Author Topic: Dear Abby October 3  (Read 7587 times)

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SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2012, 11:11:14 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.

Yvaine

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2012, 11:12:42 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.

bansidhe

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2012, 11:12:47 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.
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Sharnita

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2012, 11:16:47 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.

Yvaine

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2012, 11:18:55 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.

bah12

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2012, 11:21:50 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.

WillyNilly

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2012, 11:23:55 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.

Sharnita

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2012, 11:25:29 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

SPuck

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2012, 11:27:11 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.

O'Dell

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2012, 11:28:36 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.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Yvaine

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2012, 11:32:40 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.)

CluelessBride

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2012, 11:36:38 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.

Yvaine

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2012, 11:38:49 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

WillyNilly

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2012, 11:41:02 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.)

Amava

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Re: Dear Abby October 3
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2012, 11:42:00 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