Author Topic: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis  (Read 8989 times)

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NutellaNut

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Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« on: October 30, 2012, 11:01:57 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

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?

MyFamily

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2012, 11:15:10 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.


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

SleepyKitty

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 11:17:47 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.

Shoo

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 11:23:59 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? 

Sharnita

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 11:34:40 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.

AppleBlossom

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 12:10:43 PM »
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.

Roe

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 12:27:43 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! 


Giggity

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 12:29:39 PM »
That column is truly a load. Ugh.
Words mean things.

NyaChan

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 12:30:16 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?

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.

gingerzing

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2012, 12:34:13 PM »
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  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)

Dr. F.

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2012, 12:38:05 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"!?!?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 12:40:54 PM by Dr. F. »

CrochetFanatic

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 12:45:39 PM »
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!

Hmmmmm

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2012, 01:07:29 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.

SleepyKitty

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 01:16:21 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.

ScubaGirl

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Re: Recently in "Since you asked..." by Cary Tennis
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2012, 01:23:36 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.