# IV Commandment on Not Messing up Your Kids

IV: Never talk about your child to other people in front of them, unless it is to praise your son or daughter.

You need to be their number one confidant, not a blabber mouth “sharing” what they did and saying it’s “cute”  (let alone saying they did something bad) or laughing at what they did and making them self conscious.

You can’t feel safe with a parent who seems to think you’re an entertainment experience.

And, sure, post a picture or two online (if you must) but your child isn’t a show and tell for your friends.

If your child’s privacy isn’t safe with you who can they trust?

(to be continued in this space tomorrow…)

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Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back .

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • http://patheos Threeten2yuma

    OK, now you’ve quit preachin’ and gone to meddlin’!


    This one really hurts because most of us parents and grandparents think that we are affirming our children and grandchildren when we “share” our darling stories and photos. In fact your own saintly mother launched a considerable literary career doing this exact thing . . . and maybe that’s why you now advise against it? But honestly, Frank, I think that you emerged from the experience pretty much unscathed and, somehow, managed to turn out alright . . . well, most of the time I think that anyway!

    Moreover, this is going to be almost impossible to avoid completely, even if so desired. Probably, the best that can be done is to be aware of how our behavior may effect our subjects and utilize a very healthy dose of discretion.

  • M Smith

    You know, when I clicked on this link I expected to see a comment that would just blow off this advice on the grounds of sharing “darling” stories. I wished I was wrong.

    Laughter can be the best medicine, but it can also be a weapon. Children who are ‘different’ in various ways often get subjected to this kind of ‘isn’t it cute’ trivialization, and the adults are typically immune to any suggestions to even moderate it. Let nothing interfere with cheap entertainment, including a child who regularly gets messages that it’s not a good idea to let adults know too much about him or her. Treating a child like the family joke is a very effective way of marginalizing that child in the family, and the child can even be blamed or laughed at for complaining about it. Such a deal!