My 12 year old stole my To Kill A Mockingbird. I think the normal babble of proper parenting propaganda would advise me to punish him for taking something that didn’t belong to him. Except my 12 year old took my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird… SCORE!

I’ve come to a place where I really believe that a lot of the “experts” are just full of shit. And hey, there are a lot of great parenting articles out there. I read them all the time. I even write them. I’m not talking about well-researched information. I’m not even talking about great personal essays. I’m talking about those people who TELL you how to parent, as if there’s some 1, 2, 3 step-by-step roadmap that will make you right and everyone else an asshole.

These articles fall into the same category for me as click bait. You know, the big, catchy headline promising the moon and then the meat of the story is, well, stupid and useless. And I’m talking about this in the context of online information but, truly, this little bullshitty, I-Am-God-You-Are-Nothing-Pay-Attention-To-My-Every-Word attitude is also pretty prevalent in the real world, especially the real world of parenting.

See, you think the whole manipulative, back-stabby, judgy portion of the social scene should be over after middle school. But no. Becoming a mother is possibly the biggest target on your back for judgment, finger pointing, and mental complexes.

Why? Because we’re easy targets, that’s why. Every mother on the planet is afraid they’ll screw up their kid.

The bullshit articles do the same thing that parents on the playground do – they give you the impression that they are the expert with a little side serving of they are better than you. That’s not the author’s intention. Their actual intention is to garner your attention and be witty and charming and convince you that they’re the go-to expert. Why? Because every rudimentary blogger/would be writer is told to act like an expert. The great writers understand that means they have to constantly up their game by learning all about their field and speaking from a position of knowledge. But for every great writer there are at least a dozen people who think that pretending they’re an expert is the same thing as being one. The world is inundated by people who think that if they talk down to you, you’ll automatically believe them. You know, kind of like the catty moms at the park.

So basically you get a lot of advice that’s not so much about HELPING you as it is a vehicle to show you how cool and awesome the advice giver is. And the pointing fingers thing… holy hell.

If you’re a newer mom or even a mom who just worries that you’re missing something, not doing something, or doing something wrong, I have a secret for you. Those other moms who tell you that their little prodigy is ten light years ahead of normal because of their stellar parenting – yeah, they’re mostly liars. I don’t know if they mean to be or not, but they tend to exaggerate… Personally, I think it’s because they believe the hype geared to make THEM feel inadequate, so they fudge the truth while their own self-consciousness festers.

Back to my son stealing my To Kill A Mockingbird – most people would probably tell me it was some sort of lapse in parenting that he didn’t respect boundaries enough to ask permission. Some articles would go through a step-by-step process on how to handle the situation. I think those responses all miss the point. A technique that might work well for one kid would totally not work for another. A good article gives you ideas, not orders – just like a good friend provides a sounding board, not a judge and jury.

Besides all of that, the boundary issue wasn’t as important to me as the fact that he wanted to read one of my favorite books.

You can point judgy fingers at my foul mouth if you want, but putting literary growth above the actual ownership of a thing… pffffft… I’ll take it as a cue that I need to share.

PS. I don’t actually care if you judge my foul mouth, either.

My 12 Year Old Stole My To Kill A Mockingbird and Other Parenting Foibles

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