Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: BatCity on October 03, 2012, 08:57:17 AM

Title: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: BatCity on October 03, 2012, 08:57:17 AM
Here's the link.  Last letter.

http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/?uc_full_date=20121003

In brief, the LW encountered a child at the grocery store who told her "Don't smoke".  Abby's reply is that the kid was not being disrespectful, he was being honest.

I think Abby REALLY missed the mark on this one.  I'm not a smoker, but if anyone said that to me, I'd be pulling every last bit of willpower I had to refrain from doing something that would definitely not be eHell approved.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Yvaine on October 03, 2012, 09:11:04 AM
I was this kid when I was about 5, and yes it was rude. More excusable than an adult being a busybody in the same way, but rude.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Hillia on October 03, 2012, 09:13:42 AM
I totally agree.  For anyone to walk up to an adult and give them any sort of direction on how to live their lives is rude and out of line.  For a child to do it to an adult is even worse.  Abby is way, way out of line on this one, and I found her to be very smug and condescending in her answer.  If the child had walked up and said, 'Don't drink soda' or 'Don't wear high heels' would that be ok?

I hate, hate, hate rudeness excused as 'I'm just being honest'.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: gingerzing on October 03, 2012, 09:14:11 AM
Yeah, that was rude of the child. 
And Abby is off base...AGAIN.  (I don't agree with this gal as much as I did the real Abby)  Part of the issue with the answer is that Abby is very anti-smoking* and I think it tainted the answer. 
*Not that I like smoking or am a smoker.  And yes, I get the health issues, etc.  I agree for the most part.

It is one thing when the child is related to the person smoking.  I did it to my dad when I was about Five and told him that I didn't want him to die.  But it was my dad and I could pull that off.  (He did quit that year.)
But for a child to go up to a stranger and just be blunt "Don't smoke", doesn't seem like a polite thing.
What if the kiddo walked up to an overweight person and said "Don't eat so much and get exercise."?  Yes, it may true, but there are some faults with it. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: WillyNilly on October 03, 2012, 09:15:13 AM
So what its ok for kids to talk to strangers now?  Because I'm pretty sure when I was a kid as strongly as the "don't smoke" message was drilled into my head, the "don't talk to strangers" message was drilled in more.  Sheesh.

I do think the kid was being disrespectful.  Yes he was honest too - people shouldn't smoke - but adults are allowed to make individual personal bad choices, and that should be respected over generalities.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Sharnita on October 03, 2012, 09:16:31 AM
I think the kid is probably following instructions from a school program, at least the way the kid understood them. Because of that I would say the kid isn't rude but the program is (or at least it is poorly carried out).
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: QueenofAllThings on October 03, 2012, 09:20:32 AM
I'm going to take a different viewpoint. Children are bombarded with anti-smoking messages at school - along with anti-littering, anti-bullying, etc. It's a big part of their education. A young child doesn't understand that they are being rude - they think they are sharing their knowledge with you and being helpful - sort of a "I didn't know this. Now I do, and it's important! I'm going to tell everybody!". It's up to the parent to step in and educate the child on what it is OK to say to strangers and what it is not - a process that takes awhile.

My youngest, upon discovering at age 5 that girls don't have a significant part of male anatomy, informed everyone he saw for three days. Most were amused. One or two probably were offended. I discussed it with him, and that was that. I don't agree that it's 'rude' at that age.

Now (since I didn't read the Dear Abby column) if the child was 14 - that's a different matter.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Yvaine on October 03, 2012, 09:24:44 AM
My youngest, upon discovering at age 5 that girls don't have a significant part of male anatomy, informed everyone he saw for three days. Most were amused. One or two probably were offended. I discussed it with him, and that was that. I don't agree that it's 'rude' at that age.

I definitely think it's more excusable in a kid, yeah--I disagree with the idea upthread that it's ruder for a kid because of the disrespect. To me it's a lot less rude for a kid because their brain-to-mouth filter isn't really developed yet. If an adult goes around lecturing people about smoking (or dieting, or what have you), it's much more deliberate and therefore ruder to me.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: rose red on October 03, 2012, 09:36:14 AM
He may be just repeating what he's learned and I understand that, but that doesn't make it not rude and disrespectful.  Seems "Abby" is jumping on this letter and hiding behind this child to make her feelings about smoking known.  Even her words are *just* vague enough to avoid owning up to her own thoughts about smoking.  Would she say he was just being honest and not being disrespectful if he told a fat person to stop eating junk food?  or told a person paying with food stamps to get a job?

PS.  I'm not a smoker and hate the smell of smoke, but as long as it's legal, I mind my own business and turn my face away from the smoke. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Jaelle on October 03, 2012, 09:52:05 AM
I'm not a smoker. I hate smoking. (I'm horribly allergic to cigarette smoke, and my beloved grandma died of smoking-related lung cancer.) I am all for anti-smoking programs at school, and I certainly don't think they're rude. (Unless they're actually telling kids to confront strangers!)

That said, if DS said this to someone in a store, I'd apologize to the person and talk to him about how we do not say those things to people we don't know. (Or even most of the people we do know!)

