This was not a long book. It wasn’t a difficult book to read or understand. It was a book that quickly cut to the problems with parenting in 2013.
It hurt and struck cords, leaving parents, including myself, pondering the question: Is my parenting style helping or hurting my kid? As I got to know the author, I had the opportunity to talk with her about motives for writing. Clearly she had not wanted to divide the town she lived in or to be ridiculed and chastised. “I am a teacher at a local university. I teach health and wellness.” Siah shared.
“I am also a parent. In my college class after sharing parenting stories of my own, my student’s similar tales of societal and parental pressure took over my class. These students wanted to be heard. They never had the chance to communicate how they felt about their parents' actions, so I told their stories using characters in my life to reinforce the message: PARENTS PUT TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON THEIR KIDS.”
This rang clear as chapter after chapter told about parents who fought their children’s wars, escalating them to new levels. It also talked about parent’s bringing their children up to levels in sports and school that they couldn’t handle, screaming and fighting at their sporting events, arguing with their teachers, and volunteering to coach so their kids could be in every play of the game.
“At my little brother’s baseball game” one contributor wrote, “I watched one of the player’s father’s break the nose of his own son’s coach because he was mad that he didn’t play his son enough. It was disgusting. One dad ended up in the hospital and the other was arrested and sent to jail.” -Scott
Where were the kids in this equation?
Did this behavior make them bigger, better, or stronger people? Competition, not between the kids but between the parents, was ruining relationships and causing irreversible pain in communities around the country. There were no longer faces on the tales. They were stories about everyday parents, in every town, in every state.
Unfortunately, the story in Pleasanton ended badly. When I talked with Siah Fried, she explained that she almost moved out of the community. When her book was released, her house was egged, her kids were bullied, and one woman went as far as writing in black paint on the front of the house “This is from the witch you wrote about.” My mom’s advice is to read as many stories as you can that make you a better parent, even if you don’t like the message. There isn’t a parent, yes me as well, that hasn’t been in a situation where they wanted something better for their kids.
The question is, who were you willing to hurt to get it? When you think you need to speak out, wait and think again. When we die there isn’t anyone that will look in the casket and say, "Wow could her kid play baseball or remember in 1972 when her oldest won the spelling bee?" You want people to remember you by kind and loving behavior, because even if your peers don’t recognize it, your children definitely will.
For more parenting advice and mom tip’s visit Wendy at www.lifewithwendy.com.