maternal narcissism

I was Homeschooled by a Narcissist… And Other Horror Stories from American Suburbia

enhanced-buzz-8928-1328334368-133

With the demise of public education in this country–which includes under-funding by the government, overcrowded classrooms, ineffectual administrators, and private entities like testing companies having their filthy hands all over your children and their data–it is inevitable that the homeschool movement has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. Instead of trying to improve public education and how our politicians treat our schools, our teachers and our children, many have chosen to pull their children from school all together and educate them at home. Even with a less-than-perfect public education system, I believe it is still infinitely better than homeschooling your child.

This is not an anti-homeschooling blog. There are some instances when I believe homeschooling is appropriate, such as a child with really bad anxiety, a bully situation, an injury or remote living. Even in these situations, there is a right way to homeschool. This includes following professionally designed and state mandated curriculum. It includes professional oversight, with trained and state certified educators coming to your home to make sure your child is learning everything they would in a traditional school setting. And it includes opportunities for group learning with peers, in a format such as a homeschool collective.

And it’s not just fundamentalist Christians homeschooling their children either. Many people in the atheist, skeptic and non-believer communities are homeschooling their kids as well. I find this trend to be very troubling. As skeptics, we tend to be the first ones to condemn a non-vaxxing parent for using snake oil to treat their sick child instead of taking them to a doctor. We criticize parents who think a google search can replace a medical degree. We loathe parents that take medical care into their own hands and think they can replace the professional education and training of doctors, nurses and medical staff. Why don’t some of my fellow skeptics feel the same way about education and teaching?

Some of the excuses I’ve heard from my fellow skeptics for homeschooling their kids are just as ridiculous, if not more ridiculous, than reasons given by religious fundamentalists. The following are some reasons I’ve heard in favor of homeschooling followed by my personal commentary on why they are complete bullshit.

1) “I think I can do a better job than anybody when it comes to educating my children.”

No you can’t. Get over yourself.  Teaching is NOT “so easy a caveman can do it.”

I don’t care if you are Neil Degrasse Tyson. Nothing takes the place of a licensed, professional, experienced, teacher in a public or private classroom who is surrounded by other professional educators, counselors and school support staff. I used to teach high school and I WOULD NEVER homeschool my kids. EVER. Do you think I am extensively trained in early childhood neurological development? How to teach reading to a child? Methods in teaching fractions? I can teach my child about the rise of dictatorial governments throughout Europe following World War I, but I think he would want to learn how to read and play in the sandbox first. If you think you can do at better job educating your child than hundreds of rigorously trained and vetted professionals, you are a self-important narcissist with a grandiose sense-of-self.

2) “I don’t like the curriculum being dictated by a school board. I want to make my own curriculum.”

Okay. That’s nice. You think as a teacher I liked everything in my social studies curriculum? Of course not. But most teachers know how to play with the curriculum and make it enjoyable for students to learn. Curriculum and standards are there for a reason; they ensure your children learn what they need to know to not only graduate, but to become well-rounded adults. Also, professionally trained educators are constantly designing and modifying curriculum to reflect the latest standards, methods and innovations in education. Curriculum is NOT designed by an army of Illuminati robots despite what you read in your FB parenting group.

If you’re wondering why we now have a generation of young adults who think vaccines cause autism and the holocaust never happened, blame the parents who think they know how to write curriculum simply because they shot a child out of their nutsack and/or vagina. Don’t like the curriculum? Supplement your child’s education with further materials and learning experiences. Have a meaningful conversation with them. Visit a museum. Give them experiences that will enrich their lives and grow their empathy, compassion and curiosity. Limiting the amount of people who they learn from, including peers, will only limit the amount of knowledge they acquire.

3) “I want to teach my children what I want them to learn, not what teachers and the government wants my kids to learn.”

A person gains culture and knowledge through interaction with others. I had teachers of all different personalities, political affiliations, backgrounds and cultures. I had mean teachers. I had nice teachers. I had sane teachers. I had crazy teachers. I had extremely intelligent teachers and a handful of clueless ones too. I learned from them all. I learned a variety of views and experiences.

I’m a non-believer. I’d like my son to be a non-believer as well. However, if he learns some religion and wants to be a bible thumping Christian, then I’m cool with that too. As long as he treats others with respect, kindness and compassion. Many homeschooling parents are afraid their little snowflakes will learn something evil or different at school from teachers or other children–views that might question a parent’s authority, beliefs, and fears. What if I told you not everyone has to think as you do, not even your child. They are not an extension of you. They are individuals with their own thoughts and agency. If you only want your child to know what you WANT them to know–to only know your views and your experiences–you are a self-important narcissist with a grandiose sense-of-self.

4) “I don’t want the school to call Children’s Services on me.”

This is a reason why some homeschooling/unschooling parents don’t want to send their kids to evil government schools. Teachers, counselors and other school staff are mandated reporters and are trained to identify signs of abuse and neglect, such as changes in behavior or physical appearance. Mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse can not be detected by school staff when a child does not attend a school. Homeschooling is a way abusers can get away with their crimes. It also prevents a child from escaping from an abusive situation, even if it’s just for six hours a day. And if you’re looking for a common thread here to connect to my other points, narcissistic personality disorder is a common feature of abusive parents.

