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How I Lost a Facebook Friend From a Simple Parenting Conversation...


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26 replies to this topic

#1
Rainbow Jamz

Rainbow Jamz

    That Popular Anti-Social Guy


  • 765 posts

...that quickly escalated into an argument!


A few hours ago a friend of mine posted a certain status that I kind of regret engaging in and I would like your opinion on what went down. I would obviously prefer if people had my back on my stance 100%, but please feel free to tell me where I went wrong. I can already admit that my initial response to the status was condescending, but thankfully that's not where the heat rose right away. For all intents and purposes, I will type out an unedited transcript of the conversation. My name is Marlon, and the women I spoke with are Faith (my no longer friend) and Bria (her friend who jumped in for some tag team action).


Faith's Status: I am pretty sure that i was a good kid. Why are mine being brats.


Marlon: Look in the mirror


Faith: ....i am not a brat now...if thats what you mean.


Marlon: No I mean how are you treating them? Are you simply annoyed by their behaviour and want them to just stop it...or are you taking the time to genuinely understand their needs beneath the behaviour?


Faith: It was just a brat moment they had nothing big. I am treating my kids well. They are taken care of very well just a 1 year old and a 3 year old behavior that is annoying. Wait until you have kids you will understand what i mean then.


Marlon: I've been babysitting. I know first hand lol


Faith: Lol babysitting and being an everyday parent are two different things believe me.


Marlon: Oh for sure. I'm just saying there's usually a need thats just left unmet so that's why they can be troublesome. Especially if they can't speak yet its a lot of guess work. Does your 3 year old speak yet and can they voice their needs?


Faith: Ok i am going to stop you right here, and say this is over. my kids needs are met. And i am not going on with this convo any more because you know nothing about how i am with mychildren or what their needs are it was a simple like why wont my kids eat their dinner with out being a brat. It was nothing to do with every day behavior. But thanks for making this post something it was not.


Bria: Faith's kids are saints! For me lol and my kid is a saint for her. Like faith said, day in and day out. Sometimes, after telling your kid not to do something for the 9 millionth time and they STILL dont listen, constitutes a brat moment. Like faith said, babysitting isnt even scratching the surface. Kids always listen better to people who arent their parents. My step son listens to me a million times better than my daughter! Kids are PEOPLE and sometimes they can be frustrating, just like anyone else.


Marlon to Faith: Yikes no need to get defensive especially after I was empathizing with you and asking a genuine question.


To Bria: You have a point Bria and I noticed a million no's do become ineffective. I usually just offer positive alternatives instead of imposing restrictions all the time. It gets tiring trying to control another human being all day. My neice is pretty bratty about eating too, but when she's hungry she will whine with an ear piercing cry. And she WILL eat when she wants to and its no big deal for me if she doesn't eat when I want her to.


Faith: Stop where you be right now before i get ugly. And really what did you want me to say? oh thanks now that you say it like that i see your point. I see that maybe i am not beeting their needs and i am being negligent towards my kids...fuck off man. Thats a bunch of bull shit. Like i said in the last post stop before i am no longer this friendly. Because you opened up a conversation you have no right to talk about. Seeing as you onky baby sit. Good day.


Bria: Kids need restrictions. Theyre the kid, youre an adult. I made the money to buy you groceries, i got the groceries, i cooked the food. Is it too much to say that your child is being a brat because they dont want to eat when you ask them to? Wait until you have kids. Then you can join this conversation. Until then, i suggest you stick to what you know, which apparently isnt parenting.


Marlon: Ok there is a huge misunderstanding here. I wasn't even trying to undermine neither of your parenting abilities, just trying to have a good discussion so I can see what other views there are different from mine.


If you're all gonna take it personally and think I am attacking you for simply sharing my views without imposition, I wouldn't even worry about your parenting abilities beyond this point. I would be more concerned with why theres such a strong reaction from me simply stating that children become brats when a need is unmet.


