STFU Parents: ‘Aww’ Or ‘Hell Naw’? When Parents Get Too Obsessive On Facebook
Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s the annual celebration of love, which is my cue to probe once again into the weird world of obsessive parents. In past years, I’ve written three uncomfortable columns about ‘A Mother’s Love’ for her son(s), but this year, I thought, “Eh, what the hell, let’s shame some dads, too!” It’s actually not that common for dads to post on Facebook about going on ‘date nights’ with their daughters, and it’s definitely not socially acceptable for dads to call their daughters “sexy,” both of which differentiate dads of girls from moms of boys. I’m not criticizing this distinction so much as noting that dads don’t openly obsess over their daughters like some moms do over their sons. If they did, it would probably sound something like this:
Sure, last year a particularly popular Christian values ‘Father’s Day’ video about a dad who “goes on one of the most important dates of his life” with his daughter was well-received (last line: ‘You’ll always be her first love’), but most of the time, if events like “father-daughter purity balls” make headlines, it’s because they’re creepy. Even large news organizations circle the idea that the balls are skeevy in the most wholesome of ways, which is the idea that lies at the very heart of this week’s column.
Why do some parents’ descriptions of their relationships with their kids make me feel so uneasy? Maybe everyone an ‘uneasiness threshold’ that shouldn’t be crossed on social media, but we don’t know what that looks or sounds like until we see it posted. It’s also likely that if we do have internal barometers, everyone’s is calibrated uniquely. What may read to me as creepy or obsessive may read to someone else as affectionate and sweet. Despite that disparity, though, I’m confident nearly everyone reading this column will feel icky reading at least one, if not all, of the submissions. I’m not suggesting these parents are carrying on in inappropriate ways with their kids; if anything, I’m guessing they’re devoted parents who enjoy vocalizing their love for their children out of pride. I’m just not sure they realize how delusional and borderline incestuous they sound on Facebook. So in honor of Valentine’s Day and ‘love’ in all its (occasionally creepy) forms, let’s check out some new examples of parental obsession, featuring moms and dads with a penchant for awkwardness.