5) “The schools are bad in our area.”

This is racist/classist code language for “I don’t want my little Caligula sharing a classroom with a poor and/or brown child.” What is interesting about this argument is that I see it put forth mostly by so-called progressives and leftists. If you’re so progressive, you should have no issues with your children learning from children who are different from them.

6) “My kid is not challenged at public school because he/she is too smart.”

Most parents who proclaim their kids are too smart and therefore bored at public school are completely full of shit. They are suffering from special snowflake syndrome; they think their special DNA and special homeschooling is producing the next child prodigy. These are the types of parents that take all the credit for their child’s hard work and achievements, since they were the only ones smart enough to recognize their child was a special snowflake whom is too good to share a classroom with the rest of the plebes.

Teachers do something now called differentiated instruction. We recognize that every child has specific strengths and weaknesses, and we individually tailor instruction just for your special snowflake! There are special programs for gifted and talented children. Your kid being a genius or a prodigy is still no excuse for you to solely educate them. Wouldn’t they become a better genius or prodigy if they learned from others besides yourself? Isolating them from the ideas of others because you think your child is better than everyone else is definitely not going to make them better than everyone else. But let’s admit, homeschooling is not about them. It’s about you and your ego.

7) “Public education is in shambles. If the schools were better, I’d send my kids and I can’t afford private school “

If you gave a damn about public education, you’ would still send your kids to school while fighting to change policies like other parents and professionals do.  So let’s get to what this is really about: you. Homeschooling proves to the rest of your friends and family (and blog subscribers) what a super mom or dad you are by taking on a huge responsibility, while being smarter (and smuggier) than the average momma bear.

“Look at me–Look at me. Look how awesome I am homeschooling my special snowflake. I’m so much better than you! Nanny Nanny poo poo!

Advertisements

Stop Being an AskHole

Mommy Dearest doesn't really want your advice. She just wants validation.

Mommy Dearest doesn’t really want your advice. She just wants validation.

It’s happened again. I’ve been banned from another page. This seems to happen quite often. It’s never for name-calling or harassment; it’s usually for bringing to light a truth that the page’s admin doesn’t like to hear. This time, it was a mommy Facebook page for simply stating the obvious; something that people don’t want to hear, but they know it’s the truth:

If you crowd source advice or a problem you are having, why do you complain when you get some responses that don’t confirm your bias? Clearly, you did not want advice in the first place; you just want validation for your poor life choices.

You want someone to pat you on the back and tell you it’s okay to pop out 5 kids when you can’t afford them. Don’t worry, God public assistance will provide.

You want people to tell you it’s okay to want to homeschool your kid even though you don’t know the difference between there, their and they’re.

You want someone to tell you it’s all right to let your kid “deal with” a 103 fever without taking him to the doctor because doctors, Big Pharma and Tylenol are all part of an evil government plot to give your kid the Autizms.

You want someone to tell you it’s perfectly healthy to enforce antiquated gender roles upon your daughter and then expect nobody to tell you that it’s going to blow up in your face when she’s old enough to realize you’re a hypocritical ass-bag.

You don’t want to hear constructive and critical advice. All you want to hear is “Good job mama!”, “God Bless you!”, “I’m praying for you” and “Try this herbal remedy…”

To quote my friend Holly S., these people are “Askholes”!

Askholes existed before Facebook and its mommy groups, havens for the validation of Askholes and all other kinds of stupidity. I remember one particular Askhole I worked with who queried me one day about which route I thought best to get to a certain place. When I described what route I would take, he preceded to argue with me that it wasn’t the shortest route and that I should take his route. So why the fuck did you ask me how to get there in the first fucking place? 

And this brings me to a major theme that runs through many of my blog posts…

Narcissism

We have becoming so increasingly self-involved that we don’t want to listen to what anybody else has to say. We don’t want to accept that someone might have a better idea other than ourselves. We just want to hear validation and praise for our own shitty ideas. If someone is critical or disagrees with us, they’re a Debbie Downer or a judgmental meany.

When I do ask for advice, whether it be through a friend or the rare occasion I crowd source my FB page, I don’t argue with people what is the best advice. I listen to what everyone has to say and then I decide what would be the best plan of action. I don’t complain when I don’t like the advice. I don’t argue with you about it

I think it takes some maturity to eventually realize you do not possess all the answers and never will. We’re devolving as a society because we’re so wrapped up in ourselves that we forgot why we became the top species. In case you forgot, it was through mutual help and understanding. When we listen to others, we thrive as individuals as well as collectively.

