Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: NutellaNut on October 30, 2012, 10:01:57 AM

Title: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: NutellaNut on October 30, 2012, 10:01:57 AM
I read this column and was...surprised at the response to the letter-writer.  Is the column writer as off as I think he is?

http://www.salon.com/2012/10/24/my_friends_child_is_a_brat/#comments (http://www.salon.com/2012/10/24/my_friends_child_is_a_brat/#comments)

I can get behind the idea that labeling a kid a brat isn't very helpful, but beyond the label, there really is an issue that the letter writer deserves to be able to address in some way.

I actually had a similar situation with a friend's child - much younger, but still a great problem.  Eventually I had to stop seeing my friend until the child got older and more socialized.  How can a person address something like this with a friend?

Comments?
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: MyFamily on October 30, 2012, 10:15:10 AM
No, you are correct and the writer is totally off-base in his reply.  He is missing the point that this kid is a bully and probably does the same things to kids his age.  He is missing the point that the kid is this way because his father just doesn't get it; and I don't blame the kid, I blame the parents (though the mom wasn't mentioned, so maybe he's better around her, but I'd guess not). 

To answer your question, I'm dealing with something similar; only my friend's daughter is my daughter's best friend; and their class at school only has a few girls in it, so we are going to have to deal with this for a long time.  I don't think you can address this with a friend, though, without completely destroying the friendship.  I know, because ironically, my friend's husband has 'lectured' me on how we raise our children.  They are fine when one of their kids hits another kid 'because they are working out their conflict' and I will put a stop to physical harm.  Part of the reason why I'm pulling back.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: SleepyKitty on October 30, 2012, 10:17:47 AM
I usually love Cary, but this answer drove me nuts. Yes, you want to develop empathy for the kid, but otherwise this was a totally useless answer. I don't think there's a good way to directly address it with the friend. You might bring it up gently, saying something like,

"Friend, I've noticed that Child seems like he's hitting that natural phase where he's a little more of a handful. I know a great book that might help. Are you interested?"*

If the friend seems interested, then you might make suggestions or give them a good book on managing behavior. But if you're shot down, really your only option is to slowly back away from the friendship and try to only meet with your friend at an adults-only place, like a bar or something.

*Note, I know what this kid is exhibiting is not necessarily a natural phase. But that's a non-confrontational way of saying, "Your kid is a brat", even if it is a little white lie.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Shoo on October 30, 2012, 10:23:59 AM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column? 
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Sharnita on October 30, 2012, 10:34:40 AM
I think that regardless of what the child is called, unless there are firm boundaries drawn and enforced, he will be facing major problems.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: AppleBlossom on October 30, 2012, 11:10:43 AM
Cary Tennis's answers have always been long and useless. There are usually some good posts that answer the question better than he did, though you do have to skip past the trolls (since Salon can't/won't control them).

I'd avoid the kid, even if it means avoiding the friend as well. I hate washing my glasses and I wouldn't want to stick around for the kid to break them (which I'm sure the Dad wouldn't pay for). The LW can only control his/her own behavior.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Roe on October 30, 2012, 11:27:43 AM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

This was my reaction too.  I couldn't even finish reading his response.  A load of crap is an apt description! 

Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Giggity on October 30, 2012, 11:29:39 AM
That column is truly a load. Ugh.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: NyaChan on October 30, 2012, 11:30:16 AM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

This was my reaction too.  I couldn't even finish reading his response.  A load of crap is an apt description!

POD.  My eyes started glazing over a few sentences in.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: gingerzing on October 30, 2012, 11:34:13 AM
Never have heard of this person before but their answer is rubbish. 

