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I have to agree with you Tertia, that is WAY over the top. If they haven't gotten a person's humor by now, or couldn't read the evidence in that one post, they have problems. And to call the police? That's twisted. It would be interesting to know how they figured out where she lives.

I find it interesting anyone comments on how another raises their child unless asked specifically. Personally, I cannot imagine making mean comments on anyone's blog. If I don't like what the person has to say, I just leave the blog.

What is wrong with people?

I didn't get a chance to read the other post before writing but just did and find it even weirder that it was over a twitter post. Who in their right mind would actually write they were going to smother their child. I would have always taken it as a joke.

Like I said about the playdate post - people are way too involved in their children's life and way too worried about kidnapping and child abuse. People need to get things in perspective.

My initial reacation after reading it was "OMG", "Unbelieveable" to whoever called cops on her. Then I sat back and thought about it, the caller had a valid point. The writer might be joking, but readers don't know that. What if she really did what she did? She called out of concerns. And also I don't see writing about killing your own child is funny, doesn't matter what the situation is.

Thank you for this. It's been a hellish day for me, punctuated by calm heads-even those that figure (rightly so) I shouldn't have written that tweet, or at LEAST put a bloody smiley face on it. I love my girls fiercely-and that fierceness also runs to frustration with 30 hug requests at bed time.

We are much too ready and eager to point fingers and think the worst, intead of sending a gentle "you ok?" call or email. As my true friends have done for me in the past.

Thank you again for your perspective. I'm hoping this all dies down, and soon. :)

Hello. I'm from BC, Canada. I agree 100% with everything you said. I'm actually quite surprised that the "victim" said she thought it was a "legitimate reaction". I would have been mortified, insulted, and down right pissed.

Things have gone too far.

And for perspective-losing my mother at a young age to a brutal bout with cancer left me able to laugh at death, and with an incredibly morbid sense of humour. Which is why my twitter, and possibly soon my blog will be locked down tight, since perspective isn't always in over abundance on teh interwebs.

Absolutely ridiculous overreaction. I cannot imagine calling the police about such a thing. I am American, NYC area.

Holy crap, they called the cops over a random tweet? That combines humorlessness with tone-deafness and takes them both to new levels. If this Twitter post wasn't part of an increasingly angry, frustrated, and out-of-control thread of remarks from the woman, then there was absolutely no reason to interpret the situation as representing actual danger to the child.

The idiot in question surely meant well—just wanted to protect a child—but is too dim-witted to be trusted on the internet.

I am from the west coast of the USA and I do believe that people take things to far. It is one thing if you know a child is in actual danger and another if you are just sticking your nose were it shouldn't be. Everyone has there own way of doing things and as long as it works for that family then good for them.

That is crazy! Seriously! If you were going to smother your child (or anyone) I would think you wouldn't advertise it first! Oh, I better watch out as my husband always threatens to feed my daughter to a bear when she is doing something she shouldn't. I'm from the U.S. and this just sounds crazy. And I agree with AmyM. I don't leave mean comments on blogs. I may not always agree but really what is the point? There is more than one way to parent! Things like this really drive me crazy. The people who actually believe their way is the only way are the scary ones.

It's ironic that you brought this subject up as a co-worker and I were discussing it just last week. I live on the West Coast of Canada and work in childcare.

My coworker and I were discussing how we have a couple of children in our care who hit there mommmy's and daddy's or bite them or throw things at them when they are angry, and they do not receive any real consiquences at home, so they come to daycare and do the same thing here.

When I was a kid, if I did this, I was given a smack to my bottom and either sent to my room or I was made to sit in a chair and stare at the wall. I learned quickley that my acctions were unacceptable, and my habits changed.

Though, now-a-days, even the mention of striking a child, brings out such... enormous concern for the well being of that child, that people feel that it is their civic duty to inform the higher powers that you are abusing a child.

At work, I was commenting on how frustrating and exhausting it is to deal with the hitting/ bitting/ toy throwing every day because all you can do is ask them to stop, remind them that hands are not for hitting/ teeth are not for bitting/ toys are not for throwing, and try to redirect them to another activity. They are not my children, so I can not do anything more than that- no sitting in the corner, no being sent to your room, nothing. Thats the way it is.

A couple of years ago, I was out shopping at the mall with a friend, and a lady was having a squabble with her three year old. She wanted somthing from her mother, which she wasn't getting and she proceeded to smack her mother, and throw her self down on the floor in a fit. The mother picked up her child, smacked her hand, and told her to stop screaming.

From clear across the mall floor, a woman comes running, yealling at the mom to stop hitting her child, and then she pulled out her cell phone and said she was going to call the police.

The situation was resolved, with the help of mall security, but I thought to myself, wow. What are things comming to when you can't even smack a child on the hand withought there being serious consiquences?
I understand how people should be concerned about the well being of children, but to feel that you have the right to judge how a mother deals with a tempermatic 3 year old, is just wrong.

What makes you so high and mighty that you feel the need to swoop in a 'save' that child? Don't get me wrong, child abuse is never acceptable, but a smack on the hand? Come one people, that child will not be damaged for life.

Oh for the love of all that is holy....someone quick, get this woman a dictionary so that she can look up the word "sarcasm".
As if someone who is on their way to murder someone would log onto twitter on their way to do it to post a quick tweet about it.
*Rolls Eyes Skyward*

You know, my initial response is that it was over-responded to. I am at the very same point almost every day with my kids. But the more I think about it, it is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of a child. My background is social work with abused and neglected children. In Texas (not sure if this is accurate for all the US), citizens have a legal obligation to report abuse and neglect. Obviously this is not enforced at all, but the intent is protect kids who may be victims. There were times I had to report abuse and neglect as a caseworker no matter the circumstance, tone of voice, even if the child flat out told me they lied. But, after so many years of seeing children with HORRIBLE circumstances, I think that some false alarms are warranted. I would gladly open my doors to assure others of my child's safety if that same vigilance saved other children. Tough on the internet, though, because tone and intent doesn't translate in many cases.

If I joked about smothering my child I would have to expect that someone might take offense to it. Child abuse is not funny. Some people say those things and then deliberatly act them out and then everyone says "Why didn't someone do something about it?" Someone did something about it this time and tho' it was a joke, the mother in this case will always think twice about making jokes about such things.

As a woman who would love to have had a baby with my second husband, I don't find these types of mommy blogger comments to be funny. I often want to smother the mother's who don't have grattitude about their blessings. I understand Mommy stress as I have a child, but I also hate Mommy's who fail to cover their blessings. Children act up, they are a hand full. I never spoke this way about my own son, not even on his worst toddler day.

It seems to me that IF that mother were really pushed to the edge, she MIGHT Twitter about it... but that it would fall to her friends who know her well enough to have her email or phone # to check in. That's a big IF and a big MIGHT. I do think a lot of s*** goes wrong out here on the internet because people misjudge relationships. Networking = not the same as really knowing someone.

no way!!!!!! i read the blog of the woman who had the police called on her and the blog of the one who called the police. it goes without saying the the woman is a complete and utter trouble causer. unbelievable. i tried to leave her a 'nice little note' expressing my sentiments however surpris surprise it was rejected/deleted?! darn, makes me so angry. where i live neighbours who have fallen out with each other sometimes call the social work department anon and say the person who they fell out with is somehow mistreating their children!! this is for real!!! amazing and sickening, no wonder things like the baby p case happen if social workers / police are wasting their time on crazy callers like psycho woman. so angry.
by the way i am british, went to school in south africa, now live in ireland, have a brain like a south african woman - my only blessing.

