with author Jackie Morgan MacDougall
tell your kids the truth or my kid will
There's a bit of controversy brewing in the comments over at HuffPost Parents. Kristen Howerton, the popular blogger of Rage Against the Minivan wrote a post entitled, "Parents, Please Educate Your Kids about Adoption So Mine Don't Have To," and it seems to have hit quite a nerve with parents. In the post, Kristen tells a story of being at a park with 5-year-old son, Kembe, adopted from Haiti as an infant, and how she overheard some older kids bombarding her little guy with uncomfortable questions about his "real" parents.
In the post, Kristen urges parents to educate their own kids about the different ways a family can come together, potentially saving her children, as well as millions of other adopted children living in the U.S., from more awkward and uncomfortable conversations. She asks, "Is it too much to ask that other parents, whose families don't have exposure to transracial families, take a couple minutes and explain it to them so that my kids aren't always the center of the After-School Special on Adoption in the school play yard?"
According to some of the comments—yes, yes it is too much to ask. In fact, some argue that it's Kristen's sole responsibility to teach her kids how to handle curious questions, and they have no intentions to discuss it at home with their own children. One woman actually says, "It's not MY job to educate my kids!!" Well if it's not yours, whose job is it?
While the topic of conversation may be about adoption, the issue at hand is actually much more universal. It made me think about other subjects parents may or may not talk about with their kids and where our own responsibility as parents lies outside our own family.
Where do babies come from? Is Santa Claus real? Why can't Uncle Billy marry Uncle Kevin? While it may be advisable to avoid taboo topics among friends, in our house, no question is off limits, including politics, religion and S.E.X. We do our best to answer each with age-appropriate honesty, and give more info if-and-only-if follow up questions are asked—and sometimes they are asked. Of course, we also tell our kids to keep the conversation at home and let their friends talk to their own parents, but can we really police what they share on the schoolyard?
Here's my question: Is a parent's job to hold back because another parent isn't willing to talk with their own kids? Sound off in the comments.