Friday, April 20, 2007
The Parenting Trap Part II
Recently, a tape of a voicemail actor Alec Baldwin left for his daughter Ireland was released to the public. The voicemail goes as follows:
From The Evil Beet
“You have insulted me for the last time,” he says. “You don’t have the brains or the decency as a human being — I don’t give a damn that you’re 12 years old or 11 years old or that you’re a child or that your mother [Kim Basinger] is thoughtless pain in the ass … You have humiliated me for the last time … You’ve made me feel like shit, and you’ve made me feel like a fool … and this crap you pull on me with this goddamn phone situation … I’m gonna straighten your ass out. I’m gonna really make sure you get it. So you better be ready to meet with me … I’m gonna let you know just how I feel about what a rude little pig you are. You are a rude, thoughtless little pig.”
Some facts about me:
1. I have physical custody of my two daughters.
2. They see their mother every other weekend and alternating holidays.
Now, I don't do celebrity gossip at the disco, and I don't plan on ever doing it. But I heard this message on a morning radio show and it disgusted me. I would like to address this from the standpoint of a parent.
I know how difficult it can be to keep a civil relationship with the other parent. There are parts of you that feel outrage, betrayal, contempt, even outright hatred for the other person.
But you know what? Be a goddamned grown up.
Your kids look up to you, whether you know it or not or want to admit it or not. Using that kind of language, in that tone, is inexcusable. You're teaching them that it's OK to be abusive, vile, and unstable. There are times when I want to lash out at (my daughters') mom. Hell, 99% of the time, I want to put a brick through her face for what she's put them through. But I don't. You wanna know why? Because that would set a bad example for my kids. As corny and PBS special as that sounds, it's true. And any parent that doesn't believe that their actions influence their kids should get a visit from Social Services. Not to put too fine a point on it, you always have to keep that screen in place between your brain and your mouth to keep the hurtful, mean, damaging stuff from slipping out.
There are a lot of tough decisions you have to make as a parent: punishment, admonishing, new clothes versus new toys, television versus communication, etc. However, what is not a tough decision is "Do I want to fuck up my kids?". The answer to that should be a resounding "No". If not, you can turn in your parent status and send your kids to live with a pack of hyenas, because they're less likely to make such a bad decision. If not, then at least your kids life will be mercifully short. It's preferable to continuing the kind of existence predicated on abuse.