Decisions and the People Who Pay the Price

by Lorraine Esposito on May 18, 2012

in You as a parent,Your kids

Article first published as Decisions and the People Who Pay the Price on Technorati.

Recently, Time Magazine ran a sensational story,  Are You Mom Enough?  Great title to hook readers, and even more effective was the picture of a three-year old boy standing on a chair breastfeeding.  Do you think he was really hungry or did the photographer pose him?  Makes me sort of squirm to think of that photo shoot and it really makes me squirm when I think of the price the boy will pay for his mother’s public display of beliefs.

The Price 

I’m confident that Jamie Lynne Grumet knew there would be a price to pay in exchange for her public statement in support of extended breastfeeding.  She knew her story and cover photo were an invitation to comment and criticize her choices and that her right to privacy was now compromised—at least for a while.  I wonder, though, if she thought about the price her son, Aram, would pay for her decision.  Kids are tough on each other as it is, imagine what it must be like for him now that he’s famous for breastfeeding.  Fast forward to middle and high school; how will this play out for him in the boys locker room and when he starts dating?

Bull’s Eye

Grumet is supported by Dr. Bill Sears, pediatrician and author of “The Baby Book.”  In her defense and in defense of extended breastfeeding he told the Today Show, “”I’ve never yet seen an attachment parenting baby who has become a school bully.”  Yeah, but what about becoming the target of one? Unfortunately for this boy, other kids may not be able to understand the reasons behind his mother’s actions.  They might only see it as an opportunity to ridicule and bully him.  It’s not a stretch to imagine this happening; just read some of the bullying comments hurled at his mother by other adults; I’m afraid she’s painted a bull’s eye on him and his 5 year old brother.

Valuable Lesson

Watching this play out I have learned a valuable lesson and I hope that you have, also.  In our quest to change things we see need changing, let’s remember to consider all the stakeholders who may be affected.  There are so many ways to support a cause or broadcast a message.  Make sure you have evaluated the short- and long-term consequences of your actions before you proceed.  Doing something sensational in the name of a great cause won’t be great in the long run if your child is left holding the check.

 

Related Articles: Thinking in Shades of Gray, Motherhood’s Bad Rap
Related Tip of the Week: Influence Backfire,  Not Nice, Have Faith,

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  • http://www.peacemaker-coach.com Lorraine Esposito

    I’m so happy you asked this question.  I believe that a reputation can be a very sticky thing.  Anything that is remembered with high emotion will lock in.  My 30 year high school reunion is next month and as my former classmates and I are sharing excitement about the event, we are also sharing things remembered –  things that reach all the way back to elementary school.  Somethings are sticky.

    Your question about this boy’s peers even knowing about the cover is also very good.  Yes, parents will talk and not always kindly. They may not be speaking directly to their kids (but I’m sure some do) they are talking and aren’t always paying attention to who is listening in on conversations.  Think cell phone in the car.  Kids are listening.  Younger kids may not understand, but there are plenty of older siblings that will explain things.  It may not seem fair (and it isn’t) but it’s how things go. 

    I asked my boys (13 and 15) how they thought it would play out for this kid and their reaction was telling:  physically upset to the point of having to leave the room.  

    I sincerely wish this family all the very best that their great intentions hoped for.  The reason for the blog post was to give everyone a heads up to the need for 360 degree thinking when stepping out boldly in the name of your passion.  While WE may be willing and able to pay for the move, there may be other stakeholders to consider.  How would you feel, now as an adult, had your parents made a choice like this for you?  While you might be fine with it, others surely wouldn’t.  The point then becomes who gets to decide?  Without the power to choose as a child, our responsibility to be cautious becomes even more meaningful.

    Thank you for sharing your concerns and questions.  I’m interested to know if I’ve answered them.
     

  • Wir2

     ”Fast forward to middle and high school; how will this play out for him in the boys locker room and when he starts dating?”

    I am a little curious about this statement. I have seen it, or similar comments posted in various places. Could you elaborate on it? I’m wondering, 1) exactly how his middle and high school friends would even know he was the child in question, and 2) why would they care?

    I ask this out of complete sincerity. I really want to know how people feel that this would occur. Do you feel that other mothers or fathers locally would save the magazine and bring it out once the child has reached adolescence and then bring it out to show their own teens that the boy they go to school with is none other than this child? Perhaps you feel that this cover was so controversial that 10 to 15 years from now people in the area will be diligently searching faces and names to see if one of their friends is this child? Perhaps the child himself will be telling his date when he is 16 that he was breastfed for 4 years? Or do you feel he will be inspire to do his freshman English paper over the economics of extended breastfeeding?

    As I said, I’ve seen this sentiment in many places, but I can’t imagine exactly how this would come up, or why anyone would be bothered by it 10 or 15 years from now. So I am genuinely interested in understanding exactly how people who express this sentiment feel that the prediction would come to fruition.

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