Today’s column is also the launch of a new STFU, Parents category called “Angry Parents.” Angry Parents was born out of necessity when, several months ago, I noticed there was an influx of submissions about pissed off parents who’d taken to social media to vent. These parents weren’t just a little annoyed about something or vying for their friends’ sympathy; they were using violent expressions, saying things like, “I wanted to throat-punch her,” and publishing updates with broad implications like, “My kid’s principal doesn’t want to mess with this mama bear!” The more hostility came through my inbox, the more I sensed a pattern that seemed to mirror what we often see in the news. “Mother Punches Two Teachers At Two Schools,” “Reporter Faces Backlash From Teen Drinking Story,” “Rabid Mother Chews Ear Off Neighborhood Bully” (OK, I made that one up) are not far-fetched headlines these days, and the reason, I believe, is that parents are more openly angry.
Sure, helicopter parents have been arguing over grades with their children’s teachers for years. And yes, daytime television has showcased mothers getting buck wild in reaction to their children’s relationships, pregnancies and eating disorders for decades. But the one thing that’s changed in recent years is the ability for parents to broadcast their frustrations on a platform like Facebook where they’ve got a built-in army, er, support network to chime in and back them up. It’s the ultimate Slam Book, and some parents are using Facebook for that purpose just as much as their children are. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Being a mother naturally brings out a little “momzilla” in every woman. But there’s a difference between thinking you want to destroy another child and actually typing out the words on Facebook. Everyone is bound to have those moments of aversion to kids who aren’t their own; the trick is figuring out a way to process those feelings without expressing them publicly. Remember, some of your friends are actually parents to “little demons” and might not appreciate the sentiment.
2. Lack Of Perspective
Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think terms like “murder” should be used so sparingly. Obviously the person who wrote this Twitter update is expressing “intense” frustration and is being facetious, but over community centre dance classes, really? Talk about your #FirstWorldProblems. It’d be funnier if she said something light like, “I’m seriously going to murder someone. I can’t find delicious Cadbury Eggs anywhere!!” but pairing the expression with something that she’s genuinely upset about just makes her sound like a brat.
3. Assuming Makes You An Ass
While I share in Jackie’s disbelief that her son was choked by a classmate in school over a game, I’m in equal disbelief at the way she and her friends are talking. I’m not sure what Jackie wants to get across by saying, “that girl is lucky she’s not 18,” but the message I’m hearing is, “…because if she was, I’d go over and kick her ass my damn self!” Perhaps that’s just the Maury in me talking, or perhaps that’s exactly what Jackie means. If my assessment was based on Traci and Tara’s comments, I’d put my money on the latter.
4. Words < Fists
This is the kind of thing leaders tell their disciples before starting a revolution, and yet something tells me Monica is just pissed off because her sons were being on “unfairly singled out” in some social circle or sports-related activity. Regardless of her reasons, though, there’s no excuse for writing something like this on Facebook. Monica needs to find a way to contain the crazy, and so do the four psycho people who “liked” her update.
5. No Shame
Mothers getting involved in their kids’ fights is an entertainment tradition that stretches all the way back to 1992. But it used to just be something you’d hear about in line at the grocery store or at a PTA meeting. Now it’s something that makes mothers and their kids “stars” on the Internet via YouTube videos, and parents are far less hesitant to relay the details on sites like Facebook. On the plus side, it doesn’t sound like Karen got physically involved so much as she did vocally, but really, who knows? All that matters is that she, her daughter, and two other girls got ejected from the game — but it was the ref’s fault for letting it get out of control. Those darn refs.