Oh, and crowd sourcing for serious medical conditions like this twat-waffle is a serious no-no:

PeeingBlood

The Baron and the Woo-heads

9onwf

I love reading about psychological conditions and how the human mind works.  I am fascinated with disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder, and how these conditions affect individuals and the people around them. One psychological condition that is equally fascinating and horrifying is Baron von Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (BVMP). This is where a parent or caregiver seeks attention and sympathy through the intentional medical abuse of his/her child. I’m being fair and politically correct here because most people with BVMP are women and hence, mothers. These mothers seek constant medical treatments and often intentionally make their kids sick to perpetuate the lie that the child is chronically ill.

The issue of BVMP has come up recently in the case of Lacey Spears, a self-proclaimed mommy blogger and rejector of  science-based medicine. Before the birth of her son, she had a long history of compulsive lying and story telling. One example of her outrageous lies was when she claimed a boy she nannied was her own child, even using the child’s image on her Myspace page and captioning his pictures with such phrases as, “Hey there mommy Lacey”.

For the five years her own son was on this earth, he was sick. It started with constant ear infections and 23 visits to the hospital in the first year of his life. Garnett (Lacey’s son) was put on feeding tubes because of a “failure to thrive”. Lacey Spears chronicled every last detail of Garnett’s medical issues on social media, where she received an outpouring of sympathy and attention for her plight. This is why BVMP do what they do. They thrive on the attention and in the age of the internet, this level of attention increases exponentially with every like and share.

How was Lacey Spears able to get away with her crimes for so long? For one, she moved frequently during her son’s short life. Another reason could be disbelief; no one wants to believe a mother would harm her own child simply for the attention. However, I believe the most important reason why Garnett is no longer with us and suffered needlessly at the hands of his BVMP mother is because of the popularity of the alternative medicine movement, especially online.

Lacey sought out “holistic” doctors who would most likely not question why her son was so sick all the time. She moved to an “organic and alternative lifestyle commune” in NYC’s northern suburbs, where she could hide away and not have to account for her behavior. Finally, Lacey received the attention she craved from an online community of parents, self-proclaimed experts and FAUX medical professionals (i.e. naturopaths and chiropractors) who believe that science-based medicine, chemtrails, fluoride, non-organic food and vaccines are killing our children slowly. (What a terrible irony that Lacey was the one who was killing her child slowly). In a  June 2012 Facebook post, Lacey proclaimed the following:

“No (Garnett) does not watch tv, drink purple kook-aid (sic), eat ice cream or consume sugar of any form… He isn’t vaccinated, doesn’t follow western medicine “

It is my hypothesis that Lacey’s BVMP  is much more prevalent in the online alternative medicine/anti-vax/anti-science community. It is my belief that many of these anti-science moms either suffer from intense maternal narcissism, and/or some varying degree of Munchausen by Proxy–most not as severe as Lacey Spears’ but enough to where it is causing psychological harm to their children and might be causing physical harm.

Go to any anti-vaccine Facebook page and you will see moms like Lacey everyday; moms who claim their children’s myriad health issues–everything from eczema, asthma and autism–are caused by science-based medicine and science-based nutrition. How many times have you seen stories of “immediate vaccine injury” and not think the parent was just-a-wee bit exaggerating her story? I saw a woman claim she knew her daughter was vaccine injured because “as soon as the poisons were injected into (her little snowflake) she let out a blood curdling scream.” Um, yeah–pretty much every kid does that when he gets a needle put inside him. I know quite a few adults who do too.

On pages such as My Child’s Vaccine Reaction, you read of heartbreaking stories of kids succumbing to SIDS and the mother blaming the child’s recent DTap vaccination. And do you know what else you will see when these parents discuss their children’s health issues or death? An outpouring of  sympathy from their online community. Even if you know the kid’s health problems and/or death was not caused by vaccines, you’d be a real douchebag to question a grieving mother, right?

And how many kids are being harmed? How many kids are being subjected to pediatric chiropractic to cure a strep throat? How many kids are needlessly going through torturous chelation therapies to “detox” themselves from vaccines? How many kids are being given belladonna instead of Tylenol for a fever because their mom thinks Tylenol is “the red liquid of death”? How many kids are going to suffer through months of whooping-cough to satisfy their mother’s endless need for attention?

I think we need to hold the alternative health death community accountable for the harboring of terrible, awful people such as Lacey Spears. It is time to re-examine cases that sound all to familiar to Garnett’s case before we lose another beautiful child like him; a beautiful child who had no say in who his parents were and who had the unfortunate luck of having Lacey Spears as a mother. We need to speak for children like Garnett.

Written in Garnett Spear’s memory and in the memory of all the victims of child abuse.

Sources/Links for further reading:

Losing Garnett. A multi-part piece on the Garnett Spears case:

http://archive.lohud.com/article/99999999/LONGFORM01/399990221

NY Times article on the case:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/nyregion/lacey-spears-charged-with-fatal-poisoning-of-her-5-year-old-son.html?hpw&rref=nyregion&_r=1

Detailed explanation of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy:

http://allpsych.com/journal/munchausen.html

Lacey seeks holisitc doctors for Garnett:

http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/2014/03/27/lacey-spears-used-holistic-doctor-garnett-south-nyack/6982371/