DH has a friend who has two daughters who are about 2 years apart in age.  I've known the girls for about 12 years or so.  The elder girl is a nice girl with good manners.  The younger girl (no, there isn't any medical/clinical issues) is not.  It is like the old Highlights magazine cartoon of Goofus & Gallant. http://www.highlights.com/favorite-characters-and-features/goofus-and-gallant (http://www.highlights.com/favorite-characters-and-features/goofus-and-gallant)  The unfortunate thing is that the younger girl is allowed to act like she is much younger and is not called out for her bad behavior. 

example - This was a few years ago (but also the time that I told DH that I would NOT be dealing with this again).  The youngest daughter was probably 12 or 13.  We met them at an event and had met in the parking lot to walk in.  Elder daughter (15) said hello to us normally while the younger girl walked up to me and said "LOSER!" while doing the "L" with her fingers to her forehead.  I blinked and looked at the mom, who said "Oh isn't that funny. Younger likes you so much to tease." And the dad just laughed     ???  Um, no. Not funny.  Never have had that type of relationship with any child.   
She has - if anything - gotten worse in the last few years.  She is really close to being a bully to many people.  (Though she is cowed often by others in her peer group.) 

I would have said that I would suggest avoiding the kid when at all possible and keeping very cool contact when I need to.  (with the kid and dad)
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Dr. F. on October 30, 2012, 11:38:05 AM
I am having a really hard time coming up with a response that is eHell approved. I suppose Mr. Tennis would say that, since there are no brats, there are also no kids in Juvie and no young men in jail for committing assault (which is what this kid is doing, and what his dad is saying his friend just needs to get used to)?

I would also have to say that the Letter Writer needs to distance himself from this "friend." I do also wonder where this kid learned to yell, "child hater" whenever he doesn't get his way.

ETA: I am thisclose to writing to Salon and telling them how offensive I find the response to the letter. "I want to bite you, too"!?!?
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: CrochetFanatic on October 30, 2012, 11:45:39 AM
This guy...  >:(  That's the tamest thing I can think of to say, and I think I'll go with that. 

He said he remembers his childhood, and so on?  Well, I remember mine, too.  I remember being that age, and while I had a lot more boundaries set for me than this kid does, I did as much as I could get away with doing when I was feeling--Dare I say it!--bratty.  I'm sorry, but if a kid is a brat, then a kid is a brat.  And no, I'm not saying it's the kid's fault.  The dad needs to step up to the plate and be the boss.  Touching glasses to leave fingerprints?  Not cool.  Glasses aren't cheap, and supposing he took it into his head to take them and throw them?  Supposing the touching escalated in an inappropriate nature (not that it's appropriate now!)? 

The person asking for advice shouldn't have to put up with that, and in that position I would reconsider my friendship with the kid's dad.  Personal space is a biggie with me, and an 11-year-old should know better!
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 30, 2012, 12:07:29 PM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

POD, POD, POD.  I got through a 1/3 and then the last paragraph and wanted to scream.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: SleepyKitty on October 30, 2012, 12:16:21 PM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

POD, POD, POD.  I got through a 1/3 and then the last paragraph and wanted to scream.

To be fair, sometimes Cary has very thoughtful advice. I find he handles questions where an adult is trying to change their own behavior or the rel@tionship between two adults best. He has personal experience in dealing with alcohol addiction, and is very good at recognizing hurtful and destructive behaviors and teasing out where those behaviors are coming from and how to change them within yourself.

I think he tried to adapt that type of response to dealing with a child, and as we can all see - it does not translate to dealing with children. I think Cary is imagining this 11 year old as a miniature 45 year old struggling with ennui and a fear of mortality or some big existential crisis. Children are not adults, and they can't be thought about or handled in the same way. But when Cary is dealing with adults, he does much better (I believe so, anyway  :)). He responds with hope and compassion and while he doesn't offer much concrete advice (do X and get Y result), he does usually offer a lot of food for thought in deciding for yourself what to do.

Again - all of the above is not to suggest his advice this time isn't a load of... well, you all know what. But he might be worth another shot.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: ScubaGirl on October 30, 2012, 12:23:36 PM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

This was my reaction too.  I couldn't even finish reading his response.  A load of crap is an apt description!

POD.  My eyes started glazing over a few sentences in.

