S1: The following podcast contains explicit language. Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, April 22nd. The targeting bands that target trans kids, Ed.. And similarly, a writer contributor to Slate parent beating parenting and mom to Nyima, who is eight. And we live in Los Angeles, California.
S2: I’m Dan Coates. I’m a writer and editor at Slate. I wrote the book How to Be a Family. I’m the dad of Laura, who’s 15, and Harper, who’s 13. And we live in Arlington, Virginia.
S3: I’m Elizabeth New. Can’t I write the Homeschool and Family Travel Blog? Dutch Dutch Goose. I’m the mom to three little Henry who’s nine, Oliver who’s six, and Teddy who’s four. And we live in Navarre, Florida.
S1: On today’s show, we have a question about a father and a blended family who seems to be prioritizing his daughter with his previous wife over his relationship with his son, with his current wife. Then we’ll be joined by Alex Shen, director of Harvard Law and LGBTQ Advocacy Clinic, to talk to us about the bill’s sweeping state legislators targeting transgender children. Plus, the wonderful, hilarious host of Slate’s newest podcast, I see. Why Am I are dropping by to quickly explain Internet slang that has our listeners completely confused. It’s the first installment of our recurring segment, in case you missed it, mom and dad on Slate. Plus, we’ll be debating whether or not it’s OK to read your kid’s text messages and emails. But first things first. We always start with triumphs and fails, Dan. Which one do you have for us this week?
S2: I have a a minor triumph, I think. So this has been a truly insane and terrible school year for everyone, but Lyra has generally done pretty well, like she’s a sophomore now in high school. The work is a lot harder. She really, really hates online school, which I just find basically impossible to pay attention to. But through all of that, she has been very diligent. She clearly cares about her performance. And it’s not clear to me what exactly drives how much she cares about her performance, whether it’s that she expects herself to get good grades or she views us as expecting her to get good grades or because she has some specific goal for the future that she’s trying to achieve. But she has pretty much maintained A’s and most of her classes all year. She’s worked really hard. I, I think, honestly too hard. You know, we’ve told her this year, honestly, this is like the last year. We don’t care what your grades are. You should not care what your grades are. All that we care is that you’re doing the best you can under the circumstances and that you’re not miserable. But, you know, that was really easy for me to say most of the year when she was getting A’s. But all of a sudden last week, we discovered that her third quarter science grade was much lower than in a she was just having a lot of trouble in that. Class, and so my low level triumph is that I think I talked about it with her and dealt with it in a way that did not freak her out or lead her to put even more pressure on herself about school. And she already does. I said to her, it looks like you’ve missed some assignments, you know, and as a result, your greatest suffering. And she immediately came back with, well, you said you don’t care about grades this year. And it’s true that I said that and don’t. So I try to step back and I said, you’re right. And that’s not why I’m having this conversation with you. But it does seem like you are working your ass off in this class, but you’re nevertheless getting overwhelmed and having trouble. And that is reflected in this grade that I see here. So I want to find a way to help you not feel that way during fourth quarter. You only have a couple of months left of this class. I want to do what I can to help you not feel overwhelmed, to not be upset and not feel like you are missing stuff or confused. I mean, it took a couple of conversations with me at Olea, who also I think was very good at delivering this in just the right way. But I think now that she gets that, that we understand that it has become important for her to do the work and we just want to find ways we can help her do the work and not feel upset about it. So we’ve got regular check ins set up with us. We found a college kid is going to give her a little help. She has joined forces with a couple of other kids in the class to go have a serious conversation with the teacher about how they all feel she’s assigning too much homework. I think that’s fantastic. Anyway, whatever. This is like a minor bump in the road for a kid who is generally really succeeding at a very difficult time. But I have done a really bad job in the past at responding a kind and useful way when Lyra’s grades have fallen in previous years. So I’m proud that I did a slightly better job this time. I hope that in fourth quarter she is happier and she feels less freaked out and gets an A..
S3: I think that’s great, though, like, you know, like we can actually be here to help you.
S2: I know, believe it or not, kid.
S1: Yeah. Hopefully when she searches herself on this show transcript, she doesn’t stop dead in her tracks. When she gets to m dash and gets in a
S2: I’m just hoping I set it quiet enough that the transcription robot doesn’t hear.
S1: Kudos to you, Dad, for helping her to feel more comfortable during an uncomfortable time. Elizabeth, what do you have for us this week? You are like square in the middle of this movie.
S3: So, yes, I am for that reason, giving myself a triumph in a very weird story because I can’t handle a fail at this point. So tomorrow I’m supposed to leave with the kids to head to Atlanta and then the movers will be here. I’m going to sit them with the grandparents so that just with covid and everything, that’s like too hard to have the me. I mean, it’s terrible to have kids with mover’s here anyway. So I have just like completely basically over scheduled today because so many things had rolled to today, like I needed to go sign this paperwork for the house. I have a few little things to drop off like around town and all of that has kind of landed on today before I leave. And the kids were finishing up this online thing, which I should have totally dropped. This is like I signed the kids up to help participate in some kind of research project to buy the University of Florida for something. So one of them had an appointment at nine, the other had an appointment at eleven online to do this thing. All of us had just ended. We needed to, like, get in the car and drive to the title place so I could sign this paperwork. And we get out to the car and I have the other two, like they’re supposed to be loading up. And I had the trunk open to put stuff in. And the kids I walk outside, the kids are just like screaming. They’re like, there’s a cat in our car, there’s a cat in our car. So I look and we have this cat that has just moved into the neighborhood. His name is Mr. Fitz Fitz. He’s a mean cat. He’s a very, very mean cat. This cat is in my minivan and I cannot get him to get out like I’m in the car. I’m too scared to grab him because he hisses at you. I cannot get this cat out of my car like I don’t have time for this. So I just, like, look at the cat and I’m like, I guess you’re coming with us. I don’t I don’t know what else to do. So I’m buckling in the kids and the cat is like up on this bed and I, like, open the trunk for one last, you know, like, I was like, okay, I’ll back the car with the trunk open. So I’m like back in the car to finally just like jumps out. I’m like, oh, OK. So I shut the trunk, drive off to the title place where you’re not allowed to bring your children. Jeff is on a flight today and really I’m going to blame this whole thing on him because he sent me this text this morning that was like we don’t have the phone till 4:00 PM. You’re on your own, which is like every day. So why did you have to text me to remind me that? But I blame that text for everything that happens from here on out. So I get to the title place and I have a friend that offered to come meet me there and sit with the kids in the car. She lives very close to the title place when I go in and sign, so I go in, it turns out that the title person we’ve been working with no longer works there. They won’t give me any more details. She doesn’t. Work there as of Friday. No one really knows where my paperwork is, everyone is completely unsympathetic that I’m like leaving. They’re also insisting they can’t mail it to me, which is not true. So anyway, I’m like, OK, this woman comes out, she says, it’ll be 20 minutes. I’m like, all right. Right. So I go back out to the car talking with my friend, go back in. It’s not ready. Go to start the car. The car is dead. I’m like, don’t worry. I have jumper cables. No, I don’t have the jumper cables because I emptied the entire car, you know, during the cat thing. Plus, like trying to get the car ready for the road trip. She has jumper cables, but she is hugely pregnant. She is. So she’s doing like like a couple of weeks.
