I’ll be the first to admit that the name ‘Charlie Sheen’ doesn’t immediately spring to mind when one considers questions concerning parenting. It can, in fact, be argued that the words ‘parenting’ and ‘Charlie Sheen’ should just never be used together in a sentence, if that sentence is not ‘Charlie Sheen has nothing to tell us about parenting,’ or ‘if you want an example of bad parenting, look to Charlie Sheen.’
And yet, and yet… it’s too easy, I think, to just dismiss questions like ‘what questions does the example of Charlie Sheen raise for us as parents?’ with glib replies about ‘what NOT to do’ and jokes about Tiger Mom blood. It’s worth considering, I think, whether a person can be troubled / struggling with addictions / wrestling with mental health issues / experiencing a personal breakdown of any sort and still be a ‘good’ parent (within whatever very broad parameters we place around the designation ‘good’, which, as you know, I resist.) Because, really: don’t most of us, at some point, go through some experience of serious personal difficulty at some point in our lives as parents, whether that difficulty manifests in the complicated form of mental health issues or in other forms? Isn’t it possible that any one of us could lose our proverbial shit at some point – perhaps not to the extent that we declare ourselves tiger-blooded high priest Vatican assassin warlock and take young lovers and spew manic bullshit at the world through mass media, but in some other, more mundane way that could nonetheless have some impact upon our children? Are the sins of the parents always and necessarily visited upon their children?
We discussed this question at Momversation this week. I still don’t know what the answer is; I wouldn’t want Charlie Sheen anywhere near my children, but as a person who identifies herself as living on the crazy spectrum, I worry about how my own batshittery affects my parenting. Anyway. It was an interesting discussion:
What do you think? Can someone like Charlie Sheen (just considering the issue of his crazy, and his public derailment; we set aside the question of his spousal abuse, not because it isn’t relevant, but because we wanted to focus on the mental health / addiction issue) go off the rails – to whatever extent – but still function as a father? Still be capable, whatever that means? Still be loving, lovable, loved? Can any of us? Join the conversation over at Momversation.
Random unrelated addenda:
— Please, if you’re in Toronto and area and are looking for something to do with the family this week, consider coming to see Disney On Ice’s Toy Story 3. If you use the code TANNER to purchase your ticket, a portion of proceeds will go to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. Also, I’ll be opening the first show in a tutu. A public ice wipeout disaster is totally possible.
— You have until tomorrow to leave a comment at this post on parenting and the art of air miles maintenance and maybe win a trip to San Antonio, totally on me. Well, on the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, but still. I’m facilitating you getting it, so.
— It’s a Barbie Dream House world, and you are just not appreciating it sufficiently.