Sometimes kids take school programs too seriously. I remember lecturing my mom about having a glass of wine after dinner when I was elementary-school aged. :P (We'd just gone through a big unit on this at school, mostly about DWI and underage drinking, but I took it to extremes. Kids do.)
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Virg on October 03, 2012, 09:58:01 AM
Dear Abby seems to be making the mistake that something honest can't be disrespectful because she's allowed her personal agendas to distort her view of the world.  If he'd walked up to someone overweight and said, "you're fat!" it would have been exactly the same.  This child's actions were disrespectful because the LW is an adult and he's not responsible for her health, and while his young age makes it more understandable (and forgivable) his action was still rude and whoever's responsible for him should teach him that what he did wasn't polite.

Virg
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: bah12 on October 03, 2012, 10:02:57 AM
I think this is something that needs to be put in perspective.  Children learn anti-smoking everywhere and will repeat what they are learning in school.
Is it disrespectful to tell an adult what to do?  Yes.  And if the adult with the child heard the exchange, they should have apologized and explained to the child not to do that in the future.

But, was the child being purposely disrespectful?  I doubt it.  Being told what to do by a child might annoy me, but it's not something I'd get all worked up about.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Redneck Gravy on October 03, 2012, 10:03:52 AM
I think Abby missed the mark here too... the child was 9 and beyond the age when he should have been taught better manners than to confront a complete stranger and give them "living instructions." 

Would it have been acceptable (as PP have pointed out) for him to say:

Don't eat fat
Don't drink beer
Don't invest in pig futures
Don't buy canned tuna
Get more exercise, etc.

I think NOT!
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Yvaine on October 03, 2012, 10:04:01 AM
Dear Abby seems to be making the mistake that something honest can't be disrespectful because she's allowed her personal agendas to distort her view of the world.  If he'd walked up to someone overweight and said, "you're fat!" it would have been exactly the same.  This child's actions were disrespectful because the LW is an adult and he's not responsible for her health, and while his young age makes it more understandable (and forgivable) his action was still rude and whoever's responsible for him should teach him that what he did wasn't polite.

Virg

Yeah, the adult version of this can be seen in the "Handing it to a bully" thread. It's more forgivable in a kid, but it's still rude and I hope his parents made this clear to him afterward, which of course we can't know from the letter.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Sharnita on October 03, 2012, 10:08:05 AM
Bah12, I agree. The comparisons with weight aren't the same becausr kids aren't taugjt that all food is dangerous. They aren't told that they should tell their friends to say no to that first bite of food.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on October 03, 2012, 10:11:14 AM
If it had been a 4-year-old, I'd say it was just a kid repeating what s/he had heard. But a 9-year-old should have been taught that it's OK to disagree with someone's personal choices but it isn't OK to give unsolicited advice to them. I know my 10-year-old knew last year, and probably for at least 2 or 3 years before that, not to do anything like that. And she isn't great at holding her tongue.

Though I suppose it's possible the letter writer had misjudged the child's age.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Yvaine on October 03, 2012, 10:12:42 AM
Bah12, I agree. The comparisons with weight aren't the same becausr kids aren't taugjt that all food is dangerous. They aren't told that they should tell their friends to say no to that first bite of food.

The weight equivalent to this isn't saying "Don't eat," it's saying "You're fat!", which does happen. We've had lots of threads about it over the years.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: bansidhe on October 03, 2012, 10:12:47 AM
In brief, the LW encountered a child at the grocery store who told her "Don't smoke".  Abby's reply is that the kid was not being disrespectful, he was being honest.

In general, I think Abby was off base with her answer. However, what if that particular business was designated as a no-smoking zone? Some states have really strict laws dictating where people can and can't smoke. If the smoker was in violation of the law, then the kid had a right to speak up. If not, then he (or she) needs to be taught that's not the sort of thing to say to strangers.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Sharnita on October 03, 2012, 10:16:47 AM
Bah12, I agree. The comparisons with weight aren't the same becausr kids aren't taugjt that all food is dangerous. They aren't told that they should tell their friends to say no to that first bite of food.

The weight equivalent to this isn't saying "Don't eat," it's saying "You're fat!", which does happen. We've had lots of threads about it over the years.
There is a major difference in that even overweight people still need to eat and that food iis not automatically bad for you.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Yvaine on October 03, 2012, 10:18:55 AM
Bah12, I agree. The comparisons with weight aren't the same becausr kids aren't taugjt that all food is dangerous. They aren't told that they should tell their friends to say no to that first bite of food.

The weight equivalent to this isn't saying "Don't eat," it's saying "You're fat!", which does happen. We've had lots of threads about it over the years.
There is a major difference in that even overweight people still need to eat and that food iis not automatically bad for you.

I think you're missing my point. My point is that kids blurt out rude stuff about people's weight too--it just tends to be phrased differently.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: bah12 on October 03, 2012, 10:21:50 AM
If it had been a 4-year-old, I'd say it was just a kid repeating what s/he had heard. But a 9-year-old should have been taught that it's OK to disagree with someone's personal choices but it isn't OK to give unsolicited advice to them. I know my 10-year-old knew last year, and probably for at least 2 or 3 years before that, not to do anything like that. And she isn't great at holding her tongue.

Though I suppose it's possible the letter writer had misjudged the child's age.