S2: If this story does not end in Mr. Fitz bits delivering the baby in the back of your car.
S3: Yes, exactly. She has to, like, pull her car so close to mine. I’m in a minivan. She’s in some other, you know, huge car so close to mine. She’s like this amazing driver. She pulls her tight. She’s so close, but now she can’t get out of her car. And she is the one who really knows how to do the jumping. Like I have done it before. But I have to get out the manual. This woman, Lindsey, she’s going straight to heaven, guys. She climbed out through the trunk of her huge car and she’s like, so she’s like emerging from the trunk. She’s like, it’s no big deal. And then she proceeds to jump my car. No problem. She’s like, you should drive to the AutoZone, have them checked the battery. I do. That battery is apparently totally fine. Everything with the car is totally fine. So basically I get I get back here just in time to like get set up and do all the things. But I’m awarding myself a win when really Lindsey should get the triumph, because not only is she like an amazing mom who left this to go get her kid from school and she’s, you know, growing a whole nother human and jump my car and generally was just like, this is so funny. Don’t worry. This is a hysterical story. What a great way to end our, you know, time together. Elizabeth, I’m so glad that this is like our final moment. So Lindsay gets the triumph and I get a triumph for having a friend like Lindsay. May I find may I find a Lindsay in Colorado Springs?
S2: I dedicate this podcast to Lindsay. Did you ever sign your title? No.
S3: Now the paperwork is not done. They told me like to come back and I was like, well, I’ll call you when I’m when I’m done here.
S2: And they can I mean,
S3: they can definitely I’ve definitely closed on houses. Not from there. But of course, please remember that I’m in a very special place through. For one more day, one more
S1: day, I’m so disappointed that Mr Fitzgibbon is not a part of your family because that’s definitely where I thought this story was going.
S2: So I thought you ran him over.
S1: I also thought that. But you stayed out of it, too. Leytonstone for.
S3: Yeah, I definitely that would be so traumatic.
S4: Everyone thinks
S2: leaving the bar one day early
S4: on. I would have just gone the living,
S1: everything from that packed up. It’s not worth
S3: it if that gets gets in my car tomorrow, though. He’s mine. I’m taking the angry cat to Colorado. We’ll see. We’ll see what the road trip will bond.
S2: Djamila, whatever you try and fail.
S1: So I thought I was setting myself up for a triumph. Namaz into all things niños. She loves basketball and she happens to be a fan of Shaquille O’Neal. I don’t know what made me think of this. Maybe he had popped up in a commercial and I said, oh, you know, Shaquille O’Neal used to rap, right? And she was like, she’s like, what? And I’m like, yeah. And I mean, you know, I named a bunch of the rappers that a bunch of the NBA players that had rap music. I was like, oh, you know, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson. And yeah. And I was like, Shaq was like the most successful team, all like he had like hit records. And so I played her a couple of Shaquille O’Neal songs. And Unimpressed is not the word. Actually, the specific word that she used was disturbing. I actually have a favorite Shaquille O’Neal song, which is Can’t Stop the Rain featuring Biggie. But it’s also a biggie song with like a great R&D sample. So it’s just like he’s just there,
S2: much like he was in the middle of the Lakers offense for
S1: somebody. Ouch. Ouch. So to be fair, the one that she called deserving was the reason why. And when I’m like, well, Rizza is a little bit disturbing sometimes I understand that and I love it. It was no hook. That was the song that I played, No Hook featuring the rhythm Method Man. So maybe the lesson was
S2: she’s not ready for the
S1: fight ready because it will say, she added that he was checked in a fool, which is one of her favorite things to say, because I think it’s either a show or a segment that he does on I believe he’s TNT talent and they say this often fact in the fall. And so she says he was just shocked and a fool. And she says, I never want to hear that again. She says, You said I was in for a treat and these are dog treats.
S2: I would like to offer him a job at Pitchfork reviewing 90s rap. I was like,
S1: there’s something to this hatred. I don’t know, like maybe we could do something with this. The one the last thing I want to add that you shared, because I’m if there’s any parent who can connect with this, please find me Instagram, Facebook, wherever, find me. She said, I’d rather listen to Marcia Clark and Chris Darden rap together over him. Now, you may be wondering, why the hell does my child know who Marcia Clark and Chris Darden are? Well, I was Marcia Clark and Chris Darden, famous for being the prosecutors that did not successfully prosecute O.J. Simpson in nineteen ninety five. We’re also characters on the unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. All right. My daughter lives inside the Tina Fey cinematic universe. In a lot of ways, these characters are often with us and on her mind. And because Tina played Marsha herself, I think and I didn’t I realize this for a long time. I was like, you know, that Tina Fey, she was like, what? And so anyway, she sees them as being the epitome of bad at their jobs, though she also has told me that they had the most on screen chemistry of any couple she’s seen on TV before, which I thought was special, and that she would rather watch them rap in character than to listen to Shaquille O’Neal rap again.
S2: You are raising a wonderful child with excellent taste. Great. Thank you. Thank you. It is amazing to think of that brief period where we believed Shaq was anything other than corny.
