Monday, February 27, 2012

Taking the Low Road

Beer Stein

A mother in Cincinnati pulled her 4-year-old boy from preschool after he was given a small beer stein as part of a "Countries Around the World" lesson.

Now, this post is not about the merits of her argument. It's not about coddling . It's not about whether or not she went too far. It's not about whether or not the best way to describe German culture is by showing beer. This post is about what happened once her story made the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The mother's feeling and intuition about what was best for her son meant she could not keep him in school anymore, especially after a loud argument with the principal. She's not an evil person. Some may consider her over-protective, but when you look at the list of problems facing society, over-protection is not really a big deal, is it? An over-protected kid may grow up with some insecurities that he may have to overcome, but that's pretty much where it ends. This is not an abused kid and not a neglected one. What we have here is a good mother who made a choice many wouldn't have made. The End.

But then came the comments.

The Low Road
(Click to Enlarge, or Read Below)
I am absolutely amazed that anyone could make such a big deal out of such a trivial matter! Only in America!
"I cannot be the only one who thinks this is wrong." Yes, Elyse, you can.
Where is this Child's Helmet? He is Sitting on his Mothers lap, He could fall off and injure Himself, Also He needs goggles over his eyes for protection since his Mother is wearing Glasses with sharp corners that may harm Him accidentally. Or maybe Mom could just start filling up that Beer Stein and Relax a Little.
She'd never use goggles...they might be beer goggles ;-)
Somebody had on beer goggles - only way she'd have gotten pregnant!
Its the parent's that protect their kids from EVERYTHING and think everything is SO wrong like this lady that wind up having the BAD kids when they are older because they were so dang sheltered all their lives, they finally get old enough and get some freedom and TOTALLY overdo it!!
Waa waa waaaaa. Don't people have more important things to complain about? When I was in grade school, we went on a field trip to the Hudepohl brewery, and nobody raised a peep about that.
And there are many more, all pretty much saying the same thing. Later, when one person dares to suggest the mother's sensitivities should have been addressed, whether or not they were justified, he immediately gets this response (and a dozen similar ones):

The Low Road all walk amongst us...scary...
Then humanity got even worse, when the story reached the anonymous hive-mind of Reddit. There, submitted in the Parenting section, it was titled, "Parents: Don't be like this. This insufferable idiot makes us all look bad."

After looking at hundreds of comments on Reddit, where people call the mother "white trash" and make fun of her and her kid's names, I think it's safe to say the mother is not the one making parents look bad.

The kid may or may not grow up with the burden of being over-protected, but that's only a problem because these name callers and grown-up bullies, to borrow a phrase, "walk amongst us."



  1. I am blown away by how viciously this woman was attacked. Perfect example of when people choose to take the low road and how the mob mentality can take over. Pretty disgusting, actually. I'm really glad you wrote this.

  2. It has always amazed me how people, (Parents or not) can hide behind the internet, and belittle others for their values.

    One may not always agree with what people choose, but if we did, this world would be a boring place.

    The way I see it, is those who attack via the web, are probably worse in real life....SCARY!!!!!

    Thanks for be one of the guys who more often then not has a Positive spin on things.

  3. Hadn't heard about this till you posted it. Not sure I understand why this is a story in the first place. Sounds like an Onion Story "Parent makes decision all on her own".

  4. Another fine showing by humanity. Man, this story makes me want to fill up a little beer stein with tequila and drown my disgust.

    What this mom needs is a blog where she can write controversial stuff about making her kid wash his hands and enforcing bedtimes. Really just get out there and enrage the world!

  5. Missy, thanks. There was so much collective joy in these comments. This was beyond what was good for the kid, or for society. This was all about kicking someone when she was down, because it's fun to do that in a group.

  6. Kaydens Dad, and I'm so used to thinking it's all about anonymity, that the comments on the Enquirer site really surprised me. Everything was out there, names and Facebook profiles all linked. There's no shame in a group.

  7. Adam, yea, I'm not sure. It wasn't breaking news, though. It was some "In Other News" piece that caught the attention of a specific kind of people.

  8. BuenoBaby, you know who else washed his hands? Hitler!

  9. Great perspective and sensitivity, parents already have a hard time second guessing their every move without having the whole world judge you.

    The irony is that people are mad that this mother isn't more tolerant of other people's views, that if something like a beer mug offended her, she should "not make a big deal about it"... which, being featured on Reddit with that title and having hundreds of bashing comments left... these people are becoming what they hate.

  10. anordinarydad, I know, but on the other hand I'm doing the same thing... I'm judging the people who judged this woman (who judged her kid's teacher). Now all I need is for the teacher to leave an angry comment here and we can close the circle.

  11. It's so circular, my head is spinning! What you say is true, however, what you are really doing is asking people (parents) to stop judging each other, so that's kind of different. Question mark?

  12. or to put it another way, you disagree with them, but are able to do it in a non-vicious way. (just a little sarcastic maybe :) )

  13. Maybe. But I could have covered the names of the Facebook commenters. I could have written a post that was just a plea for civility, instead of making it a revenge post...

