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Author Topic: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!  (Read 17591 times)

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Adios

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I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« on: April 08, 2012, 04:15:22 AM »
I really want to tell my daughter its okay to be rude and now I'll try and explain myself  :)

My daughter is 10 years old and my niece is the same age.  My niece, Sally (my husbands sisters child) actively dislikes my daughter, Marie.  Sally will throw things at her, call her names, put her down and sneer at her and I suspect has hit Marie on occasion. 
I do what I can to limit the time these two spend together & at family events where contact is unavoidable, I hover in the background or make sure I'm near Sally at all times. 

So onto yesterday, I walked into the room just as Sally had finished giving another verbal attack to Marie and I noticed that, as usual, Marie just ignored her and looked hurt.

On the way home I spoke to Marie and asked why she doesn't say something to Sally - tell her to stop, tell her its unacceptable etc.  Marie says she doesn't want to be rude and make Sally feel bad - I told Marie that its fine to speak up when someone is tormenting her, but she just doesn't want to.  She isn't avoiding confrontation she just doesn't want to lower herself to Sally's level or upset her.

I don't know what to tell my daughter - has anyone got a script for me on "Its not rudeness, its having a polite spine" or something similar?

Speaking with Sally's mother is not really an option. So what do you all think of how to handle this situation?

Shopaholic

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 04:45:35 AM »
I don't have kids, but I think your daughter IS handling it the mature way by ignoring Sally.
Engaging Sally might escalate her behaviour. Teach Marie to walk away from her.

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 05:46:49 AM »
When I was 10, my family moved to a small town where I encountered social difficulties, especially from one girl.  It would’ve made a big difference if I’d been able to turn to my parents for support and advice. 

You’re helping your daughter tremendously by acknowledging the situation, listening to her feelings, and giving her the benefit of your adult wisdom. 

You can’t protect your daughter from mean people, but you can help her learn how to deal with them in a healthy polite way.  A child often feels that being picked on is their fault and something to be ashamed of.  What you say to her is less important than her knowing that she’s loved and protected.

It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

Sharnita

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 05:50:11 AM »
I think this is beyond etiquette - this is an issue of self-defense.  Your daughter is being bullied and attacked.  You want to teach her how to deal with that whether it is a random stranger, classmate, relative, SO who is targeting her.   Honestly I think I would cut out any family gathering that this kid is at.  I would tell DD that they are not unavoidable - your first priority is her physical and emotional safety and this kid is clearly a threat to that. Make it clear to her that when somebody becomes abusive she needs to put her own safety first and not worry about whether it upsets the abuser, their family, society, etc.

weeblewobble

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2012, 06:46:09 AM »
I think you need to talk to your daughter about what SHE wants the outcome to be. Tell Marie it's nice that she wants to protect her horrible cousin's feelings, and shows what a sweet person she is, but that you're worried about Marie's feelings.  Her feelings are just as important as Sally's and she shouldn't put up with someone who hurts her feelings, even if they are family.  So ask Marie how she would like proceed. The important thing is for your daughter to feel like she has some control in this situation. 

Give her permission to walk away from Sally when she's acting ugly, or to tell Sally, "I don't have to talk to you when you're being rude."  And if talking to her mother isn't an option, what about her father?  And I know this sounds wrong, but have you considered letting Sally know that you know exactly what she's doing?  Sometimes just giving a kid that, 'Yeah, I just saw you do that and I'm not happy' look a few times is enough to curb the behavior.

Adios

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2012, 07:06:03 AM »
I don't have kids, but I think your daughter IS handling it the mature way by ignoring Sally.
Engaging Sally might escalate her behaviour. Teach Marie to walk away from her.

OP here

Its funny how your post just made me realize that I really want Marie to handle this how I would handle it & I hadn't noticed that she is handling it herself.  Thank-you for pointing that out.

I think this is beyond etiquette - this is an issue of self-defense.  Your daughter is being bullied and attacked.  You want to teach her how to deal with that whether it is a random stranger, classmate, relative, SO who is targeting her.   Honestly I think I would cut out any family gathering that this kid is at.  I would tell DD that they are not unavoidable - your first priority is her physical and emotional safety and this kid is clearly a threat to that. Make it clear to her that when somebody becomes abusive she needs to put her own safety first and not worry about whether it upsets the abuser, their family, society, etc.


Thank-you Sharnita - particularly for the bolded.  Its a delicate situation, that I am trying to deal with & etiquette is my first line of defense - I know I may have to escalate eventually.