S1: He’s the pinnacle of corny, but he’s like, corny, cool. It doesn’t work when I feel like he’s not aware of it. When I feel like he’s in on the joke, I’m like, Shaq, you know, you’re not cool. You’re cool because you’re not cool and that’s cool. But when he feels like he’s being actual cool and I guess rap Shaq was the epitome of I’m actually cool. Good thing those days are long behind us, and it’s not like we’re going to have a cartoon movie coming out soon that will somehow bring some new NBA players to the microphone so that they can rap and embarrass himself in front of our children as well. Before we get into our listener question, let’s handle some business. First things first. Hey, guys, subscribe to the show. You’ll never have to spend time searching for our latest episode. I’ll be right there in your feed. Plus, you’ll be helping us out. That is a great way to show your support of mom and dad are fighting. So please subscribe, subscribe, subscribe. Wherever you listen to podcasts. If you want to be notified about all things slate parenting, you need to sign up for Sleigh’s parenting newsletter. Besides getting all of Slate’s great parenting content in one place, including mom and dad are fighting. Ask a teacher and care and feeding. It’s also a really fun story in your inbox each week straight from Danquah of Mom and Dad are fighting pain. So please sign up at Slate dot com backslash parenting email. Finally, if you want to connect with other parents, join our parenting group on Facebook. Super active, well moderated. Just search slate parenting on Facebook. All right. Let’s get to our listener question being read, as always, by the lovely Shasha Lienert.
S5: Dear mom and dad, my husband and I moved in together when his daughter was nine months old. She is now almost eight and we have a four year old son. We share custody of our oldest with her mom on a week on week off schedule. Obviously, our son is with us all of the time. It is becoming more and more obvious that my husband views our own weeks with our daughter as valuable family time and hour off weeks as his time to focus on whatever he wants without paying much attention to family affairs when all four of us are home. My husband plays an active role in parenting both kids. He will happily play family board games, walk to the park, sit down at the table as a family each night, etc.. When our daughter is at her mom’s house, he tends to check out. He spends virtually all of his time working on his own hobbies and projects and prefers to eat dinner on the couch and is actively against doing things like walking for ice cream because he doesn’t want our daughter to be left out of any type of family outing. The other day I suggested a dedicated taco Tuesday night, and my husband agreed on the condition that we only do it every other week when our daughter is here. I am a stay at home mom, and I feel like all of my time and brainpower is dedicated to our family, whether our daughter is here or not, whether it’s an on week or an off week, my days are virtually the same. I facilitate school drop off, coordinate play dates, meal plan and prep, soothe tantrums and plan activity after activity to keep these kids happy, healthy and occupied. I do understand where he’s coming from when our daughter is away, a piece of our family is missing. However, it’s not like our daughter stops when she’s at her mom’s. She goes on adventures and vacations with her mom. She gets plenty of special treats on mom’s time. I don’t think that her son should be deprived of regular family things while she isn’t here. I’m not suggesting that we go to Disneyland without her, but am I out of line for thinking that it’s perfectly fine to take our son to the zoo, the park, the ice cream parlor when his sister isn’t around? Am I wrong for feeling resentful that my husband takes a free week twice a month? While I am literally always parenting? I worry that my son will feel neglected and my daughter will believe that our family life revolves solely around her. How can I better communicate to my husband that while yes, it is disappointing that our daughter only spends half her time here, our son is always here and needs to feel like his life is whole, no matter what else is happening around him. Sad for my son.
S1: Wow. There is a lot here, Dan, what do you think?
S2: Wow, indeed. Listen. Wow, you are correct to feel that this is unfair to your son and to you. So let me first affirm the way you are feeling. It is not weird that you feel that way. You definitely need to sit down with your husband sometime. When your son and daughter are otherwise occupied, you need to tell him your concerns specifically about how your son is getting short shrift in the situation. Lead with your son. You’ve got a great opening line right here in your email. You you wrote, Our son is always here and he needs to feel like his life is whole no matter what else is happening around him. Tell your husband that this. Insane Taco Tuesday conversation really made you realize that your son is getting shortchanged because his time alone with you, too doesn’t feel special, it just feels like, oh, this is when everything’s on hold because we’re waiting for my sister to return. But family life doesn’t end just because one member of the family is elsewhere. Family life continues, as you say, as it continues for your daughter when she’s with her mom. It should be continuing for you, too, as well. But I also think you cannot have this conversation without addressing the issue of his notion that the weeks that the daughter is gone are his weeks off, that is bullshit. And he needs to rethink everything about his life. Elizabeth, do you agree? And if so, how does she initiate that part of the talk?
S3: I absolutely agree. I think that this is definitely kind of almost two separate issues, like there’s this family wholeness issue. But like you said, there’s also this issue that like he thinks that when there aren’t two kids in the house, there’s like less work to be done or something. I think this is probably a conversation about the total amount of work that’s being done in the House and how much of that you’re responsible for. I did think that one of the ways to do this is to implement some kind of like father son activity that’s happening on those off weeks and taking advantage of some of that one on one time, because even in our house with three kids, like the situation is not always the same. And who’s dealing with what kids? And Jeff and I have had some conversations because he’ll feel like if he took one kid to go do something that he’s like done this big parenting thing, like he’ll come home and be like, well, I took Oliver out kayaking. It was like, well, great, but who do you think had the other two while you were gone? Right. Like, there needs to be a time when you get off to and you need to be able to say to him, like, I need some downtime, too. And I think the best way for that is also to grow this relationship with him and his son. It’s important that the whole family gets along, but a piece of that is growing kind of the the sum of the parts, you know, so growing each individual’s relationship with every other individual. And what seems to be lacking here is like your your husband’s and your son’s relationship and their ability to, like, go do something that’s giving you some time off. And I think also offloading some of the everyday things, like if he has a problem with Toco to say, like maybe he needs to be coming up at the meal plans, your routine needs to be normal with the extra rhythm of like sometimes your have two kids at home, sometimes you have one kid at home. But I don’t Djamila, you deal some with kind of this rhythm.
S1: I do. I’ll say, you know, name is Dad is in this situation. I cannot speak on their household, though it would be hard for me to imagine this being their dynamic. I just don’t think that’s how my parents are rolling. But I 100 percent agree with Dan and Elizabeth. It is unconscionable that Dad seems to think that he gets a vacation from parenting just because there are less children there when he is the common denominator for all of the children being parented in this household. He is the parent supreme. And as Elizabeth said, it is unfortunately very often the case. The dads have not, you know, perhaps based on what they saw growing up or, you know, pop culture, they’re not seeing the sort of hands on parenting from guys that they’re seeing or that they’ve come to expect from women. And sometimes that, you know, sort of unsurprisingly, that prevents them from aspiring to a sort of high touch hands on consistent level of parenting. But I think there’s a very big difference between being the really hands on parent are the really hands on dad, who’s equally integrated into things like bathing and dinner and homework as mom, which is aspirational for many households, versus thinking that you literally get a vacation from parenting because your oldest kid is not there and there’s only one kid who is also yours around. So, Mom, everything that you’re feeling is OK. Perhaps you all might want to consider talking to somebody about this or you seeking out a professional to talk to you about how you can most effectively communicate to your husband, knowing what you know about him, obviously, which is a lot more than what we do. And this few minutes that we’ve had to discuss your issue and coming up with a plan that can help him really understand that he needs to do what seems to be a very, very, very obvious and silly thing to us. But to him, perhaps it doesn’t line up with what he thinks his role as a father is.