Well, I did go on to read more posts on Thordora's site and the tribute to her daughter was absolutely beautiful - not only in sentiment but also in the incredible writing. If you're still reading here, it would be sad for you to close down because of one idiot.

As someone else commented, it's just venting and some of us vent a little more darkly than others. Learn to discern.

Totally out of line, calling the cops. What about context, what about reading this persons blog ? theres a lot of humorless and dull people out there who dont have the mental capacity to be anything but perfectly literal.

Im from the US, west coast.

On one hand, clearly calling the cops in this case was an over-reaction. On the other hand, recently a whole bunch of people watched a U.S. teenager kill himself live and on video in a chat room, and no one took it seriously and called for help until he'd been dead for several hours. So perhaps it was a case of someone thinking to themselves, "What if she really does it, and we all sit back and do nothing?" And perhaps that person decided that he/she could not live with that possibility.

That said, I think that it's a shame that blogging about your family life invites so much unwanted assvice. You are opening up your life and your ways for everyone to see, and criticize, so it's good that you have the balls to handle it. Go Tertia!

This bothered me so much as I watched it unfold late last night that I couldn't help but bring it back up on Twitter this morning. It really bothered me last night that I saw so much high-fiving for the mom who started it, and so little support (actually I witnessed zero) for the mom whose night ended in a visit from the police. The results were split. About half the people who tweeted back about it agreed w/me; the rest thought the mom in question "asked for it" by tweeting what she did. I asked how her statement was different from just saying "OMG, if my kid doesn't stop I'm going to kill him!" and was told it was the use of the F word. But it's still the same sentiment. You may cringe at her words or think it's a joke in poor taste, but was it truly indicative of DANGER? My feeling was that a lot of the people twittering about it felt she had it coming NOT because she was actually going to harm her daughter but simply because she had the nerve to blog something unkind about her. I also read several people suggesting that because the mom in question is bipolar, that made her automatically a "red flag", and that bothered me a lot too.

I was honestly floored that anyone would take a single one-line tweet with NO other context that would suggest she was considering violence toward her child that seriously. But even if the person was really concerned certainly there are better ways to go about "helping" than by broadcasting to 1000 of your closest friends about it, asking for help contacting CPS, ***attempting to call yourself*** and generally creating more drama?

Also, I wanted to address Kristy's comment: "If I joked about smothering my child I would have to expect that someone might take offense to it."

Taking offense is one thing. I can totally see why somebody may have been offended by the comment. Like I said, it made me cringe.

Calling the authorities after whipping up a bunch of support by publicly questioning the woman's fitness to mother is quite another.

Wow! I feel bad for the mother this happened too (and I think I saw she commented too). I would think it was a joke too, but so often in this country we hear about child abuse and people don't even know it's going on.

That said, I can't stand people who correct me on how I raise my daughter, or how I handle my pregnancy. If my doctor says I can have one cup of coffee a day during pregnancy and I have a small cup of half caf, I'm sure I'm OK. Plus, I never comment on how other people parent. It's their children. I blow off the parent police all the time. I'm sure there are things they do that I don't agree with, but I keep my mouth shut.

It's hard enough being a woman raising children and all of the other things we do. We women should be lifting each other up not tearing each other down. Most mothers have been to a breaking point with their children - where is the support for this woman. Like - use cough syrup. Okay - I am REALLY KIDDING - don't call the cops!

That's insane. Anyone who thinks there was a legitimate reason to involve the police has way too much time on their hands.

wow. at first i laughed hysterically, thought the person reporting needed medicating, then remembered the news item i had read earlier this morning.

in New Zealand, my homeland, since 2000, 350 children who were brought to the attention of the child-care authorities have since been murdered. i don't know the stat's for SA. such severe child abuse is a harsh reality in my country, and we are bombarded with images of beautiful babies and children whose lives are cut short. and we are left with the question of our own responsibility in such cases, because many people lament having stood by and not intervening, and feeling guilty when the worst happens.

i think the reporting to the police was an over-reaction - but at least it was sign of someone's concern for that little girl. i definitely think the mother who twittered needs more support - it is hard dealing with kids sometimes, and even if she was joking, i am sure she was struggling to cope - as WE ALL DO. to even voice such a thought indicates that she is finding it hard. someone offer to babysit for her, or shout her a massage - or go and visit for coffee. offer to help her get the kids to bed for a week or so - do something if you are able to - she most likely needs it.

I would only do this if I knew the poster very well and previous history would lead me to assume that the woman was a potentially abusive mother - NEVER on the basis of a single tweet.

As a recovering abuse victim with children who are also recovering abuse victims (Tertia knows who I am) I think calling the police was an over-the-top reaction by someone who was more interested in generating drama than in the welfare of those children.

Abusers present a seemingly perfect, controlled and idyllic falsehood to others (coincidentally precisely what the Parenting Police are encouraging). I find "perfect" parents deeply suspect - but flawed and sometimes frustrated parents charming and REAL. This was a flawed but honest and real parent who was persecuted for honesty and asking for support.

If you wanted to save those children from supposed harm, an email or phone conversation would have done it - and only after a long history of cries for help. If you wanted to help those children don't send men with guns to invade their home - offer the mother REAL support and options, not condemnation and shaming...

all because she didn't pretend to be perfect.

If you're on a genuine crusade to save abuse victims, start volunteering at a shelter and learn the truth and how to respond appropriately.

I'm still in shock that someone called the police on her for being honest about how frustrated she was feeling with your daughter not sleeping.

I've been in that space recently with my 2 year old son and screamed at him to finally go to sleep after the cuddling, singing and lying next to him.

I know how frustrating it can be after a full on day with kids to then try to put them down to sleep, so that you could (heaven forbid) get some rest yourself to be constantly asked for one more story/hug/song.

I have to wonder if the person that called the police has ever been in this situation.

(Btw = I'm from Melbourne).

OMG - Hello. Anyone home in the brain tonight?? How could anyone take something like that seriously. I mean - if I were going to smother my kid, I won't announce it to the world first. Somethings are just private, you know! (OK - I don't have any kids - only furkids, but I want to smother them sometimes, too)

Maybe it was overparenting to call the cops based on a twitter post, but the poster also lacked some judgement about posting a line like that, I think.

Child abuse does exist, and to those folks who have, unfortunately, seen it up front and personal, a post like that would not be funny or obviously sarcastic.

I live in the US and attended a party last month where something similar started. The woman hosting the party was complaining that her kids were picky eaters. A few other moms responded that it was because she allowed them to become that way by fixing something else and then something else for them to eat every time they turned their little noses up at what she had originally made. One lady said she nipped her daughter's pickiness in the bud by making her eat whatever was made for dinner regardless of whether the daughter "liked" it or not. One night, the daughter refused to eat anything at all. So the mother excused the daughter from the table, wrapped the plate and put it into the fridge. Next morning, she warmed it up again and gave it back to the daughter who again refused to eat it. At lunch, same thing. The daughter, who was not permitted to eat snacks or anything else until she had eaten the dinner, finally ate it. She didn't die from either starvation nor bad food ingestion. She's a teenager now and laughs about it with her mom and recently THANKED her mother because now when they travel the world, she's not afraid to try new foods and has recently developed an "addiction" to Thai Red Curry Chicken. But the day after the party, DCS (the Department for Child Services) visited the house because one of the other mothers at the party reported that she was abusing her kids. Absolutely unbelievable what some mothers do to others. They think they know so much about raising kids and that their way is the only way.