I think you need to talk to your daughter about what SHE wants the outcome to be. Tell Marie it's nice that she wants to protect her horrible cousin's feelings, and shows what a sweet person she is, but that you're worried about Marie's feelings.  Her feelings are just as important as Sally's and she shouldn't put up with someone who hurts her feelings, even if they are family.  So ask Marie how she would like proceed. The important thing is for your daughter to feel like she has some control in this situation. 

Give her permission to walk away from Sally when she's acting ugly, or to tell Sally, "I don't have to talk to you when you're being rude."  And if talking to her mother isn't an option, what about her father?  And I know this sounds wrong, but have you considered letting Sally know that you know exactly what she's doing?  Sometimes just giving a kid that, 'Yeah, I just saw you do that and I'm not happy' look a few times is enough to curb the behavior.

I will definitely try this approach.  I have said something to Sally once and got an earful of lip for it, I haven't really come across this sort of child before and to be frank, I feel a little out of my depth.  Sallys father is not in the picture unfortunately (or fortunately according to Sallys mother).

When I was 10, my family moved to a small town where I encountered social difficulties, especially from one girl.  It would’ve made a big difference if I’d been able to turn to my parents for support and advice. 

You’re helping your daughter tremendously by acknowledging the situation, listening to her feelings, and giving her the benefit of your adult wisdom. 

You can’t protect your daughter from mean people, but you can help her learn how to deal with them in a healthy polite way.  A child often feels that being picked on is their fault and something to be ashamed of.  What you say to her is less important than her knowing that she’s loved and protected.



Thank-you CrazyDaffodilLady - I feel like I'm walking a fine line, letting my daughter handle things to give her confidence and trying to guide her at the same time.

kherbert05

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2012, 07:59:18 AM »
Honestly - you need to rethink going anywhere Sally will be. Your husband should tell his sister to get a rein on her daughter. Your husband should be following Sally around and every time she bullies a cousin take her back to her mother and call both of them out on her behavior.

We actually did that with a young cousin, who was the golden child in her house. It didn't change her drunk parent's behavior - but it made her realize we and other's wouldn't tolerate her behavior. She grew up to be a very pleasant person despite her waste of space parents. (I was a teenager - but I wish we had done more to get them out of their parent's house.)
 
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Zilla

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2012, 07:59:37 AM »
I would ask your dd what are some of the things Sally tells her.  And then do a "game" where you are your dd and she is Sally.  And have some stock phrases to respond. 


But going through this with my own dd last year, I found that the best way to "beat" Sally is to ignore her completely and act like it's really funny.


For an example:


Sally-You are so ugly, do people make fun of you?
Marie-ha!  that's a good one.
Sally-What do you mean that's a good one.  Are you that stupid?
Marie-Wow, you are on a roll, keep em coming.


And trust me, Sally will get so frustrated she will walk away.  And it also gives you a chance to walk in.  And make it a game with Marie too by saying, "Sooo did Sally get any good zingers today?"  By lightening it up and Marie able to see it more humorous will help.  I know by the end of the year dd was giggling and excited to tell me the "latest".   And interesting enough others (this was at school) would roll their eyes at this person and tell her to give it up and leave dd alone or just tell her that they are tired of her making fun or being mad at dd.


But so sorry she has to deal this at a family level.  And honestly, if it truly bothers your daughter, I would just stay home with her and send your dh on to visit.  She shouldn't have to be subjected to that.  And if they ask why, your dh can tell them outright if he chooses or simply say that Sally doesn't seem to enjoy Marie's company and leave it at that.

ShanghaiJill

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2012, 08:09:01 AM »
Stay together with your daughter. There's safety in numbers.

Sharnita

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2012, 08:11:01 AM »
Kids are stuck dealing with a certain amount of this crap at school and in other social/extra curricular situations.  If an adult poster had a BIL/SIL who verbally abused them, struck them, threw objects - I think we'd tell them to stay away from the abuser.  Family interactions should be safe for kids. 

Mr Wigglybones

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2012, 08:33:28 AM »
I do not understand why you cannot talk to Sally's mother about her behaviour. Your daughter should not have to be subjected to this every time she sees extended family. Personally if no one does anything about Sally, I would not subject a child to having to put up with it any more. If that reduces how might time you spend with the rest of the family then perhaps you could arrange get other get togethers without Sally.

jaxsue

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2012, 09:16:59 AM »
I do not understand why you cannot talk to Sally's mother about her behaviour. Your daughter should not have to be subjected to this every time she sees extended family. Personally if no one does anything about Sally, I would not subject a child to having to put up with it any more. If that reduces how might time you spend with the rest of the family then perhaps you could arrange get other get togethers without Sally.