Yes, after a bit I just started skimming the piece.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: O'Dell on October 30, 2012, 12:31:08 PM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

Ditto.

I know this isn't a popular view here, but I'm not even opposed to calling a kid a brat where he/she can't hear, especially if they are as bad as he describes. At 11yo, he's close to being eligible for names I've called adults to their face which would all get filtered out here. Although I wouldn't use that sort of name to his face. And if he acts that way with kids his age, he's being called worse than brat by them. So I don't even agree with the guy on that.

Having said that, it's all on the dad here. He's not doing the kid or himself any favors by letting the kid act like that and letting it drive kid and adult friends away. Like Cary I do feel sorry for the kid, but I feel sorry that he's not being shown how to navigate the world properly and how to form healthy relationships with others. Being called a brat is the *least* of his worries.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Sharnita on October 30, 2012, 12:36:11 PM
I'm wondering how the child in question is treating other kids if he is doing this to an adult?
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Take2 on October 30, 2012, 12:43:21 PM
I actually agree that there are no brats. But there is certainly bratty behavior, and it should be addressed in children. If it isn't, the child will grow into an adult who behaves brattily. Actually, it should be addressed in YOUNG children. Because random people are much more patient with a 2yo who snatches glasses than an 11yo, and a 21yo who does it may be arrested. The father is not doing his son any favors by teaching him that his abhorrent behavior is acceptable.

I am baffled by the article/response. By this logic, when my 4yo son wants to run out in the street I should just let him because he deserves a vast wilderness and I am so mean to raise him in suburbia and try to keep him out of traffic? Yes, it is a little sad that there are not sufficient opportunities for children to run wild and free. Still, they are growing up in this world, not some dreamed-of possible world. And they need to be socialized to this world if they are to become adults in this world who retain their freedom.

I personally look at all of my kids' behavior in a forward way. OK, my 6yo doesn't look horrid behaving this way, but how will she look in 2 years if it continues? So we work to develop the graces and behaviors of an 8yo now, and of course I am patient and give her some slack. But if she is missing any of the graces and behaviors of a 6yo, then I have no patience and she gets no slack because the time to have mastered these skills is past and she needs to catch up. It sounds like the 11yo in the OP was behaving in ways that no parent I know would tolerate in a 3 or 4yo!
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Hawkwatcher on October 30, 2012, 12:44:03 PM
I am having a really hard time coming up with a response that is eHell approved. I suppose Mr. Tennis would say that, since there are no brats, there are also no kids in Juvie and no young men in jail for committing assault (which is what this kid is doing, and what his dad is saying his friend just needs to get used to)?

I would also have to say that the Letter Writer needs to distance himself from this "friend." I do also wonder where this kid learned to yell, "child hater" whenever he doesn't get his way.

ETA: I am thisclose to writing to Salon and telling them how offensive I find the response to the letter. "I want to bite you, too"!?!?

I agree that Tennis's response was extremely offensive to a LW.  I also think that the LW is too worried about being perceived as a child hater.  Since the LW's friend is also his/her instructor, I think that the LW should have a talk with the Dad about how his child's behavior is negatively effecting the LW's learning.  If Dad cannot come up with a solution to this problem (disciplining the child, leaving the child at home), the LW will have to go else where for instruction.  The LW might also want to consider new friends.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Sharnita on October 30, 2012, 12:47:46 PM
There might not be any brats but I have seen first hand there are several kids only a few years older than this one on tethers after committing crimes.  That is not to say this is a certain fate for him but the kids I knew would probably not have gone that far had "minor" bad behavior been addressed and stopped before things escalated.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Jones on October 30, 2012, 12:58:16 PM
I have a sister who, though 18, is mentally around 6-7 years old. When she was small people spoiled her, talked about how adorable her behaviors were, constantly gave her passes because of her disability (even though some of the behaviors she understood perfectly were incorrect). She now acts outrageously. She hides, throws out, and destroys property that isn't hers. She talks inappropriately to people, physically acts out in public. Yes, she knows (as my own Jean does) that these things are "wrong" and "bratty" but she does them anyway because she's learned from history that she'll get away with it, and hey, it feels good to act out. My parents do the best they can, but other adults and carers give her way too much slack.

