Canadian actress Liz Whitmere wants everyone to know that her 8-year-old is woke! She took to Twitter the other day to show everyone how virtuous her spawn is by publicizing a letter she claims the child wrote to a Halloween store about their politically incorrect costumes that offended her 2nd-grade sensibilities.
The Huffington Post reported on this amazing display of such a mature thought pattern in the mind of a child. “[My daughter] has been learning the names of individual [nations], and we’re working on seeing the difference between appreciation vs. fetishization/appropriation of another culture,” said Whitmere. “She’s pretty engaged with current events and is very interested in fairness … she holds me to a very high standard.”
No, she isn’t. Who believes this? You know what my eight-year-old is engaged in? A land she calls “Rainbowland” that exists in her mind where everything is made out of candy and everyone poops in rainbow colors. This is a normal fantasy for a child, not fetishization of Indian costumes (if your mother is normal and not some shrieking harpy who can’t shut up about cultural appropriation for five minutes). What a crappy childhood this poor kid is getting.
Whitmere told Global News, “She’s very good at demanding action be taken, so when she sees injustice in the world, I get a lot of pressure to do something about it.” This reminds me of my eight-year-old. Just the other day she attended a town meeting and saw that the town council was trying to sneak through a no-bid contract for a new playground. “That’s extremely illegal,” she cried. “And I demand you put a stop to this, Mister Mayor!” Okay, that story might not be true, just like Whitmere’s claims that her eight-year-old was really offended at some Indian costumes.
A real issue that my eight-year-old feels passionately about is bedtime. This is an issue I hear regularly about. She is against the system that put it in place; she also feels that we should reconsider the policy and she lobbies me regularly to increase her awake time. Other issues she cares about are her guinea pig’s happiness, rotating her stuffed animals fairly for prime bed space, and ice cream availability. If it is true that Whitmere’s child is truly upset about Indian costumes at the Halloween store, I feel I must break to her some bad news.
You’re doing it wrong.
What kind of parent allows an eight-year-old child to ruminate and obsess over the Trail of Tears? There are things that children do not need to know about until they reach an age where they can properly absorb and manage difficult topics. Eight is far too young for any knowledge of mass murders, holocausts, racial injustice, and other adult issues. When you’re eight you should be allowed to believe in fairies and rainbow lands with mountains of cotton candy. How about taking your kid to a pumpkin patch instead of preaching at her about the inequalities and sadness in the world, lady? Don’t we have enough tragedy to deal with as adults? What kind of parent invades her kid’s short years of reprieve from adult issues like this? Is she a sadist?
The other thing that bothers me, besides the obvious mental abuse, is this idea that an eight-year-old or any minor child has anything worthwhile to add to adult conversations. Don’t be ridiculous! I have recently begun to understand the old adage “speak only when spoken to,” which used to be a common rule for children (and was in my house when we were in company). Call me harsh, but most of the time my children don’t have anything of consequence to add to any conversation between adults. That’s not their fault. They are children. They are immature, with developing conversational skills. Most of the time they want to tell you the plot of a very long Disney movie. Training children to have something important to say is very hard work. I have finally trained them not to tell people about TV or movies. Now I have to work on getting the rainbow poop conversations under control (at least at the dinner table).
This isn’t to say I don’t adore my children and their silliness and their imagination. I do. But there is a time and a place. Children have no place commenting on adult issues or conversations. They do not have the mental capacity yet to form informed and logical opinions based on knowledge and research. My eleven-year-old is getting there because I’m training her how to do it. But an eight-year-old is only parroting what her mother thinks. I think we can safely say that this “Woke 8-Year-Old” is just a good little mimic. It’s a shame her mother hasn’t given her something more fun to imitate.