The other day I got this piece of fan mail:
It was written in response to a post that I wrote almost 2 years ago.
I don’t get a lot of hate mail, but it’s kind of exciting.
It means that I have said something powerful and controversial.
Or that I’m really famous.
You can check out that old post here.
Funny thing is, I feel the same way I did when I originally posted.
The only difference is that my son is now 12 and 1/2.
Oh, and he doesn’t like to be called Monkey anymore.
Now the question is should I respond to this person? And if so, what should I say?
How do you handle haters?
Meh, I think the only thing to do is delete. Or go Jay and Silent Bob on them.
I don’t even bother responding to hate mail, people are so obnoxious. I laugh, delete it and move on…they’re few and far between. Reading your old post–I don’t disagree with what you did at all! My parents let me be home alone for a few hours when I was that age too–after school. I had my own key, I learned to be responsible, make my own snack, clean up before my parents got home and do my homework. Had I not learned any of those responsibilities, I’m not sure how I would’ve motivated myself to get anything done in college! Kids are babied so much these days, so I commend you for letting your son learn how to be responsible at a young age.
I wouldn’t even bother Renee! It will only lead into a pissing match. You can’t change peoples views on things so why waste your words on them.
Melissa! You’ve been here since the beginning. You even posted on that piece!
I got an awesome hate letter from a guy who dumped me in college and it was so funny to me I had to call him. I laughed through the whole phone conversation since his letter was so ridiculous! I kept it for years and I now am bummed that I haven’t been able to find it….
“Takes all kinds,” my grandmother used to say…
It would make for an awesome blog now. 😉
I feel like I’m inviting trolls by saying this, but I haven’t heard from (m)any haters yet. One man got understandably agitated about a post I wrote on witnessing a soldier’s homecoming; I responded tersely but succinctly on account of the subject matter. That was last May; if it happened now, I’d delete it and move on.
On my Facebook page, I occasionally get a prodding (but not so far a single clearly antagonistic) comment. In these cases, I delete them and move on. The time I spend replying to those folks* feels like time wasted, and the sense of safety of TMiYC’s other friends is much more important to me than letting someone else exercise their freedom of space for dbaggery in a forum that’s controlled by me.
That sense of safety, commented on now by many, is imperative to me.
* Clear subject matter experts. They’re on the internet, after all! 😀
Yeah, I’m cool with disagreement. But name-calling is uncool.
Blow it off. If you bother responding, it feeds this idiot’s fire. Why waste time on someone with anger management issues? The proof is in the pudding (if you will). SOMEHOW the tech has not only survived but thrived, therefore, and objections the hater had are moot. Carry on, mom. You’re doing just fine.
I should also add that you, unllike many other parents, are acutely aware of things that might prove damaging to the tech. I believe that you either consciously or unconciously include them in your blog to get feedback and sanity checks. It is incredibly healthy to get feedback from folks who may be a little bit further along in the parenting process (those of us who have adult children, and dare I say, adult grandchildren) or those who may have experienced situations you find arising in your life. You weigh input and act accordingly. That, my dear, is a sign of very sane parenting. ;}
Thank you for these ultra-kind word. I don’t know if anyone has ever called me sane before.
Oh wait, my parenting is sane.
Um…the reason children aren’t responsible these days is because we don’t give them any responsibility. All you have to do is read the Little House books to see how much has changed in the area of children and responsibility. This kind of reminds me of your last Teacher post. People will rise up to our expectations. I’m sure Monkey now 12 yo is intelligent enough to know how to handle an emergency. If he wasn’t you wouldn’t have felt comfortable leaving him. (I’ve really never received any hate mail, just really disgusting spam. I hope that doesn’t mean that I’m not saying anything important.)
Um…the reason children aren’t responsible these days is because we don’t give them any responsibility.
This. So much, this.
Right with y’all.
First off, in regards to the initial post:
I think I was first left home alone at 9 (3rd grade) for small stints of time.I started babysitting my cousins at 11 and my mother would often leave me in charge of my newborn brother for small stints of time while she ran to the store.
By 12 I was baby-sitting all the time (most often babies and toddlers because I had experience) – often until midnight on weekends or a holiday like New Years.
I think basing things on age is stupid, because every child/person is different. Every child’s experiences and strengths are different.
Hmmm.. I might have to write a post about releasing the apron strings, because with my son learning to ride a bike, suddenly they are stretched tight.
