Look, America! I tricked my kids!

First of all, thank you, everyone, for alerting me to the existence of wreath hooks (who woulda thunk it?), thus providing a happy ending to my epic wreath story. Phew!

Moving on to far less important matters: If you spent any amount of time on the Internets today, you may have chanced to see the video montage of kids opening terrible presents from their parents, which aired on the Jimmy Kimmel show. (Watch it after the jump.)

In a nutshell, Kimmel asked parents to give their kids crappy early Christmas presents and film their reactions.

And so, dozens of parents around this great nation of ours did. And, predictably, their kids were confused. And disappointed. And angry. And rude to varying degrees. (In one case, a kid totally flipped out, but I’m not convinced it wasn’t staged…)

Admittedly, there were some funny moments. But mostly, it kinda grossed me out.

We’re supposed to protect our kids. We’re supposed to be on their side. Which isn’t to say we can’t tease them or mess with them sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with giving your kid a half-eaten sandwich wrapped up as a present if, a few seconds later, you say “just kidding!” and give them the real present they were hoping for. (And maybe that’s what happened, eventually, after the cameras stopped rolling…)

But we’re not supposed to deliberately and elaborately try to make them look foolish or ungrateful or obnoxious for the  purpose of entertaining ourselves or our friends — much less millions of strangers. We’re not supposed to sit there filming, continuing to play our part in the ruse, even making them feel guilty (“Isn’t that what you wanted?”) while they process their disappointment and confusion. And that’s precisely what the parents who took these videos did.

What I find particularly creepy as I watch is the parents’ lack of reaction when their kids do or say rude or disrespectful things. Maybe that’s par for their parenting course. (In which case, maybe they could use a few pointers…) But regardless, in this little scenario they’ve created, they can’t react. Because to admonish your kids for acting badly when your whole goal is to get a negative reaction would be patently absurd.

So they just sit there, filming. They have basically, temporarily abdicated their role as parents / protectors / disciplinarians in order to be accomplices to Jimmy Kimmel.

The final clip of the video ends with a boy telling his mother to “tell (Jimmy Kimmel) to suck my balls.” Appalling, right? But hey, if you’re not going to treat your kids with respect — if you’re going to make them the subject of your own candid camera experiment — you can’t really expect them to treat you with respect either, can you. (And FWIW, I think Jimmy Kimmel should suck that kid’s balls.)

Look, I might write about my children online for the world (well, a few thousand people, anyway) to read. I might describe some of their sillier and less savory behaviors. And I might post the occasional goofy photo. But I would never, ever trick them or make a joke at their expense for your entertainment. I would never set them up to behave their worst, and then sit back and let them do it. And I’d never broadcast the results for the world to see, either with or without their permission.

Would you?




DOUBLE TIME, my memoir of twin parenting (among other things) is now available for pre-order!

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Article Posted 4 years Ago
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