Not only is it possible that the LW misjudged the child's age, but not all kids are created equal.  I agree that I would expect most 9 years old to know not to tell an adult (especially a stranger) what to do, but I also know several kids around that age that just don't get it.  School tells them smoking is bad and people shouldn't smoke and that education is the answer and they feel that it's their duty to do what they learned and spread the word.

Was the child intentionally being rude?  I suppose so, but again, I just doubt it.  I would be more upset if there was a responsible adult within earshot that didn't immediately apologize and then use it as a learning tool...and the LW doesn't mention if that is the case or not.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: WillyNilly on October 03, 2012, 10:23:55 AM
In brief, the LW encountered a child at the grocery store who told her "Don't smoke".  Abby's reply is that the kid was not being disrespectful, he was being honest.

In general, I think Abby was off base with her answer. However, what if that particular business was designated as a no-smoking zone? Some states have really strict laws dictating where people can and can't smoke. If the smoker was in violation of the law, then the kid had a right to speak up. If not, then he (or she) needs to be taught that's not the sort of thing to say to strangers.

That's actually a valid point.  The LW says she was wheeling her grocery cart to the return area - if the whole parking lot is deemed a "no smoking" area the kid was blunt but not off base to say something.  In my city its illegal to smoke at a bus stop.  Even though the bus stop is just marked by a pole stuck in the sidewalk - so someone walking can legally be smoking but once they stand still for the bus they are technically breaking the law.  I have witnessed people telling others to not smoke, its illegal while waiting for the bus, and while its a bold thing to say I didn't think the one speaking up was rude or disrespectful, I thought the smoker was for putting everyone else in the position of either putting up with it, or having to have the guts to speak up.  So if the whole shopping area was "no smoking" I actually say kudos to the kid.  Its a pretty big "if" though.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Sharnita on October 03, 2012, 10:25:29 AM
They aren't actually put through programs in school where they are encuraged to say things about weight though, while many of the smoking and drug programs  teach them to say something
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: SPuck on October 03, 2012, 10:27:11 AM
I think there was information missing in the letter. The answer feels like it was written for a question that explained itself (like the woman was smoking in a non designated area or outside the store by the shopping carts), but it wasn't.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: O'Dell on October 03, 2012, 10:28:36 AM
I think the letter-writer had it partially right...the kid's parents should be teaching him to mind his own business. I don't agree with the "respecting your elders" part that she mentioned as he should be treating everyone with respect and staying out of everyone's business.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Yvaine on October 03, 2012, 10:32:40 AM
They aren't actually put through programs in school where they are encuraged to say things about weight though, while many of the smoking and drug programs  teach them to say something

I suspect you may be surprised. There are an increasing number of school programs focused on weight. I don't know if kids are actually encouraged to get in people's business about it, but then we weren't really taught explicitly to lecture people about smoking/drugs either (or at least I wasn't)--it's just that the "this is bad" thing gets so strongly hammered that the kid ends up blurting out something.

This applies whether they are given the health lecture in school or at home, actually. When I lectured my grandfather about smoking, it wasn't because anyone explicitly told me that I should lecture people about smoking. It was because I'd been told by my dad, over and over, that smoking would kill you, and I thought I was saving grandpa's life and he would see the error of his ways if only I said something. (He went on to live almost thirty more years, but of course that's beside the point.)
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: CluelessBride on October 03, 2012, 10:36:38 AM
If it had been a 4-year-old, I'd say it was just a kid repeating what s/he had heard. But a 9-year-old should have been taught that it's OK to disagree with someone's personal choices but it isn't OK to give unsolicited advice to them. I know my 10-year-old knew last year, and probably for at least 2 or 3 years before that, not to do anything like that. And she isn't great at holding her tongue.

Though I suppose it's possible the letter writer had misjudged the child's age.

This is my gut reaction as well. If this were a babbling 5 year old, I'd be more inclined to agree with Abby.  Kids that age say stuff all the time that would get them in trouble if they were an adult.  Their parent/guardian should of course gently correct them, but I can't really fault them for taking a little while to really "get" what is okay to say and when it's okay to say.

If it were a 17 year old I think we would have a pretty clear consensus that the 'child' was rude.  Somewhere in between the line blurs.  I feel like by 9 I knew that you couldn't always say what you thought and that you needed to be polite to people and respect their personal choices.  So I do think the kid was rude.  But I also think it's more forgivable for a kid that age, simply because we all do and say dumb things - and I think that age group in particular (between "innocent by virtue of being a child" and "adult that absolutely knows better") is particularly prone to them simply because they lack more life experience*

But I do wonder if the LW was actually smoking when the kid approached her.  She doesn't mention it in the letter (although the signature suggests she is a smoker).  While there is still something off about approaching a stranger and saying "Don't Smoke", if she wasn't smoking then it could have been meant more like "Vote For Candidate A" instead of "Stop Doing X (which I think is bad for you)".  Because I wouldn't fault a kid for generically handing out anti-smoking/smoking kills propaganda (with the stores permission), but accosting individuals randomly or because they are smoking is off.

*Not intended as an insult, I just know that I said more things I later regretted at that age than I do now.  Part of learning and growing is screwing up.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Yvaine on October 03, 2012, 10:38:49 AM
But I do wonder if the LW was actually smoking when the kid approached her.  She doesn't mention it in the letter (although the signature suggests she is a smoker).  While there is still something off about approaching a stranger and saying "Don't Smoke", if she wasn't smoking then it could have been meant more like "Vote For Candidate A" instead of "Stop Doing X (which I think is bad for you)".  Because I wouldn't fault a kid for generically handing out anti-smoking/smoking kills propaganda (with the stores permission), but accosting individuals randomly or because they are smoking is off.

