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I Do Not Want My Daughter to Be ‘Nice’
New York Times ^ | July 31, 2013 | Catherine Newman

Posted on 07/31/2013 1:05:05 PM PDT by nickcarraway

My 10-year-old daughter, Birdy, is not nice, not exactly. She is deeply kind, profoundly compassionate and, probably, the most ethical person I know — but she will not smile at you unless either she is genuinely glad to see you or you’re telling her a joke that has something scatological for a punch line.

This makes her different from me. Sure, I spent the first half of the ’90s wearing a thrifted suede jacket that I had accessorized with a neon-green sticker across the back, expressing a somewhat negative attitude regarding the patriarchy (let’s just say it’s unprintable here). But even then, I smiled at everyone. Because I wanted everyone to like me. Everyone!

I am a radical, card-carrying feminist, and still I put out smiles indiscriminately, hoping to please not only friends and family but also my son’s orthodontist, the barista who rolls his eyes while I fumble apologetically through my wallet, and the ex-boyfriend who cheated on me. If I had all that energy back — all the hours and neurochemicals and facial musculature I have expended in my wanton pursuit of likedness — I could propel myself to Mars and back. Or, at the very least, write the book “Mars and Back: Gendered Constraints and Wasted Smiling.”

But it is not one thing or another, of course. My mostly pleasant way might get me more freelance work. And friendliness tends to put people at ease — loved ones, neighbors, waitresses — which is a good thing. Plus, smiling probably makes me feel happier, according to all those studies about self-fulfilling emotional prophesies. I know that our sweet-hearted son, who is 13, has always had the experience of niceness being its own reward.

(Excerpt) Read more at parenting.blogs.nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Education; Society
KEYWORDS:
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1 posted on 07/31/2013 1:05:05 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Wow, I feel bad for the author's kid.

And for me, too, for reading this drivel. Talk about a bunch of projection.

2 posted on 07/31/2013 1:10:51 PM PDT by wbill
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To: nickcarraway

3 posted on 07/31/2013 1:12:55 PM PDT by JoeProBono (Mille vocibus imago valet;-{)
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To: nickcarraway

This is the end game of the radical Commies on society.

In the end, it will be us vs. them. The angry God-haters and the feral ‘yoots vs. us.


4 posted on 07/31/2013 1:14:13 PM PDT by wac3rd (Somewhere in Hell, Ted Kennedy snickers....)
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To: nickcarraway

The daughter sounds like an angry vegan lesbian-in-training, son may also be gay.

But I am sure that they are all very “moral.”


5 posted on 07/31/2013 1:15:44 PM PDT by paterfamilias
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To: nickcarraway
Her daughter in 30 years:


6 posted on 07/31/2013 1:15:55 PM PDT by 11th_VA (It's all about culture, not color)
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To: wbill

I could feel the nausea rising up in my throat as I read the exceprt. No freaking way will I click that link only to spew what was a delicious lunch.


7 posted on 07/31/2013 1:16:38 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: paterfamilias
The daughter sounds like an angry vegan lesbian-in-training, son may also be gay.

LOL! I had much the same thought.

Mom might want to take a look at her parenting skills. One screwed up kid is an outlier, two is a pattern.

8 posted on 07/31/2013 1:18:03 PM PDT by wbill
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To: wbill

No kidding. Nice is such a waste of time? Being pleasant to others? You bet/ sarc


9 posted on 07/31/2013 1:18:07 PM PDT by bboop (does not suffer fools gladly)
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To: nickcarraway

Note to the author - if you’re nice to people out of an expectation of some direct reward, then you’re not really a nice person.


10 posted on 07/31/2013 1:19:34 PM PDT by Jack of all Trades (Hold your face to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.)
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To: nickcarraway

...if your daughter is being raised by a loud mouthed, obnoxious liberal Feminist that writes for the New York Times, you won’t have to worry about her being “nice” to anyone ever...


11 posted on 07/31/2013 1:20:11 PM PDT by Tzimisce (The American Revolution began when the British attempted to disarm the Colonists.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

The Helen Thomas pic I coulda done without.


12 posted on 07/31/2013 1:20:14 PM PDT by Argus
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To: wbill
One screwed up kid is an outlier, two is a pattern.

Well put. Your kid is also screwed up if you name them "Birdy".