The child in the OP's link may not have any disabilities, but he's getting the same training that he can get away with this behavior and he's taking advantage of it. This is partially on dad, but it's also on every adult that passes off the behavior without consequences. If a child above the age of 3 grabbed at my glasses they would get a negative reaction from me, up to and including speaking to the adult "I am sorry, I have to go. My glasses are very expensive and I can't afford to wait for them to be replaced if Junior Brat breaks them."

We all have to learn to deal with negative emotions, and when those negative emotions result in hurting or damaging other people and their property, it is past time for society (and the parent) to act. Escalation is the key, as Sharnita pointed out.

PS--and seriously, "I want to bite you too"?  >:(
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Daquiri40 on October 30, 2012, 01:32:30 PM
A bully, no matter the age, bullies because they can get away with it.  The dad is bringing his son along to an event that other people have paid to attend.  How do the other attendees interact with this kid?  Has attendance dropped off?  Has the dad paid for the kid to attend? 

The kid knows the adults will not punch him or be physically violent, and I don't advocate that, but he knows he can get away with the behavior because generally adults don't yell or hit other people's children.

Maybe the child is acting out - that is up to the father to figure out.  The father needs to be told, that the LW is dropping out of the activities and why.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Redneck Gravy on October 30, 2012, 01:38:33 PM
Mr Tennis definitely dropped the ball here...

Why would you continue to subject yourself to abuse, whether by a stranger, friend or friend's child? 

I think LW should tell the friend why LW is no longer hanging out with dad, sharing rides with dad, or whatever other activity is stopped.  Dad is not doing the kid any favors letting this behavior continue.  Real life is not going to allow it either!

Very bad advice, very bad!
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: LeveeWoman on October 30, 2012, 01:39:51 PM
I wonder if there are rainbow-colored unicorns on Cary's planet.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Hillia on October 30, 2012, 02:03:16 PM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

Poddity poddity pod.  What the heck was this 'I want to bite you too because the world is an awful place'?  This guy is a loon.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Jones on October 30, 2012, 02:08:12 PM
I wonder if there are rainbow-colored unicorns on Cary's planet.

I wonder if they bite suburban folks on peaceful picnics?
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Take2 on October 30, 2012, 02:36:24 PM
I wonder if there are rainbow-colored unicorns on Cary's planet.

I wonder if they bite suburban folks on peaceful picnics?

Of course they do. Because a picnic is just a way of limiting a beautiful, wild, chaotic child by requiring them to sit on a blanket and eat with utensils. And that kind of blatant tyranny makes unicorns feel very aggressive.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: doodlemor on October 30, 2012, 03:30:02 PM
I agree with gingerzing.......

Never have heard of this person before but their answer is rubbish. 

IMO there is something seriously wrong with a kid that old who would act like this, and also something seriously wrong with the child's parents. 

If I were the letter writer I would long ago have ended the friendship with the parents.  The child's behavior is ridiculous.

I wouldn't normally say this about a young child, but IMHO this kid is bound to injure someone badly some day.  I wouldn't want myself or my family to be within reach of such a person.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: 25wishes on October 31, 2012, 05:15:30 AM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

This was my reaction too.  I couldn't even finish reading his response.  A load of crap is an apt description!

Ditto. I wonder what Carey would do if it was happening to him.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: camlan on October 31, 2012, 05:55:02 AM
Sure, children are wild. They haven't learned how to get along with others yet.

At what point does Cary think this socialization should begin? When they are teenagers?

As for the Letter Writer, he is paying to go along on these trips or whatever they are. It would probably upset the father, but I'd just flat out tell the dad, "Look, Jack, when Sam comes along, most of your attention is on him. When it's not, Sam is poking me, talking to me, running around yelling and otherwise distracting me from what you are teaching me. I'd love to continue the lessons, but only if Sam doesn't come along. I'm not getting my money's worth when he's here."