I don't know if it was right or wrong. I think if Thordora had just put a stupid smiley face at the end of her Twitter nobody could have mis-read it, then it would have been a complete over reaction if she had been reported.

I can't stand people who give you the evil eye if you smack or yell at your child in public and always give a symathetic smile to other mother's in the same situation, in fact one of my most common sayings is 'lucky you love them or you would kill them' it is always said with a smile and a laugh though. I guess the problem with Twitter (and blogs) is that you can't see the smile or the laugh and know that it's a joke.

Thordora sounds like a wonderful mother and what happened was really unfortunate and would have been so mortifying. I wouldn't have reported her if I had read the Twitter but I also know how I wold have felt if this person who i did not know at all did smother her child and I had seen a warning sign.

Tertia I know you have copped a lot in the past from 'do-gooders' all of it unjustified but I feel like I know you like a friend and if you had said it I would have laughed and empathised.

Only my 2 cents.

Bec (from the land of the best cricket teams - well until the other day).

PS How is young Brett Lee??

Can I say I'm shocked but not surprised? After the countless times I have seen sarcasm sail completely over the heads of blog readers I guess this isn't that surprising, but at the same time REALLY? That would have to be the grossest over-reaction I have ever heard about. gkk (Australia)

Wow...I can't believe that someone would do that! Good reason right there to keep your identity and address private.

What's really crazy is that if someone is actually going to smother their child they won't be telling anyone about it, especially in a joking fashion. Mothers who kill their kids always seem like the epitome of a perfect parent....until you see them on the news driving their kids into a lake. Those of us who let it all out there are blowing off steam so we DON'T smother our kids. You know what I'm saying?

I would say it was overreacting...but I know someone (via the internet, and a simple records search proves the story true) whose husband murdered her infant daughter because she wouldn't stop crying. By smothering her. She was 5 months old.

Now, yes, I know the woman wasn't really going to smother her child. But it's nothing to joke about, because it does and has happened.

Two more things...sorry...

To the (countless!) people who are saying, "How can ANYONE take this seriously?" Because it happens! Kids are murdered by their parents across the United States everyday! It's time we stopped joking about it and using terms like "I'm going to kill you," etc., losely. I know it is common, but it happens...and sometimes the warning signs are so very obvious.

Also, there is a HUGE difference in people saying something to someone about not using helmets or making their kids eat their meals as being child abuse. That is most definitely overreacting. But when someone says something about smothering their child, that isn't the same as saying, "I don't make my children bathe but once a week."

That's all...

It seems an exaggerate response. BUT it seems to come from the best intentions. This mom may be glad that she has people looking out for her daughter. Or not. In any case, it should be a warning for her- not to put details that make her children traceable in person on the web. You don't think you really know any of us moms out here just because we write on your blog, do you? You do?!?

i think the hardest thing that judgemental, uptight parents have to accept is that THERE IS MORE THAN ONE RIGHT WAY to do almost every child-related thing. there are many many paths to a happy healthy child.

I know a lady who actually had her kids taken away from her, including her very medically fragile daughter, because some nut who "knew" her from her blogging reported her as having Munchausen by Proxy syndrome (erroneously!). It took her months and a few hundred thousand dollars to prove to the courts that the nutjob that reported her was totally wrong & to get her kids back.

PS Have you ever read the blog of the Pioneer Woman? You should redirect your own parenting police to her blog, they would immediately let you be to hnt her down....Her 11 year old daughter rides a horse, drives a truck and rides in rodeos...talk about bycicle helmets! It makes me wish we were raising our kids in the countryside! (almost)
: )

OH FOR GOD SAKES! The woman was having a moment. Not that I ever have them as a mother. I on the other hand always love my daughter and would never ever make a sick joke about her. Heavy sarcasm here! I once made a comment about how my daughter was so my daughter because I had all the range of emotions including annoyance. Because she is adopted I am not allowed to feel what a "real" parent would feel and must always be in bliss doncha know?

I think it was way over the top especially in the context.

Gateway to the West, USA

Wow, that is really taking it too far. I wonder what in the world made the other woman think that the mother was SERIOUS?! Why wouldn't you call or email and ask? A simple, "Wait, you're not serious are you?" would have cleared things up completely.

Well I'm from Ireland and I think its bloody silly. I fully agree with you. "Legitmate reaction" my arse.

Goodness gracious, how insane is that! The govt. is getting way too involved in our personal lives and its no surprise with all the media attention that the Caylee Anthony murder has gotten that this is happening. I was reading a comment from the person who made this report that Casey Anthony text something about her child before she murdered her - she is referring to the fact she called her child a snothead.
Just take me away and bury my under the jail house. My nickname for my children is heathen. I also say when I am frustrated with my kids "I'm going to beat you!" I have other things I say and do too that I am sure people would just be appalled over. However it is said is frustration, sarcasm, and jest.
And hopefully after posting this no one from the MPD or CPS will arrive at my doorsteps anytime soon. I assure you all those little heathens, I mean kids are all safe and sound.

I am from the US (midwest) and I think this is ridiculous. I know it's important to protect children. But this is totally over the line, and actually seems more vindictive than in the best interests of the children. I haven't read the blog, but based on the comments...here's my take.

A woman, who is admittedly bipolar (and therefore, more than likely dealing with that), who clearly loves her children, who is sarcastic on a regular basis, wrote a single line that, to normal (i.e. thinking) people would indicate that she's having trouble with one of her kids. Another woman saw it and decided to make it a police matter. Wow. And the bipolar woman (who is clearly unbalanced to the point that she was going to smother her child) says that she understands why the other woman would call. Hmmm. I know who I would send for help with their mental health.

I think people express frustration by saying they'd like to kill someone every day. Does this mean that when a 16 year old gets in a car accident and says "my dad's going to kill me," he/she should get a police escort home or should go directly to foster care? Common sense - it's so lacking.

I would rather be on the lookout for the really dangerous people - like the woman from my area who put her kids on eBay.

"I am always fascinated to see the cultural influences in popular opinion." I'm not fallin' for that!

Apparently I have to stop joking about using duct tape and chicken wire on my children!

I think if this had happened to me I would have laughed so hard when the cops explained to me why they were on my doorstep they would have carted me away to the loony bin.

People need to grow a sense of humor! Or have one installed, whichever is faster!

(Seattle, WA area)

Posting from USA -- I do not agree with what she did. Perhaps it is because I share a similar sense of humor as the original poster? But I still think it was way out of line. She was worried about the girl getting hurt but didn't think that perhaps the police showing up in the little girls room in the middle of the night wouldn't scare her?

I'm not even sure what Twitter is, or Tweet for that matter? I assume you talk to each other?

