Losing sleep over cursing

Herald on Sunday Jun 12, 2011

As tired parents everywhere know, there’s nothing funny about a child who won’t sleep – and Family First leader Bob McCoskrie wants to keep it that way. The head of the Christian-based lobby group is calling for a book called Go the F*** to Sleep to be banned before it even hits New Zealand shelves, labelling it “offensive” and “littered with offensive language”. The American book resembles a children’s bedtime story book, complete with colourful illustrations and rhyming verse. It has been acclaimed internationally as a “hilarious parody”, “a children’s book for adults” and “the secret anthem of tired parents everywhere”. Lines include: “The windows are dark in the town, child. The whales huddle down in the deep. I’ll read you one very last book if you swear you’ll go the f*** to sleep.”

McCoskrie, the father of three children, aged 7, 10 and 13, said like many parents he could tell stories of struggling to get children to sleep. But the expletive-laden language in the book trivialised the issue of family violence and emotional abuse. “We would rather parents spent their hard-earned money on a book on quality parenting, or a book they can enjoy reading to their child,” he said. Booksellers New Zealand chief executive Lincoln Gould said Family First needed a sense of humour. The book was a stress-reliever for parents trying to get their children to sleep. “It’s not a children’s book and booksellers will not be selling it to children,” Gould said. “It is a very funny adult’s view of how difficult it is to get children to go to sleep.”