I Catfished My Kid

posted 1 year ago in Relationships
Post # 31
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

So the premise of this is to show parents that discussing the dangers and warning them doesn’t work… so they catfish them and then what? Lock them in a castle? What is being achieved that couldn’t be accomplished by monitoring your child’s online activity? Other than completely humiliating and shattering your relationship with your child. 

Post # 32
670 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

This sounds like a show written for people who already think taking their teenager’s bedroom door off the hinges is an appropriate method of punishment, and I’m side eyeing it because as a person raised by controlling, emotionally abusive “overprotective” (that’s always how they justify it, isn’t it?) parents who did everything from reading texts and journals to cornering me in the bathroom to forcibly drug test me (always negative) I’d bet money that even if my parents didn’t choose to “test” me like that, they still would have cited the show as justification for their invasive and dehumanizing “parenting style.” 

Post # 33
1298 posts
Bumble bee

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j_jaye : I think 
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happiekrappie :  only meant that she wasn’t concerned that sassy would ever do this to a child because sassy has mentioned that she doesn’t want and doesn’t have children. So instead happie was just going to comment on other aspects of the conversation. I definitely didn’t read it as happie saying that she looked down on sassy for not wanting children. 

Post # 34
2253 posts
Buzzing bee

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DeniseSecunda :  thanks bee…although that person and apparently 5 other people (atm) think I’m just an ass, I’m glad that you, and most people I’d assume, didn’t take it that way. Some people always just want to pick a fight or see negativity in everything  :/

Post # 36
936 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

I just watched a clip of this on Youtube and it was even more infuriating than I thought it would be. Catfishing is so violating, cruel, manipulative, and humiliating. Obviously safety is important but this is just about the worst parenting technique that I can think of to teach it. Shame on TLC for making even one episode of this.

Post # 37
433 posts
Helper bee

So just to prove my point, after lunch when my next class came into my room before the bell ring(I posted my original post during lunch) I asked a couple of my 8th graders what they thought of the idea. And one of my girls(who is gifted and very articulate) explained that while she could get why a parent would do that if one of her parents ever did it to her she probably wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to them about anything anymore. 

Post # 39
5874 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

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sassy411 :  One of the things I saw over and over working with kids, particularly adolescents, is that they want limits. 

No one is suggesting not having limits or rules with kids.  Hiding behind a screen and essentially flirting with your daughter to “trick her” into learning a lesson is extreme and creepy at best and damaging at worst. 

Permissive parenting is all the rage these days. It will eventually fade out, and for good reasons. Parents are too invested in making sure their kids like them, which is a matter of no consequence.

The fact that you are trying to suggest that not cat fishing your child is permissive parenting is insane.  No one is suggesting that parents should not have rules, and even strict ones at that.   I don’t think a single person here has suggested that parents should be concerned about being liked by their child to the point of avoiding discipline, bit if a straw man argument there. 

A catfish sting is not the equivalent of taking doors off hinges, reading diaries

Who are you to say that this isn’t same as reading a personal diary?  It is almost exactly the same.  These parents tricked their daughter into what she thought were private conversations.  Possibly talking about the exact things that they might write in a diary back in the day. 

If one experience is enough to make your child permanently lose all trust in you, I would be very concerned.

I would actually suggest that it is unlikely to be a one off experience if the parents are the type to actually carry out cat fishing.  It is unlikely to make such an error of judgment to that extent only once and it not actually be a glimpse into the type of parent they are. 


It is very disappointing that you are hanging on here and sticking your fingers in your ear to three pages of people unanimously telling you that you have made an error of judgment with this one. 

