What will the children think?

There’s one thing about Weinergate that isn’t getting covered enough: how are parents supposed to talk to their children about something so serious and troubling?

Remember how we actually heard this kind of talk during impeachment? I thought George Carlin had the perfect answer, you tell them “Sometimes adults like to have fun, you remember fun, it’s what you used to have before we made you spend all your free time practicing the piano and playing soccer.”

What I’ve never understood about “what will the children think” is that it is always applied to something trivial, usually to consensual sexual relations among adults. No one ever asks “what will the children think about genocide in the Sudan?” or “what will the children think about the government torturing people?”. I can remember as a kid, listening to the news and hearing of horrible atrocities and being genuinely troubled by it (truth be told, I still don’t like to listen to that stuff, even though I think it’s important that it be reported).






67 replies
  1. 1
    Special Patrol Group says:

    No one ever asks “what will the children think about genocide in the Sudan?” or “what will the children think about the government torturing people?”

    Carlin had another great line:

    “Try explaining Hitler to a kid.”

  2. 2
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    There’s one thing about Weinergate that isn’t getting covered enough: how are parents supposed to talk to their children about something so serious and troubling?

    As a responsible parent, here’s how I handled it with my children:

    Kids, come in here and look at the news. It’s time you found out that otherwise respectable looking white folks are absolutely obsessed with other people’s genitals. It’s a sickness and they can’t help themselves. All you can do is steer clear of them and never, ever let them see your genitals.

  3. 3
    RalfW says:

    When I was in 5th grade, my best friend Bill and I tried to start campaigning against nuclear weapons. We were terrified, and our parent’s seeming nonchalance if anything made it worse.

    To an 11 year old, b&w mind, we were like “Can’t you SEE how crazy dangerous this bomb-filled world is? Don’t you CARE?”

    34 years later I’m still over-invested in worrying, while the happy(?) masses shop till their FICO score drops.

  4. 4
    Steve says:

    There was actually quite a bit of discussion of what kids would think about the killing of bin Laden and how parents might explain it. Fortunately my 4-year-old was a little too young to grasp that anything interesting had happened. To her, the only real “bad guys” in the world are whatever sports team Daddy isn’t rooting for at the moment, and I’d like to keep it that way for at least a little while.

  5. 5
    Violet says:

    What I’ve never understood about “what will the children think” is that it is always applied to something trivial, usually to consensual sexual relations among adults. No one ever asks “what will the children think about genocide in the Sudan?” or “what will the children think about the government torturing people?”.

    To be fair, there were endless stories in the media on “How to talk to your children” after 9/11. Every media outlet in the business ran with stuff like that, bringing in every form of childhood expert they could find, from pediatricians to child psychologists to teachers to parents. Freaking endless.

    But yeah, when the Clinton stuff was going on, I remember the pearl-clutchers getting the vapors over “the children.” Give me a break. Stuff happens. Kids aren’t stupid. Explain it in age-appropriate language and answer any questions and then get on with your lives.

  6. 6
    wenchacha says:

    Fucking A.

    When I saw the Viet Nam war on the evening news as a kid, first I prayed for God to kill all the Commies.

    By the time I was a teenager, I pretty much thought that war sucks. And that the dirty hippies protesting the war were more credible than the pols and generals pimping it.

    I guess somebody doesn’t want children thinking about that.

  7. 7
    j low says:

    We already know what the children think about torture and genocide. It’s wrong. Period. We also know what they think about pen*s pictures. It’s funny.

  8. 8
    Doug Harlan J says:

    @RalfW:

    I remember when Reagan got shot, being afraid that Russia would launch a surprise nuclear attack. I was genuinely scared.

  9. 9
    AAA Bonds says:

    The kids these days will just NOT SHUT UP about United States Representatives!

  10. 10
    Whiskey Screams from a Guy With No Short-Term Memory says:

    There’s one thing about Weinergate that isn’t getting covered enough: how are parents supposed to talk to their children about something so serious and troubling?

    I kinda thought Mistermix solved that problem a couple of posts down.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    When I saw the Viet Nam war on the evening news as a kid, first I prayed for God to kill all the Commies
    __
    By the time I was a teenager, I pretty much thought that war sucks. And that the dirty hippies protesting the war were more credible than the pols and generals pimping it.

    Which is why the Pentagon is very careful to make sure that news coverage of its ongoing live fire operations are tightly controlled, so as to minimize, as much as possible, the reality of what soldiers are called upon to do every day.