No I do not know a single thing about your children's needs are and neither did I say you were negligent. If you think I was trying to undermine you or your intelligence, thats not my problem.


Again, I agreed with some of what you said and empathized with it, and if youre more on the business of attacking me instead of actually reading what I said and gave it some thought--well then, I am starting to worry for your kids if you react to rationality this easily. But hey if when I said look in the mirror triggered something in you I'm sorry.


---------------------------------------


And just like that, I got defriended and blocked. Good riddance, she was just a friend of an old exgirlfriend I had in high school who I never had the chance of meeting in person. I used to chat with her a lot but that dwindled over time. Anyways, I really hate that "wait til you have children" argument. My counter argument to that is "I don't have to! I've BEEN a kid! I know which parenting approach worked for me more." On the offbeat chance my parents did the right thing, there was no fuss no muss and I usually learned quickly about whatever I needed to learn. Anyways, hope that wasn't too long for some people, if you read that all I would love to thank you for taking the time to do so and I look forward to your feedback on my approach.


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#2
Ruben Z

Ruben Z

  • 415 posts

Fabebook might be a good practiceground for a habit where you don't offer your honesty to people when they have not earned it. I'm certainly no master in this skill myself, but reading your post it really makes sense once again .. 


The idea that you can just walk up to people assuming that they're going to be able to perform all kinds of introspection that took you (or at least me) many years of suffering and hard work ...  is kind of irrational.


How did you feel prior to your initial ( "look in the mirror") response? 


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#3
TDB

TDB

  • 113 posts

Seems like Faith immediately went on the defensive and stopped listening. You were offering empathy but she refused to hear that. Do you think it could be one of those situations, where using text communication causes an emotional miscommunication? Or something else? She seems to get a different message, something judgemental, like "unmet needs = bad mom, feel guilty and reform" whereas I hope you meant something like "unmet needs = imperfect communication, relax and try to connect."


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#5
Nathan Diehl

Nathan Diehl

  • 189 posts

The approach was completely flawed from the very beginning. Facebook is not a medium to discuss ideas. It is a way for people to feel like their lives have validation. It is one huge massive circle jerk and if you aren't participating, you're the enemy. Only challenge someone if they engage you first on the level or you can look them in the eye. 


There was no "right" party in this exchange. You were both wrong. 


 


On the up side, you just rid yourself of someone who was not truly your friend. That's like getting a tax refund. 


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#6
Rainbow Jamz

Rainbow Jamz

    That Popular Anti-Social Guy


  • 765 posts

hm you guys are right. My approach was tactless. Do you think there would be a different outcome if I never said the first comment and started with the curiousity? Or perhaps engaging at all was a mistake? as for what I was feeling before I posted was excitement to have a reasonable discussion about parenting to see if an actual one would contest my ideas or agree. Part of me also felt like I wanted to help her see an alternative to the narcicissm of simply wantinf the behaviour to stop.


I suppose not everyone has had the luxury of even having the time to introspect, meanwhile shes the kind of woman to simply get caught up in the drama of her life. I mean her last boyfriend locked her outside of their house in the winter time for some miniscule argument. And shes got a pretty messed up history with step fathers that I would suspect has been left unprocessed, hence she has chosen men who have given her children and then abandoned her. Dont knoe if both kids share the same father but thats not the point.


The point is I guess was that I simply lacked the empathy I was trying to educate her on by starting off with a snarky remark. Do you guys suppose that if she was anything short of rational the conversation would not have erupted the way it did? I strongly believe that my rudeness retractment was reasonable and these women were attacking me for possibly making their narcicissm apparent.


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#7
Nathan Diehl

Nathan Diehl

  • 189 posts

Here's the thing. It doesn't matter "what if she was..." or what not. EVERY person on this planet has dysfunction. You won't be able to change people, therefore, you should focus on yourself. If you really need to practice arguing your points online, I'd suggest creating an account on a board somewhere where noone can identify you, and then just go to town. You'll find out exactly how fruitful constantly arguing with people and trying to get them to see really is (when they are not interested). 