We had a horrendous incident in Australia this past Winter where beautiful one year old Boy/girl Twins were found dead in their cot, 9 days after they died.. they each weighed 3 kilograms or there abouts. It was so horrible; heartbreaking. The Mother had been posting regularly, on a popular Aussie parenting forum, about how hard it was parenting her children, and how she couldn't cope, etc.. and sprinkling her posts with humour and dark threats said in jest. NO ONE would have assumed that one cold June day in 2008 she would close their bedroom door and not go back in.

I have to admit that never in a million years would I say a threat against my children, not in jest nor frustration.. I too am stalked by the Jinx Monster, and nothing would elicit such a challenge to it from me!! Even writing this gives me the shivers, No, Sir Monster, I am NOT challenging you! Arghh!

But that said, I do know many parents who say these words born of frustration and exhaustion ALL the time. I would never think of calling the police against a friend who said such a thing, but a stranger?
I just dont know, it depends on how serious I thought the situation was, generally I'd assume that the mother was being sarcastic, but after the situation here in June, Id have my concerns.

You know when I look back at the despair I felt with my firstborn colicky/never slept son (dreaming about throwing him off the VERY high balcony so I could have a FEW moments rest, and that being ok. In my dreams.. In real life being hyper protective) I can appreciate someone being so concerned that she/he would call the police.

Because sadly it happens. Child abuse/child murders.

Thankfully I worked my way out of PPD after a year or so my thanks to a great doctor and an anti-depressant.

If it were a blog I read and I was truly concerned I would email and ask for them to respond. If they didn't and I knew their location I just might have called 911.

My brother committed suicide 19 years ago. Pleas for help were made and not followed up on or treated respectfully. This perhaps makes me ultra sensitive to the issues of what people say when really stressed. And I would hope understandably so..

i have been thinking about this post a lot today, so i went thru to the blog concerned just now.

the woman who writes it sounds really really angry, and as if she is in that state on a regular basis. anger is a normal emotion, without which being human would be hard - but regular rage, unchecked, is not healthy by any one's standards.

i was raised by an angry violent dad, and was bashed and punched and kicked and yelled at. sarcasm and vitriol were his verbal weapons. not one person who observed even the slightest traces of his rage tried to intervene, ever. i was at the mercy of someone who knew no bounds. i had physical bruises and scars which faded, but the emotional ones are there for life - below the surface, but tender to the touch.

his words, his cruel and thoughtless words were the worst, because they created my reality about myself. the reality that i was ugly, and useless and of no worth to anyone. and worse still, his words that I WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WAY IN WHICH HE CHOSE TO RESPOND TO ME - THAT IT WAS MY FAULT HE HAD A HARD TIME BEING A PARENT. and that was so unfair.

i wish that someone had intervened. that someone had stopped him in his tracks and helped him find a new way to treat me.

then i most likely would not have been an inappropriately angry mother to my first three children. we ALL have scars on our souls from the fallout from my dad's rage, and NONE of us deserve it.

what sort of impact would the words 'when you were three i wanted to smother you on a daily basis' have on that little girl? perhaps as a one-off throw away comment not too much. but if they and similar things are said on a regular basis - what sort of messages is the little girl receiving about herself? how will she view her own self worth? and how can she avoid feeling that her mother's rage is in fact HER (the little girl's) fault? the mother is frustrated because she either lacks the strategies to cope more effectively, does not have enough support, or something similar.

the words are in themselves an action, in that they create a reality. they put out into the ether the thoughts they stem from - and those thoughts are dangerous. i don't mean that it is dangerous to be frustrated - but it is to voice the most idle of thoughts, especially where the child may hear it. and haven't we all experienced the feeling of someone we love being angry with us, but not saying so openly - isn't the feeling as powerful as hearing it spoken? what feelings is that mum putting out to her little girl? what unspoken messages are getting thru into that developing psyche?

again, i repeat - this is not a message of judgment - just a plea to question our deepest thoughts without criticising ourselves for having them, but looking for ways to make them more healthy.

a mum with that level of anger needs help - and i think from her response to the situation that she knows that deep inside. i don't mean blame or criticism, or even a visit from the police . . . just someone who can share some strategies with her to manage her emotions differently. it is NEVER okay to be so consumed with rage when dealing with a child - if you are, you need HELP!

i have had just that this past year and a half - someone to untangle my damaged bits and pieces, and who helps me express the very real love and concern i have for my baby in a safe and beautiful way. i am moved on a daily basis that i no longer have to feel rage and anger when she is being demanding.

and i am not being self-righteous - because i don't blame myself for my earlier ignorance, and i don't feel judgmental toward anyone else who may be having similar problems to those i had earlier. i just know that there are ways of dealing with the most frustrating of children's actions without making idle, but not completely empty, threats, which might at times lead to us carrying them out.

our children are worth keeping this discussion alive.

I also think that calling the police was way out of line. The whole incident was a self-congratulatory, self-righteous act of someone who wanted to attract attention.

I cringe when I think about what might happen when I have children and blog about it. I'm bound to be a highly unconventional mother...

UNBELIEVABLE!!! I think that's just one step too far- she needs to climb off her horse! If we called the cops here(in SA) I think they'd laugh and say they were too busy investigating a hijacking, murder, robbery. I wonder what the cop thought or felt, I am glad however that the police took it seriously- I suppose they have to.

I honestly think twitter is kind of like stalking.
At least on face book you know who's watching your thoughts and feelings.
This is completely over the top.
Who was this person, or from reading the post "persons" who believed they had the right to call the police.
I understand that child abuse happens, in all forms.
But come on what percentage of parents actually do abuse their children.
Here are some stats from Australia:

The most recent national figures from the Australian Institute of Health Welfare indicate that in Australia, during 2006-07, there were 309,517 reports of suspected cases of child abuse and neglect made to state authorities. These figures have increased by over 50% in the last five years, from 198,355 in 2002-03. The figures do not necessarily mean that the actual incidence of child abuse and neglect has increased over this time, but they do show that the reporting of cases to child protection services has increased.

Now these are reported cases, as you can see there has been a huge jump in the last few years. But why? Because it’s happening? Because it’s more published? Or because people like this woman interfere in the lives of others.
I don’t know, it just it seems so over the top. Even though this event had no bad outcome for the innocent parent.. I mean its still going to be a black mark against her name. She may be reported and watched more closely because of this.
Because of a stupid sentence on twitter...
Seriously what has this world come to?

I speak some what from experience on this issue. When I was about 12 a friend told her step father hit her a few times, she had bruises... I confided in my mother who confided in our school principal and had the girl removed from the home.
It was proven to be false, and she was returned.
But from that I lost a friend, but thats real thats very very real, seeing a child in pain, or suffering with brusing SEEING a child being abused or showing evidence of a abuse which if your high on common sense can be very plain to see.

Having 4 sons, I totally understand how this mom feels. I would have thought it a joke since it is the holidays and the kids have been home and wild. My boys have been the same way every single night for the past 3wks. Totally driving me crazy after being put to bed 100+times in a 2hr period.