    It’s not good for recruiting, it’s not good for retired Generals who now have second careers on the Industrial side of the MIC.

    Can’t have that. Bad for the business of war.

  12. 12
    alwhite says:

    WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!?
    Thats the last refuge of the prude who can’t explain why you should be as outraged as they are at the behavior of others.

  13. 13
    Bmaccnm says:

    I explained the Clinton scandal to my grade-schooler by saying “They were doing grownup stuff.” I calmed the same kid, now in 6th grade, by saying “Portland is a nice city, but not an important city. No one will bomb us.” I would like someone to explain Weinergate to me, because I just don’t get it. Were these unsolicited dickpix? If so, maybe there’s a case. If not, Mrs. Weiner may have a case, but no one else does. I say as long as David Vitter represents the great state of Louisiana, Anthony Weiner should stay where he is.

  14. 14
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    @wenchacha:

    When I saw the Viet Nam war on the evening news as a kid, first I prayed for God to kill all the Commies. By the time I was a teenager, I pretty much thought that war sucks. And that the dirty hippies protesting the war were more credible than the pols and generals pimping it.

    Exactly my progression and age at the time. But it just never ends.

  15. 15
    RalfW says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Hmmm. I think the Europeans aren’t so obsessed with this scandal stuff (how long has Belusconi been in office while having bunga bunga clubs?) is because the Euros are fine with showing off their stuff.

    Years ago I camped with my cousins in Sweden at the KOA-equivalent there. They had one shower building, and everyone – young, old, male, female, was there. The shower stalls were private – who wants to see you soap your crack? – but the dressing/drying area was one big melee of boring, casual, sex-free nudity.

    I go the WYCA, and dudes take 29 second showers (or shower in their shorts), wrap their modesty in a big towel in a nanosecond, then pull their undies up under said towel, all in a single-sex bathroom. The shame they project is palpable.

    Tell me which culture has a problem???

  16. 16
    David in NY says:

    As a result of the Clinton-Lewinsky affaire, I got to explain to my 10-year-old boy what a blow job is. Seeing the look on his face (“They do that???”), I was careful to explain that adults think this kind of thing actually feels good, however odd it might sound. I believe his life was enhanced by this and similar conversations.

    War is harder. I remember in the first Gulf War, getting upset when my then eight-year-old saw, on the front page NY Times, a picture of Iraqi bodies piled on an airstrip, and asked, “Whose team were they on?” “This is not a game,” I remember saying. “Those men had families and children just like you. This is very serious.” My sons are just about the only two people I know to have opposed both our invasions of Afghanistan and of Iraq.

    Edited to remove misplaced modifier.

  17. 17
    Alex S. says:

    The only thing that isn’t covered here is Anthony Weiner’s crotch.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Doug Harlan J:

    I can’t imagine why. The Commies knew that Al “I’m in charge here!” Haig was leaning on the button.

  19. 19
    RP says:

    @Steve: You’re lucky. I’m an Orioles fan, and my smart-a** 8 year old has started telling me how much he loves Derek Jeter and the Yankees.

  20. 20
    jibeaux says:

    I don’t really understand why the caucus has been so quick to sell him down the river, unless they think it’s necessary to holding the seat the next go-round. But their personal life is an issue for his wife to handle, and with her being pregnant she probably wants his ass to hold down a job right now. And whether he is elected again next time is an issue for his constituents. Just doesn’t seem too complicated to me.

  21. 21
    David in NY says:

    And by the way, the NY tabs piling on because Weiner’s poor wife is pregnant is really sickening.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    To amplify my post at @11, Villago Delenda Est, the footage you see of things in Iraq and Afghanistan are of soldiers firing, of bombs dropping, but never, ever, the actual results of those actions. The broken, bloody bodies of children, for example.

    You see our brave troops firing off rounds downrange, but never get to see what downrange looks like as a result.

    Also, you don’t get to see what happens when our brave troops happen to be downrange of the other guy’s brave troops perfidious minions firing off rounds downrange.

    That would be, um, inconvenient.

  23. 23
    David in NY says:

    @jibeaux: They apparently do not like showoffs who are, in addition, smarter than they are.

  24. 24
    BGinCHI says:

    Any kid in this city who has rooted loyally for the Cubs year in year out cannot be scared by sex scandals, war, or atrocities.

