September 19, 2003
Is Gnat being raised correctly? And is it anyone else's business?

Here's an interesting exchange of views, about parenting. Here's an email (which turned into an open letter) from Alice Bachini to James Lileks. (The email turned into an open letter because Alice couldn't work the Lileks email system. If you can help her with that, please go and do so.)

This is the particular Bleat that Alice is referring to.

When discipline is required, Daddy is enlisted. Why? I have the deep voice, and I have the will. I am careful to explain why she is being naughty; I always express my understanding of her position, but I am firm: this will not stand. Comply, or at the count of three you’re locked in your room.

Is it proper etiquette to write open letters to parents about how they raise their children? Well, as Alice says:

You will probably not be interested in this point I'm going to make, but I had to make it. Some people might consider it too personal and therefore rude, but as you write about this subject where people can read it, I hope you don't mind.

I have wondered for some time what Gnat will make in the years to come of the fact that her life has been a Public Issue from the day of her birth. I don't suppose she'll mind. Nevertheless, it must be a bit like being a member of the Royal Family, what with all these total strangers discussing your every little bit of alleged progress or alleged lack of it.

I may do a bit on White Rose some time soon about the notion that discussing individual children's lives must seem to some like a violation of privacy. Personally I just think it's life.

Lileks and Alice agree about the war on terror, which means that Alice's opposition to violence against or forceful restraint of children is not based on pacifism or anything like that.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 02:16 PM
Category: Parents and children