I think parental shame is a despicable thing.
As a parent, I want to point out – and not approve of a lapse in ethics.
(I believe this is one of the fundamental responsibilities of parenting.)
But shame should never be involved.
I also need the common sense to differentiate between an ethical disagreement and a disagreement in simple opinion.
A child with a different taste is a child that should be encouraged and praised.
Make no mistake, words like this from parents are formative.
You can fortify or devastate a relationship with a simple sentence or two.
My fame knocked on my parents’ door. They couldn’t help hearing about their son. My father, though, was not impressed. After my first appearance on Saturday Night Live, he wrote a bad review of me in his newsletter for the Newport Beach Association of Realtors, of which he was president: “His performance did nothing to further his career.” Later, shamefaced, my father told me that his best friend had come into his office holding the newsletter, placed it on his desk, and shaken his head sternly, indicating a wordless “This is wrong.” I believe my father didn’t like what I was doing in my work and was embarrassed by it. Perhaps he thought his friends were embarrassed by it, too, and the review was to indicate that he was not sanctioning this new comedy. Later, he gave an interview in a newspaper in which he said, “I think Saturday Night Live is the most horrible thing on television.” I suppressed anything I felt about his comments because I couldn’t let him have power over my work.