  25. 25
    Steve says:

    @RP: That’s problematic. Is he still under warranty?

  26. 26
    MattR says:

    As usual, I will let Louis CK explain

  27. 27
    MonkeyBoy says:

    I think the children is just code words for those with childish intellects in the Republican Base.

  28. 28
    jwb says:

    @Tim, Interrupted: The DFHs were right then and they are right now. Which is why precisely why the VSPs have to engage so regularly in hippie punching.

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @David in NY:

    There is precious little evidence that Weiner is “smart” in this scandal, given that he surely must have known that the vile minions of Breitbart are active everywhere, looking for dirt on Dems who are outspoken, and he’s tweeting crotch pics to perfect strangers under his own name.

    Not very bright.

    This is, by the way, his true crime: being incredibly naive about the ‘tubes for a person in his position.

    That’s why he’s being thrown under the bus. And justifiably so.

  30. 30
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    This is, by the way, his true crime: being incredibly naive about the ‘tubes for a person in his position. That’s why he’s being thrown under the bus. And justifiably so.

    I think it’s also because he lied about it like a million times, although I don’t care about that at all personally.

    I absolutely hate the guy on Israel, but whoever holds his seat will have the same opinions.

  31. 31
    Suffern ACE says:

    The only hope for the future is that the children think we are daft lunatics for fretting about this. Because we are daft lunatics for fretting about this.

  32. 32
    shep says:

    The reason Carlin used the word “fun” is because children have no concept of sex. It’s an adult obsession, even if it’s how to talk to our kids about it.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    Well, he did lie about it, but frankly, everyone lies about sex. Everyone but porn stars, and perhaps Hugh Hefner. Ron Jeremy would be a fool to lie about being promiscuous…and besides, it wouldn’t be good for his royalty income, if any.

    The lies are a consequence of his stupidity in the first place, which he has admitted to. 10 days after the fact. If he had said, when this first came out, “OK, I’ve done something very stupid” instead of all this nonsense about he can’t say “with certitude” that the crotch shot was not him, things would have gone much better.

    The coverup compounds, in an exponential way, the initial failing.

  34. 34

    Silly Doug, if we told children that killing groups of people because they hold different religious or political beliefs (and the innocents that get in the way) was wrong, the kids might actually point out that a lot of what we’re doing overseas is, in fact, wrong and not a glorious adventure in freedom spreading.

    Better we worry about their exposure to human sexuality.

  35. 35
    Yevgraf (fka Michael) says:

    I sent my 16 year old to an old Alternet link about Diaper Dave Vitter, Newt Gingrich, Mark Foley and Larry Craig, then told her about John Ensign and John Edwards. She thought it was hilarious, and put it on her facebook wall – where hundreds of her high school friends will see it.

    Now that I’m remembering, I’ll have to tell her all about George Rekers – she’ll enjoy that one, too.

  36. 36
    NonyNony says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    everyone lies about sex. Everyone but porn stars, and perhaps Hugh Hefner. Ron Jeremy would be a fool to lie about being promiscuous

    Feh – even porn stars and Hugh Hefner probably lie about sex. It wouldn’t do much for the image if you admit that there are some nights you just want to curl up with a good book and get a good night’s sleep ;)

  37. 37
    JenJen says:

    @Steve:

    To her, the only real “bad guys” in the world are whatever sports team Daddy isn’t rooting for at the moment, and I’d like to keep it that way for at least a little while.

    Awwww!! I like you. This is exactly how I spent much of my childhood, which I guess is why, to this very day, I hate the Boston Bruins, and most especially Michigan even when they’re not playing Ohio State, but can’t really articulate why.

  38. 38
    Thoughtcrime says:

    Woody Allen had something to say about this:

    Sex is the most fun you can have without laughing.

  39. 39
    PurpleGirl says:

    It was exactly my memory of all the “The Children” concern during the Clinton stuff that made me post that entry a couple of posts down.

    Personal anecdote: When my niece was 12 she asked me what a French kiss was. I explained it to her. In reaction she screwed up her face and exclaimed “EWWWW, all those germs!” I told her that she might change her mind in time.

  40. 40
    Brachiator says:

    @Violet:

    Kids aren’t stupid. Explain it in age-appropriate language and answer any questions and then get on with your lives.