We see Stef making a life out of arguing/discussing/being a pain in the ass, but he's REALLY good at it! lol 20 years of education, practice, and gaining self-knowledge. Doing what you're trying to do seems easy because all you need is a computer and internet, but the actual execution of it is muuuuuuuuuuuuch trickier. 


Something I've learned to do is to argue outloud with myself. Usually, when I feel a "need" to get my point across to someone, what is really happening is that I feel threatened, disenfranchised, or wronged and I want to get some type of intellectual revenge (to put things right). So when that insatiable need to be right comes up, i let it out on myself. When it's gone I think about the points I was making and realize that I did not put them together or articulate them well. 


Don't go TO people. Let them come to you. But quietly put yourself in situations where they want to come to you. Be a sneaky bastard. :)


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#8
TDB

TDB

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hm you guys are right. My approach was tactless. Do you think there would be a different outcome if I never said the first comment and started with the curiousity? 

Disappointing. I doubt that it was much of a "teachable moment". The motives that drove her to post (frustration, insecurity, desire for validation or maybe wishing for a magical cure) didn't prepare her for your input. But as STer pointed out, it might've gone better if you'd shown her that you understood her feelings first. Once you'd set her off, she was happy to cast you as the bad guy, and It got  hard to get things back on track.


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#9
DoubtingThomas

DoubtingThomas
  • 241 posts

You were offering empathy but she refused to hear that.

She complained that her kids were being brats and he responded with "Look in the mirror." I don't see any world in which that is "offering empathy," at least not to her.

Offering empathy would probably start with something like "So you're feeling frustrated by your kids? Tell me more about that."

I'm not saying empathizing with her comment was the only approach one could take. But it certainly isn't the approach he took.

I agree. There is no telling if she would have been so defensive anyway, but that start to the conversation certainly didn't help.

Of course, the more frank bits of the converstaion will come up eventually and that's unavoidable, but cutting to that chase so soon invites them to completely shut you out.

I've had similar conversations with my brother and his wife in the past, and I usually kept it in the realm of asking them to vent their frustrations for a long while. Only after they really trusted me to hear thier version of events did I go and talk to their two girls about what was happening. We are all extremely close (I actually loathe the concept of facebook friendship, but that's another story) so I think the amount of time it took me to get them all together to talk about each other's means of improving was telling. I can't honestly see anything less than a BEST friend or close/trusted family member getting somewhere with this. The level of trust and empathy required to have someone keep their defense mechanisms in check is very high. I was chewed out a few times for overstepping and, as I said, I took a much more circuitous rout toward the tough questions.

 


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#10
Stephen C

Stephen C

    Cutie Pie


  • 929 posts

Experimentation rocks! Do it up, MCS :)


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- "It's just whatever grows from the seed called honesty, and the watering of the tears of loss. Whatever grows from that is your True Self." - Stef


- "people don't care what you know until they know you care" ~Aldo Pucci


‎"compassion is the engine that makes caring happen and without compassion, intellect becomes a monster"


- "a self attack is what happens when we FORGET something. we attack ourselves whenever we forgot who we are. when we separate from the love that we are, we start to fight with ourselves but we forgot that we don't like to fight because we are love." 


- "the things that people say are their worst qualities are usually their finest qualities when you can find this to be true in you, you will find a much better opinion of yourself" ~ Dee


"Loss of empathy might well be the most enduring and deepest-cutting scar of all, the silent blade of an unseen enemy, tearing at our hearts and stealing more than our strength. Stealing our will, for what are we without empathy? What manner of joy might we find in our lives if we cannot understand the joys and pains of those around us, if we cannot share in the greater community?"
-Drizzt Do'urden


 


#11
Pepin

Pepin

  • 531 posts

This might be wrong, but I feel like when confronting someone about an issue like this, starting off with something like that and then trying to recover can't work. To put it in IFS terms, you are likely activating a protector part with the comment, and though the part doesn't immediately take control, it is ready to jump in to manage the situation or to put out the fire. With some people, it is possible to bypass the defenses, and I'd say this is the best route to take in general.