Regarding “haters”, I don’t respond and delete. It is one thing if someone just disagrees with me – I have no issues about people having their own opinions, in fact I welcome them all. It is the method they use to share them – whether it’s an outright “troll attack” designed to make me want to punch them, or a simple “I disagree and this is why”.
This reply? A troll and doesn’t deserve a response.
Agreed and agreed. What’s wrong with us?
Move on and get back to that novel darling.
Ignore it. It’s hard. It’s like getting a troll review on Amazon. As much as I want to respond…ignore.
And..you’re right! You clearly wrote something awesome enough to evoke a very strong reaction. Congrats! Be proud.
I just suggested we read your book for my next bookclub. Hoping everyone will agree. You did have that one nasty long-winded troll. Gah!
Thank goodness so many others LOVED it or I would have cried.
I don’t think you should respond. A person who writes something like that is looking for a fight. You might get back another, nastier reply. Some people are looking for attention and a reaction. I say, don’t give him one.
Yep, I’m with everyone else here who says ‘ignore’. I’ve only had one hate-mailer on my blog, and I responded, using as I thought the voice of sweet reason. And he just went right on hate-mailing me and those who commented on my blog. He stopped when I stopped.
And as for the original subject of your blog: I think you were doing the right thing. Children rise to the challenges we give them and learn to be responsible. And your challenge was the result of loving thought, not ‘couldn’t-be-bothered-ness’
I think you should just be flattered that people are reading your blog posts from two years ago. That’s awesome!!
I don’t think “Hate Poster” is a parent, and he is drastically underestimating Tech Support (fomerly known as Monkey).
I’m confident your son would be able to handle the situations that were mentioned in the post. He knows how to use a phone and call 911 if necessary. He knows he can run to a trusted neighbor for help if necessary. If a stranger offered him candy, he’d probably just tell the guy he doesn’t want to rot his teeth! 😉
Plus…the kid is a fencing expert!
That is what I was thinking. Everyone knows his or her own kids. My dude has always been extremely independent. He went away to summer camp for 3 weeks at age 8. He is an old soul and just kind of knows how to do things.
I’m fine with having a lively debate, but name-calling? Really?
(And the person spelled nuisance wrong.)
1) Are they on topic
2) Do they keep it reasonably clean
3) Do they make threats
I had one guy who told me that he wished that I would “die of cancer” because I deleted his off-topic attack on someone else. If you’ve got an opinion, fine. I’m willing to debate.
But it is my site. I pay the band width. You want to play, you play by my rules.
That’s the way I look at it.
I read your post on the appropriate age to leave your child home and could totally relate. My son is almost 10 and we were just discussing how we can start to leave him on his own for a bit soon. My parents let me babysit other kids/babies when I was 11 for crying out loud! Great post.
I once wrote a post on moms hiding in the bathroom to escape their kids and it was totally tongue-in-cheek (with some truth to it). It was Freshly Pressed and I received a ton of negative comments. One guy said the same thing as your troll, along the lines of ‘What kind of mom are you?’ and ‘why did you have kids in the first place?’ After the initial sting of reading these nasty remarks, I happily deleted them and didn’t even give them the satisfaction of a reply.
I considered changing the content to read: “This is the most amazing post i have ever read on this topic.”
And then blocking the person from my site.
I thought that would be funny.
But you guys said to ignore.
I’m sorry.. That made me giggle..
See? Wouldn’t that be fun? 😉
Bah. I don’t respond to haters– I tattle to my readers and they cover me with enough love to forget the little hate. Consider yourself well covered, my friend. xo
Lady, you’re a twit. But you already knew that, didn’t you? 😉
My little sister and I would come home to an empty house as far back as I can remember, left alone until our older siblings came home from their school. We learne stranger danger and how to dial 911 along with our alphabet. And we turned out all right.
Except for that one time we let a stranger in because he offered us candy and then he burned the house down and we couldn’t remember the number for 911. But that was just once.
Omigosh. You are just the best. I actually LOL’ed. I never do that. EVERYONE SUBSCRIBE TO JESSICA BUTTRAM’S BLOG RIGHT NOW!
Don’t leave us hanging Jessica – You got the candy, right?
“How do you handle haters?”
When in writing, I just mark it as spam, and delete.
If it is in person, I think of this quote before I respond:
“If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of being.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
That person doesn’t know you. They have no right to tell you how to raise your kids. People like that get to me.
