Found relationship advice on the NYC subway

"I found this adorable piece of pragmatic relationship advice from a child on the floor of my subway stop this morning," Jeff Simmermon tells Boing Boing.

"It’s so loving and level-headed, and fair to all the parties involved," Jeff adds.

"I especially love that the little girl (I’m guessing) that wrote this is not taking sides. The only thing that would make this more adorably precocious is if she had added 'Daddy, I understand that you have needs, but this is not a healthy way to address them.”

More here.


  1. Too bad that the little girl’s Dad sounds like he is failing Parenting 101 miserably.  Dragging your kid into your love life and personal issues is a no-no.

    1. Who’s “dragging” anyone into anything?  Dragging your kid into your personal issues would be demanding the kid take sides, making them part of the dispute.  Simply having arguments in earshot of your child, and resolving them to the best of your ability – that’s normal and healthy.

      So the kid can hear them argue.  Should they hide their disputes in the kid’s presence, pretend adults in loving relationships don’t have arguments sometimes, but let the kid pick up on the simmering unspoken issue as it inevitably bubbles to the surface?  That would be failing Parenting 120 (prereq: Parenting 101).

      I overheard most of my parents’ arguments as a kid.  I think my wife and I now do a decent job of arguing in our relationship (keep the argument to what we’re arguing about, listen, leave out the personal recriminations, settle up so even if we don’t reach an agreement it’s still clear we remain allies, apologize if things got a bit heated) – and I think my childhood experience of hearing my parents argue in the same overall reasonable way, as any mature and loving couple will, contributed to some extent to my having that ability.

      The fact that the kid feels secure and loved enough to write this note shows that Dad here is probably passing all his 400-level Parenting course load with flying colours.

    2. His daughter can write competently and communicate her feelings maturely. I’d say he’s passed Parenting 101, and possibly 201 and 301. If you want to start criticizing his average grades in graduate-level Parenting, by all means go ahead, but intro-level parenting is certainly not concerned with things like “only having arguments where the kids can’t hear.” It covers more rudimentary topics like “Babies Are Not For Shaking” and “Try To Graduate High School Before Having Your Second Child.”

    3. My dad failed parenting 101. I would have been too damned scared of his reaction to say anything. Once I gave him a birthday card and he tried to commit suicide because it made him feel like a failure that I wrote “I love you daddy.” I suggest you lighten up and enjoy the fact that you apparently had such a sheltered life that knowing your dad argues with his partner some times is failing at parenting in your opinion!

      Pro Tip: If the kid thinks arguing is a bad sign and not normal then the parenting is pretty good here.

    4.  What grated on me especially is the whole tone–I can picture the kid as one of the many “little adults” that some parents in NYC try to turn their kids into; more best friends than children.  Disagree with me if you want, but that’s what I see.

      1.  Think it’s a bit of a jump from reading the note to concluding this, but that’s just what I see.

    5.  Once upon a time ancient humans all lived together in simple structures, caves, and under the open stars.  Their children saw every fight, and relationship from the other side of the hut.    Its somewhat healthy to shield some of that from your children but I think its a mistake to believe your kids need to have 12 layers of dry wall between them and reality.

  2. I’m wondering if they are ‘really’ fighting? Perhaps the daughter is misinterpreting various grunts, moans and screams coming through the late-night bedroom walls?

    1. Or perhaps a recently deceased couple attempting to rid their beloved home of its pretentious new owners.

  3. I guess it’s a matter of degrees, but am I the only one who feels I have a good relationship with my spouse, and still argues and fights with her? (For some values of “fight”.)

    1. No, you are not alone.  I’ve known many couples who fight fairly frequently but still have long-lasting and loving relationships.

  4. Another interpretation. Note that it mentions “Mrs. [digitized]” and a few sentences later “Ms. [pixelated]”. Should this be “Ms.” in both instances, or is the daughter having a hard time adjusting to polyamory? Is the daughter partly objecting because Mr. [digitized] is still in the picture?

  5. Hi there – I’m the guy that found this note and originally posted it on my blog. The person’s name is the same both times – I think the child just doesn’t quite know the difference between “Ms.” and “Mrs.” yet.

    1. Given how many people in the US don’t understand “Ms.” at all, this is another indication of a well-parented child, really.

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