13 posted on 07/31/2013 1:20:25 PM PDT by GOP_Party_Animal
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To: Responsibility2nd
yup, trust me, it's not worth the clicking. Lemme summarize - "Blah Blah Blah. I hate men. My daughter is following in my footsteps, as I project all of my flaws and insecurities on to her. The End."

I was wondering if it was a satire or something......nope.

14 posted on 07/31/2013 1:20:32 PM PDT by wbill
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To: nickcarraway
My 10-year-old daughter, Birdy, is not nice

Might happen when you name a kid 'Birdy'.

15 posted on 07/31/2013 1:21:02 PM PDT by Tanniker Smith (Rome didn't fall in a day, either.)
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To: bboop

I’ve been hearing more and more that ‘nice’ is something that’s expected by women of men. You don’t get credit for being a pleasant, caring man.

I don’t understand this attitude. Seems like a good recipe for some terrible relationships. Kindness is always appreciated. A woman who’s unappreciative of kindness is probably not one you want to date.


16 posted on 07/31/2013 1:21:50 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge ("we are pilgrims in an unholy land")
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To: nickcarraway

“She is deeply kind, profoundly compassionate and, probably, the most ethical person I know”

Really, at 10 years old? We should all agree the author is the most wonderful mother on the planet.


17 posted on 07/31/2013 1:23:27 PM PDT by Catphish
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To: Jack of all Trades
if you’re nice to people out of an expectation of some direct reward, then you’re not really a nice person

Well, Al Capone always said that "You get farther with a smile and a gun, than just a smile."

But this author likely hates guns. And smiling. And, I'll guess Al Capone, as well, because he's a dead white guy.

So what's my point? I don't have one, other than I thought that the quote was relevantly snarky. :-)

18 posted on 07/31/2013 1:24:05 PM PDT by wbill
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To: nickcarraway

Screwed up moms will have screwed up kids.


19 posted on 07/31/2013 1:24:48 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: nickcarraway

There are girls like that. When you become a teenager, your true character manifests itself, and you start to do what you think is appropriate. It may be wrapped in contemporary fads, but your real self comes through. Often, the parents don’t like it.


20 posted on 07/31/2013 1:26:28 PM PDT by proxy_user
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To: nickcarraway
"...and the ex-boyfriend who cheated on me."

Wow, can't imagine why.

21 posted on 07/31/2013 1:27:14 PM PDT by thefactor (yes, as a matter of fact, i DID only read the excerpt)
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To: nickcarraway

“I want her to be a total raving b**ch. Look how well that’s paid off for Hillary!”


22 posted on 07/31/2013 1:28:18 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: JCBreckenridge; bboop
You don’t get credit for being a pleasant, caring man.

Welllllll..... I do! But Mrs WBill has a built-in bias. :-)

23 posted on 07/31/2013 1:28:27 PM PDT by wbill
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To: GOP_Party_Animal

24 posted on 07/31/2013 1:28:38 PM PDT by Salamander (.......Uber Alice!.......)
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To: wbill

You’re fortunate. You got one of the good ones. Good women are hard to find!


25 posted on 07/31/2013 1:29:03 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge ("we are pilgrims in an unholy land")
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To: Jack of all Trades
Note to the author - if you’re nice to people out of an expectation of some direct reward, then you’re not really a nice person.

Yes, that was my take-away as well. What a manipulative beyotch.

26 posted on 07/31/2013 1:30:36 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (Justice for Trayvon: Dig up his body and shoot him again.)
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To: nickcarraway
Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" – she always called me Elwood – "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

—James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd

27 posted on 07/31/2013 1:31:37 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: nickcarraway

This is a waste of electrons. I’ve seen junior high submissions written better.


28 posted on 07/31/2013 1:33:09 PM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: JCBreckenridge
I’ve been hearing more and more that ‘nice’ is something that’s expected by women of men. You don’t get credit for being a pleasant, caring man.

Not with shallow, stupid women you don't. They confuse rudeness and meanness with masculinity and are attracted to it.

They also confuse politeness with weakness. As do quite a few men, who have abruptly discovered their error when the "nice, polite" man suddenly knocks them cold or kills them dead.