Don’t respond. Best case scenario, nothing happens. Worst case scenario, you end up in a fight with someone you don’t know, repeating thoughts you’ve already expressed, and likely feeling upset about it. A person who would go right out and judge anybody like that with so little, truly, to go on is not worth your time.
I love exchanging ideas via comments on my blog, so I reply to almost all of them, but I won’t allow others to drag me into the mud. Disagree with what I write in my post? Great, let me know, but don’t resort to name-calling or I’ll dismiss you immediately. My reply to your question is ‘no’, don’t bother responding because there is nothing to be gained.
I read the earlier post and I think that each parent makes that choice when it feels right. I suspect that even the angry commenter would not recommend waiting until the age of 21, so there is always going to be someone who disagrees, whether we choose 10, 12, or 15.
Yeah, it was the name-calling that kind of does it for me. So much anger. What’s that about?
Most of the time I say don’t feed the trolls because they are just looking for attention. But I have been known not to take my own advice because sometimes I don’t mind jumping in the mud to get dirty.
I love and welcome a good hearty debate, but this just feels like I’d be banging my head against a cement wall covered in granite that has been double-dipped in steel.
Yikes! Are you sure that wasn’t spam? I get really clever spam these days that sounds so genuine, but then you get the same one over and over.
I’m positive. It has a real email address. And a name.
But I’m ignoring. it, remember.
Let it go. People like that aren’t worth it. You know what an awesome mom you are.
Ms. Buttwhat made me laugh! I love haters…they mean you’ve arrived! I’ve had them. Generally Clay tells them off for me. I tend to publish their stuff. And then I use their comments to teach my 9th graders tone. I’m serious. My students were aghast at one of the comments. One boy: “Didn’t she even look at the TITLE of your blog? It says IRONIC Mom.” They got the concept of tone right away after that lesson – and what happens if you miss it.
But I think you should submit this to L at Free Range Kids. Seriously! And I started babysitting when I was 10. I’m serious. The power went out. I knew what to do. Other kids played the doorbell game. I knew what to do. I found the stash of Penthouse magazines. I knew what to do.
Love you, Renzay!
I really think I should try to use the word “serious” one more time. Seriously.
And she published this piece on her bloggie when it first ran.
Or Wait. Was that my other thing that happened in Target?
Oh, I should tell her.
Off to email L.
Renee–You could respond but odds are she won’t read it because she is too busy flying a helicopter around her own child.
I don’t think 10 is too young for brief periods of time. However, I also think it depends on the child. Twenty years old is too young to leave some alone, but then they’re the same ones that have never had to prepare their own meals. Kids will never grow up if we don’t give them the chance.
And, to answer your question, this is how I would respond, “Thank you for your comment.” Nothing more.
If all else fails, send the poster my way, she would have a heyday. I let my (barely) 17 year old spend a month in Mongolia this past summer. Though a trip through the State Dept. She was on her own for quite a bit of it. And low and behold, she not only survived, she came home a stronger young woman!
Uh oh. Watch out. You might be getting some hate mail. You let your daughter go out of the country? She could have been raped? Or murdered. Her plane could have crashed. She could have eaten something that made her barf. She could have might have maybe almost.
But she didn’t.
Gentle fist bump.
You know, because rings hurt. 😉
I recently had a similar experience with a detractor commenting on an old post I wrote for Clay’s movie madness series. I was in two minds about responding to it, but I did figuring that the person was just a troll and that there would be no further response. Which there wasn’t. I’m just fiery like that. 😉
As a responsible (verging on insane…) fact-checker, I followed up the comment about brain development and found that while there may be some valid discussion to be had around the age at which a brain is considered “fully developed”, it’s hardly concrete. Of course, it’s the human brain we’re talking about – an organ that we still know extremely little about and can possibly never be certain of, given that it is not purely biological, but is (arguably, along with the heart but that’s a very philosophical conversation) heavily affected by our parents, siblings, friends and a myriad of external stimulus and experience.
I completely agree with your other commenters in this case. This person is obviously trolling and deserves no response. Everybody knows that fire evacuation plans have multiple exit strategies. The biggest problem I’ve found in the past is remembering to grab the Zombie Survival Kit on the way out.
You are an excellent parent and you’ve raised T.S. very responsibly. From what I’ve read about T.S., he’s already more mature than many 21-23 year olds I know – and many 30+ year olds I’ve worked with!
