Who here hasn't felt a little disappointed in their children's decisions? Maybe you're not the hugest fan of their spouse or maybe you really wish they had applied themselves more in college to avoid a dead-end job. But would you blast off an eight-paragraph long email listing -- in great, scathing detail-- your children's faults?
Nick Crews would and did. The 67-year-old retired naval submarine captain from Plymouth, England is catching heat and earning applause for an email he sent to his three adult children in February about how "bitterly, bitterly disappointed" he was in the way his children have lived their lives. After watching his wife listen on the phone as his children vented about their problems, enough was enough.
"With last evening’s crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother as a cess-pit, I feel it is time for me to come off my perch," Crews said in what he told The Daily Mail he refers to as his "Sh*t-O-Gram." "It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us."
Emily Crews, 40, is the only child still speaking to her father. She hopes to bring the family back together. (Crews' son, Fred, who is 35, divorced and working at a taxi office, refuses to speak this his father until he gets an apology; his 38-year-old daughter, a single mom of two, declined comment.) While working on a book about starting over, Emily asked her father in June if she could reprint the letter to drum up interest. The letter has since drawn loads of support for Crews' "tell it like it is" attitude.
What did Crews take offense to? His children's failed marriages that led to broken homes for five of his seven grandchildren, and their inability to get jobs that aligned with the private educations Crews and his wife provided for them, the Daily Mail reports.
If it weren't for their grandchildren, Crews wrote, "Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being so woefully let down by you, their parents."
Here's the complete email from Crews:
Dear All Three
With last evening's crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit, I feel it is time to come off my perch.
It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us. We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth.
We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us. We don't ask for your sympathy or understanding — Mum and I have been used to taking our own misfortunes on the chin, and making our own effort to bash our little paths through life without being a burden to others. Having done our best — probably misguidedly — to provide for our children, we naturally hoped to see them in turn take up their own banners and provide happy and stable homes for their own children.
Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting. Which of you, with or without a spouse, can support your families, finance your home and provide a pension for your old age? Each of you is well able to earn a comfortable living and provide for your children, yet each of you has contrived to avoid even moderate achievement. Far from your children being able to rely on your provision, they are faced with needing to survive their introduction to life with you as parents.
So we witness the introduction to this life of six beautiful children — soon to be seven — none of whose parents have had the maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions. None of these decisions were made with any pretence to ask for our advice.
In each case we have been expected to acquiesce with mostly hasty, but always in our view, badly judged decisions. None of you has done yourself, or given to us, the basic courtesy to ask us what we think while there was still time finally to think things through. The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren. If it wasn't for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being so woefully let down by you, their parents.
I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children's underachievement and domestic ineptitudes. I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about. I don't want to see your mother burdened any more with your miserable woes - it's not as if any of the advice she strives to give you has ever been listened to with good grace - far less acted upon. So I ask you to spare her further unhappiness. If you think I have been unfair in what I have said, by all means try to persuade me to change my mind. But you won't do it by simply whingeing and saying you don't like it. You'll have to come up with meaty reasons to demolish my points and build a case for yourself. If that isn't possible, or you simply can't be bothered, then I rest my case.
I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.
When asked by the Daily Mail if he had any regrets, Crews had this to say: "I really couldn’t have written it any better. I wouldn’t change a thing."
But in an interview with the Telegraph, Crews said he regretted how public the letter became. He reflected on how his parenting style may have led to his children's perceived failings.
“I bought into the fashionable philosophy of not interfering; letting the children find themselves. When they were getting into trouble -- at school, or later with their relationships -- I would just bite my lip and tell myself, ‘Don’t butt in, it’s their lives.’ I was trying to express my frustration at these wonderful grown-ups who had yet to make the best of what they had. They have read the criticism, but not seen the enduring love through the lines.... I haven’t done well as a father, have I?”
In what seems to be a new parenting punishment trend, parents are taking their disappointments in their kids to the Internet, punishing their wayward offspring online.
After a Wisconsin couple took their daughter's phone away for a week, the parents posted 10 silly photos of themselves on her Facebook wall to cement the lesson. When author ReShonda Tate Billingsley found out her daughter was posting alcohol-related photos on her Facebook wall, the mom swooped in and posted a picture of her 13-year-old daughter holding a sign that read: "Since I want to post photos of me holding liquor I am obviously not ready for social media and will be taking a hiatus until I learn what I should + should not post. BYE-BYE. :("
But these all pale in comparison to the story of Tommy Jordan. This dad took a video of him shooting his daughter's computer after finding out the 15-year-old was complaining about her household responsibilities on Facebook.