S2: It’s fascinating to me that he by her account, he is an active, engaged parent during the week that both kids are there. What I would love to ask her if she was in the room with us right now is when you look at those weeks when both kids are home and your husband is a is an active, engaged parent, what, if anything, do you wish was different about those weeks? What more do you wish he was doing then? Because I worry that this conversation, if she meant when she manages to have this conversation with her husband, will basically end with what you know, what I want is for you to behave the same way these two different weeks, which is true. That is what she wants. But then I’m worried that the results of that will still be her feeling, as though she is still the one, as is the case with so many moms and their and their male partners. She’s still just ended up being the one who’s still doing so much more. And then she has had this big confrontation and and has turned her husband in some way to her way of thinking, but might still be dissatisfied with the way that the division of labor is balancing in the household. And so, you know, as you’re talking about this with a professional, as Shibulal suggests, with your husband or with whomever, I do hope that this letter writer will keep in mind not only a slightly better version of the current situation, but the actual division of labor she wants there to be in her life.
S1: I’d be curious to know what sort of conversations were had when you decided that you would be a stay at home mom. And if perhaps there is some connection between what he thinks that means and what he’s doing when his other child is there. But, you know, I think we all agree that there’s a serious disconnect between your husband and reasonable contributions to the household. With that, we are wishing you all the best and having some difficult, very important conversations with your husband in the days, weeks and months to come. Good luck to you. And we are always happy for an update if you are so inclined as to share one. Thank you so much for sending us something to consider. And if you fellow listeners have a parenting conundrum that you’d like for us to ponder, send us an email at Mom and Dad at Slate dot com or post it to the Slate Parenting Facebook group.
S2: Wow, that is a lively theme music, should not be my podcast,
S1: then that music was not made for a man your age, it was made for the kids, specifically Rachel Hanton and Medicina Malone. Kaczor, the host of I See Why Am I Slate’s new podcast on Internet culture. Hello, Rachel and Madison.
S2: Hi, welcome. It is now time for In Case You Missed It, Mom and Dad.
S4: The crossover everyone asked for. That’s right.
S3: We asked parents on the Facebook group for some things their kids do online that bewilder them.
S1: We got more responses than we could have anticipated, many of which bewildered us. And so we are going to throw a few of them at Rachel and Madison, our Internet friends, translators and a little bit of a lightning round. Are you girls ready?
S4: Yes, as ready as I’ll ever be ready as I’ll ever be. I’m getting older by the minute. So.
S1: So a listener asked, what’s the difference between the white heart emoji and the other emoji colors?
S4: I love this as a person who uses the white heart emoji. Largely because I was influenced by people younger than me who seem cooler than me on the Internet. It is purely about aesthetics. So if you go to, say, Ariana Grande days Instagram right now, there’s a highlight saved in her stories that is labeled with just the White Hart. It’s just that it looks good like got a sexy monochrome feel, sort of looks like the cloud. It just it’s a good looking emoji. Yeah, purely aesthetics. It’s like the pure heart. Like people like it’s so cute. There is no it’s not like the urban myth where people were wearing different colored bracelets that signified different things. It means nothing like that. Different things being sex acts right out of my pocket of them. Yeah. I don’t know how how do I get in here on of fighting.
S3: All right. So what does it mean?
S4: I think this one is my favorite. You can read a lot of different things like in its platonic form just means like to throw something. So like if you, for example, like, threw a water bottle or like just threw something across the room, you would yell as you threw it. Or people kind of use of the verb where they like you did something. But it can also Donald Trump in the paper towel.
S1: Yeah, I’m so proud to notice,
S2: but it’s surely it’s evolved beyond simply that, right?
S4: Yes. Yes. People use it just as like a little placeholder or just to add emphasis to something like something will happen and you can just say you can just sprinkle it in kind of like salt, which means you need to know how to use it to use it, or it can become overused really fast.
S2: Unlike salt, it also has an age limit. So it should not be putting salt on my food this way.
S4: Yeah, I would not recommend salt of that age limit to.
S2: We’ll find out. All right, here’s mine. So someone on Facebook asks. Kids are always saying that something is suss. What is suss? This is good. My kids say this all the time.
S4: Yeah. Dan, if your kids are calling you says that’s not a great thing for you.
S2: I assumed about.
S4: Thank you. Is either short for suspicious or suspect. It’s just like something shady. Perfect.
S1: Like how did I get to be a kid word.
S4: Yeah, this one’s not super new, but yeah, for Suso you don’t know it.
S1: Elizabeth, you have one that was completely shocking and weird to me.
S3: Yes. OK, why are teens calling characters or actors cinnamon rolls.
S4: Oh, this is so cute. Cinnamon roll is just I think the original phrase is like just a cinnamon roll. Who is like too pure for this world. It just means that again, they’re kind of just too good, like they’re perfect in that like a cinnamon roll is perfect. So just like something like super sweet and pure and like not bad in any way. Like there are cinnamon roll. Dan, if your kids call you a cinnamon roll, that’s good.
S2: They never have and never will. The just the levels of unspoken, commonly understood discourse at play at all. This is so remarkable. Just like when you guys say, you know, like I said, my role is perfect. What the fuck are you talking about? What was the central purpose?
S4: I mean, have you ever had a cinnamon roll and thought that name a name, one bad way?
S3: All right. All right. Are you are you saying you’re not a fan of cinnamon rolls?
S2: They’re fine, but they’re not. There’s nothing about them that seems perfect to me any more so than any other pastry.
S1: I would agree. Yet it made sense right away.
S2: It’s warm and fresh out of the oven.
S1: Thank you so much for coming over and be mystifying some of this kid speak for us. I see. Why am I is required listening for parents of tweens and teens to understand what the hell your kids are talking about. But that’s not all that you do. Tell us a little bit more about this exciting new podcast and what you all are going to be taking on.
S4: Yeah, it’s definitely if you’ve got a young person in your life, it’s a great place to start. But also, if you don’t, we’d love to have you listen to the show. We explore what’s going on online right now.