I usually choose to ignore haters–it just seem like anyone who can be labeled “hater” would be too difficult in an argument. This person and the comment are a perfect example. In fact, I think his argument is ludicrous. I say ignore and forget.
Btw, I love that post. It’s such an honest portrayal of a dilemma that all parents go through. And, the negative comment made a year later is just illogical and unnecessary.
Oh you, I love that you said it’s exciting.
I? Would have cried.
I say delete and focus on all of the love that you have coming your way – because there sure is a lot of it!
Pardon me if someone has already posted this link (that’s a lot of comments up there!):
I am impressed that the jackass didn’t leave you in a weepy puddle. That’s where I would be, even knowing full well s/he was a jackass.
And when I was about 7 and my sister 13, we’d walk up the street to the 7-11 to get cigarettes for my parents. So you may not want to listen to me anyways…;)
And I am apparently not above name calling.
You are hilarious! And thank you for making me laugh.
It’s your blog, so you can do what you want with it. May I suggest rewriting it to become a shower of compliments? I was left alone when I was 8 for short periods of time, and my sister and I were latchkey kids from the time I was 10 on. I babysat at 11 too.
The thing is, all kids are different. Every family situation is different. People often think they’re qualified to judge a situation but they rarely are. My kids have reverse needs of the accepted norms:
I get grief from people because we get a sitter when we’re at work. “Why do you get a sitter when they’re 18, 16, 14, 11 and 9?” Because we work six nights a week in another state. Because of the years when the oldest was 11 and left in charge of everyone else without knowing where her mom was, overnight, over and over again. These are sometimes the same people that give me grief when the 9-year old is by himself for up to an hour.
The judgment pisses me off but serves as a good reminder to myself that unless I know someone intimately, I don’t know their whole story. Horrors may be behind the way they are and as much as I can I want to live and let live.
Wow, I totally didn’t have anything funny to say. You struck a nerve.
Fascinating. I would definitely not respond. That’s a whole lotta vitriol for something which is pretty neutral, parenting-wise. With that much anger and insult being spewed out, I don’t get the sense that a dialogue would be happening there.
I agree with many of the commenters that it depends on the age of the kid. Some kids are more self-sufficient and savvy than others. A good parent will know their child’s limits and give them the level of responsibility which is appropriate.
And major giggling on the misspelling of “nuisance.” Hahaha. Take *that,* troll!
Oh, wow. I’m not sure I’d need to be 1000% sure of anything. Seems overkill, much like this lunatic’s response to an old post. I AM 1000% sure her math skills are off, however – you couldn’t possibly be 18 and have a 10-year-old! But seriously, are we going to protect our children as if they were toddlers until they are 23 and we are sure their brains are as developed as they could possibly be? This fearmonger is a shining example of everything that’s wrong with “modern parenting.”
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I would be tempted to respond to the hater-name-caller on his Junior High School level: “You think I’m an idiot? It takes one to know one! See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!”
When I meet a childish name-caller in person, I want to stop up my ears and go: “LALALALALALALALALALALALA!”
In truth, Haters are one of my worst Trauma Triggers. Which is why I have no place on my blog, now, for comments. I cannot deal with the haters. I got way too much of that, last year, via facebook. I finally had to delete my fb account on January 1, and what relief it has been, I don’t miss it one bit. But, that’s me, I know I’m not the norm. On some level, I feel very sorry for the haters. But mostly I just want them to Leave Me Alone.
P.S. As the hater-name-caller’s comment is full of errors, wouldn’t it be lovely if you could print it out and correct it with a red ink, the way my retired High School English Teacher aunt would do, and then send it back to him? 😉
Auto-Self-Correction: … a red ink pen… (sigh).
Oh this is so sad…I got a hateful one saying “You should be skinned alive along with El Bardei and others supporting the Arab Spring”….It throws you doesn’t it? You put yourself out there and ask for respectful dialogue. Interesting that I just wrote one on the Komen/PP thing and people were really respectful. Several disagreed but with respect and rationale. Thanks for sharing this so the rest of us can confess to how we feel and react.
I think you hit the nail on the head. You were being real.
Take the compliment and keep on going in that direction.
I am sorry i am chiming in late…….I saw a t-shirt at school the other day and it read, “If you got haters, it means you doin’ somethin’ right!’ or something close to that…. our society (and media) is very good at stirring it up – if you got a reaction, it is because you made someone feel uncomfortable, or inadequate… hit delete and move forward! and smile that you got a reaction! 🙂