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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Butterfly Problem

posted by on April 18 at 13:59 PM

When it comes to my son, I know what to tell him: no crying no matter what, no emotional outbursts, no tantrums, no moodiness, keep your zipper up, keep your hands out your pants, and so on. But with my daughter, what am I supposed to do about the fact that she doesn’t like to wear clothes? The minute she walks into the apartment after school, she throws off her pants, her shirt, and starts running around. If it were my son, I would tell him put his things back on that very instant (“Do you live in a cave?”), but with my daughter I cant do anything. I have to let her be who she wants to be. Why? Because its like enforcing an alien standard on her freedom. It’s repressive and might stunt some female form of expression that’s never had a chance at fulfillment because of male intervention. What am I to do? How do you control a free butterfly like my little daughter?

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You have got to be joking! Your rules for your son are a recipe for a life of therapy and anti-depressants.

"no crying under any circumstance, no emotional outbursts, no tantrums, no moodiness,"

Please, please, please tell me you are not serious about that. If you are, please do yourself a favor and get some counseling. Repressed anger eventually comes out, one way or another. Ask the students of Virginia Tech.

Posted by phil | April 18, 2007 2:16 PM

Yikes. I'm with phil in hoping that you're kidding.

Posted by monkey | April 18, 2007 2:19 PM

Chuck is obviously too chill to raise a conscienceless social outcast prone to occasional bouts of Rambo-ism. Not that we don't all carry the potential.

Let's leave the VT emotion in another thread and let CM mull over how best to cope with his nekkid daughter.

Posted by jackie treehorn | April 18, 2007 2:22 PM

CM's opposition to all forms of male crying has already been raised and roundly lambasted here. To be honest, I'm not sure why, if you're willing to enforce one arbitrary, unyielding set of rules on one of your offspring without regard for consequences, you have any compunction about enforcing another equally arbitrary and unyielding set of rules ("No nudity, ever," perhaps?) on the other one. What's important here is your comfort and assuredness in being correct, so squash those doubts way down, sir.

Posted by Levislade | April 18, 2007 2:33 PM

Best evidence suggests that repressed anger does not eventually come out. This began with a spin off of the "Bobo doll" study that suggested children who hit something, like a pillow or the famous bobo doll, to "let out" their anger feel angrier more often. Follow up studies suggest that people who repress their anger become less angry, not more angry.

Posted by Sandy | April 18, 2007 2:37 PM

Jackie Treehorn—best slog post handle ever.

Posted by BB | April 18, 2007 2:38 PM

I don't have the answer, Charles, but keep in mind that your relationsip with her will greatly influence the husband she chooses (assuming she's into men) and the relationship she has with him. And I wish my wife would run around the house naked.

Good luck.

Posted by Sean | April 18, 2007 2:43 PM

Every child need boundaries. I don't know if clothes in the house needs to be one of them. Maybe clothes out of the house, and when there are guests, and when she turns 7.

But what good is raising a free spirited little feminist daughter if you will not raise a free spirited little feminist son, too? That would be like only raising non-white children to be anti-racist. Unless you are joking (and I hope you are) I am sad to hear it sounds like you are raising son who will be oppressed by gender stereotypes about men, particularly about expressing his feelings. Maybe if men were taught that it's culturally okay to express themselves, there would be fewer mass murders, no? Perhaps that is one of the causes of repressed rage that explodes into violence?

Posted by exelizabeth | April 18, 2007 2:46 PM

Dude, you're totally fucked. If you haven't figured it out by now, she has you 100% dialed in.

Posted by Westside forever | April 18, 2007 2:49 PM

I also worry your son is going to grow up to kill everyone in his school, let us know when your daughter turns 18.

Posted by elswinger | April 18, 2007 2:50 PM

Please tell me you're kidding. Repressive, enforcing of an alien standard on her freedom aside, you are her parent. If you want her clothed, as is the societal norm in American for every day life regardless of one's gender, tell her to put some clothes on. "There is a time and place for everything" is also an invaluable lesson to learn at a young age.

Posted by Callie | April 18, 2007 2:51 PM

tell her to put some goddamn pants on! you're still the dad.