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#12
Stephen C

Stephen C

    Cutie Pie


  • 929 posts

Bypassing a Protector is not recommended and highly discouraged. All Parts have to be on board. 


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- "It's just whatever grows from the seed called honesty, and the watering of the tears of loss. Whatever grows from that is your True Self." - Stef


- "people don't care what you know until they know you care" ~Aldo Pucci


‎"compassion is the engine that makes caring happen and without compassion, intellect becomes a monster"


- "a self attack is what happens when we FORGET something. we attack ourselves whenever we forgot who we are. when we separate from the love that we are, we start to fight with ourselves but we forgot that we don't like to fight because we are love." 


- "the things that people say are their worst qualities are usually their finest qualities when you can find this to be true in you, you will find a much better opinion of yourself" ~ Dee


"Loss of empathy might well be the most enduring and deepest-cutting scar of all, the silent blade of an unseen enemy, tearing at our hearts and stealing more than our strength. Stealing our will, for what are we without empathy? What manner of joy might we find in our lives if we cannot understand the joys and pains of those around us, if we cannot share in the greater community?"
-Drizzt Do'urden


 


#13
Pepin

Pepin

  • 531 posts

Bypassing a Protector is not recommended and highly discouraged. All Parts have to be on board. 

I am a little confused, so I will expand upon my use of the word bypass.

In talking to others, debating with a manager or protector part is not going to be productive unles the person is rather rational or has a decent amount self-knowledge. To provide an example, imagine there is a part that causes a person to get angry and yell when triggered. If you were a friend of this person, and wanted to go about helping resolve this, you would not want to trigger the part to resolve the issue, as this would result in getting yelled at and the actions the part takes in the moment are opposed to reasoning. Instead, you would approach the person when they are calm, and do your best to not trigger this person's anger, but to keep them in a cool and reasonable state of mind.The IFS therapy approach would not to be trigger the part, rather it would find a way of activating the part while remaining in self.

So perhaps what I mean is more bypassing the trigger which would cause a person to go into an anti-rational state.


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#15
Stephen C

Stephen C

    Cutie Pie


  • 929 posts

Bypassing a Protector is not recommended and highly discouraged. All Parts have to be on board. 

I am a little confused, so I will expand upon my use of the word bypass.

In talking to others, debating with a manager or protector part is not going to be productive unles the person is rather rational or has a decent amount self-knowledge. To provide an example, imagine there is a part that causes a person to get angry and yell when triggered. If you were a friend of this person, and wanted to go about helping resolve this, you would not want to trigger the part to resolve the issue, as this would result in getting yelled at and the actions the part takes in the moment are opposed to reasoning. Instead, you would approach the person when they are calm, and do your best to not trigger this person's anger, but to keep them in a cool and reasonable state of mind.The IFS therapy approach would not to be trigger the part, rather it would find a way of activating the part while remaining in self.

So perhaps what I mean is more bypassing the trigger which would cause a person to go into an anti-rational state.


You don't sound confused at all. 


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- "It's just whatever grows from the seed called honesty, and the watering of the tears of loss. Whatever grows from that is your True Self." - Stef


- "people don't care what you know until they know you care" ~Aldo Pucci


‎"compassion is the engine that makes caring happen and without compassion, intellect becomes a monster"


- "a self attack is what happens when we FORGET something. we attack ourselves whenever we forgot who we are. when we separate from the love that we are, we start to fight with ourselves but we forgot that we don't like to fight because we are love." 