West Coast USA

I'm really sorry that someone making a funny on twitter ended up in this humiliating and stressful situation - it is horrible. However, I don't think you should ever joke about harming your kids in a forum where people don't know you intimately and can clearly interpret it as a joke. There are too many parents harming their kids to take that chance. It irritates the crap out of me when the parenting police wags their fingers at dummy/eating dirt/trivial issues and I wish they would just wag those fingers right back at themselves. But anything that could harm a child that is published in the open is due to be scrutinised, and if you are a parent taking a lot of stress and you hint at harming your child, chances are that you are close to breaking point. NO this woman was not taking a lot of stress and would never harm her child, but how would someone know that, reading that line out of context? For someone that is crying out for help and nobody is listening, this is often voiced on public forums, whether it is saying "I sometimes feel like killing myself" or "sometimes I feel like throwing my kid out the window" or "I hate my classmates and someday I am going to take a gun to school" - yes, this stuff is actually happening out here. And, yes, I understand none of this was applicable to this mom, but please, respect the current climate of the world with regards to violence and clarify when you are making a joke (or better, JUST DON'T SAY IT), if you are to mention you are going to smother your child to a bunch of people you don't know from a bar of soap.

I think it's ludicrous. Completely over the top.
But I reckon the person who made someone call the police just has absolutely no sense of humour, and she obviously got the wrong end of the stick.

Then again: She probably preferred to err on the side of caution, which in itself is not such a bad idea. But still... I can't believe this has really happened!

I make the "smother" comment a lot. It is never serious. Just annoyance that my daughter, at 15 1/2 months, has slept through the night 3 times. Although I have had 4 nights of rest due to lovely in-laws that whisked her away on night. Everybody knows I'm joking. Motherhood is tough and there is a dark humour that comes with it.

I think you have something on South African culture vs English / American culture. We only moved here in August, but the difference was evident from the begining. Children are part of life here. In American and England it seemed they were much more part of the sidelines. No matter where I go, if I ever find myself with my hands full, a stranger is stepping in to help, scoop up a kid, lend a hand, give a kind word. Its lovely.

How utterly ridiculous! That's my opinion, in a nutshell! Hell - I hope that tweeter never gets a look at my blog! I am raising drug addicts and alcoholics, don't you know!
Honestly, I think most of us mommies blog to vent, relate funny stories, and show sides to motherhood that are not always advertised! Unless of course, you are miss perfect home keeper who never gets it wrong, always remains in control and always has perfect kids!
But for the rest of us plebs, sharing our stories on our blogs makes us feel better as parents! Because it shows that what we do and what our kids do is actually, quite normal! Even though no-one talks about it!

This is a very grey area...I am too likely to err on the side of caution as I have "rescued" someone that I barely knew* who had taken an overdose amt of prescription drugs and then logged into a chat in what I see now as a cry for help.

I didn't have the tools available to find someone way back then, but luckily I knew someone that knew this person better than I and was able to get them help. And I know someone else that played a horrible horrible hoax on someone and it resulted in them being charged with mischief.

At the end of the day, it is such an unclear judgment call - she states she tried to contact the person via twitter a few times after that post with no response...and other ppl have commented that they too were worried..

A very good friend of mine is in the middle of an ugly divorce and her children are 11 and 13 and don't want to have anything to do with their father...don't wish to speak to him on the phone, visit - anything - and at 11 and 13, they're old enough to know what's up.. and he repetitively calls the police to check on the kids because they won't take his calls. And dutifully the police go and check on the kids and it annoys her to no end (which is why he does it most likely)...

I am jusSo T, to answer your question.. I dunno.. such a grey area. In this particular case, perhaps over the top, but in the society of where the internet has allowed us SO much freedom without reprecussion, that often one does have to think about what they say and don't say in public forums. And before I get backlashed for censorship, I am not suggesting that.. I am just suggesting thinking before typing. So often we're reactive to situations and forget to stop and think.

*I knew her as an admin of the chat area, and I knew her real first name and what city she lived in, and little bits about her but I know more about Marko than I knew about her.

OK. First off I am in Ireland, so the other side of the world from you. Secondly I work in healthcare and so hope I am pretty tuned in to the threat that children might be exposed to. Thirdly I have 4 children of my own, youngest now nearly eight, and I have no idea how many times I have threatened to kill them over the years!! This is truely insane. But the fact is,this is the downside of the internet. You are exposing yourself, your opinions and sense of humour to many people who may be narrow minded, judgemental (that would be me!) or just suffering from a serious sense of humour deficit. I am very tongue in cheeck when I write and I am certain that mnay people just don't get that. Just as well I don't have too many readers or the police might have taken up residence at my house. Just wait until teens are thrown into the mix!!

Now THAT just made me wonder about how many times I ve said I wanna kill my husband, lol.
Thank God that police caller does not read MY blog !


It's utterely ridiculous! I want to meet ONE mother who has not felt frustration with a child who won't co-operate! Problem with these modern mothers is that they don't discipline their children, well, life will and that will be so much harder!

"I think calling the police was an over-the-top reaction by someone who was more interested in generating drama than in the welfare of those children.

Abusers present a seemingly perfect, controlled and idyllic falsehood to others (coincidentally precisely what the Parenting Police are encouraging). I find "perfect" parents deeply suspect - but flawed and sometimes frustrated parents charming and REAL. This was a flawed but honest and real parent who was persecuted for honesty and asking for support."

Ding, ding, ding. This is SPOT on.

Ex Southie, now US East Coaster.

I just read the post and the comments on Thordora's blog and I am sorry to say but I am with Kristy on this one. Yes, it was a sarcastic joke - anyone could see it was a joke BUT who makes sarcastic jokes about killing a child, no matter how frustrated you are? Even when my own dog frustrates the shit out of me I don't go around making jokes of killing the poor thing. Maybe it's just morbid humour, but I don't think morbid humour should be apllied to children or loved ones, no matter how frustrated a person gets. It's my opinion that the child needed a hiding or some kind of diciplinary action (yes, I do believe in a good hiding) in the first place to prevent the mother from feeling so frustrated, and which would do the child some GOOD, instead of joking about killing the child, which obviously hasn't done any good, except to make us all sit up straight and take notice.

Now, I have more of an issue with someone who believes in a "good hiding" than with someone who makes a joke about smothering their child. What does that say about me?

Im not actually sure what constitutes 'a good hiding' ? But as far as I know it would be forcibly holding a child against their will and beating him/her with either a hand or an instrument? (wooden spoon?)
Thankfully here in Australia we are about to pass laws that make any kind of violence against children illegal, be it a 'good hiding' or a smack on the bum!


Yes, in giving our children such fair and just unbringings we do allow for alot of sassing back from them, but I wouldnt have it any other way. Id rather have frustrated days, regularly, with children who feel they can stand up for themselves and express what they want, than easy days with children who are scared of me. My kids respect me, and they also respect themselves. I grew up being spanked, and I can comfortably say there is no chance for growing self respect when you are wetting yourself with fear during 'a good hiding'.

But everyone has their own way of parenting, or else we'd be raising clones!


If you read more than, say perhaps the posts tagged bipolar, you would see that I am one of the LEAST angry people you'll meet, despite the multitude of SHITE that has happened in my life. Did you bother to read anything tagged by my children's names? Have you read any of the posts from this month?

The insinuations that I am not a good mother BECAUSE I suffer from a mental illness are belittling and repulsive. I am a DAMN good mother-because I go to my doctor when I AM sick. I am in treatment BECAUSE I am a good mother. I love my daughters.

My downfall obviously, is my honesty. Which, I might add, I've been thanked for by hundreds of women around the world who have had a bad day, or felt like they just can't do it anymore.

