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The G-Word

The S-H-I-T (sorry, I’m a mom now; I have to spell it out) recently hit the fan when Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell coined the phrase “ghetto parenting” to describe:

  • Cursing around, and at, a child.
  • Brawling with your man or your woman in front of your child.
  • Letting your child roam the streets until somebody else’s mother has to tell the child to go home. (But I thought “free-range parenting” was all the rage…?)
  • Putting your child off on friends and relatives because you want to hang out in the street.
  • Getting so hooked on substances that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has to remove your children and place them with strangers.

I would argue that cursing and brawling in front of children are hardly unique to the “ghetto,” but her column — inspired by the tragic fate of victims of such parenting —  is a provocative one, as evidenced by the, oh, three gazillion responses to it.

In my West Hollywood neighborhood, I am more privy to another kind of lousy, albeit significantly less abusive, kind of parenting.  An approach I like to call “You’re So Smart!” Parenting.  That is, parents who allow their toddler to sit on the Starbucks counter — dirty sneakers next to my latte — and fling a pile of straws and cup sleeves on the floor WITHOUT EVEN TRYING TO PICK THEM UP, and then reward their child for this behavior by gushing, “You’re so smart!”*  Smart?  Say wha –?!

*At least that’s my fuzzy recollection of it.  I will admit that, after I saw the rubber soles resting perilously close to my drink, my world went black.

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Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. A humor columnist for Disney, Nickelodeon, Scary Mommy, Reductress and Redbook, she also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats, the latter of whom are the real brains behind this operation (so send all complaints to them).

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