That's also a good point. If the LW wasn't even smoking at the time, I think it's a little less rude, and frankly hilarious.  ;D
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: WillyNilly on October 03, 2012, 10:41:02 AM
When I was kid back in the 1980's we were encouraged to speak up to adults about not smoking and given examples of ways to do it.  I remember a lesson where a kid told a story about how in his religion they have "Lent" and are supposed to give something up so the kid asked his parent to give up smoking.  The teacher said "great idea!  Who else has some ideas of how you can ask your parents to stop smoking?"  (The lesson always stuck with me more because I lived in a very Irish-Italian neighborhood so most kids knew what Lent was as most were Catholics, but the way the kid said it "in my religion we have Lent" stood out, then about smoking, but none the less I remember being specifically taught to approach adults - ones we knew - and ask them to not smoke.)
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Amava on October 03, 2012, 10:42:00 AM
Abby's answer was stupid.

Unless this happened in a non-smoking area (in which case the letter-writer should not have been smoking in the first place), the child had no business saying something to them.

Respecting one's elders has nothing to do with it. Keeping your nose out of other people's business, is all it is about, and if it had been me, I would probably have told the kid just that, to mind his or her own business.

If I really was in a mood to mess around, I might have replied: "Thanks doctor, how much will you charge me for this consultation?" Then walk away while the little one stood there confused, trying to figure out what I had just said.  ;D
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Jones on October 03, 2012, 10:53:42 AM
When I was kid back in the 1980's we were encouraged to speak up to adults about not smoking and given examples of ways to do it. 

I remember this in the '90s as well, we were told that if we cared about someone it was our Duty to speak up. Then we'd trot off to Sunday school and be told that we should love our neighbors, and everyone is our neighbor. I can see a kid believing it was his Duty to speak up to a stranger, as a stranger is still a human and a "neighbor".

To address the offshoot, I think they are having programs focused on health and weight loss now too, because Jean Bean has spoken up several times since school started this season about how we need to cut back meat, she doesn't want to be overweight someday, that eating XYZ isn't healthy, she's going to be a vegetarian when she buys the groceries someday, etc. etc. Fortunately she hasn't walked up to any strangers with a cheeseburger or ice cream cone and told them to drop the food, but she has thrown away candy after a birthday party (!!!) and requested a "vegetarian alternative" when I'm making dinner. I can easily see her use preachy phrases on an adult someday if I don't step in with a few poignant lessons on "choices" now (glad this thread came up to make me think about this...) .

The parents of the boy in the letter may not have even thought about their son saying something like "don't smoke" to a stranger, especially if they've taught him not to speak to strangers, but the boy in his youth and enthusiasm to save the world (or at least this one person) spoke up anyhow. Still rude, but forgivable if no one has ever taught him it's rude and he doesn't yet have the life experience to figure it out for himself.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Sharnita on October 03, 2012, 10:55:07 AM
I think the only point of disagreement might be where the rudeness might be. I tend to see it more with the adults who basically tell kids it is their duty to say something speci,ifically abour smoking. Now, the intent might be "if you see your 11 yo classmate trying to smoke you should discourage them". I think they are not real good at explaining that nuance and the kids end up confused
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 03, 2012, 10:58:53 AM
I remember being in elementary school when they were doing these anti smoking campaigns and they really do lay it on thick that kids are supposed to do the equivalent of bible thumping when it comes to stopping smoking.  If you know someone who smokes, tell them not to!  And when my boys were in kindergarten they came home talking about it too so I don't think things have changed much.

So while it's rude and annoying, I might forgive a little kid of that if they've been told to go around discouraging people from smoking and no one else has told them otherwise.

Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: ettiquit on October 03, 2012, 11:22:15 AM
My 9 year old knows better than to lecture strangers, but I do suspect that the kid in question was acting on what he was taught at school.

I remember when my niece and nephew were taught about the dangers of alcohol.  I have no idea what their school actually taught them, but for awhile anytime my brother had a beer or a glass of wine, they would FREAK OUT.  My bro had to un-teach them some of what they learned at school.  :-\
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Hawkwatcher on October 03, 2012, 01:43:07 PM
My 9 year old knows better than to lecture strangers, but I do suspect that the kid in question was acting on what he was taught at school.

I remember when my niece and nephew were taught about the dangers of alcohol.  I have no idea what their school actually taught them, but for awhile anytime my brother had a beer or a glass of wine, they would FREAK OUT.  My bro had to un-teach them some of what they learned at school.  :-\

It sounds like some of these schools need to be careful about how they teach kids.  Some people might not be as cool as your brother and the letter writer.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: violinp on October 03, 2012, 02:01:54 PM
My 9 year old knows better than to lecture strangers, but I do suspect that the kid in question was acting on what he was taught at school.

I remember when my niece and nephew were taught about the dangers of alcohol.  I have no idea what their school actually taught them, but for awhile anytime my brother had a beer or a glass of wine, they would FREAK OUT.  My bro had to un-teach them some of what they learned at school.  :-\

It sounds like some of these schools need to be careful about how they teach kids.  Some people might not be as cool as your brother and the letter writer.