I have a nasty black humour which MOST women don't ever seem to get. I'm not sugar and spice-I'm snips and snails and puppy dog tails. And I'm DAMN glad for that.

I'm also now VERY careful on Twitter. :)

thanks for all the input. Most of y'all have given me something to ponder.

Well it seems to me that some people don't know the difference between diciplining a child by means of a good hiding/smack on the bum and the abuse a child to the effect of the child wetting his/her pants!! I also grew up spanked ( and not once did I wet my pants, or felt abused) and I have loads of self respect as well as enormous respect for my own children AND MY OWN PARENTS due to the fact that I was diciplined when it was necesary and it taught me that my own little will was not always the most important thing. I am not saying spank your child every night because she doesn't want to go to bed, I am only saying if the child is such a huge frustration in your daily life perhaps one should consider whether the child is in need of some dicipline??? Believe you me, we South Africans are just as much against child abuse as any other country in the world. There is a HUGE difference in giving a hiding and ABUSING. What ever happened to the GOOD old thing called punishment? Are we only aloud to be punished for wrong doing when we are adults? I believe if you dicipline the child - punishment (in what ever form) will not be necesarry when we become adults.

Anyway, I will be expecting the cops to arrive at my house tonight, so all of a sudden I am kind of having sympathy with Thordora :-)

I'm guilty of being that parent as well. When my daughter was a baby and wouldn't sleep I used to look out the window while she cried, my husband would ask what I was doing and I would answer "Looking for a dingo to come and eat my baby."

While I make my daughter wear a helmet, don't leave her alone too long in the bat (she's six) and various other things I wouldn't dream of calling the authorities on anyone.

Mandy I didnt mean offence, I just dont know what constitutes a 'hiding' .. Im not familiar with the term.
We all parent differently, and thats something to be thankful about. And we are all affected by our history. My history of being spanked certainly affects my parenting, and my dislike of physical punishment for a child. Just like Thordora, I too have lost my Mother, and I know the darkness that can bring into someones life, and how if affects us when we become Mothers. And the shocking dark humour that we develop.
I apologise for any offense I gave.

We've gone from one extreme to the other in the U.S. over the last several decades -- from pretending not to notice when parents abused their children to thinking we ought to interfere in every situation. Take the whole breastfeeding thing forex: WHY do people think they should badger new moms into BFing when they'd rather not? "It's for the good of the babies!" O rly? Well, I have two fabulously bright and healthy teenage daughters who were bottle-fed, so how about that? And it goes on from there. Yet, legitimate instances of child abuse are often discovered now, so it's hard to know where to draw the line. I think that keeping your Twitters and whatever within a circle of people you know is probably the way to go, whether we're talking about family or job-related updates. Maybe password your blog if you post a lot of personal things. And even then you have to self-censor a bit because you never know when a "friend" is going to freak out over something or not get a joke.

People who really want to save kids might think about crusading for vehicle safety and better driving habits (i.e., not putting your kids in a car at all if you can help it!) because most deaths of U.S. minors are from car accidents, not from getting molested or spanked or abducted or bottle-fed.

I initially thought way over the top but, then I thought about it some more. I think it's better safe than sorry. Really a random reader doesn't know someone, we have no way of knowing if it was someone that just happened about her update and never read her blog right? Children are killed every day by their parents, it's not really something to joke about especially online. Venting something to a spouse or friend is different than posting a twitter update about smothering your child cause they won't sleep. It's not a joke at all. I hope she realizes that now. I am glad someone cared enough about that child to be concerned. What if it wasn't a joke?

I'm with you that the outcome was extreme and I don't think it personally would have even occurred to me to pick up the phone. But I gotta at least give a nod to all those people who said you can never be too careful. Bad stuff does happen, and usually everyone says that in hindsight there were lots of warning signs.
Personally the word smother sort of creeps me out. I'm more comfortable with off teh cuff comments of the (I'll kill you) variety. I know. Doesn't make sense. But smother is sort of very visceral.
One other thing I dont agree with. Your take on these parenting police always seems to be that they are trying to show that they are better parents. I dont think an anonymous tipster is trying to show that (s)he's the better parent. Just being concerned, or maybe paranoid.
Best of luck in your pregnancy by the way.

Just wanted to add here that maybe some of the blame/responsibility falls on the blogger. Now, do love blogs because they are honest, open and let it all hang out, which can be a real life line showing mothers they are not alone. On the other hand, let's take a step back here and ask ourselves when it was OK to write (tongue in cheek or otherwise) about smothering our children to a worldwide audience? Maybe some self editing is in order.
Like I said, I love your blogs and blogs in general. But one thing that bothers me about many mommy blogs (not yours) is that there seems to be a focus on cleverness and sarcasm. There's this odd sort of language where women joke about how they are such horrible moms, the subtext being that we all know they're really not. But cleverness can be taken too far.

You know what I think is the scariest part of all this? The amount of time that some people, including the person who reported this tweet, spend on Twitter. The number of tweets per day, per hour, that this woman is posting suggests that maybe she should take a walk in the woods or something — and then she wouldn't end up calling the police about random jokes on Twitter. Seems like a case of people getting way too wrapped up in this weird little electronic world.

As someone who has had CPS called on her by vindictive neighbors because they didn't like my husband's shorts I say this was another example of "OMG how stupid can you get."

I mean really, is there anyone who has not said "if he doesn't stop *this or that* I will kill him"? Or smother him or kick his butt?

Sheesh...get out your dictionary and look up the word 'sarcasm' people.

Well, I'll certainly stop calling the baby's play yard a "baby jail"...at least on Twitter.

If you know someone well enough to call the police and KNOW WHERE TO SEND THEM then I'm going to assume you know the Tweeter in question well enough to know when she's being sarcastic and when she's not. That was a terrible thing to do to a friend.

East Coast, USA

Toronto, Canada

It's a tough one. I think overall I lean more towards the "why was the woman who called obsessing over Twitter" more than the "protect the child at all costs" side.

I don't think I would have interpreted it that way. But the word smother would have bothered me - I have been smothered almost to death, by an angry parent, so I know it's a hot button word and situation for me. But it also is very specific and violent, just on its own.

That said, I guess what stands out for me is that this wasn't a discussion about "best practices" or someone making a sarcastic remark at a playground.

It was someone who believed there was a violent threat to a child... whether that belief came out of her own drama (I so agree with you there, annon) or not, there is something to be said for people who truly believe that in taking a further step. But it's true that often their next step is misguided.

Education really is the key and I personally think there should be a requirement for people who make a certain category of false accusations to attend a very friendly one hour seminar, with doughnuts, in order to turn their drama into real power.

And on the flip side, I guess I think this is also a (very scary) education for the parent involved. I do think when the frustration and rage is mounting, a joke on the Internet can be a great thing. But I also think that as parents we need to try to moderate that darkness a little bit too - not just for our children but for ourselves as wounded adults.

I think the thing about the 'net is for some people it's like hanging out on a porch all casually, and for some people it's more like a church hall or a living room. If you said joking around with your friends that you felt like smothering your child, they'd probably commiserate. But if you suddenly came out with a statement like that in the middle of a more formal meeting, it would shock. I think some people read from one perspective and some from the other.

One thing I am trying to teach my son is to stand up against bullies, but I know that along the way he will make mistakes. I think on the Internet we are all children still making our mistakes in the new means of "knowing" each other.

