Author Topic: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right  (Read 4039 times)

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Moray

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2013, 07:07:27 PM »
What about, "Wow, those are some pretty ugly words (or "Wow, that's an ugly way to act," for future incidents that are actions not words)!  Are you sure that's how you want people to think about you?"  Something along those lines?  It gives him something pretty strong to say that sounds reasonably natural, and yet at the same time is clearly pointing out that her words/actions are ugly and they make her look bad, without resorting to personal insults that may hurt her and make her defensive ("He said I have an ugly heart!") instead of ashamed ("He said I said something ugly and that people will think of me that way.  That's... hmm.").  Just a thought.

I think the bolded is pretty perfect.
Utah

sweetonsno

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2013, 07:23:15 PM »
I don't think it's nice to insult someone's character, even if they've behaved badly. The little girl was wrong to curse him out, yes, but I think Moray has a very good point. . . two wrongs don't make a right, and the fact that someone says or does something disrespectful does not mean that your default position should be disrespect. There are plenty of polite ways to handle this without telling someone that they are inherently flawed (which is exactly what you say when you tell them that their heart and mind are ugly). I suspect that if she internalized the message, the take-away is not "You shouldn't swear at people" but "You're a bad person."


TootsNYC

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2013, 08:08:18 PM »
I'm sorry--that was a really rude thing Fin said to her. I'm w/ Moray--I think Fin have EVERY right to be mad, but he needs a little coaching about what he says to express that anger.

He may have used words that don't trigger automatic censure from grownups quite the way swear words do, but they were really on a par with hers.

My kids would NOT let me use the words "stupid" and "ugly." Not for anything, actually--but especially not a person. They thought they were incredibly mean.

I think that's a good standard to have.

(I also know that I would have been on my way over to Fin to intervene when the girl started bothering him. I actually turn into Playground Monitor Mom pretty easily. Not Momma Bear, though--just "He was waiting for the swing. If you'd like to use the swing, and you ask him nicely, he might be willing to take turns pretty soon" sort of thing.)

Lynn2000

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2013, 08:20:21 PM »
Interesting. I see good arguments on both sides. I'm terribly impressed with the boy's choice of words, honestly--I think at his age my retort might have been more along the lines of, "Yeah, well, you're a stinky poo-face!"  ::) It is a retort, though, and although it may have achieved the desired result (the girl went away and stopped bothering him), there are probably other phrases that would be more polite.

Personally, I see a distinction between saying, "You're bad/ugly," and "Your actions are bad/ugly," and I think it's very important to never use the former with children. I sometimes wonder if the children actually see the distinction though, or if they just pick up on the keywords of "you" and "ugly." Maybe something that gets the point across without using inflammatory words at all would be best--focus more on what he wants her to do, like wait her turn, move out of his way, stop talking to him, etc.. Ignore the vitriol as best he can, show her he's not intimidated by it.
~Lynn2000

Sharnita

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2013, 09:02:01 PM »
You know, sometimes I think that girls  get away with saying or physically doing things things to boys that society would find far less tolerable if the boys were doing it to girls.I think that we sometimes unintentionally send boys the message that they need to tolerate abuse from girls in order to be nice guys and that is really unfair.

He might have phrased his objections slightly better but I think that is something to that can be worked on.  I don't think she can be abusive toward people and then weep when those people let her know it is unacceptable to them.

artk2002

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2013, 09:06:31 PM »
Being polite doesn't mean that we have to take abuse from others without responding. I think your son was fine. He spoke the truth. From her response, it sounded like that was something that she needed to hear.
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. -Mark Twain

Yvaine

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2013, 09:07:29 PM »
You know, sometimes I think that girls  get away with saying or physically doing things things to boys that society would find far less tolerable if the boys were doing it to girls.I think that we sometimes unintentionally send boys the message that they need to tolerate abuse from girls in order to be nice guys and that is really unfair.

He might have phrased his objections slightly better but I think that is something to that can be worked on.  I don't think she can be abusive toward people and then weep when those people let her know it is unacceptable to them.

I don't think this particular case is really about gender at all. We're discussing the boy's choice of words, not because he's a boy, but because he's the OP's kid and therefore the one whose behavior could theoretically be affected by the outcome of the discussion. The girl was rude, absolutely, but nothing we say here can influence her--her mom isn't reading here.