S3: We are taking
S4: time travel trips back to the Internet of past, talking to our some of our favorite characters from YouTube and Twitter and Tumblr. Rachel, I’ll say it. You don’t have to my favorite website, Tumblr, rest in peace. Yeah, we’ll be talking about Yahoo! Answers in an upcoming episode. We’ll be talking about a special genre of tick tock known as Pist Talk. Sorry, Mom. Yeah, you know, it’s OK. We do a lot more than just like explaining emojis, though. We do also do that.
S2: I can already tell him that I need to know everything about his talk so that I wow my kids.
S4: Your knowledge of your drinking, correct?
S1: OK, this could go on forever. We’ll stop here, but if you want to hear more, we’ll link to it in the show notes.
S4: So thank you. Thank you.
S1: OK, let’s move on to our next segment. Earlier this month, the Arkansas legislature overrode a governor’s veto to pass a law outlawing gender affirming health care for minors. And unfortunately, Arkansas isn’t alone. More than half of the states in the US are considering similar bills and or other bills targeting trans kids. What are these bills trying to accomplish and what can we do to stop them? We’re joined by Alex Chen, who wrote a wonderful piece for Slate about the value of gender affirming care in his own life and in the lives of trans kids everywhere. Alex is the founding director of the LGBTQ Plus Advocacy Clinic at Harvard Law School and a co-author of the Trans Youth Handbook. Welcome to the show, Alex. Thank you for having me. Thank you for joining us. I want to start by talking a little bit about your piece as opposed to approaching this, specifically talking about legislation and what’s going on in Arkansas. You told your own story. Can you talk about why you decided to frame this piece the way you did and approached it with a personal narrative?
S6: I wrote about how when I was a kid, I would kind of keep pretending to lose my kid on the way to class or on the way to school because I just had this sort of paralyzing terror of being in that environment. Right. And it really wasn’t that I didn’t like sports itself. I didn’t like exercise. It was really because, you know, I wasn’t able to be affirmed as my own self as a boy when I was a teenager. You know, I grew up at a time when, you know, trans issues were really not as much in the mainstream when you didn’t have things like Orange is the new black or the transgender tipping point or Caitlyn Jenner. And so I really had no idea that transgender people were out there. I only knew that I felt really uncomfortable with the fact that society had assigned me as female with the way that I was gendered at school, with the way that I was gendered in sports. And so it really prevented me from being able to participate fully in a really important aspect of life. Right. And I think that for LGBTQ people, like what really harms people’s ability to really figure out who they are and thrive as human beings is is being like feeling like you’re shut out of, like some of the most core important aspects of human society. Right. Like marriage, like family acceptance, like belonging to the military, like. Being able to run, track or play sports like these are things that are really fundamental to human civilization, also really fundamental to American culture. Right. And so to really feel like you’re not able to participate in those things has this profound impact on whether you really think that you can do anything you want with your life. Right. That’s what we tell kids in America, like that’s supposed to be what the American dream is about. But for LGBTQ people, I think you get all of these implicit message from society that that isn’t for you. And so I felt like that maybe that emotional piece of it was really the piece that kind of gets lost sometimes in all of these political battles. Right. Like, really, I think what’s happening right now is that trans kids are being used as a culture war, a tipping point by the religious right and the political right, because they’re really having a hard time opposing the Bush administration’s economic agenda. You know, transgender kids are a vulnerable population that they think it’s easy, the fearmonger around. And so they’re really using this just as a political wedge point. And I think that that’s what’s so frustrating. And so I think angering for somebody who is a member of this community, who works for this community, who advocates on our behalf, is to see that, you know, it’s not even that they care at all really about what happens to these kids. These kids are to them collateral damage on the field of the culture wars that they think that they can win office again by being on the right side of this issue. Right. And so they don’t care how many courts say that anti transgender policies or legislations are unconstitutional. They don’t care even when a highly conservative governor like the governor of Arkansas vetoes the bill because he says it’s just not a good idea to threaten doctors with losing their licenses, providing a form of gender affirming health care, which is approved by every major international and domestic medical organization. They don’t care. That is just not good policy to do that. They don’t care that a lot of kids are going to die as a result. A lot of kids are going to have a harder time growing up. A lot of kids are going to suffer from lifelong psychological damage because for them it’s about that political victory. Right. And so I think I really wanted to bring across the human component of that and to say, like, let’s not get lost in these political battles. Let’s focus on the children and what their lived experience is going to be if we go forward to policies like this.
S2: So can you talk to us about the what the lived experience of trans kids is who are able to receive gender affirming health care, the kind of care that these bills are attacking and and what happens when they’re not able to access that kind of care?
S6: Yeah, I’m happy to talk about that. And I think, you know, I especially want to talk about in the context, since this is a parenting podcast of what the sociological literature shows is the benefit of in general acceptance. Right. Currently, trans kids have a really disproportionately high suicide attempt rate that a shocking like somewhere between 40 to 50 percent of trans people have or have contemplated or seriously attempted suicide. Oftentimes, that’s used by opponents of gender care as an argument for why it shouldn’t be given, because it’s like, well, these people are psychologically unstable. This is a mental illness. But the same used to be true when it came to gay people. Right. They used to also have a really high rate of suicidality. And, you know, what doctors say is it’s it’s that the suicide doesn’t come from having the identity. There’s nothing wrong with the identity. The problem is the way that society treated because you have an identity. Right. And so actually what studies show is that when trans kids have that affirmation, when they’re supported by their families, they’re able to get the medical care that they need and they’re able to be affirmed by society. They actually have like outcomes which are very similar to their CIS gender, that is their non transgender peers, like when it comes to things like mental health, graduation rates, low rates of substance abuse rates of sort of like success later in life. Actually, it’s it’s really roughly parallel. And that’s really quite remarkable if you think about it, because just because your family supports you and you can kind of get the documents that you need to get the care that you need doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to have an easy time. Right. There’s still going to be these messages you’re getting from society. There’s going to be people in your community who don’t support you. So the fact that they’re even parallel just because they’re getting affirmed is huge. So I think the thing that I really want to bring across is it’s really astonishing, like what a change it makes to have that kind of support in your life. And what we see with really young or courageous trans activists and those who have grown up, people like Janet Mock, like Jazz Jennings, like Evan Graham, like Laverne Cox, it’s that when you have that support, you’re really able to just get on with being a person and figuring out the rest of your life.
S3: Why do you think so many of these new laws focus on athletics?