There were kids at my school who thought they and I were alcoholics because we drank underage...it was a sip of Communion wine.  ::) We were taught that drugs and alcohol are BAD BAD BAD, and you should never ever have them, because they're so dangerous.

Back to the OP: Yes, smoking endangers your health, but no one should be going up to random smokers and telling them not to smoke - even if the person talking to smokers is a child. I was taught never to comment on other people I didn't know, and I certainly wasn't allowed to go up to random people and tell them not to smoke. Abby was being snarky and rude to hide behind someone else's rudeness to have a bully pulpit.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: hobish on October 03, 2012, 02:01:59 PM
Dear Abby,

Stop being obtuse.

HONEST IN NEW JERSEY
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: MrsJWine on October 03, 2012, 02:07:21 PM
"When that random stranger chastised me for smoking, it totally made me want to quit," said no smoker ever.

You know what random comments from strangers and friends alike do? They make an addict want to light up. Because an addict knows it's bad for her, she knows it may one day kill her, she knows it's expensive, and those little reminders from "honest" people just make them stressed and more likely to have a craving.

And I think by age nine, most kids are capable of understanding that you're not supposed to comment on other people's behavior and appearance.

ETA: I speak from experience here. I was only able to stop smoking by convincing myself that I wasn't really quitting; I was just waiting an extra 5 (10, 20, 60, and so on) minutes before indulging, and if I really wanted one, I could have one. Telling myself I had to quit so I didn't get lung cancer was a surefire way to fail. Years later, I still allow myself to light up if the craving is extremely strong. This only happens about once a year, so I'm pretty sure it's not killing me.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Chickadee on October 03, 2012, 02:10:54 PM
Dear Abby,

Stop being obtuse.

HONEST IN NEW JERSEY

 ;D
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: TXJess on October 03, 2012, 02:43:45 PM
I was also that kid... and what I did was worse! When I was 3 or 4, my dad's boss came over to my house (I don't remember why) and was smoking a cigarette outside. I told him smoking was bad for him, and he shouldn't smoke. I'm pretty sure my mom almost fainted. It's funny to laugh about now, but my parents were sooo embarassed. I don't think dad's boss was too offended, because I ended up working for him when I was 17.

I agree that it was a distrespectful thing to say, but then again, sometimes little things slip past the filter of even the most well behaved kids.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: snowdragon on October 03, 2012, 03:26:19 PM
     If adults are not to tell kids to behave, then kids have no right to tell adults to behave in a manner the kid wants.  I really think Abby lost it here - and I would look none to kindly on any child who tried this. The kid is really lucky the adult here didn't tell the kid off, wasn't high, drunk, crazy or a combination there of.  Approaching anyone on their behavior is a risky business these days and teaching a kid that they have the "right"to do this is not a good thing to do.
 
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Twik on October 03, 2012, 04:30:13 PM
I remember being in elementary school when they were doing these anti smoking campaigns and they really do lay it on thick that kids are supposed to do the equivalent of bible thumping when it comes to stopping smoking.  If you know someone who smokes, tell them not to!

Well, it's not new - when my brother was 9, he went around and threw all the ashtrays in our home into the garbage. Oh, including the Waterford crystal wedding present one.  :(

But I think this is going to be a growing problem in schools, many who have taken health education into health advocacy to an alarming degree. On the one hand, they're teaching children to smoking, and eating junk food and so forth is bad. But at the same time, I don't think they're teaching children the balance that you simply have to expect everyone to have *some* bad habits, and haranguing people for eating meat is not going to be less annoying than haranguing them for not going to church. They want children to be tolerant, while giving them a lot to not be tolerant about, "because it's bad, you know?"
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Amava on October 03, 2012, 05:38:30 PM
I was also that kid... and what I did was worse! When I was 3 or 4, my dad's boss came over to my house (I don't remember why) and was smoking a cigarette outside. I told him smoking was bad for him, and he shouldn't smoke. I'm pretty sure my mom almost fainted. It's funny to laugh about now, but my parents were sooo embarassed. I don't think dad's boss was too offended, because I ended up working for him when I was 17.

Hahaha oh dear! Well, I wouldn't hold it against  a child, later young adult, for years, either, if they said something like that to me, or made some other mistake against manners in their childhood. But in the very moment they said it, I would tell them to mind their own business.  :D
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Iris on October 04, 2012, 03:03:28 AM
On the one hand, yes it is of course rude for anyone to comment on anything to a stranger and the child was undoubtedly rude. On the other hand this is pretty typical behaviour for a 9 year old. Dear Niece told off her uncle last year (when she was 9) because he dropped his cigarette butt in the gutter. She had just learnt at school about how litter in that area washed straight down the storm water system to the beach and was *furious* that (to her) uncle was just throwing his cigarette butt in the ocean. SIL kept a very straight face and took niece aside and explained about manners and commenting on others' behaviour. (She confided in me later that *actually* she had been longing to say something herself, but it wouldn't do for DN to know that).