    No, kids ARE stupid. Very stupid. And some Balloon Juicers seem to live in some strange artificial world where sex never happens or only happens between age appropriate people in age appropriate contexts (and I am NOT directly anything personally at you). I had to talk to my pre-teen niece and nephew about how they should not do what a lot of kids with smartphones are doing, the same stupid shit that got Weiner in trouble, emailing sexy messages aned nude pictures of themselves to boyfriends and girl friends.

    And in some dumbshit town, the authorities had to jump through hoops to find the common sense solution of not charging two teens as sexual predators who were sending naughty photos back and forth.

    Teenagers’ habit of distributing nude self-portraits electronically – often called “sexting” if it’s done by cell phone – has parents and school administrators worried. Some prosecutors have begun charging teens who send and receive such images with child pornography and other serious felonies. But is that the best way to handle it?
    __
    “Hopefully we’ll get the message out to these kids,” says Michael McAlexander, a prosecutor in Allen County, Ind., which includes Fort Wayne. A teenage boy there is facing felony obscenity charges for allegedly sending a photo of his private parts to several female classmates. Another boy was recently charged with child pornography in a similar case.

    And this got into a broader conversation about how anything that you post online is going to stay there forever, and also probably get passed around by people you don’t know.

    There are quite a few teens and college age folk (and maybe older folk as well) who either believe that privacy is no longer important, especially when you have all that cool social media.

    And having been a teen, a counselor, an older brother and a friend, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to deal with a teenager who says stuff like, “He loves me so he would never get me pregnant, give me a social disease, show my intimate pictures to someone, get revenge after we broke up by posting our sex videos online, beat me up.”

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Bmaccnm:

    Were these unsolicited dickpix? If so, maybe there’s a case. If not, Mrs. Weiner may have a case, but no one else does. I say as long as David Vitter represents the great state of Louisiana, Anthony Weiner should stay where he is.

    From what I gather, Weiner would engage in a dialog with his correspondents and establish a consensual relationship before treating them to schlong shots, covered, uncovered, limp, or turgid. So it’s not like he’s been sending them to the unconsenting, despite what Breitbart may assert. Mind you, this consent may have been given by someone underage, there’s no way to tell you’re not talking to a dog or an FBI agent through the ‘tubes. You have to go on the written word of your correspondent alone.

    Don’t know if he got any titty pics in return, but often this is a one-way street, and the thrill for Weiner is in the exhibitionism…particularly if the other party admires said exhibition.

    I’d say that Mrs. Weiner definitely would be interested in this, but that’s between the two of them and frankly confirmation of my suspicion in this is out of bounds for me. It’s absolutely the business of Mr. and Mrs. Weiner alone.

    The overall problem that affects us all, and I’m sure dozens have said it before me, is how it affects Weiner as an outspoken Democrat, and how it lends even the slightest degree of credibility to the total scumbag Breitbart.

  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Thoughtcrime:

    “Boris, sex without love is an empty experience.”

    “Well, as empty experiences go, it’s one of the best.”

  43. 43
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brachiator:

    No, kids ARE stupid. Very stupid.

    The stupidity does not necessarily belong to kids.

    Anthony Weiner is not a kid.

    Yet he did the same stupid thing…not considering the long term consequences…that those kids you’re talking about do.

    People can be intelligent overall but stupid about some things very very easily.

  44. 44

    i like the carlin bit about replacing killing with fucking, in terms of explaining things like this to children. if by extention, you transpose violent metaphors for sexual ones, you will get the basic message across, at least to your satisfaction, and any residual fucked-uppedness, will be your kids problem to work out later in life.

    here is the thing, kids don’t understand why adults aren’t chomping at the bit to jump in the pool, why they think there comes a time when they have to leave the pool, lake or ocean, they don’t understand why adults don’t like to get up, run around, get dirty for the sake of it, etc…

    kids understand, adults are different, nothing about sex should be that hard to explain, if you remember, kids care even less than you do.

    hell, i was a kid when we had a washington dc spring break family vacation. this was during 3 mile island. try explaining a bubble of radioactive nasty in a reactor to a kid. try and explain the self-righteously no-nuke hippie leftovers who were protesting all of the main sites, including the white house…we did all the major tourist attractions that trip.

    the thing i most remember, it being 85 degrees in march in washington, and sweating balls in non-summer attire, the cherry blossoms, and how they were a big deal, because apparently we were lucky to get to see them on our first trip, when many adults had gone many times without ever seeing them.

    and while in retrospect they were beautiful, and the protests were interesting and all of that, at the time i didn’t know what to think about it exactly. much like telling a kid about a dickpic, or a blow job.