This exactly. My child would not be spending any alone time, and definitely little group time, with a bully like this.

I have had to practice this. Several years ago I made a point to avoid having a great-nephew at my home and also avoided family gatherings where he'd be present because he openly taunted and mocked my son, who has autism. Then when DS had a meltdown, G-nephew would stand there, smirking. BTW, his mother and grandmother (GM was my SIL) took no notice of his bad behavior and thought that everything he did was delightfully special!  ::)

SPuck

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2012, 09:21:24 AM »
This is assuming, but are there problems with other people in the family coming to Sally's defense (or simply just saying don't cause problems) when you try to come to your daughter's aid?

artk2002

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2012, 09:54:01 AM »
I want to address something in your title. There's a pervasive assumption that it's somehow rude to stand up for yourself. Please, do yourself and your daughter a favor and get rid of that notion! Standing up for yourself can be done rudely (for instance, yelling "shut up!"), but saying "that hurt me" and "stop doing that" are not in any way, shape or form, rude. Sadly, girls (and to an extent boys) are taught that it is rude to stand up for themselves; that they have to be "nice" (meaning "doormat".)

Whatever your daughter and you choose to do, whether it's to ignore or to face, can be done politely. Choose the one that works for you, not based on some confused notion of "polite."
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Yankeegal77

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Re: I want to tell my child its okay to be rude!
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2012, 10:51:42 AM »
I want to address something in your title. There's a pervasive assumption that it's somehow rude to stand up for yourself. Please, do yourself and your daughter a favor and get rid of that notion! Standing up for yourself can be done rudely (for instance, yelling "shut up!"), but saying "that hurt me" and "stop doing that" are not in any way, shape or form, rude. Sadly, girls (and to an extent boys) are taught that it is rude to stand up for themselves; that they have to be "nice" (meaning "doormat".)

Whatever your daughter and you choose to do, whether it's to ignore or to face, can be done politely. Choose the one that works for you, not based on some confused notion of "polite."


POD, POD, POD to the nth degree!!! It's not rude to firmly stand up for yourself. No "rude" phrases or language need be used, but it's all in the tone, eye contact, and actually following through. Anyone needs this lesson, especially girls. Because we very often are conditioned to want to be 'liked' and  accommodating. In fact, I can still benefit from this lesson from time to time. :)

My experience, very much shortened: I was picked on when I was little by neighbor kids and kids in class. It was really ridiculous. While my mom definitely went to bat for me at school as best as she felt she could, the school had this attitude of not stepping in, especially as not to offend the "class moms" whose kids were some of the worst offenders. (Although, I did have a couple of teachers who didn't put up with this nonsense. It was the administration and the PTA that were the real problem.) I was told at home to be polite, and we didn't want to make "bad neighbors" and I should just ignore the bullies. Well, the "bad neighbors" aspect was ludicrous and a story for another time, but the second part worked like a charm.

It started out small, and it was hard, as I was a pretty feisty kid. If I could ride away on my bike, without acknowledging the terrible personal insults, I would. If I was outside, playing, and approached, I'd look at the person, tell them I'm not going to dignify that with an answer, and I just left. There were a lot of strategies I would design and that evolved, depending on the situation.

Long story short--by not being a target, and from choice phrases from time to time, I took away the bully's power. A couple of my worst tormentors (older boys) lost that power they had and actually became friendly. The girls, on the other hand...I'm sure they are just adult versions of Mean Girls now. Some people are just plain awful. However, the lessons I learned served me well in middle and high school, trying to navigate those social jungles...

My point, to the OP, is that your daughter seems to have the situation assessed very well. She is in the power position, but may not fully realize it--if Sally doesn't have a willing target, then Sally has no power and is just an angry kid looking for an outlet. It's tragic that her mom doesn't seem to want to teach her how to handle her feelings appropriately.

 But, yes, definitely give Marie a few polite phrases, to be delivered with firm eye contact as Marie walks away. As another poster pointed out, just knowing you are on her side is a huge boost to your DD. As this transition takes place, definitely stay within earshot and eyesight, in case Sally decides to get physical, because that is one risk of a kid standing up for themselves--the bully just decides to hit. Hard.

Best of luck. I really hope we get a positive update and that things start working out for your DD, who sounds like a very sweet little kid, and I'm sorry she has to deal with this, especially from a family member. :(