Commentary Strange Fruit

Welcome to a new season of Strange Fruit!

In her essay “‘Children do not deserve privacy,’ and other abusive myths masked as good parenting,” Oakland-based writer and educator Amber Butts examines the complicated feelings she holds for the ex-stepfather who raised and provided for her.

“His metric for goodness was stepping up and taking care of a child that wasn’t his,” she writes. “But my ex-stepfather is not a good man.”

It wasn’t until Butts saw a social media post where a mother said she knocks on the door before entering her kids’ rooms that Butt was reminded of the lack of privacy she had as a child and she began to reflect on how refusing children privacy is one of several abusive practices mislabeled as good parenting.

We discuss the need for parents and caregivers to actively work to examine and undo the “misleading metrics” of good parenting that they inherited from previous generations.

Butts says children deserve houses that aren’t prisons.

“Anything that mirrors how the state achieves control must be questioned and obliterated, especially when that influences how we care for our babies,” she writes. “Children deserve privacy in the homes that they are in. Children deserve love beyond conditions. This is a requirement. They should not have to prove this.”

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