“Go Right Ahead” Parenting


Have you ever found yourself asking another parent to – well, parent – their kid, and they refused?

Here’s a great article about that “undeparenting” phenomenon, which is as bad – if not worse – than helicopter parenting.

However, too few parents seem to be preparing their children to be successful as human beings. An essential element of this is instilling empathy. The word derives from the German word einfühlung“feeling into”and it’s at the root of good manners. It involves caring about how another person is feeling and being motivated to help them feel better, which often requires compromising on your own needs and desires.

The author calls it “go right ahead” mommying, as it indulges the kid’s every whim, regardless of how it might be affecting others around them.

This isn’t about kids who are having legitimate tantrums or meltdown – every parent has experienced that embarrassment when your kid screams bloody murder in a public place while you’re just, I don’t know, trying to buy a pair of shoes. This is, instead, about kids who are behaving rudely and, when asked by strangers to stop, the parent and kid refuse.

It’s ok to demand that your kids act respectfully and to teach them empathy. It helps prevent them from growing up to be assholes.

Read Dasani’s Story

Dickensian Squalor in Contemporary New York

There was a lot of jokey-snark Sunday night as Twitter was trying to guess what the New York Times’ big blockbuster story was going to be on Monday morning. A Times editor had Tweeted that a game-changing story was coming, but offered no hints. 

The story itself is a heartbreaking one about a bright and energetic 11 year-old girl who lives in poverty and squalor with her family in a dilapidated, uninhabitable city shelter.  We follow her to school, we examine her home, we look at her parents and their obvious problems in such a way that eschews cheap judgment and instead gives us a window into the crushing poverty, desperate need for help, jobs, and education that families like this need. 

It also describes the insane class divide where homes within spitting distance of the shelter and adjacent projects now go for a million dollars; where a fancy new wine shop offers tastings across the street from a liquor store where the clerk sits behind bullet-proof plexiglass. 

Please read all five parts of the story, which will take you on an emotional roller coaster, and consider whether, in our zeal for austerity, we’re causing more problems than we’re solving. 

Some “richest country in the world” superpower we are.