S6: That’s a good question. So, you know, like if you recall, like five years ago, they were all about bathrooms. Right? And at the time, everybody was like, oh, this is a real social problem. You know, like it’s transgender. Women are going to enter women’s bathrooms. There’s going to be all these issues. And of course, it was an invented problem because actually transgender people had been using bathrooms for decades before. They’ve been using them since and trying to police. That is actually worse than leaving alone. There wasn’t actually a real problem. So I think they keep shifting what they’re targeting because they keep trying to gin up a new issue that people are going to be scared of. And now they think they found it. The new latest issue is transgender people playing sports. Ultimately, I think what they don’t realize is that actually transgender people have also been playing sports and of course, with the gender identity for a long time, if you go back to the nineteen seventies, a pioneering female TENNET transgender female tennis star was Renee Richards, who actually won a case in New York before the New York, I think, appellate court to get the right to play in the US Open. And she was like a world renowned, like highly ranked tennis star who ranked in the upper 20s, I think like four decades. And the International Olympic Committee has since twenty fifteen had a policy around how transgender people to participate in sports after having certain kinds of medical treatment thresholds cleared. The NCAA has had a policy for over half a decade. And in states like California, they’ve had laws saying that trans kids have to be allowed to play sports in accordance to gender identity on the books as a state law. And then none of those places have you actually seen a real problem in terms of the things that they’re talking about, like, oh, like this will be the ruination of women’s sports or that there won’t be a level playing field. Actually, these are things that sports bodies have been figuring out for a long time. And so I think the reason you’re seeing it is because it’s an issue that they think is a winning issue politically. If you look at the polling, transport’s inclusion is the only issue with respect to transgender inclusion or anti-discrimination in which there’s even the public is even on the fence. Right. Like for every other question you ask, like, should trans people be discriminated against at work? Should they be at school? Should we be preventing people from changing their licenses? Or should we, you know, have anti-discrimination laws like all of these things, like everyone’s like 60, 70, 80 percent in favor. Right. Which in this country is actually a really strong consensus. If you can get, you know, like 80 percent of the people to say, oh, we all think that nobody should be discriminated against on the basis of gender identity, that’s actually a really robust sports. Participation is the only thing where right now it’s like forty seven, forty seven or something like that. Right. And so they can they feel like they can still seize on this issue and they can make political hay out of it. So I think that’s why it’s happening.
S2: What makes it so upsetting for my perspective is that it’s it’s so clearly meant to weaponize, like the protectiveness of parents towards their children in a way that ends up being so gross, because, as you point out, it’s not about tilting the playing field in the same way that gender affirming care simply puts trans kids exactly on the same level as their peers, you know, allowing trans kids to compete in sports levels, the playing field for them in a way that it otherwise would not be. Do you have a sense of like if I’m a sports parent, you know, who finds myself in a situation where a child on my kid’s team is being challenged or attacked because of one of these laws or independent of one of these laws, what should I do? Like how should I address and approach that situation?
S6: It’s a great question. I think some of the most powerful advocates against these laws have been parents of trans kids who have testified on behalf of their kids and said, you know, I didn’t understand this at first, but I love my child and I see how much this is causing them to flourish. And I know like, how can you attack children like this? How can you make them political pawns? Right. Especially people who come from the states or the cities where these things are being considered to be able to speak on it and say, I’m not coming here for out of state. I’m coming here from your hometown, this hometown. I’m from here. And what I’m telling you is this is against the values of this town. Right. So I think that’s been really, really powerful. And actually, although more states than ever before are considering this, both this year, so far, only one of them has passed. A lot of people have surprisingly kind of, I think, done the right thing. Like even like, for example, Governor Christie Noem of South Dakota vetoing their sports bill and sending it back to the legislature, because I think people have been genuinely moved by that personal testimony. So I think if you’re the parent of a trans kid and you feel like it’s something that’s safe for you and your child to do, to speak out, I think that’s really, really important. I think it’s also been really important for them not to stand alone, for there to be other parents in the community to say, I know this parent really well. They love their child. They’re doing the best by their child. I see how good this is for their child. I have no problem with his daughter playing with my daughter on the soccer team, having a great time. They’re great friends. There’s really not there’s no here here, you know. So I think, you know, like, you can look around and look at, OK, are there parents in your neighborhood who are having trans kids? Are they feeling supported by the school district? Are they feeling supported by the the league that their kids are playing? And there are lots of ways in which you can kind of make life a little bit better just by being an ally and by asking, well, what kind of policies do we have? Are we making sure that they can all travel together? Are we making sure that they can all compete together? Are we making sure that they’re getting a positive message from school? Are we making sure that they’re being supported if they want to have a gay straight alliance at the school or I think these days they call them gender and sexuality alliances. You know, I think there’s lots of different ways that you could be supportive by speaking out and saying, you know, I’m not afraid of this. I don’t think this is a problem. And in fact, I think that it’s important. You know, one of the things that studies show is that in school districts where there are efforts made to sort of affirm and support LGBTQ plus children, it decreases bullying for all children because all children get the message that the school is supporting people who are different and that being different is OK and in fact, good. Right. And so actually, it’s not just an LGBT plus issue, like teaching children about inclusion and not to treat people differently just because they come from a different background is actually really important value. And so it improves the school climate for all kinds of kids. If you put the kibosh on like anti LGBTQ bullying,
S1: it’s so sad that marginalized people are constantly reminding others that, you know, everyone benefits from including us. Well, right. Kind of for the greater good is actually the greater good to wrap up thinking about what you wrote in your piece and just how there’s what we’re. So this idea that trans youth or even trans adults will come into a space and represent harm to CIS people, their right trans girls and bathrooms, trans women on athletics teams. And that’s the exact opposite of what does happen, right? That it’s the kid who was like you not wanting to go to PE. It’s someone not being allowed to be safe in a space that they have every right to be. And who isn’t threatening anyone who’s faced with any number of things from bullying within the classroom to the bullying on the state level that these kids are enduring via this sort of legislation. So for families of trans children that are looking for resources because they’re concerned, where are some of the places that they can turn to get some support with both fighting against these laws and protecting their children? In the immediate sense?
