I, too, believe in the “benign neglect” school of parenting (“Survival of the Benignly Neglected Child” by Laurie Yarnell, November 2012), and, having raised my children in the ultra-competitive hamlet of Chappaqua, that wasn’t easy. I am proud to say that both of my kids have grown up to be extraordinary young adults—independent, intelligent, responsible, empathetic, and really, really interesting. But did I mention that my 27-year-old son has 13 tattoos? While I hate the fact that he has them (and he knows it), I burn when I hear people judge his character by the ink on his skin—especially people like Yarnell, who has never met my son. By the way, I challenge Yarnell to take a walk down Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg; I suspect she’d have a hard time finding any of the residents sans skin art. And what if—dare I say it—one of her own darlings came home for the holidays sporting his or her very own tat? Would she change her opinion of the adults they have turned out to be? Would she berate herself for having skipped those Mandarin lessons when they were young? Yarnell may not have been a helicopter parent, but she sounds suspiciously like a bigot.
Nancy Intrator, White Plains
Feature Editor Laurie Yarnell’s response: I’ve obviously struck a sensitive nerve here for you, and for that I am truly sorry. As a parent, I can well imagine how hurtful it must be to have your son’s character judged by his appearance—in this case, his body art. But equally hurtful—as well as an unjustified leap—is your suggestion that I may be bigoted, based on one 600-word humorous essay that includes two mentions of the word “tattoo,” one of which was in a caption.
Yes, I prefer that my own kids remain tattoo-free. I’d rather they not be judged by a decision they may later come to regret—and one not easily reversed without a lot of pain and money. Just as you ask others not to judge your son by his tattoos, I ask that you not judge me based upon a few tongue-in-cheek comments in one column. Like you, I suspect, I’m just a mom who’d like to do right by her kids.
Hurrah for Under-Parenting!
As a mother of two, I particularly enjoyed Laurie Yarnell’s incisive humor column in the November issue (“Survival of the Benignly Neglected Child”). It surely struck a chord—thanks for the reminder!
Andrea Peikon, Chappaqua
While stuck on a gas line post-Hurricane Sandy, I happened upon Laurie Yarnell’s humorous essay, “Survival of the Benignly Neglected Child,” in your November issue. Thanks for the chuckle—and for keeping me entertained during my long wait.
Patti Whalen, Rye Brook
My college-age daughter and I are big fans of the “This Month’s Holidays” column. I would like to give her a gift of a calendar with some of our favorite holidays highlighted, including Ice Cream for Breakfast Day and National Napping Day. Is there a way I can obtain the column from the past year so I can compile the list?
Paul Kandel, Scarsdale
Editor’s Note: We’re glad you and your daughter enjoy the column. You can find it—along with all of the other past stories from our print publications—in the archives section of our website, westchester magazine.com
Thanks for the Laughs
Philip Posillipo’s “The Name Game” article, featuring residents who share the same name with someone famous (November 2012), was a total scream. I literally LOLed when I read the piece—especially Neil Armstrong’s response to people who jokingly ask him about how it was “up there” in outer space (“Very cold…so cold it turned me into a black man.”) To think what it must be like to live with a celebrity’s name—though I’d prefer to have the “problem” of living with a celebrity’s money.
Amy Hollingsworth, Croton-on-Hudson