Blog posts about parents being frustrated with their children are very common these days. It’s wonderful that we can blog about the harder parts of parenting and get instant support and camaraderie. But lately I’ve seen a movement toward using much more mean-spirited language when we express these emotions – words that we would NEVER say to our kids’ faces. Specifically, the word “hate,” as in, “I hate my kids.”
Sure, making an extreme statement like that will get a blogger attention – or their point across quickly – but is the hyperbole worth it? In ten years, when their kids find these posts and read about how their parents hated them, will they say, “It’s okay, Mom. I’m sure it got you a lot of pageviews.” I doubt it. All it will do is cause hurt feelings, and that is why this kind of writing needs to stop.
“Hate (v): To dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; to detest…”
Does that definition really fit what bloggers mean when they say they hate their children? Do they detest their children? Of course not. If they detested their children there is no way they would rock them to sleep at night, wipe their tears, and lift them in and out of a car seat fifty times a week. What they really mean is they dislike things about their kids – the whining, the behavior, the bad habits – and those are totally valid and normal feelings all parents have.
So why are people writing posts where they say they hate their kids? I think there are two possible reasons. The first is, like I said before, the blogger is simply looking for pageviews and attention. If that is their motivation, I don’t think there is much point in trying to change their minds on this subject.
But the second reason – and likely the far more prevalent one – is worth discussing. Bloggers are, I think, using shorthand, writing “hate” as a way to get their point across quickly. I’ve used the word myself that way. More times than I can count I have said, “I hate that!” about a slow cashier, or dieting, or lame Facebook updates. But when blogging about our children, we need to step back, take a breath, and ask ourselves what we are really trying to express. Don’t just write “hate” and leave it at that. Our kids deserve better, and so do our blogs.
Someone once famously wrote at the end of a long letter that he would have written a shorter letter if he’d had more time. I find that quote very amusing because it is so true about writing. It is easy to quickly write a lot of words that aren’t very focused or original. It takes more time to write something insightful and to-the-point that truly captures one’s experiences.
So here’s my message to these bloggers: don’t resort to lazy uses of the word “hate” when talking about your kids. Spend the time needed to express your trials and tribulations as a parent in the most vivid, personal, and true way possible. Bloggers who do that are the ones who are truly “authentic,” and the irony is that kind of writing will get a lot more attention than sensationalist posts about hating your kids.