S6: That’s a great question. So there’s a variety of different resources. I would suggest on the legal front, the clinic that I run, the Harvard LGBT Plus Clinic in collaboration with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, we’ve published a resource called the Trans Youth Handbook, which is the first sort of comprehensive nationwide guide to the legal rights of trans kids. And it applies across the nation. And it kind of has different chapters on things like, you know, school. If you want to have a job applying to college, accessing, you know, the ability to change identity documents, what to do in situations if you are institutional care facilities or if you’re in foster care, that is a good resource as a starting point. And it also contains links to a lot of other good like resources, hotlines you can call suicide prevention hotlines, places that you can reach out to if you are in out-of-home care also. If you’re interested in getting involved politically, the ACLU has a state affiliate in every state and they’ve really been very helpful at sort of connecting parents and kids with kind of like, you know, lawyers and politicians who can kind of figure out how to help them share their story on a social level. There are a lot of support groups, both for trans kids and for families, which I think can be really helpful for people to just feel like they’re not going through it alone and that they can kind of learn from other folks how they’ve kind of been through their experiences. There are also youth oriented national organizations like GLSEN and Flag that are dedicated to kind of supporting youth and families. And there are some good transgender specific organizations as well, including gender spectrum and I think one called Gender Oddisee. There are a lot of social media groups to actually like Facebook groups and things like that that people find support in. That could be really important. So I think all of those things, there’s actually a lot of resources out there, but I think that it can be difficult sometimes. One thing I realized much later in life is that being a relative of a of an LGBT person, sometimes you can go through stages of sort of psychological sort of development over the course of accepting your relatives identity that are not that different than the person themselves. Right. That like you kind of have like, oh, I didn’t ask for this, know, what will people say? I don’t know what to do about this. You can feel kind of like resentment and anger and fear and shame. And, you know, when I was going through my own coming out process, I really didn’t have, like, the bandwidth to deal with my anybody in my life telling me that they felt that way. I was like, so I’m like, you think you feel that way? You’re adjacent to the experience. I’m in it. And so I didn’t have the bandwidth to be sympathetic to that. But now that I’m older and on the other side of it, I can see why they felt that way. Right. And I think that you sometimes can’t get that support from the person who has that identity. You can’t go to your kid and say, I’m having a really hard time with this. Right. They don’t need to hear that right now. They don’t need to hear all I’m mourning over who I thought you were going to be and now you’re going to be somebody different. But it could be very helpful to talk to other people about that experience and to get a shared experience. Well, how did you handle that? Well, I was afraid of what my boss would think if I told them that my child was transgender. Right. And so actually, like, finding community, I think is really important. And I think for those parents, it’s like a really good idea to kind of find that support in that community to help you kind of work through kind of the logistical and emotional challenges without putting that burden on your child.
S1: Alex, thank you so much for joining us and for your phenomenal piece. We’ve linked it on the show page. So, listeners, if you haven’t read it, you’ll get a chance to check it out. Thank you again. Thank you. All right. Before we get out of here, let’s move on to recommendation’s. Elizabeth, what do you have for us?
S3: All right. I am recommending doing some crafting and specifically, if you so I just made these great sun hats from twig and tail. That’s the pattern. It’s available free online. They are super easy. And she actually encourages you to make them out of fabric from clothes and things you were going to toss around your house. And I love this because, of course, we have Oliver, who really likes to pick out these colorful patterns and things like that, that that hats are not always available in and specifically like hats for his age. So we found some old clothes that we were getting rid of in the move. And I made some very cute hats for the boys. It’s super simple. Like literally, if you can sew in a straight line, you can make these very cute sun hats and the pattern is free from Twigg entail.
S2: That sounds adorable. I am recommending reading more, Ursula, when I have been reading a lot of Ursula Gwynne recently and I have now started a campaign to try and get Leyritz, read some Murcielago and we’ll see how it goes. Specifically, I just read Four Ways of Forgiveness, which is not one of her most famous books. You know, it’s not the left hand of darkness. It’s not the word for world as forest, but it’s a later book. She wrote it in the 90s and it’s four connected stories set on the same two worlds that are just coming out at the end of several centuries of slavery. And it’s about former enslaved people, about former enslavers and about the diplomats who are trying to untangle this situation. And they’re just completely beautiful and thought-provoking and gorgeous, just like everything that Ursula Le Guin ever wrote. So I’ve now handed Lyra the word for World is Forest, and I’m hoping she will try that because it is slim and catchy and and very, very engrossing. But anyways, Ursula Gwinn probably maybe the most the greatest moral writer of the 20th century. She’s awesome. Read more of her. Djamila, what do you recommend?
S1: So as I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions, I eat healthy. I substitute a lot of glutinous foods in my household for gluten free or gluten sensitive items. And I’ve found something that I really, really, really, really like. It’s cauliflower is in cauliflower, but Calli, California, cauliflower foods, vegetable enchilada bake. It is top five best tasting frozen meals I’ve ever had. It’s like a cheesy little enchilada with some veggies and beans and it’s surprisingly filling. I only added just a tiny little bit of my own cheddar cheese to the top of it, and I did that before tasting it. To be fair, I just thought it might need more. But what I had was really, really good. So if you are looking for a quick option, I am increasingly giving myself permission to rely on relatively healthy frozen foods. To be myself when I am is not here. And even if she was so you can totally feed yourself and your kids frozen foods. It’s fine. It’s a pandemic. We’re all tirol struggling. I strongly recommend giving the Kelly Flower Line a try. That is our show for this week. One last time. If you have a parenting question for us, send it to mom and dad. It’s late dot com or post it to Slate Parenting Facebook group, which you can find by just searching for Slate’s parenting on Facebook. Easy Mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemarie Bellson or Danquah and Elizabeth. New Camp. I’m Jamila Limited. Hello again, Slate. Plus listeners. Thank you so much for your support. So listen, we were inspired by a recent poll on Slate Parenting Facebook group asking if it was OK to read your kids emails, messages and texts. Some parents said absolutely not, while others said absolutely yes. I want to know what you to think, Thanom. Elizabeth, are you monitoring your kids devices and how much do they know about the monitoring that you’re doing? Damn. So curious to see how you’re going to answer this question, having both all children and children that are old enough to read this transcript.
S2: Yes, we monitor our kids phones in accounts. Yes, they know we do. It was a condition on getting phones. And even before that, it was a condition on being on the Internet back before they had phones to be on the Internet on. We’ve been really clear about that all the way through at different times in their lives. We’ve been more active about it. Often when they find some kind of new platform or social media world that they start getting really into, we will spend a little time on their accounts, sort of acclimating ourselves to what it is that they are doing, figuring out how Lyra is using discord and talking with her a little bit about it, figuring out what Harper is most interested about on inStar and talking to her about it. And other times we you know, we don’t for whatever reason because we don’t have any particular concerns raised or doesn’t seem like anything’s going on or we just forget. But they always know that we can. The goal generally isn’t to censor them. Like, I don’t care that one layer of rights or discord, friends, every third word as fuck, whatever. That’s you know, she’s 15. That is how I talked when I was 15. And that seems totally harm free.