On the other hand I really think it is kind of pointless getting upset about things children say. Discipline them, certainly, correct them, absolutely, but get personally upset? Why bother? This woman got so fired up that she wrote into Dear Abby about a 2-word exchange. Of course she has a perfect right to do that but really, why does she care? I would be more likely to be upset if the child's parent was right there and took no action to correct them.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: kherbert05 on October 04, 2012, 05:27:02 AM
We have Kids and Cops at my school. Deputy S draws a big line in the sand between illegal for kids and legal for adults. He is very specific about kid do not tell strange adults what to do - and you need to be respectful when talking to your loved ones. He explains that hounding people to do something rarely works.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: hobish on October 04, 2012, 08:22:32 AM
On the one hand, yes it is of course rude for anyone to comment on anything to a stranger and the child was undoubtedly rude. On the other hand this is pretty typical behaviour for a 9 year old. Dear Niece told off her uncle last year (when she was 9) because he dropped his cigarette butt in the gutter. She had just learnt at school about how litter in that area washed straight down the storm water system to the beach and was *furious* that (to her) uncle was just throwing his cigarette butt in the ocean. SIL kept a very straight face and took niece aside and explained about manners and commenting on others' behaviour. (She confided in me later that *actually* she had been longing to say something herself, but it wouldn't do for DN to know that).

On the other hand I really think it is kind of pointless getting upset about things children say. Discipline them, certainly, correct them, absolutely, but get personally upset? Why bother? This woman got so fired up that she wrote into Dear Abby about a 2-word exchange. Of course she has a perfect right to do that but really, why does she care? I would be more likely to be upset if the child's parent was right there and took no action to correct them.

Yes, but there is a difference between some anonymous woman writing into the column, and a well-respected nationally syndicated columnist to give a blanket go-ahead for children to chastise adults in the name of being “honest.” Dear Abby’s transgression is far worse than anything the writer did (which i wouldn't even call wrong.)

Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Iris on October 04, 2012, 08:37:02 AM
On the one hand, yes it is of course rude for anyone to comment on anything to a stranger and the child was undoubtedly rude. On the other hand this is pretty typical behaviour for a 9 year old. Dear Niece told off her uncle last year (when she was 9) because he dropped his cigarette butt in the gutter. She had just learnt at school about how litter in that area washed straight down the storm water system to the beach and was *furious* that (to her) uncle was just throwing his cigarette butt in the ocean. SIL kept a very straight face and took niece aside and explained about manners and commenting on others' behaviour. (She confided in me later that *actually* she had been longing to say something herself, but it wouldn't do for DN to know that).

On the other hand I really think it is kind of pointless getting upset about things children say. Discipline them, certainly, correct them, absolutely, but get personally upset? Why bother? This woman got so fired up that she wrote into Dear Abby about a 2-word exchange. Of course she has a perfect right to do that but really, why does she care? I would be more likely to be upset if the child's parent was right there and took no action to correct them.

Yes, but there is a difference between some anonymous woman writing into the column, and a well-respected nationally syndicated columnist to give a blanket go-ahead for children to chastise adults in the name of being “honest.” Dear Abby’s transgression is far worse than anything the writer did (which i wouldn't even call wrong.)

I don't think the woman did anything wrong at all. As I said, she had a perfect right to write to Abby. I just think it's a shame to get so very upset over two words, particularly from a child. I didn't mean at all to imply that she was not right in any way.

I hadn't considered Abby to be honest. I agree that she was way out of line.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: snowdragon on October 04, 2012, 08:48:04 PM
On the other hand I really think it is kind of pointless getting upset about things children say. Discipline them, certainly, correct them, absolutely, but get personally upset? Why bother? This woman got so fired up that she wrote into Dear Abby about a 2-word exchange. Of course she has a perfect right to do that but really, why does she care? I would be more likely to be upset if the child's parent was right there and took no action to correct them.


   On this board, I have seen people say that it's not ok to discipline or correct another person's child. Now adults are not even supposed to have feelings about things kids say????  People have the right to feel what they feel. No matter who said it. Just because the words come from a kid doesn't make them less annoying/hurtful/hateful/or what have you. And adults should not have to shut off their feelings because someone didn't teach their kid manners.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: nuit93 on October 04, 2012, 09:26:45 PM
My 9 year old knows better than to lecture strangers, but I do suspect that the kid in question was acting on what he was taught at school.

I remember when my niece and nephew were taught about the dangers of alcohol.  I have no idea what their school actually taught them, but for awhile anytime my brother had a beer or a glass of wine, they would FREAK OUT.  My bro had to un-teach them some of what they learned at school.  :-\

Sounds like the DARE program.  I really wish they'd get rid of it.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Iris on October 04, 2012, 10:20:44 PM
On the other hand I really think it is kind of pointless getting upset about things children say. Discipline them, certainly, correct them, absolutely, but get personally upset? Why bother? This woman got so fired up that she wrote into Dear Abby about a 2-word exchange. Of course she has a perfect right to do that but really, why does she care? I would be more likely to be upset if the child's parent was right there and took no action to correct them.


   On this board, I have seen people say that it's not ok to discipline or correct another person's child. Now adults are not even supposed to have feelings about things kids say????  People have the right to feel what they feel. No matter who said it. Just because the words come from a kid doesn't make them less annoying/hurtful/hateful/or what have you. And adults should not have to shut off their feelings because someone didn't teach their kid manners.