I find this thread you have recently posted to be the most ironic.https://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/untreated-severe-trauma-and-how-it-could-kill-you/

These parents not only deceived and betrayed their child but agreed for it to be broadcast for entertainment.  Does anyone else remember being mortified as a child if you got shouted at in front of friends?  This is a million times worse.  Imagine being older and trying to establish yourself as a teenager and then as an adult and during the entire time people can go on the internet and view a very intimate piece of your family dynamics.  They can see you at your most vulnerable, watch you get taken advantage of.  Who on earth wouldn’t be humiliated and scarred for life by that?  Personally I would find the act of being catfished by my parents quite traumatic, I would find the broadcast of that show humiliating and traumatic and the knowledge that it is on the internet forever, with however many hits on youtube and being discussed on public forums unmeasurably traumatic. 


Post # 40
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

Unless the catfishing also included a mock kidnapping/murder, I don’t see how it teaches the kids to be afraid of those scenarios if they weren’t before. The experience is scary because they learn that their parents could be laying a trap for them at any time.

And I agree with PP who have wondered what the follow up is to this. Take the computer away because the kid can’t be trusted? In which case I’m still of the opinion that the catfishing parent might as well have just told the kid they can’t use the computer in the first place. An excessively strict parent is unfortunately likely to be less damaging than a manipulative and machinating one.

ETA: I’m suddenly reminded of Arrested Development and George Sr’s attempts to teach his kids lessons by scaring them with a one armed actor. “And that’s why you always leave a note!” It’s funny because it’s absurd and something a reasonable person would not do.

Post # 41
779 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

As a child psychologist who works with adolescents I can say unequivocally that neither I nor any counselor I know would advocate an approach like this. This isn’t about protecting your child. We know “scared straight” approaches are ineffective. Setting limits and boundaries and avoiding permissive parenting are all reasonable but don’t justify a method like this. I think you are way way off the mark here. Advocating for something like this is damaging to parent, child, their relationship, and a child’s overall safety. Perhaps you need to do more research into “scared straight” and it’s effects. And that’s leaving aside the humiliation piece of this. I’m surprised you’d equate this to authoritative parenting (which is what you are describing in your vignette of your work) when it is in fact a most extreme form of authoritarian parenting and the research on the effects of that are clear and robust (spoiler: it doesn’t go well for the child). 

Post # 42
9717 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

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sassy411 :  Pp pretty much have it covered, but you are so, so wrong when it comes to children. I’m sorry your parents were cruel to you, but that doesn’t make this type of behavior from parents okay.

I mean 3 pages of people telling you it’s disgusting and wrong, and the fact that the show only aired once aren’t enough to show you that maybe your view on this is a bit off center? Honestly it frightens me a bit that you work with kids and think this is a reasonable form of parenting.

Post # 43
5088 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

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girlfriendphd :  The one armed guy in Arrested Development popped into my head as well!

FWIW, regarding my first comment, I thought the show would be interesting to watch and perhaps as a warning to other parents to make sure they are keeping an eye on their kid’s internet activity. I would never advocate that parents actually do this to their children as a practice. I didn’t think sassy was either, though the updates seem to suggest otherwise.

Post # 44
1683 posts
Bumble bee

OP, it seems like you think all teenagers are the same and require a certain standard way of parenting. That is a very flawed approach. Kids are all different and their experiences are not linear. One kid may have this happen to him and think eh, whatever, my parents are control freaks and another may then feel deeply violated and distrust their parents (and thus others) for life. That’s a risky gamble for not much tangible gain.

What strikes me are your thoughts on limits. Yes kids need limits, but at the end of the day, children are being raised to become functioning, free and responsible adults. If you’re having to keep teens generally in a pseudo reality to to teach them, then you are not doing your job as a parent to guide them to make smart choices if you’re  having to resort to such scare tactics, especially as they are verging on adulthood. That takes building trust over time and encouraging your child to confide in you so you can properly guide them.

At some point you need to allow them to have agency as well, and if they make mistakes or something bad happens to them it’s not necessarily the fault of the parent’s upbringing or the young person. 

Post # 45
500 posts
Busy bee

The thing is, by doing this you’re not actually teaching kids there are predators out there. Because it wasn’t really a predator, it was just their parents. So the kid will go on thinking that there’s just parents out there trying to scare them and that internet isn’t actually scary.

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