  14. I dunno, as overprotective as I am (and boy am I ever) I think over protectiveness IS actually a big problem. Not on par with neglect or disease or starvation or anything, but a BIG problem nevertheless. I'm hoping to be able to be less protective of this new baby, but it's going to be an uphill battle against myself.

    But you know I can point to the picture I have of my little four year old girl on her roller blades with her knee pads, elbow pads, wrist protectors, and helmet (not a patch of skin uncovered anywhere - the wrist pads almost meet the elbow pads) and is there really any wonder that she's afraid to learn to drive?

    All that aside, my guess is that mom wasn't incredibly pleased with the preschool to begin with and there's more to this story than meets the eye. If she was in a "loud argument" with the principal, than either there's a back story OR the principal just isn't very professional. I mean, in my experience, principals may feel attacked and WANT to argue loudly with parents, but what they *actually* do is try and problem solve or at the very least try & make the parents feel better and explain the reasoning if if something can't be changed. To me, the argument points to more being wrong and makes me wonder if the beer stein might just be the straw that broke the camel's back.

    There was more I wanted to say on all this (& maybe I can come back later)...but I have to go drive my overprotected non-driving but of age to drive kid to her art class. :-) :-) :-)

  15. I know what you mean, but I'm still not sure if it's a big problem. It's not a problem for society (an over-protected child doesn't necessarily end up as the next Hitler, which seems to be what the commenters are afraid of--I can'r imagine them complaining about anything less than that with so much anger), and even if it ends up being a problem for that child, it's not something that can't be fixed later in life. A child will suffer much more from bullies like the commenters than from anything his mother does to protect him, you know?

    But I also think there was much more to the story than a story about over-protection and proper study materials.

  16. This is disgusting! I think the Mom may have overreacted a bit, but if that is her BIG crime against society she definitely didn't deserve the viciousness she received. I think the lesson we can all walk away from this with is that if you see someone behaving badly towards someone else, call them out on it! One way to do that in the blog world is to reply to rude, nasty, vicious comments left on someone's blog. Kids who are bullied often only need one other kid to call out the bully for the bullying to stop. I think the same thing applies to this awful kind of behavior on blogs!
    Writing Pad Dad

    1. Right? It's crazy that she was attacked like that for a personal matter. What's the worst case scenario? That one kid will grow up being over-protected? Even if it's true, which no one really knows, is that a reason to turn his mother into everything that's wrong in the world today? Maybe the world needs some new real villains to get a sense of perspective here.

  17. Are some of the comments crossing the line? Absolutely. Her physical appearance has nothing to do with anything, and that's low class to make fun of her looks. That having been said, I agree with many of the comments -- even some of the ones you posted.

    I think she is being ridiculous. She is being way too overprotective. And I do believe overprotective parents are a problem. Not THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN THE WORLD and maybe not even top 10. But still a problem.

    And the one thing you overlooked is that she willingly put herself out there in the public eye. No one made her go to the press and no one forced her to pose for a picture. If she really wanted to do what's best for her kid she would've made her point to the school officials, pulled him out of school and move on. But that's not what happened. Instead, she chose to make a public spectacle of herself. And when you agree to be the center of a story you know will be controversial, you can't be surprised when you get some mean comments. That's how things work, and I don't really feel bad for her.

  18. A parent being overprotective according to my subjective opinion of what constitutes the line of protection still doesn't influence me in any way. It doesn't influence me, my kids, or society. There's a chance it may harm the kid in the long run--we don't really know that. And if it's the child's well-being we're really concerned about, we should probably not bully his mom.

    It's not about a tiny glass of beer, and it's not about how she handled her fight with the school--it's about being trigger-happy with our pitchforks over something that has nothing to do with us.

  19. So, I have two grown daughters and two tween/teen boys. I have been, and still am, a protective mom. The way this world is headed, everything goes and no one wants to have boundaries on anything. I think using the word "over" in front of "protective" starts off sounding negative. What if the kid has a history of alcoholism in his family? What if that mom's religious beliefs lead her to stay away from alcohol? I mean, there are any number of things that would encourage me to have a negative reaction like she did. For goodness sakes, this child is in preschool! The ONLY way to represent Germany was with a stein? Why not a polish sausage, a nutcracker, or something else? Really? Introduce it with something that represents beer/alcohol?

    I think it was a poor choice of the teacher and if a child brought an empty flask into school for show and tell, I'm sure they would've been suspended or expelled. I mean, isn't there a no tolerance in schools these days for EVERYthing?

    Personally, I would've been furious and wondered what kind of school/class my child was in and what else they might be taught. I would absolutely go talk to the teacher and I would definitely speak to the principal. I'm not sure I would've pulled my child out of the school, but it would have to definitely hinge upon their response.

    Looping it back around, I will always stand by my choices on how I've raised my kids. I think I've done them a huge service and they haven't had to seek counseling because of my protective ways. My girls are going to be working with children and overseas as translators. Personally, I think they've done very well for themselves in their protected, early year upbringing and I'd do it again. =) I would love to hi-5 that mama above!



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