- "the things that people say are their worst qualities are usually their finest qualities when you can find this to be true in you, you will find a much better opinion of yourself" ~ Dee


"Loss of empathy might well be the most enduring and deepest-cutting scar of all, the silent blade of an unseen enemy, tearing at our hearts and stealing more than our strength. Stealing our will, for what are we without empathy? What manner of joy might we find in our lives if we cannot understand the joys and pains of those around us, if we cannot share in the greater community?"
-Drizzt Do'urden


 


#16
Pepin

Pepin

  • 531 posts

I see what you mean. But I do think the word "bypass" is misleading and sounds like the type of thing you wouldn't want to do. I'm sure there is a better word that is more accurate to what you're saying and also sounds healthier.

You are right, I ought to use another term. 

You don't sound confused at all. 

I meant confused by your response, as in I didn't understand why you were intepreting what I said in a manner that I did not intend.


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#17
Andersfilosof

Andersfilosof
  • 187 posts

And just like that, I got defriended and blocked. Good riddance, she was just a friend of an old exgirlfriend I had in high school who I never had the chance of meeting in person. I used to chat with her a lot but that dwindled over time. Anyways, I really hate that "wait til you have children" argument. My counter argument to that is "I don't have to! I've BEEN a kid! I know which parenting approach worked for me more." On the offbeat chance my parents did the right thing, there was no fuss no muss and I usually learned quickly about whatever I needed to learn. Anyways, hope that wasn't too long for some people, if you read that all I would love to thank you for taking the time to do so and I look forward to your feedback on my approach.

 

There's nothing wrong with what you did in that Facebook exchange.  I think it's helpful to realize that when a parent complains about their kids on Facebook they're simply looking for validation from people on their friends' list who are also shitty parents - it's not in an attempt to meet the child's needs, because obviously that would require engaging with the child and they would rather stroke their ego using Facebook than expose the shortcomings they and their own parents had around childraising.


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#19
Andersfilosof

Andersfilosof
  • 187 posts

Or, on the contrary, maybe they very carefully and gently helped the child and then saved venting their frustration for adult friends who can handle that instead of venting it at the child, which is a very good thing to do.

Not saying I know which is the case here. But just because someone is venting frustration about parenting doesn't mean they are a bad parent. In fact, many people come to this very board to discuss their difficulties and frustrations parenting not because they are bad parents, but precisely because they are trying to be the best parents they can be.

I guess we can get some insight based on how they express their feelings and where (ie: viciously insulting the kid on a completely public forum would obviously be more than just healthy venting).

I agree, but the difference between Facebook and this forum is Facebook generally has people's real names, and complaining about your kids behavior on Facebook is a form of public humiliation.  I don't see people on this forum complaining about their kids behavior very often, but rather expressing their frustration on dealing with specific instances that come up as a parent, which is quite different.  One is aimed at solving the problem, the other is just aimed at reducing anxiety in the short-term.


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#21
Rainbow Jamz

Rainbow Jamz

    That Popular Anti-Social Guy


  • 765 posts

You guys have some really good points. It does seem like a reasonable thing to vent minisculy while reasoning with her kids in real life. Maybe I was even just a scapegoat for her unexpressed angst. Who knows if she even had a bad day, but shes usually been chill. Based on that quickness to defensiveness though, Im pretty sure she was in denial of some truth or fear in her parenting abilities. She seems like she could be a statistic of abusive mothers due to her dating habits and unexamined history. But cant judge too much cause again Ive never met her in person to know what shes really like.


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#22
xelent

xelent

  • 2176 posts

Hey Morse you have my sympathy. Processing a whole new paradigm to that
which you have been taught, can indeed be a rocky road at times.
Personally I think Nathandiehl made the most productive and useful
points here. Standing up to poor parenting can be an act of bravery, but
it's always worth checking in on yourself before you start to engage.


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#23
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    :)


  • 1404 posts

I'm skeptical of the idea that this could have gone much better. If you are beating yourself up at all for not doing it "right", then I would look at that. You don't owe her honest RTR type communication. You don't owe her anything. As long as you are being honest with yourself, then F her.


Maybe this is total projection (or me not reading all the posts), but if you are feeling guilt, then why? Isn't that interesting?