Note that this doesn't say that Sam is a horrible little boy. It points out the behaviors that Sam has that make it impossible for the paying customer to enjoy the trip.

Because I have a feeling that until the dad feels the consequences (all his customers desert him) of his child's behavior, nothing will ever change.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: JenJay on October 31, 2012, 06:17:40 AM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

This was my reaction too.  I couldn't even finish reading his response.  A load of crap is an apt description!

POD.  My eyes started glazing over a few sentences in.

I kept skipping to the next paragraph, waiting for "Just kidding!". He sounds like one of those people who believes if you discipline a child you'll kill his spirit. I mean "beautiful chaos"? Really??  :o
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: TootsNYC on October 31, 2012, 06:34:40 AM

As for the Letter Writer, he is paying to go along on these trips or whatever they are. It would probably upset the father, but I'd just flat out tell the dad, "Look, Jack, when Sam comes along, most of your attention is on him. When it's not, Sam is poking me, talking to me, running around yelling and otherwise distracting me from what you are teaching me. I'd love to continue the lessons, but only if Sam doesn't come along. I'm not getting my money's worth when he's here."

Note that this doesn't say that Sam is a horrible little boy. It points out the behaviors that Sam has that make it impossible for the paying customer to enjoy the trip.

Because I have a feeling that until the dad feels the consequences (all his customers desert him) of his child's behavior, nothing will ever change.

And I think that direct criticism to the child is appropriate as well. "Sam, that's really aggressive. Don't touch me."

And saying, "Is Sam coming? Oh, then I won't be going today--I don't find it enjoyable when he's along because he pokes me and badgers me. It's very frustrating, so I won't be coming."
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: cicero on October 31, 2012, 06:45:12 AM
I have never read anything by Cary Tennis, except for this, and now I know to not waste my time in the future.  What a load of crap.  This guy has his own column?

This was my reaction too.  I couldn't even finish reading his response.  A load of crap is an apt description!

POD.  My eyes started glazing over a few sentences in.

Yes, after a bit I just started skimming the piece.

mine too

i can say that there is some merit in not LABELING a child. i wouldn't say *to the child* that they are being a brat. I *would* say "your [child's] behavior is unacceptable and I am leaving".

Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Winterlight on October 31, 2012, 08:22:05 AM
Cary used to give some useful advice. These days it's utter claptrap. The kid needs obedience school- and so do the parents.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: djinnidjream on October 31, 2012, 12:52:03 PM
You should read the comments.  I don't think there is one person who agrees with him. 

I hope this guy isn't a parent.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: aiki on October 31, 2012, 11:25:31 PM
In my observations of the wild (OK, it's mostly mum-cats with kittens) when a smaller animal antagonises a larger animal for long enough, eventually the larger animal wallops the smaller one head over heels. I don't condone doing that for a second as I think there are far better ways of turning children into people we'd like to be around, but I can't help but think it would be more effective than whatever it is that Mr Tennis is suggesting.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Miss Unleaded on November 01, 2012, 03:40:59 AM
In my observations of the wild (OK, it's mostly mum-cats with kittens) when a smaller animal antagonises a larger animal for long enough, eventually the larger animal wallops the smaller one head over heels. I don't condone doing that for a second as I think there are far better ways of turning children into people we'd like to be around, but I can't help but think it would be more effective than whatever it is that Mr Tennis is suggesting.