I have already said this


I don't think the woman did anything wrong at all. As I said, she had a perfect right to write to Abby. I just think it's a shame to get so very upset over two words, particularly from a child. I didn't mean at all to imply that she was not right in any way.

I hadn't considered Abby to be honest. I agree that she was way out of line.

on this point. I don't intend to clarify my position on the woman's emotions again. At no point have I said that she had no right to feel what she feels.

In terms of disciplining other people's children that was a general point, not intended as a comment on this particular case. But yes, if anyone of any age at all approaches you and says "Don't smoke" you are perfectly entitled to say "Excuse me?" accompanied by the Icy Look Of Death. I discipline other people's children daily as part of my job but separate to that would have no problems in everyday life treating a rude child exactly as I would treat a rude adult. For the record, I wouldn't really care beyond the moment if an adult said something like that to me either unless they were someone I cared about or respected. Obviously you and the Letter Writer feel differently but I'm more of a "Don't sweat the small stuff" gal when it comes to these things. Although in other matters... ;)
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Erich L-ster on October 04, 2012, 10:28:23 PM
"Don't smoke!" is a lot ruder than "Smoking is bad for you" so the kid took the rudest tact possible. Child shouldn't be addressing strangers at all when it's unnecessary anyway.

Even if the lot were a no-smoking area, the kid is not the parking lot police. It's still none of the kid's business.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Sharnita on October 04, 2012, 10:35:21 PM
Actually, I disagree there. If I understand you are saying that the kid shouldn't say anything even if she is smoking in a non-smoking area because he is a kid and not an authority figure? I think that under those circumstances he can speak up
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: MariaE on October 05, 2012, 01:15:32 AM
Even if the lot were a no-smoking area, the kid is not the parking lot police. It's still none of the kid's business.

Completely disagree. If he was there and thus affected by the smoke it was very much his business.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: hobish on October 05, 2012, 11:19:58 AM
Actually, I disagree there. If I understand you are saying that the kid shouldn't say anything even if she is smoking in a non-smoking area because he is a kid and not an authority figure? I think that under those circumstances he can speak up

I had a kid do that once. I had no idea i was in a non-smoking zone. I am glad he said something, but he said, "Hey, did you know there is no smoking here?" as opposed to "Don't smoke." The latter would not have been quite as appreciated.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: hobish on October 05, 2012, 11:21:11 AM
I don't think the woman did anything wrong at all. As I said, she had a perfect right to write to Abby. I just think it's a shame to get so very upset over two words, particularly from a child. I didn't mean at all to imply that she was not right in any way.

I hadn't considered Abby to be honest. I agree that she was way out of line.

Trimmed.
Sorry i misunderstood. My reading comprehension is not tops lately  :)
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Iris on October 05, 2012, 04:04:20 PM
I don't think the woman did anything wrong at all. As I said, she had a perfect right to write to Abby. I just think it's a shame to get so very upset over two words, particularly from a child. I didn't mean at all to imply that she was not right in any way.

I hadn't considered Abby to be honest. I agree that she was way out of line.

Trimmed.
Sorry i misunderstood. My reading comprehension is not tops lately  :)

Or I didn't express it properly. Or all those lasers and LEDs have blinded you :)
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: cheyne on October 05, 2012, 04:33:31 PM
I think this Abby is a pinhead.  Those reading her "advice" will now think it's OK to accost random strangers and tell them what they should/shouldn't be doing.

All this "education" of our children reminds me of Orwell's 1984
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: kareng57 on October 05, 2012, 09:44:48 PM
I remember we came down pretty hard on DS #1 when he told a friend of ours "you shouldn't smoke!"  But in all fairness, he'd learned it from Captain Kangaroo and we hadn't yet had a chance to reinforce the message that little people don't tell big people what to do, as well-meaning as they might be.  And he was only about 4, which is very different from 8 or 9 as in the original letter. 

As PPs have said - if it was truly an outdoor non-smoking zone, the child could have politely informed the letter-writer about that.  One thing that I think some of these anti-smoking/anti-drug programs neglect is that they don't inform kids that once people start smoking - stopping is very difficult. Of course it can be done, but many adults who smoke have already tried stopping several times - and even if they still smoke, they might have cut down substantially from the amount they were previously smoking. No adults in the developed world who smokes can be unaware that it's not good for him/her - they don't need a child, especially a stranger-child, to tell them that.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Margo on October 08, 2012, 08:31:39 AM
apologies if this has been said (I'm having trouble loading pp2-3 of the comments) but to me, saying "Don't Smoke" is rude (unless LW was in a non-smoking area)

I can see a small child saying something like 'Smoking is bad for you' or 'smoking kills' in a wanting-to-be-helpful / passing on information way.

If LW had been in a non-smoking area then I think it would be OK for the child (or any other affected person) to point this out, and to ask her not to smoke there. It appears that child was rude in *how* he made his point, but I think that is understandable - learning to be firm but polite takes practice!
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Sophia on October 08, 2012, 08:57:52 AM
So what its ok for kids to talk to strangers now?  Because I'm pretty sure when I was a kid as strongly as the "don't smoke" message was drilled into my head, the "don't talk to strangers" message was drilled in more.  Sheesh.

I do think the kid was being disrespectful.  Yes he was honest too - people shouldn't smoke - but adults are allowed to make individual personal bad choices, and that should be respected over generalities.