I think the best part of the story is that the police did their job, which was to check it out and make a real, professional assessment. In the end society worked that way, so hurrah.

Of course it's because she's Manic Depressive. Everybody knows that all us Manic Depressives are just WAITING for an excuse to drown our kids in bathtubs, or whatever.

Venting doesn't mean you don't love your kids. Getting frustrated doesn't mean you don't love your kids.

I have to wonder about the stupid bint who pranced around tweeting about it and reporting it. Do you feel good about yourself? You have now ensured that the next time this woman feels THAT FRUSTRATED about a shitty parenting situation, she will KEEP THAT TO HERSELF, rather than venting and getting support. Good for you, you moron. What parents need, especially Differently Sane parents, is fewer outlets and less community support.


Oh, and Shandra? Seriously? You think having the cops wander in and peek at the kids is some sort of fantastic rescue? I'm assuming the cops left, right? So if the kids were really in danger, they still are. And if they opened up a CPS file, good God, the mind boggles at the misplaced resources and the bullshit this woman will have to go through.

(Greater Seattle Area.)

At first I thought, that's crazy. I personally don't get the whole Twitter thing anyway, but still. Seemed extreme. Then I actually clicked over to this womans blog. She's very open about suffering from depression, recent suicide attempts, etc. I'm not saying that depression or being suicidal means you'll smother your kids - but obviously this woman has had some emotional problems in the past. If a regular follower of hers thought it should be reported then I kind of understand why. And it seems she just reported it to Twitter who then called the police. You put all this information out about yourself, and stuff like that happens. That said - I constantly tell people that I'm giving my children away to the gypsies the next time they come by...Don't call DSS on me.

Um ok, akeeyu. Yah, I do actually. If I call the police to report a child in danger, I damn well expect them to show up. However, if I'm a lunatic with a cell phone, I also expect them to leave the parent alone after that.

Three times I have observed mother's who are not watching their children and the children are in danger of being grabbed. Each time I wrestled internally if I should say something. Each time I said something. Each time the mother got mad at me. EACH TIME I DID NOT CARE. Let me tell you why. I figure I have a few choices. I can either say nothing and chances are nothing will happen and everyone will go on their merry way. OR I can say nothing and someone will grab the child. ( I guess we dont need to go over what happens when someone takes a child.) OR I can say something, the mother gets mad at me but SHE GETS TO THINKING "hey, maybe I better keep a better eye on my kid, I would not want anyone taking her". Yes, I look like a bitch but if it saves a child (however remotly) I DONT CARE. It is worth it. I know that sometimes I say things in jest at night when i am exausted and cant possibly deal with my daughter getting up AGAIN. But I would never be stupid enough to post it online or in twitter - that is public domain. I tell my husband, or god or my sister or even my kid that I am going to lose it. I tell people who i know and trust, I dont write it down for the world to see. I know, logically, that that lady was not going to smother her kid but at the same time, I could not live with myself if I saw it written down and did not try to do something. I have to say I kinda agree with the lady who called the cops. She did not do the popular thing but she did the right thing. Let the mud-slinging begin. Maggie

I've just come over from Cecily's blog. Perhaps I need to think about this situation a little bit more because I am torn. I think about the case just recently where a teenage boy killed himself on the internet and NO ONE called ANYONE to help him, but a WHOLE LOT of people watched him end his life LIVE on the internet (until an adult had the sense to call the police, but it was too late). Where do you draw the line? I don't know. I may in fact joke to my husband that some days (those horrible days where nothing goes right) I want to just end it all, perhaps I have even gone so far as to use the term "slit my wrists"....but would I write that as an update on Facebook, Twitter, or any other type of service like that? Probably not, not even in my most joking mood. Perhaps we are in a society now where people just can't seem to self-regulate what they THINK from coming out of their mouths (or into type) anymore? I am not sure what I would have done in that situation and that is as truthful as I can get until I have a chance to think about it a little more.

PS: I am a Canadian living in Alaska USA.
PPS: Having just had a major life altering event at the age of 33 I am really starting to wonder if maybe just maybe we spend WAY too much time worrying about everyone else these days and not enough time worrying about ourselves and our families anymore.


She didn't smother her kids, so what did the cops rescue them from?

On the other hand, if she really IS going to smother her kids, what difference does the cops showing up ONCE (and then leaving) make?


I'm not seeing anything where any counseling or services were provided, are you? But she was pretty upset (and rightly so) about the cops showing up, and doesn't want that to happen again.

So, the end result is likely to be that the next time this mother is that frustrated, she's just going to be more secretive and ashamed, NOT more likely to get help.

Who was helped?

The caller, and the woman being vilified are two different people, both from the United States.

It's likely a cultural thing. Look. We have people that pick up toddlers by the feet and swing them head-first into the walls until they are dead. People that place infants in microwaves or that hack their arms off. Our media reports on these things every. freaking. day. Always with the same question: why didn't the neighbors report the screaming? Why didn't someone do something? Why didn't someone report the child that was abused? Why didn't someone say something, do something, anything? Why didn't someone notice something was wrong?

Kids take weapons into our schools and shoot each other after posting about it on the internet. Again, why didn't someone stop it before it happened? They thought it was a joke.

Call it a well-meaning blunder at the worst.

The person that DID call told the police that she was concerned but that it was most likely a joke but that she thought that the police were better equipped to decide. The context of the call was "I don't know". She wasn't the only person to call, either. Many people called. Some got through, some did not. I spoke to one of the people that got through, and she was not the first call. There were people discussing this that were NOT on twitter, that did NOT find out about it via Tara.

The POLICE took it upon themselves to investigate, despite the disclaimers. The POLICE were provided with the twitter information. The POLICE tracked down her address and went to her home. Because there was enough reason for them to be concerned, even though they assumed that she was simply exercising black humor (according to what Thordora said, herself.)

Had Tara managed to get through (and she didn't manage to get through) she would have provided them with the same information that the caller provided. That she was worried, that she didn't know if the woman were serious, and did the police think someone should check up on what was going on or did they think it was a joke?

"In Texas (not sure if this is accurate for all the US), citizens have a legal obligation to report abuse and neglect."

Haven't read all of the comments but I thought I'd chime in on this particular aspect of it (have already chimed in on other fronts on other blogs). Ordinary citizens do not have a legal obligation to report abuse and neglect in the United States (although they are perfectly within their rights to do so, can do so anonymously, and may personally believe they have a moral obligation if not a legal one). Certain individuals have an obligation to report abuse and neglect. These individuals vary on a state-by-state basis, but generally include professionals such as teachers, social workers, physicians, psychologists, etc. However, even these "mandated reporters" are not required to notify the state every time something occurs that could be conceivably perceived as abusive or neglectful. States operate confidential hotlines that these professionals are encouraged to access in ambiguous cases, to receive advice from experts. When a child's well-being and custody is on the line, professionals generally act cautiously - they do not throw out suspicions of child abuse or neglect with so little information to base it on. In cases such as these, the professional would probably be advised to seek out more information - to address their concerns to the parent or speak directly with the child.