S1: Quick question related to that. Did it take any time for you to realize that that was harm free and to say, hey, I did this, the fifteen was at. Immediately upon realizing that your daughter had a mouth like a sailor, or was it something that took some time to get used to, it
S2: took a little the very first time that we sort of got it. Was it a we saw a text that she sent to a friend that was just like, you know, George Carlin, amphetamines. And, you know, it was definitely shocking. And she was maybe 12 or 13 at that. And and the one thing we said to her was in the same way that we ask you to think about context when you’re using this language in real life, it’s important to us that you think about context when you’re using it on the phone and remembering that it is not necessarily just your friend who is going to see that text from you. It might be her parents. You should think about whether that is the kind of thing you want her parents to see you typing. And it turns out it is. That’s what she wants because she keeps sending those texts all the time. But I think we got over it pretty quick, like especially because she’s pretty careful about her online identity and doesn’t connect it directly to her, to her person. And so, you know, it’s harder to argue that there’s any particular harm coming about this anymore than there was when I was in a car at age 15, talking this way with my friends or my wife or whatever. So we’re not censoring, but we do want to understand how it is that they’re spending their hours a little bit. There are times when we are monitoring pretty closely because they are telling us that they’re doing homework, but their homework isn’t getting done. And it’s becoming clear that actually they’re just on disorder, YouTube or whatever, or it’s after 10:00 p.m. and somehow magically, even though their phones and everything are supposed to be off, posts are appearing under their names on different kinds of accounts. So we want to know how that happens because we want to be able to talk to them about that. We’re not Big Brother exactly, but we have our eyes open and our kids know that. Elizabeth, what about you? Your kids are much littler, so they think it’s less likely they’re on any kind of social media. And it’s also less likely, I think, that they might be shocked or upset that you are checking in.
S3: You know, I think we have laid the foundation for the fact that there is just very little privacy in this house and that maybe they need that for everyone. For everyone. Yes. But I really do think that, like, even as they use iPads and my oldest to definitely use Facebook Messenger, which of course sends me like I’m able to go in and see everything. But we have always said to them, like, these devices are links to the outside world and there is zero expectation of privacy with them in our house. And that privacy is something that has to be earned. Right. Like we talk a lot in general about like as a family, we don’t keep secrets and talked about like what’s the difference between maybe a surprise birthday or a surprise for someone versus a secret? You know, my hope is that we are checking in on what they’re doing. And and to me, the important part of that is not whether you check the text or not, but what is their expectation of privacy and are you being honest with them about what that’s going to look like? And then also, Dan, kind of what you talked about, about choosing your battles based on what you find and and what the kids are. Right. Like this is another data point to know. I find it interesting to know, like, you know, how they’re even sending emojis. And we’ve had some conversations with Oliver about like sending 400 stickers to your friends. You know, it’s not exactly the kind of conversation like that that isn’t great. Your grandpa probably doesn’t love that, but also like your friends want to have a chance to send stuff back and being able to be a guidance in this in kind of this electronic world. Now, we do have a charging station for all of our devices. And yet at a certain time, kind of when we’re heading to bed, everything goes there like all of the iPads, the computers, even our phones. We kind of plug in there. And it’s like the central station for where these things go. You know, I don’t know how that will evolve as they get older. But the the rule right now is sort of these are things to be used out in public. They’re not things that we traditionally let them take like to their room to use on their own. They have to be used in one of the rooms that are outside, just kind of laying the foundation of this idea that I fully intend to read their text messages and their messages. And I like the idea that they know that that is happening right like that. Even if I never do anything or I never say anything about them. I think a lot of times this idea that someone might be watching is a good stand-in for their conscience, which I am trying to build. I can’t imagine that I will get mad about use of language in an email or a or a text to friends. But I definitely want to know, are they participating in bullying or are they being bullied like those sort of things, even if I never say anything? To talk to them about it’s a way to kind of data mined information about our kids.
S2: What about you, Djamila?
S1: You know, I’d say it’s much like Elizabeth having Nyima just be eight. She does have devices, but she doesn’t have really the expectation of privacy around them at this point. So I’m in every message, any communication I am, you know, is subject to my scrutiny. And I do go through and read all of her messages. What I have found to be an interesting consequence of that. And I’d be curious to hear for you all, particularly, Elizabeth, with your kids being younger, is that Nyima feels a certain amount of entitlement to engage with my own messages. And so she wants to look over my shoulder while I’m texting or if I’m looking at it, you know, maybe we’re innocently scrolling together, but then I’m reading iji messages and she’s like, oh, what they say. And I’m like, excuse me. Like, I can always be over your shoulder on the phone. You can’t always be over my shoulder on the phone. You shouldn’t you typically should not be over my shoulder when I’m using the phone. Are you all finding that your kids may be a little bit too comfortable, particularly you, Elizabeth, because then your girls would really be tripping to try to use that excuse?
S2: My kids point out that disconnect,
S4: baby time still. Absolutely.
S1: Yeah, we definitely they realize it’s just not fair. It’s just it’s not fair because
S3: I’ve told them that that’s exactly what I
S2: say. Somehow that hasn’t convinced them.
S1: Why is the fight of the ages of all the.
S3: I say, yeah, life’s not fair, man. Henry particularly like if he sees me texting his name, you know, they can all read their name. So, like, what are you texting about me? And I do try to then say, this is I’m conveying this information about you to my friend for advice or for this or I’m telling them what happened. But I yeah, that is definitely a they say a lot like your stuff is, you know, private. And I say, well, I text a lot of adult things and those are not appropriate for children. So sorry.
S2: It is funny, though, because. It is true that when I was 15, I would have absolutely hated this and found it like totally infantilizing and I would have particularly hated that what I would have viewed as a double standard when I was a teenager, I had a real high horse that I rode around on about my autonomy and the ways that I should be treated like an adult. And and so I do sometimes feel a little bit torn about this, about us basically having come to this conclusion and made it clear to our kids and what I think is a totally healthy way. But at the same time, it does make me feel slightly weird to be part of a surveillance state that I once would have decried.
S3: I think that’s the cycle, though. That’s exactly how it should be.
S2: Basically parenting.
S4: Parenting, right.
S3: What do you think? You know better than you do it and you’re like, oh, wait, there’s actually a a world out there with a lot of harm, which my kids can’t fully understand. I don’t even really fully understand. It’s my job to protect them from this harm and this is the way in which I choose to do that.
S1: Well, Slate listeners, thank you so much for your support of Slate. Plus, we want to hear what you think about privacy and leave us some comments on the Facebook page. Talk to you next time.