Sanity Lost

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2013, 09:09:59 PM »
I should have stated that the whole interaction took about 3 minutes and I was getting up to intervene when Fin retorted back to her and stalked off. I did speak to him about his choice of words and how he could have phrased it better. I also did speak to him about hurting her feelings as she probably didn't hear "You're acting ugly" only "You're ugly". IE I pod Moray as well :D

Part of this is my fault in that I have always told him that swear words are ugly and we do not speak to others in an ugly manner. His school has also been doing a series of classes on abuse and bullying. He had asked me why people seem to like hurting others and I told him that sometimes people act ugly to each other because they think they can get away with it. Fin also has ADHD and the simpler and more concise an explanation I give him, the more likely he is to remember it. I also have to admit to being proud of him as well. In the past, he would have shoved her and retorted "You're just a poopy-head" so HEY progress :/

But the entire situation did bring to the forefront the question "How do I teach my children to respond politely but firmly to the crass, the bully and the SS, without sinking to their level"?

buvezdevin

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2013, 09:14:16 PM »
Being polite doesn't mean that we have to take abuse from others without responding. I think your son was fine. He spoke the truth. From her response, it sounded like that was something that she needed to hear.

POD, and Disclaimer, I am not a parent.

The reason I agree so whole heartedly with artk2002 is that this may have been the first occassion on which the girl had any inkling that what she says reflects *on her* and how she is perceived.  As I have seen children say and do things they pick up, without fully understanding meanings or potential inferences, it may have been an overdue realization on the girl's part.
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

hyzenthlay

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2013, 09:58:43 PM »
I think your son was fine.  Yes he was blunt. At that age blunt is appropriate and being nicey nicey about your feedback tends to mean your feedback is ignored.

So what if she cried? She initiated a harsh interaction with a stranger, those rarely turn out well.


Amava

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2013, 10:15:47 PM »
Well yes, for grown-ups (parents, teachers,...) it is understood that they know the technique of "criticize the behaviour, not the person". In other words, that they would say "wow those are some ugly things to say" rather than "you have an ugly heart".

However I would not expect a young boy for not knowing or using this technique, and I think his bluntness was to be preferred over just taking whatever she was  dishing out to him. I don't feel sorry for the girl (well, I feel sorry for her that she feels the need to that behaviour, and I do hope her life/attitude/whatever gets better, but I don't feel sorry for the backlash she got from your son).  In short, if she can't take it, she shouldn't dish it.

Since you /asked/, I think it's ok to mention to him that "address the behaviour" technique, for possible use in the future, but again, I definitely don't blame him for being as harsh as he was.

Snooks

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2013, 03:56:12 AM »
Obviously I don't know your son but that seems like an odd choice of words for an 8 year old.  I wonder if it's something that he's heard at school during a class/assembly on bullying and behaviour.  I think he handled it well to be honest but I am curious as to where he got the expression from.

Addy

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2013, 04:54:57 AM »
Obviously I don't know your son but that seems like an odd choice of words for an 8 year old.  I wonder if it's something that he's heard at school during a class/assembly on bullying and behaviour.  I think he handled it well to be honest but I am curious as to where he got the expression from.

The OP did say in post 22 that she has used the word ugly to describe swear words and disrespectful, bullying behaviour.

OP, I think your son did a pretty good job, but we can all improve with practice. I think you did well to speak to him about his phrasing, but hey, like you said, it's progress!

Snooks

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2013, 05:13:15 AM »
Obviously I don't know your son but that seems like an odd choice of words for an 8 year old.  I wonder if it's something that he's heard at school during a class/assembly on bullying and behaviour.  I think he handled it well to be honest but I am curious as to where he got the expression from.

The OP did say in post 22 that she has used the word ugly to describe swear words and disrespectful, bullying behaviour.

Somehow I managed to miss the whole second page of this topic, apologies.

perpetua

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Re: Playground etiquette for kids...I think he handled this right
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2013, 05:48:33 AM »
The OP's son was fine. Sometimes, people need to hear these things.

As for the suggested responses, they're all well and good, but he's eight. Expecting him to come up with calm adult responses to an insult is unrealistic.

He did good.