Given this, it blows my mind that a private citizen, with no ongoing relationship with this woman, going on less than 140 characters of information, would contact the police and allege that a homicide had been committed. I am sure Twitter has a record of her tweets (I have heard they have been deleted), and if this story can be confirmed it seems appropriate for her to be charged with whatever the phone equivalent of filing a false police report is and held financially responsible for the cost to the police department of sending uniformed officers to a woman's house at 11 PM.

That is insane and over the top BUT if one displays one's whole life constantly over the internet on twitter, facebook status updates and blogging, then how can you be surprised that you will expose yourself to nutcases every now and then? The reason that woman's comments were taken out of context is because that person DIDN'T KNOW HER. But yet she reveals intimate details to all and sundry - of course they wouldn't get her tone! Oh and by the way, this confirms my thinking that Twitter is the most useless, ridiculous, self-involved, self-aggrandizing thing to ever come out of the Internet.

While I recognised it as a joke (having read about this after the fact), I totally see why others did not have the same response and I understand why things happenned the way they did. Were those who raised the alarm right to do so? I don't know, but I do know that they were not wrong. It is all well and good to call this an overreaction, but we would all have been singing a different tune if she had turned out to be serious. That is not something that could be safely judged by strangers over the internet and the police were ultimately called in to make that judgement. I could go on at length about the difficulties of communicating effectively on the internet, but I won't. These are just the new realities that the internet has forced on us, or rather, that we accept when we choose to participate in online social networking.
Am I the only one who sat and watched my television in horror more than once over the past few years to hear neighbours tell how dedicated and loving mothers were/appeared to be, right up to the point where they drowned/smothered/shot their 5/2/3 children? How, then, can we heap scorn on someone/people who make a judgement call that it was better to err on the side of caution and have the situation checked out? I prefer for the police to make 100 false checks than miss one hurting mother and her endangered child. If I were the mom in question, I might feel upset and misunderstood, but I would not pretend that in a different situation, perhaps in a different family, those policement might not have been saving lives.
Interestingly enough, I formed my opinions/response to this before learning that the mom in this case was bipolar. I wasn't going to touch this issue at all, but I just changed my mind. I'm going to express an opinion, knowing that at least some people will misunderstand/misinterpret/twist my thought: Say whatever you will about society's response to those with psychological health problems... I'll probably agree with you. BUT, I will say that if I had been going through this in real time, with that knowledge, it would have probably have also coloured my response to the point where I too would have wondered if this was more than "dark humour." Would I have taken action beyond some serious prayer, probably not. But I do not fault anyone who decided that they could not take the risk of hearing about this on the news the next day.
No time to read over/ read through comments, so sorry for errors or repetitions.

akeeyu, I'm assuming the police assessed the situation and discovered she didn't need help. That does happen. It's a perfectly legitimate outcome. The choices are not solely "take children away" or "provide help."

I posted this on Cec's blog but I think it bears repeating.

The fact that Tara chose to re-Tweet the situation to over a thousand people, blog about it and (unfortunately) successfully stir up massive amounts of internet drama in regard to the situation completely invalidates any concern she might have had for the child in question. Her actions appear classless, trashy, and vindictive.

The concerned party, the person who is a concern and the authorities should be the only people involved if a child's welfare is truly in question.

This was so very clearly not the case here. How sickening.

I honestly can't believe that anyone would EVER think it's OK to call the police, the twitter management or CPS on someone who is twittering a funny little expression of frustration. What a f'king asshole. Sorry, but that's just how I feel.

Apparently this person feels that she is SO far above all the rest of us as a parent that she has the right to make judgement calls based on absolutely no information. I swear, if I knew who she was I'd call CPS on her, because if she is spending so much time screwing over other moms, just how much time is she spending with her own kids?

Oh, this made me SO mad.

I'm from the US. did you mention where the woman lives who had this happen? Its not a classy comment, but anyone who is a parent has some choice comments and thoughts that make us giggle and soldier on. The reaction is waaaay overblown!

What makes me wild is the instant police action for this situation and on the other hand we have kids constantly returned to their drugged birth parents where there is documented abuse. Until they wind up dead one day at the hands of one of them. Makes me so angry.

Shandra, you're giving the cops an awful lot of credit. I don't think even an experienced psychiatrist could give an accurate read on a given family situation by doing a quick walk through and Looking At The Kids. Cops are pretty nifty, but they're not omniscient.

Also, my main point is, by doing something like this, a source of support is being yanked from this woman. If she's not a danger to her kids, she deserves this support. If she is a danger to her kids (I don't believe this), she NEEDS this support. Do you really think she'll be as quick to vent, blow off steam, solicit support from others?

I don't.

As I've said at a few sites now - including Thordora's - this whole thing just defies common sense entirely. Nobody tried to reach out directly to Thor - everything was focussed on *broadcasting* panic. Sad, and terrible, and disturbing.

I don't think either party involved is totally right, or totally wrong, but it's certainly a cautionary tale to keep in mind when thinking about what we put out there about ourselves online. The virtual community can be an excellent place to vent, connect, and find support, but it has a darker, panopticon-esque side as well.

Well, I agree with you and Cecily. This wasn't an honest, hey can we help you thing--I've discreetly emailed lots of people when I wasn't sure what was up. This was a joke, and an obvious one. And the person who overreacted? A judgemental attention seeker, considering she spread it all over the net, and is now lying about it. Twitter did not call the police. And she never notified them. They have said so in a public statement.

Nice. I'm glad I'm not one of her neighbors or relatives in real life. God knows what she does to them. I was just blogging about this, and hell, I'll bet she'd call and tell on Erma Bombeck or Roseanne Barr. Americans were very relaxed about child-rearing until about ten years ago Tertia. I'm not sure why they lost their sense of humour, but lots of them did. The joke is? There are fewer child murders in the US and less child abuse. All crime is down in the US, and yet, they are convinced that it is rampant to the point where they do this.

Bombeck's writings would be right up your alley, actually. Especially when she talks about her husband, or sex! haha

I wish people would STOP referencing the kid who killed himself on the webcam in regard to this situation. Why does nobody making that comparison seem to realize the huge, glaring, key difference--that people could SEE the person in question in that instance, and SEE what he was ACTUALLY doing? As opposed to reading a faceless, toneless textual statement that was completely subject to interpretation?

Please, by all means, if you *see* a mother smothering her kids on a webcam, call the police. If you *hear* a child's screams coming from a next-door neighbor's house, by all means summon the authorities. If you happen to read a short, vague Twitter post that could be taken several ways, no matter what your presumed personal responsibility for the well-being of children everywhere, YOU ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO HELP THAT PERSON BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION.

'Why didn't neighbors hear screams?' and 'Why didn't people receiving clear visual confirmation that a violent and tragic act was taking place right in front of them do something?' are not questions that would apply to the hundreds or thousands of readers of a text-only 140-character post from someone they do not know and cannot see or hear, concerning children they do not know and cannot see or hear, even in the unlikely event something bad were to actually occur.

If you don't have the judgment to make that distinction, in my opinion, you don't have the judgment to police other people's parenting OR sarcasm.

I agree with Shandra that for some people, a "tweet" is like a chat with friends on your front porch, while for others, it's like standing up in a community meeting hall to say your piece. I read things on the internet more along the "community meeting hall" model, and that definitely colors my perspective.

I can't say what the actors involved were thinking, but assuming it was just a big misunderstanding, I'm kind of glad that someone (i.e. the cops) went to check it out.

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