29 posted on 07/31/2013 1:34:29 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: proxy_user

I never thought about it like that. For our family, this is very encouraging. My teen’s true character is getting better all the time. (That could change, because she is only 14.) She still lies and takes moral “shortcuts”, but less frequently, and takes her consequences more calmly. She has also discovered some forms of responsibility, like being punctual, and taking better care of the cat, and doing most chores without making a fuss. She has also defended people who were being picked on, and gone out of her way once or twice to make conversation with shy kids.

Thanks for your post. You gave me some good food for thought.


30 posted on 07/31/2013 1:41:19 PM PDT by married21
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To: Sherman Logan

Been there. Had more than one person try that hypothesis out. So far I’m 2/2 for assault convictions without significant injury on my part.

One dude went so far as to jump out of his car and sucker punch me. On camera. 2 minutes from the police station.

I did get a nice ride with a cute lady cop after. :D She thought it was hilarious that the tiny dude just took the punch. :)


31 posted on 07/31/2013 1:41:28 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge ("we are pilgrims in an unholy land")
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To: nickcarraway

It’s from a parenting blog.Who knew?

That says it all for me.

.


32 posted on 07/31/2013 1:45:54 PM PDT by Mears
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To: nickcarraway

January 14, 2013, 2:31 pm

Emetophobia, Vomiting Children and Me

By CATHERINE NEWMAN

If you are a child in my family feeling your very rottenest, your tender mother (me) is likely to bolt out of the room with her fingers in her ears.


May 14, 2012, 5:22 pm

My Son Looks Like a Girl. So What?

By CATHERINE NEWMAN

My 12-year-old son has long, half-pink hair, and everyone, everywhere assumes he’s a girl. Why is that such a problem?


33 posted on 07/31/2013 1:48:09 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: nickcarraway

Response to Catherine Newman’s “I Do. Not.:Why I Won’t Marry”

October 24, 2012

Catherine Newman’s odd essay “I Do. Not.: Why I Won’t Marry” explains why she is against the life-long commitment of marriage. Asked over and over again why she isn’t married to the man she lives with and the father of her child, Newman is used to explaining herself to the simple minded. But she claims “there are so many reasons, and they’re all only partly true and shot through with contradiction”, and that is why she can’t explain them to common folk (61). A reason she begins with is “because marriage is about handing the woman off, like a baton, from her father to her husband” (61). Men are continually thinking about owning the greatest “possessions” (wives, money, etc.) and Newman refuses to be viewed in such a way. She also brings up the fact that she has a form of attraction for other women, so she has a hard time deciding her sexual identity. Another reason is “because not being married means we get to keep choosing each other” (65).

In her eyes, if two are married, they have already “choose” one another, and they feel committed to stay together. Because her and her partner, Michael, are not married, everyday they get to “fall in love” again. She claims “for us, there’s something psychically liberating about that little bit of unmarried space that allows us to move forward, to come toward each other, over and over again.” (65). A very important reason to Newman is “because we have a kid together” (65). I find this paragraph to be extremely contradictory to her previous paragraph, because with her child, she has a serious commitment to her partner. I believe they both want the best life they can offer to their child, so staying together will provide their child with a supportive, stable home-life and environment. At the end of her essay, Newman says she will stay with Michael through thick and thin because he takes care of her and “he is the father of her child” (66).

I found myself puzzled by the end of her essay, because towards the end, it sounds like she really loves her partner and plans to be with him for the rest of her life. But throughout the majority of her essay, she seemed to be trying to prove to her audience that she is completely against monogamy. I believe in marriage and spending your life with that one person, so I found it hard to relate to this essay and Newman’s opinions.

1. How do you think Newman ended up answering the drunk man’s question at the wedding? She probably told him getting married is against her beliefs, and that her and Michael are perfectly content with the way their life is with their son. It sounds like she did not go into detail about her beliefs, because what she said is true: “there are so many reasons, and they’re all only partly true and shot through with contradiction, and I can’t say any of them out loud” (61).

2. From the details of this essay, what do you think Newman’s religious beliefs are? Toward the beginning of her essay, she says “marriage is, of course, a supremely natural and God-given institution and a naturally and God-givenly straight one” (62). To me, it seems as if she is mocking this commonly known Christian belief, and does not really seem to have any respect for those who believe it. If she knows this is true, why does she continue to worship her beliefs on nonmonogamy? I do not find the assumption that she is Christian or believes in traditionalism.

http://amandacaldwellgcsu.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/response-to-catherine-newmans-i-do-not-why-i-wont-marry/


34 posted on 07/31/2013 1:52:02 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: JCBreckenridge

Actually, with a lot of women, it can work to your detriment. If you come off as “too nice”, then you are seen as a pushover, someone to be taken advantage of. Treat them poorly, and they see you as “strong and decisive”. Go figure.