  45. 45
    scav says:

    @Doug Harlan J:

    I remember when Reagan got shot, being afraid that Russia would launch a surprise nuclear attack. I was genuinely scared.

    I remember throwing myself back on the concrete picnic table and saying “Finally!” I perhaps should have been more concerned about the nearby kids were thinking but there wasn’t a squeak heard.

    And, to the larger point, we should probably update the traditional saying: On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog but everybody knows you’re a Congressman.

  46. 46
    grandpajohn says:

    @alwhite: Yeah,wonder how many members of the” morality police “concern wankers have any idea what their own kids are looking at every day on TV or their computers. wonder if they realize that now a days most of their kids either know how or know someone who does how to bypass the safe search or safe viewing settings on their TV? very few I would image since like most of these busybody moralists they are too busy interfering with others actions to have time to supervise their own kids.

  47. 47
    Brachiator says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    People can be intelligent overall but stupid about some things very very easily.

    I entirely agree with you. And some kids never grow up.

    And as I noted in another post about Weiner, politicians and other public figures need to understand that nothing online will definitively remain private. Political payback and various forms of ordinary vengefulness exist on the Internet as well, along with curiosity and plain old prurient interest.

    Supposedly, some of Weiner’s stuff happened before he was married. But timestamps don’t matter. And we can talk about consensual behavior and other stuff all day long, but the fact remains that Weiner was reckless and his enemies and others exploited it.

    But teens and young adults can find ways to complicate their lives before they even start out in the “adult world” because they are not thinking about the future or their careers. And they often want to believe that their peers are nicer people than they might actually be.

  48. 48
    grandpajohn says:

    @jibeaux:

    I don’t really understand why the caucus has been so quick to sell him down the river,

    Because that’s what Democrats do
    When the republicans pull one of their character destroying raids,just remove the victim and somehow the voters are supposed to forget that it ever happened.
    The fact that republicans do just the opposite without paying a price never seems to enter into the conversation.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brachiator:

    And they often want to believe that their peers are nicer people than they might actually be.

    Of course. They’re not old enough yet, with enough experience under their belts, to understand that relationships are not fixed, they are fluid, and change. Your BFF today can be your implacable enemy tomorrow.

    The ‘tubes are not virtual. They are forever, as you’ve said. Stuff you wrote on USENET in the heat of the moment 15 years ago can come back to haunt you today.

  50. 50
    NamelessGenXer says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    i like the carlin bit about replacing killing with fucking,

    “Well, sheriff, we’re gonna fuck ya now, but we’re gonna fuck ya slow.”

    Beauty part is the first time I heard that I was, like, 8 years-old.

    @grandpajohn:

    Yeah,wonder how many members of the “morality police” concern wankers have any idea what their own kids are looking at every day on TV or their computers.

    Beat me to it. I was going to say just buy the little tykes the latest ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and they’ll be fine.

  51. 51
    grandpajohn says:

    @Yevgraf (fka Michael): Yeah, I,m a 74 year old retired teacher, spent 28 years with jr high and high school kids, being around and overhearing conversations and observing behavior can be educational . the fact that even most middle school kids know a hell of a lot more about the real world of sex than their parents and these moral scolds do, is funny as hell.

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @grandpajohn:

    Indeed.

    It’s amazing how much adults forget about what they learned when they were kids.

    To include the entire “Seven dirty words” laundry list.

    Which they learned from other kids.

  53. 53
    grandpajohn says:

    @Brachiator: Which gets back to the point a lot of folks try to make. Most parents don’t have a clue as to what their kids know and what they do. Sadly many of them not only don’t know they don’t care.

  54. 54
    David in NY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: You make the common mistake of confusing “smart” (intelligent) with having good judgment.

  55. 55
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    If you don’t know how to explain things to children then DON’T HAVE THEM.

  56. 56
    grandpajohn says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I grew up in the forties, early fifties, the didn’t have sex ed classes in school back then,but we got most of our sex ed at school , but like you said from our fellow classmates.

  57. 57
    JCT says:

    @Brachiator: THIS.

    My 17-yr-old son brought all of this stuff in a rather joking way and we ended up having a good discussion about how quickly you can screw yourself over by doing something *stupid* online that you think is kind of innocuous.