Her comment didn't deserve compassion or empathy. If compassion is a useful tactic, then that's something, but not because you owe it to her.


I'm just afraid that (if you are anything like me) you'll beat yourself up and then never get to any kind of lesson. When I beat myself up, it's to stop thinking through something.


Sorry if this is totally unhelpful!


Take care :)


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"There is no law, no compulsion, no law of physics or man that is preventing you from living the life that you want" - Stef (The Greatest Gift in the Entire Universe)


#24
Rainbow Jamz

Rainbow Jamz

    That Popular Anti-Social Guy


  • 765 posts

Nah I don't feel any guilt about it. Im simply perplexed by how randomly she can turn on me after years of an ok but inconsequential online friendship. Though I have looked deeply about why I feel the need to "educate" parents on peaceful parenting. A lot of it stems from my own sub par upbringing obvioisly. Couple that with the eagerness to share new knowledge I acquire, I tend to seek instances where I can practice rationalizing abstract principles. I put them to use of course when I babysit but engaging in that conversation really was to see how conventional parents would view my opinion. Unfortunately it became an attack such is the case with crap parents.


Jeez I rememher in college, this woman was furiously and proudly telling me how strict she is with her kids. Even as her kids hit the adult age she still imposed crazy cerfews with punishable results if it wasnt obeyed. This was before I really got into FDR and seeked a lot of parenting knowledge, but even back then I felt and innate cringyness from how anal she sounded. I knew her false demeanor was avoidance of some dysfunction but back then I couldnt even verbalize my beliefs and argue them rationally enough.


These days I can, and perhaps not perfectly as you saw in the conversation, but I am galaxies ahead of my 2010 self. I dunno, is it wrong to engage in debates deliberately just to see how much you really know something? Or should I STFU and focus on applying these principles in my own life? And save the arguments for when its truly needed?


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Nothing is permanent, only short term or long term.


#25
Nathan Diehl

Nathan Diehl

  • 189 posts

Morse, 


I don't think it's one way or the other. There needs to be a healthy balance between working on yourself and working with others. In the beginning of waking up, it's about 99% self, 1% others. I'd imaging working on yourself never drops below 65%ish. But how you do it is up to you. Just try and have a good idea about what you're trying to accomplish and what the best strategy is for bring the desired results to fruition. Engaging in debate because of personal dysfunction is a great way to turn people away. 


But of course, the false self ALWAYS wants to tell others how they're wrong! lol


It can be tough to balance, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Remember, it's not just having the truth, but how you deliver that truth. I fresh out of the oven New York double cheese pepperoni pizza is awesome, unless delivered on some sweaty guys hairy back. 


Keep asking the questions that you're asking. You're doing it right.


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#26
Fel1x

Fel1x

  • 18 posts

Stef has a good podcast on this subject FDR891, it really helped me to understand why similar convos happened to me.


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#27
cynicist

cynicist

  • 395 posts

Personally I thought you made some good points, but I'm also not sure what you expected from that conversation. I could see the train wreck from a mile away.

 

It does seem like a reasonable thing to vent minisculy while reasoning with her kids in real life.... But cant judge too much cause again Ive never met her in person to know what shes really like.

 

Well I'll go ahead and judge her for you, what kind of parent calls their kid a brat? I can't imagine giving birth to a child and then judging their behavior as selfish/bad at the ages of one and three. I mean at that point everything they've learned has come from their parents. It's pretty obvious that she is just ordering them around and then is upset that they aren't doing what she wants. She doesn't negotiate with them and hypocritically considers them to be the unreasonable ones.

 

And then she trots out that beaten down horse of an argument that, "you'll understand when you are a parent", disgusting. I know one thing for a fact, if I ever have kids I'll value them as human beings, not treat them like unruly pets that simply can't be reasoned with, or robots that should do what I say and never have an independent thought or desire in their minds. People like her don't deserve children, and honestly your criticism was rather light. 

 

I agree with anders that she was simply seeking validation, which is why she ended that convo so abruptly.


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