35 posted on 07/31/2013 1:54:18 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman

Yep, that’s the attitude I’m seeing quite a lot of these days. I was raised that you treat a lady like a lady which means you go out of your way to make them feel special. It gets tiresome being told that you’re too nice!


36 posted on 07/31/2013 1:57:49 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge ("we are pilgrims in an unholy land")
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To: nickcarraway

This essay has 971 words. 43 of them are “I,” “me,” “mine” or “my.”


37 posted on 07/31/2013 2:00:45 PM PDT by untenured
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To: Boogieman

I like nice guys, but I am well aware that far too many women like bad boys. They often become “battered women”, or end up having children with worthless men who will never even look for a job. An attraction to bad men can ruin a woman’s whole life - and her children’s lives. But some women don’t learn.


38 posted on 07/31/2013 2:10:08 PM PDT by Irish Rose (Will work for chocolate.)
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To: kcvl

Perhaps she could benefit from some counseling to get over her obvious psychological issues.


39 posted on 07/31/2013 2:13:43 PM PDT by darkangel82
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To: nickcarraway

What the hell’s wrong with smiling at people, for goodness’ sake? Jeez...


40 posted on 07/31/2013 2:28:38 PM PDT by jagusafr (the American Trinity (Liberty, In G0D We Trust, E Pluribus Unum))
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To: paterfamilias
The daughter sounds like an angry vegan lesbian-in-training,

Maybe not. I have a good friend whose divorced parents are both "all '60s" -- selfish, self-absorbed, mom is a feminazi who dragged her daughters to all the ERA/womynz rights marches, totally illiterate about finances and hence has filed bankruptcy, etc. Whole nine yards. But my friend is nothing at all like that. Married 20 years, church-going, good mom. She wouldn't call herself a conservative, but she certainly leans that way. Sometimes kids can grow up to be normal even when they come from pinko backgrounds.

41 posted on 07/31/2013 2:38:41 PM PDT by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1)
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To: nickcarraway

Who puts keyboards in the hands of these people?


42 posted on 07/31/2013 2:41:43 PM PDT by Ol' Sox (Research, Resolve, Remediate, Repeat)
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To: Jack of all Trades

I’ve noticed, in my decades in corporate life, that the people who are paid to be nice, i.e. “Public Relations” are not very nice people, at all. Sure, they look great when the camera is on, otherwise, they have the genuineness of a $3 bill. Thanks.


43 posted on 07/31/2013 2:46:58 PM PDT by jttpwalsh
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To: workerbee

How does her mother feel about that?


44 posted on 07/31/2013 2:49:36 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: darkangel82

“Perhaps she could benefit from some counseling to get over her obvious psychological issues.”

Probably not since she was raised by atheist parents.

“Catherine Newman ... Although when my atheist parents are visiting”


45 posted on 07/31/2013 2:59:47 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: nickcarraway

More self-absorption.


46 posted on 07/31/2013 3:01:25 PM PDT by sauropod (Fat Bottomed Girl: "What difference, at this point, does it make?")
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To: nickcarraway

***I am a radical, card-carrying feminist,***

I’ve never seen a happy feminist yet. They all act as if they had a dried up corncob stuck up their..., well, you get the idea.


47 posted on 07/31/2013 3:02:19 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need 7+ more ammo. LOTS MORE.)
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To: nickcarraway

Oh, there’s some friction, sure. But my friend just shrugs. She understands she grew up and her mother didn’t, but whaddya gonna do?


48 posted on 07/31/2013 3:06:01 PM PDT by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1)
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To: nickcarraway

p.s. And it helps that they live on separate coasts! ;-)


49 posted on 07/31/2013 3:07:32 PM PDT by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1)
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To: Tanniker Smith

In the Army I met a WAC officer named Lt. Col. Birdy Nuckols, who put the `butch’ in “butch dyke”. Not to be messed with & I learned that it’s not only the Marine Corps that has a lesbian mafia.


50 posted on 07/31/2013 3:11:03 PM PDT by elcid1970 ("The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.")
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