    It was actually a good discussion about responsibility and impulse control, two things that are a work in progress for my son.

  58. 58
    j low says:

    @jibeaux:

    I don’t really understand why the caucus has been so quick to sell him down the river, unless they think it’s necessary to holding the seat the next go-round

    One theory is that no one ever liked him. He did win his first primary by anonymously accusing his dem primary opponent of being all cozy with the Jessie Jackson/ David Dinkins Jew Hating Mafia.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @David in NY:

    And you are making that same mistake in asserting that those Democrats throwing this dumbass under the bus are less intelligent than Weiner.

    Weiner is getting what is coming to him for appallingly poor judgement. Both in sending the pix, and in trying to cover it up when caught.

    That having been said, I don’t think he should resign. The voters in his district will use their judgement to make that call in 17 odd months.

  60. 60
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Or by being redistricted out of the picture. NYS has to lose two House seats. Redistricting is done by a task force established by the NYS legislature, its final plan has to be approved by the governor. It will probably be one Democratic seat downstate and one Republican seat upstate that are lost.

  61. 61
    Brachiator says:

    @JCT:

    My 17-yr-old son brought all of this stuff in a rather joking way and we ended up having a good discussion about how quickly you can screw yourself over by doing something stupid online that you think is kind of innocuous.

    Very cool that this happened. And it is very good that you can communicate with your son. I remember a time when I was a teen when, even though I got on well with my family, still sometimes I would fall into the default “teen sullen short answer mode” to just about everything.

  62. 62
    different church-lady says:

    When I was a wee one, nobody ever explained to me what a Cambodia was, even though I’d hear the word about 900 times a night on the news.

    But whatever it was, you could tell it wasn’t pleasant.

  63. 63
    Mary Arrr says:

    I hate when people are just willfully stupid.

    Here, from me, how to tell your young kids about the nasty:

    “Kids. Did you know there is actually a congressman named Weiner?”

    Pause while they giggle and laugh.

    “He’s in the news… What have you heard…” Base answer on their response, but a suggestion would be…

    “Well, he was joking around and thought it would be funny to send a picture of his underpants to to someone from his phone. Only he messed up and other people saw it and now everyone is mad at him.”

    The picture is not of his penis. The picture is of his underpants. Underpants are funny.

  64. 64
    coopadina says:

    @brachiator, Whether kids are stupid is a separate inquiry as to their ignorance about a topic. If we as parents fail to educate our children about sexting, or Internet predators, or about the relative permanance of on-line posts, then we fail as parents to protect our children from these dangers. Do parents think that the educators are adequately covering these topics? Not likely, and not for want of doing so, but because doing so might generate legal exposure to the school, or require the administration to undertake unwanted paperwork submission, or some similar reason. Parents have an obligation to educate themselves about these dangers and how the school covers them, then plan an age-appropriate way to educate them.

    Which brings us back to the question of how to tell the children about Wiener’s knuckleheaded texts. Seems to me that step 1 is to have children. Step 2 is to spend meaningful time with them as a loving caring parent, so you have a pretty good feel for the reach of their mind’s grasp. Step 3 would be to ask them if they heard about “the dumb thing this guy did” or whatever works for you, and let nature take its course. Just be sure to include appropriate warnings for your children so they know how to spot and avoid the dangers.

    Step 4, if anybody needs it, would be for you yourself to never ever do anything you warned your children against, lest they should discover it and unwind your otherwise good work and find themselves in a dangerous place.

  65. 65
    coopadina says:

    @brachiator:
    To clarify, none of my lengthy post was intended as a disagreement with anything you wrote, but simply a related issue.

  66. 66

    […] Doug J at Balloon Juice: What I’ve never understood about “what will the children think” is that it is always applied t… […]

  67. 67
    Dave Bell says:

    As it happens, this week the BBC showed a documentary about the war in Afghanistan, which was built around helmet-mounted cameras carried by the soldiers. The footage put you right in the middle of the battle.

    Yes, I’m sure that the programme was something the military had input on, but, in many ways, there’s less of a tendency to hide the reality, here in the UK. Perhaps it’s because the direct effects of war, the bombing of British cities, is within “living memory”. I’m not sure I can quite believe the stories of secrecy which surround the repatriation of the American dead. In Britain, there is a certain quiet public formality. It gets mentioned on the TV news, maybe not every time, but we’re allowed to know about it.

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