They don't teach the "Don't talk to strangers" thing anymore.  Kids would be quiet while the bad man was hauling them off because the other people nearby were also strangers. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Sharnita on October 08, 2012, 09:07:29 AM
So what its ok for kids to talk to strangers now?  Because I'm pretty sure when I was a kid as strongly as the "don't smoke" message was drilled into my head, the "don't talk to strangers" message was drilled in more.  Sheesh.

I do think the kid was being disrespectful.  Yes he was honest too - people shouldn't smoke - but adults are allowed to make individual personal bad choices, and that should be respected over generalities.

They don't teach the "Don't talk to strangers" thing anymore.  Kids would be quiet while the bad man was hauling them off because the other people nearby were also strangers.

I think don't talk to strangers was always stressed for when kids were alone I'm not sure this kid was.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: gen xer on October 08, 2012, 09:36:22 AM
 My oldest daughter once told an adult that he shouldn't smoke and started in on how bad it was....but I cut her off and took her aside to teach her about not admonishing adults.  She was a little confused because of all the anti-smoking media out there but it is rude for a child to correct an adult.  Period.

It is rude for an adult to admonish another adult as well.  My MIL had the nerve to chastise a smoker at a family gathering - telling her to "think of her child". 

I don't like smoking either but smokers KNOW the health issues.  They don't need to be told by sanctimonious do-gooders.  If they want to quit they will quit.

As fars as talking to strangers...well of course my kids can talk to strangers.  They have simply been told not to go off with them.  I refuse to raise paranoid, skittish kids who are afraid of everything and everyone.  Personally I hate when I see small children cowering behind mama bears skirts while their helicopter mom proudly says she has taught them never to talk to or trust strangers.  Not the childs fault either.

Rant over.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Shea on October 08, 2012, 10:07:15 AM
I can easily see a small child, at that age where they haven't yet developed a brain-to-mouth filter, blurting out the lesson about smoking he'd learned in school. It doesn't make it okay, but it is understandable. If a parent/caretaker was in earshot, s/he should take the child aside and tell him that yes, smoking is bad for you, but it's not polite to go around telling random adults that. Grown-ups have the right to do things that aren't good for them, such as smoke, and the fact that it's bad for them isn't news.

I wonder if the kid had been subjected to the DARE program (is that still a thing?) or something similar. We had DARE when I was in elementary school (late '80's/early '90's) and they basically told us that drinking a beer or a glass of wine made you an alcoholic, smoking so much as a single cigarette would kill you, and just THINKING about consuming weed or other illegal substances would cause you to become addicted, homeless, criminal and die a horrible lonely death. I, and a lot of other kids, became concerned that our single glass-of-wine-with-dinner-drinking parents were on the verge of becoming abusive, violent alcoholics, because the program failed to draw lines between moderate drinking for grown-ups and alcoholism, as well as to distinguish between, say, beer or cigarettes and crack or heroin. It's ridiculous, scares kids, and leads to stuff like the kid in the letter.
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: readingchick on October 08, 2012, 11:03:16 AM
I wonder if the kid had been subjected to the DARE program (is that still a thing?) or something similar. We had DARE when I was in elementary school (late '80's/early '90's) and they basically told us that drinking a beer or a glass of wine made you an alcoholic, smoking so much as a single cigarette would kill you, and just THINKING about consuming weed or other illegal substances would cause you to become addicted, homeless, criminal and die a horrible lonely death. I, and a lot of other kids, became concerned that our single glass-of-wine-with-dinner-drinking parents were on the verge of becoming abusive, violent alcoholics, because the program failed to draw lines between moderate drinking for grown-ups and alcoholism, as well as to distinguish between, say, beer or cigarettes and crack or heroin. It's ridiculous, scares kids, and leads to stuff like the kid in the letter.

Didn't DARE also imply that prescription drugs were bad? I seem to remember that lecture too....or maybe I'm mistaken?
Title: Re: Dear Abby October 3
Post by: Shea on October 08, 2012, 11:26:54 AM
I wonder if the kid had been subjected to the DARE program (is that still a thing?) or something similar. We had DARE when I was in elementary school (late '80's/early '90's) and they basically told us that drinking a beer or a glass of wine made you an alcoholic, smoking so much as a single cigarette would kill you, and just THINKING about consuming weed or other illegal substances would cause you to become addicted, homeless, criminal and die a horrible lonely death. I, and a lot of other kids, became concerned that our single glass-of-wine-with-dinner-drinking parents were on the verge of becoming abusive, violent alcoholics, because the program failed to draw lines between moderate drinking for grown-ups and alcoholism, as well as to distinguish between, say, beer or cigarettes and crack or heroin. It's ridiculous, scares kids, and leads to stuff like the kid in the letter.

Didn't DARE also imply that prescription drugs were bad? I seem to remember that lecture too....or maybe I'm mistaken?

I don't remember that, but it's entirely possible. It's been awhile for me since DARE. My parents didn't smoke cigarettes or do illegal drugs or even get drunk, but they did (and still do) have a glass of wine almost every evening, so that's what I remember most. Fortunately, my parents were able to explain to me that adults were allowed to drink alcohol, and drinking it in moderate amounts is fine and doesn't make you an alcoholic. I trusted them more than the DARE instructor, so I believed them.