I often see this with our three cats, too.  The biggest one is slow and patient for the most part, but when either of the two littler ones get really annoying, it's 'wrooaawrrr!!!'  *WHOMP*

This is also the first time I've ever read this column.  Can anyone decypher for me what the columnist is actually advising the letter writer to do to resolve the situation?  I really couldn't work it out.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: cicero on November 01, 2012, 08:43:05 AM


This is also the first time I've ever read this column.  Can anyone decypher for me what the columnist is actually advising the letter writer to do to resolve the situation?  I really couldn't work it out.
oh that!

the Letter Writer should accept the child's behavior, should embrace it, should show compassion for this "true spirit" - the behavior is, after all, a reflection of this child's creativity and by stifling his creativity and expression through society's rigid rules, we are planting ticking time bombs inside these children who then go into schools and blow them up.

i think that's what he said... ::)
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: LeveeWoman on November 01, 2012, 08:45:34 AM
In my observations of the wild (OK, it's mostly mum-cats with kittens) when a smaller animal antagonises a larger animal for long enough, eventually the larger animal wallops the smaller one head over heels. I don't condone doing that for a second as I think there are far better ways of turning children into people we'd like to be around, but I can't help but think it would be more effective than whatever it is that Mr Tennis is suggesting.

I often see this with our three cats, too.  The biggest one is slow and patient for the most part, but when either of the two littler ones get really annoying, it's 'wrooaawrrr!!!'  *WHOMP*

This is also the first time I've ever read this column.  Can anyone decypher for me what the columnist is actually advising the letter writer to do to resolve the situation?  I really couldn't work it out.

Cary Tennis is a waste of digital space.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Flora Louise on November 01, 2012, 09:29:16 AM
The worst part of this whole thing is the parent's response to the friend-- "You're learning."

Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: BB-VA on November 01, 2012, 09:39:21 AM
We had friends who had a difficult child, and who really knew how to pull their chains.  He once hit his mother so hard he broke her glasses.    They would visit us occasionally, and the kid would invariably take a swing at me.  I would always stop the punch before it connected, and he would settle down and talk to me and basically be very well behaved.  UNTIL his parents noticed him again.  Then the misbehavior would start all over again.  With me, he would be a sweet little boy, but for Mom and Dad, no way.   I think it was due to inconsistent behaviors of the parents - Dad would try to be fairly strict, Mom was a pushover - and each overcompensated for the attitude of the other.   

We moved and have since lost touch with the family - I would like to know how the little guy turned out.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Really? on November 01, 2012, 11:39:21 AM
Hi

I read the letter and the response from Carey Tennis. This is what it translates too:
 LW: Help I'm drowning. I can't get away from your kid and he's holding me down. Get him off.
 Father: Oh well you really should have brought a life jacket....

Letter writer is asking for real help and is just ignored. Not cool.

Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Twik on November 01, 2012, 01:47:30 PM
I'm another person who was expecting a "gotcha" in the first paragraph or so. Does this person REALLY think that the solution to an abusive child is to continually be more tolerant, more "understanding", as the abuse continues?

Methinks the writer is far too taken with his own image of himself as a wounded bird, who would right now be soaring the heavens if only the mean adults hadn't tied him down with stupid ideas like learning discipline, and taking responsibility for one's actions. The ironic thing is he'd probably have blown a fuse within fifteen minutes of dealing wit the actual child, who wouldn't have given two shakes for the writer's sensitive nature and desire for chaotic freedom, but would have set to work making him behave according to the child's expectations.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Sharnita on November 01, 2012, 01:57:19 PM
Hi

I read the letter and the response from Carey Tennis. This is what it translates too:
 LW: Help I'm drowning. I can't get away from your kid and he's holding me down. Get him off.
 Father: Oh well you really should have brought a life jacket....

Letter writer is asking for real help and is just ignored. Not cool.

