasn't the only one going through this struggle! I think that someone who has never had to deal with bedtime drama, has no right to comment on the book. Its great that she "loved putting her kids to bed, etc". That is not everyone else' s reality.I hate it. I dread it. At least now, I can get a good laugh out of it! Lady, It is written as a joke for parents!! No one I know is reading this to their kids. My goodness, get a sense of humor!!!

    June 29, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. animom761

    With respect to the book "Go the **** to Sleep", what people are missing – and I find disheartening that it wasn't mentioned in this overview of comments – is that this is absolutely NOT NOT NOT a bedtime book for children. Absolutely not. And those who believe it is are missing its point entirely. It is a satirical look inside every parent's head who is having difficulty getting a child to sleep.
    Only the first 2 lines of each stanza are purported to have been "read" to the child. The remaining lines are what's going through the parent's head. At no time were the bad words supposedly read to the child. Maybe it would have been more obvious if the parent's thoughts were in italics instead...

    June 29, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Laurence

    I found this book funny because I would never say this to my child. It's funny because it's taboo and so outrageous!
    It's a joke, and we can't take ourselves too seriously.Zacharias just doesn't get it.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. Janine Marinelli

    I not only bought the book and laughed until I cried, but I also read it every night to my children before they go to sleep so they understand how frustrating it is for me their mother to deal with bedtime.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Janine

      I posted this just so people would be outraged that a parent would do this, because this is how everyone is acting. Parents are not reading this to their children and this book isn't hurting children in any way, shape or form. Lighten up people and understand that humor is not a SIN. I DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN. I find children to be a burden and I detest little kids. SO before you go calling 911 to report me or CPS to take my children away, save yourself the embarassment, because I really and truly do not have children.

      June 29, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. jarred

    This is not surprising at all. As Americans, we are a group of whiners. We whine about anything we can. From the very beginning of our lives when we come out of the womb we are whining. Our society will complain about anything. If you do not like the book then simply do not buy it

    June 29, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cliffrat

    What a tragedy that some folks think this sort of thing is funny and harmless. This chips away at the common decency of American society. Truly sad!

    June 29, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Jimmerson_a

      You obviously weren't in a frat, were you?

      June 29, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Lagos

      Wait, swearing in an intelligent, clever fashion chips away at common decency in American society? Really? Sure, swearing for the sake of swearing is pointlessly rude, but used in the proper context it can convey messages that "normal" language cannot. I suppose you think that our culture's obsession with not offending anyone and thus not addressing any of our issues until they've already reached the boiling point is perfectly okay.

      I certainly hope you don't have children... You're going to offend people in this world, but you're going to make more problems in your life and the lives of those around you by constantly avoiding confrontation and ignoring problems and frustrations. But yes, go ahead telling everyone that SWEARING is tearing our society apart, not our inability to constructively deal with differences. You're just making the problem worse so you can feel better about yourself.

      June 29, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • juskishi

      oh get a life. it's not actually supporting saying these things to your kids. it's FOR THE PARENTS to read and help them laugh a little when they're dealing with the common day struggles of raising kids. this is typical of many americans. blame everyone else. blame the book, blame the author, blame tv shows, etc. and if you think THIS is what chips away at decency in our society you have your head buried in the sand. truly sad!

      June 29, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • jarred

      It is a comedy, just like a movie. If a person picks this up in a bookstore and does not want to buy it then they do not have to. Consequently, it does not affect a persons' life if he or she does not buy it

      June 29, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    I didn't like the book. I don't think it's funny (I find my humor in authors like Terry Pratchett). I would never, ever read this to a child. However, it is my right to say so, and your right to buy the book if you wish or find it funny whether you buy it or not. Various people don't like the Bible, the Koran, Huckleberry Finn, Penthouse, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter...the list goes on and on. I'm sure a lot of you out there have books you don't like, authors you don't read, and things of which you disapprove and become quite vocal when someone else likes it.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. brianh748

    Wow, CNN really wants to ring this story dry, don't they? Turning it into a debatable issue and all. This is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with this book. It was meant for adults, not children. The sooner you morons realize that and stop involving children in the discussion, the sooner we can all move on to getting offended by something even more inane.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. Eric Kilburg

    The people who complain about this book are the same ones who should probably not buy the book ! If you don't like a certain movie you don't go to it, If you don't want to watch something on t.v. change the channel......If you don't like the book" DON'T F&%KIN READ IT!"

    June 29, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. Margroks

    I think the book is horrible and stupid and any parent who thinks it's ok or funny needs to have their head and their parenting examined.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. CarolAB

    The "dark side" is a part of all of us. It is NOT damaging! It becomes damaging when feelings that emanate from that part of us do not have SAFE expression...Safe meaning that they get externalized in a manner that does NOT hurt others, and that gives us relief. There are many ways to do that. These include telling our story, i laughing, gallows humor, writing, running, punching a punching bag, yelling (out of the range of people or pets), punching a punching bag...and more. When these feelings are surpressed they often lead to explosive, inappropriate reactions, or exhaustion and shut down. This book is a good outlet for some parents, and does not belong in the hands of their children. We all have to find SAFE ways to release.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. jarred

    No one had a poor opinion except Cliffrat. Just one of the Whiners in today's society

    June 29, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Andrew

    If you don't like the book, shut the f#$% up. I blame CNN for printing this puritanical trip about someone else's work.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. brianh748

    Agreed on blaming CNN. It seems like the only thing they can do now days is throw two opposing groups into a pit and watch them fight it out to get ratings. No actual reporting. What's so funny is how insane one side of the argument can be, and how CNN will present it as if it's possibly a valid argument.

    CNN: Tonight, we look in to one group's argument about how we should all free-base black tar heroin. Another group says this isn't such a great idea. Which is correct?

    – Insert 5 minutes of point/counter-point with no actual conclusion as to which opinion is correct

    June 29, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
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