SAN DIEGO – Unsolicited advice can be annoying and sometimes psychologically hurtful.
But for two parents, who are raising their two boys in Mission Beach, unsolicited advice in the form of a letter became a Facebook post that hundreds of people in their community found infuriating and odd.
Mike and Kelly Bruning are the parents of two boys, ages 2 and 4, who literally live steps away from the beach and ocean in Mission Bay on Bayside Walk. They've called their two-bedroom condo home for nearly nine years.
But when the Mission Beach family received a letter Tuesday shaming their parenting decisions, a community came to their defense.
The letter addressed to "Mike and Kelli" was typed by someone only referring to themselves as the area's zip code "92109." When they opened it, they were surprised by what they read:
It's important that you know that you guys are about the most selfish parents around. Because you like the beach, your boys are trapped in a tiny, one bedroom upstairs apartment. Kids need yard to play in. A swing set, or trike to ride when they want to, not just when it's convenient for you. I don't know this buy I doubt that either of you had to grow up under these conditions.
SHAME ON YOU"
Mike and Kelly posted the letter on Facebook with a message of their own:
"Now… this place just got interesting. We received this in the mail today ... not everyone in 92109 is solid. Sometimes harassment comes is simple forms."
They told FOX5, "The key thing is, it’s really nobody’s business. Yes it's a tight space inside but we live here so they can experience being active in all that the outdoors has to offer."
The Brunings' friends and family quickly commented on the Facebook post validating that they see the boys playing on the beach and water.
"Wow who has the right to tell you that? Kids grow up in big cities, in small apartments, in poor or rich countries and they turn out just fine. Having the beach and your playground is luck. I wish I grew up in a small place by the beach just like that," one person commented.
"Silly. Tell them the beach is bigger than any yard in America. And way better," one person commented.
"Cowards… not even a return address … just like most to stick their nose where it doesn't belong," another person posted.
The parents assumed the unidentified sender was a neighbor due to their misspelled names appearing on the front of the envelope.
Dr. Rachel Milstein Goldenhar, a licensed clinical psychologist in San Diego, reviewed the letter and offered guidance to parents who receive unsolicited advice.
"Unfortunately parents have been judging each other for thousands of years. It's easy to be a critic. It's much harder to be a good parent. Part of parenting is that other people will judge your decisions. In parenting, it's important to stay grounded and focused on what your goals and values are for your family and not focus on what others think," Dr. Goldenhar said.