I think the father is actually saying "He is helping you learn to grow gills"
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Miss Unleaded on November 02, 2012, 05:05:47 AM


This is also the first time I've ever read this column.  Can anyone decypher for me what the columnist is actually advising the letter writer to do to resolve the situation?  I really couldn't work it out.
oh that!

the Letter Writer should accept the child's behavior, should embrace it, should show compassion for this "true spirit" - the behavior is, after all, a reflection of this child's creativity and by stifling his creativity and expression through society's rigid rules, we are planting ticking time bombs inside these children who then go into schools and blow them up.

i think that's what he said... ::)

Huh.  That's such a bizarre non-answer to the LW's question that it didn't even occur to me that that's what he was advising.  But yes, I think you are correct.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Twik on November 02, 2012, 07:11:49 AM
Yep. His answer is, basically, "You are a horrible person to expect this child to behave in any way other than what takes his fancy right now. If you could just sit back and embrace his nastiness, perhaps he'd see you're worth not abusing and you would become soulmates. Or maybe not, but you will become a better person by learning to appreciate the joyous, unfettered cruelty of the child, without wanting to constrain it within society's oppression."

I love this response to the column:

"Furthermore, I would suggest that you take your friend and his "brat" to Cary's Writing Retreat on Tomales Bay November 2-5, 2012. I guarantee you that after that weekend with your friend's son, Cary will change his tune about his ridiculous advice that he gave you."
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: laud_shy_girl on November 02, 2012, 07:29:44 AM
what a load of twaddle. I get really angry with the hole "oh he's just a kid, isn't it cute..."

My DH step sisters child has bouts of bratish behavior that drive DH and I up the wall. MIL and SIL just respond "oh he's a child what can you do?"

I am a very strong believer that if a behavior is unacceptable in an adult then its not acceptable in a child and the parents need to address it.

The LW  needs to cute of Child and dad in this case.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Take2 on November 02, 2012, 11:26:26 AM
The whole point in giving kids slack is that they are supposedly in the process of learning appropriate behavior. If they aren't learning, then it serves no purpose to cut them slack. My 4 year old can't always remember which letter makes a G sound, and we cut him some slack. My 6 year old is expected to remember which letters make which sounds, but if she struggles to read the word "though" we cut her some slack. But if I forget which letter makes the G sound or struggle to read the word though, nobody is going to pat me on the back and say it's OK. Learning anything, including appropriate behavior, is a process. The father in the OP story seems to have confused patience for a learner with excusing the child from needing to learn at all. He is setting that child up for a rough future.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Twik on November 02, 2012, 11:32:10 AM
The father in the OP story seems to have confused patience for a learner with excusing the child from needing to learn at all.

I think that sums up quite accurately the problem many people have with children's learning processes, in a very concise way.

On the other hand, the columnist seems to object to the very concept of learning, at least learning how to behave around other people.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Roses on November 02, 2012, 02:48:54 PM

[/quote]

POD, POD, POD.  I got through a 1/3 and then the last paragraph and wanted to scream.
[/quote]

This.  Useless advice.  The child has no boundaries, the partners are not setting them and if I were the gentleman who wrote that letter, I would pull back from that friendship.  I certainly would not PAY MONEY to spend time with a child like the one he described.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: Take2 on November 02, 2012, 09:00:07 PM
On the other hand, the columnist seems to object to the very concept of learning, at least learning how to behave around other people.

I don't think the columnist has really thought very deeply about his own argument, to be honest. I mean, yes, the natural state of humanity and all of creation is somewhat amazing and awe-inspiring. But the natural state of humanity also leaves us naked in the woods eating roots and bugs and raw animals that we caught with our bare hands. And accepting every fever and cavity without benefit of modern medicine. Choosing to accept the benefits of civilization means choosing to be civilized. We can't live in large societies without a codified and somewhat formalized set of behavior standards that suit that environment. And a large part of the cost of being a part of society is the responsibility to teach its code to our offspring. In return we get a huge slew of creature comforts and a far easier existence than we would if we were living wild. To advocate leaving a pre-teen child in his wild and unsocialized state while raising that child otherwise unequipped for a wild existence doesn't actually make any sense.
Title: Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
Post by: cheyne on November 04, 2012, 06:59:38 PM
Our closest relatives (the chimpanzees) also have a society and a code of conduct for living within it.  Training your child in the social mores is a huge part of our wild and free primate heritage.

Maybe Cary needs to watch a documentary on our primate cousins.  He would then see that in all societies, there is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.