Posted by dre | April 18, 2007 2:52 PM

This explains a lot.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | April 18, 2007 2:57 PM

This bolsters my theory that "Charles Mudede" is in fact a made-up persona, intended to provoke and infuriate by advocating impossible positions.

Posted by mattymatt | April 18, 2007 3:01 PM

I hope he's made up. Because his kids need to be in foster care.

Posted by Ebsur | April 18, 2007 3:06 PM

charles, there are some unexamined statements in your post that i would like explained (not like you ever respond to commenters). why is she given lyrical status of "butterfly" while your son is just your "son" and what's with the "hands out of pockets"-- why is that necessary?

overall, strikes me you're scared of your daughter. #9 has hit it exactly.

Posted by ellarosa | April 18, 2007 3:09 PM

literature ain't no open letter.

Posted by josh | April 18, 2007 3:22 PM

Yeah, Charles's kids should be in foster care you fucking retard. And @1, a Virginia Tech reference? What a fucking dufus you are, sir.

Throw some clothes on your girl, hustle up your boy and take 'em to the park, Charles. Buy 'em an ice cream. Make 'em do their homework, keep 'em out of trouble, keep 'em accountable, and they'll be fine.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | April 18, 2007 3:27 PM

if you don't tell boys not to cry, they'll cry all the time.

about the naked daughter: isn't she COLD all the time? that's what all the women in my house tell me 24/7. "i'm cold! turn the heat up to 67!"

Posted by Max Solomon | April 18, 2007 3:32 PM

I don't like giving any advice for how another person is to raise their children. Knowing Charles from this slog, with some of the most thoughtful and neutral wonderings, I take his questions as being rhetorical and not to be answered.

Posted by daniel | April 18, 2007 3:33 PM

Foster care? So we're putting Chuck's kids on the same level of kids, I dunno, starved, deliberately drugged, beaten, strangled, and wait, killed? We've all read and bitched about Dan's "every child" posts. Are YOU guys serious?

Posted by Gloria | April 18, 2007 4:08 PM

that's what i'm sayin', daniel @ #20.

Posted by josh | April 18, 2007 4:20 PM

Aww. She has her clothes off because she's blissfully oblivious to her sexuality. These are the the last and only years of her life when society will afford her that luxury. It's in her home, so let her be.

Posted by Marie | April 18, 2007 6:25 PM

Gotcha josh, didn't see your statement amongst all the 'in my humble opinion' comments.

Posted by daniel | April 18, 2007 6:25 PM

Why are you treating your son like shit? Dude, get a grip and get parenting like you are supposed to. Mercy!

Posted by upset | April 18, 2007 7:31 PM

I too hope you're kidding about not letting your son cry, etc. If not, that's an ass-backwards way of raising a human. I feel sorry for him and dislike you more than ever.

Posted by Mike | April 18, 2007 7:52 PM

the more the merrier daniel @ #24.

Posted by josh | April 18, 2007 9:23 PM

Indeed Marie@23

She keeps the clothes on at school - she understands.

My father used to yell at my Mom for letting me change into multiple costumes a day. Yeah, I totally love her more.

Posted by Native Girl | April 18, 2007 11:17 PM

I used to take my clothes off in the middle of the living room, until my parents shamed me. What is so fucking wrong with childhood innocence? Are we all so voyeuristic that nudity becomes sinful? What good is this bubble of denied sex, if upon their 18th birthday, they'll readily whore themselves upon myspace? If we want to raise healthy kids, we must let them experience and accept their own bodies. I was not allowed this freedom. So I am one conflicted & fucked up gay man.

Posted by Ryan Smilac | April 19, 2007 1:58 AM

"no crying no matter what, no emotional outbursts"

Jesus, Charles. I always suspected that your over-intellectualization of even the simplest cultural phenomena was a shield to avoid engaging emotionally with the world - but I had no idea that you were this fucked up.

This is borderline emotional child abuse. Your son will likely grow up to hate you, with good reason. Jackass.

Posted by Charles is a dickhead | April 19, 2007 9:01 AM

Thanks for the heads up, 30. I'm heartened by your assessment that the child abuse is, thankfully, only borderline.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | April 19, 2007 9:12 AM

does literate mean literal here?

Posted by josh | April 19, 2007 10:51 AM

Just beat them until their behavior conforms to your expectations...

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | April 20, 2007 9:10 AM

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