Author Topic: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents don’t seem to care  (Read 5445 times)

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reflection5

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BG: A friend periodically visits her sister and BIL and their 2 sons (11 & 14).  Throughout the past couple of years friend has told me about a few disputes she has had with her sister and BIL – nothing serious, no screaming arguments but still things they disagree about.  Of course, I’m just hearing one side, but, whatever.  Bottom line: friend and sister have an “okay” relationship but not really warm and loving.

Friend’s DS and BIL have neighbors they are very close to.  They are always over at each other’s houses, and their 12 yr old son is close to friend’s nephews (the 11 & 14 yr olds).  Friend has mentioned that she has picked up some negative “vibes” from the neighbors and also their son on a couple of occasions.  Neighbors seem cool towards her, and their son has been rude an a few occasions (not speaking, grunting when asked a question, etc.) /End BG

I didn’t think much of it until I witnessed it first hand.

I accompanied friend to her sister’s house for a short visit.  While we were there, neighbors and their son came over.  I was introduced, then when friend spoke to neighbors they barely acknowledged her and the son said nothing.  He ran past friend, stepped on her foot (accidentally), and kept going.  Friend called him back and said “X, you stepped on my foot.  You’re supposed to say “Excuse me.”  Kid mumbled “excuse me”, looked at the other kids, rolled his eyes, and ran back outside.  None of the adults said anything.  :o  I was shocked.

About 15 minutes later we had to leave.  Parents of the rude kid said “Nice to meet you” (to me) but nothing to friend.

So, I’m wondering if maybe friend’s sister (and/or BIL) have said some negative things about her to neighbors and within earshot of the kids, and based on what has been discussed the 12 yr old neighbor kid thinks it’s okay to be nasty to friend.  Does that sound far-fetched?

Do kids often treat people according to how their parents feel about the person?  And, how could the stepping on foot incident have been handled better?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 04:17:05 PM by reflection5 »

hyzenthlay

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2013, 04:30:38 PM »
Friend called him back and said ďX, you stepped on my foot.  Youíre supposed to say ďExcuse me.Ē  Kid mumbled ďexcuse meĒ, looked at the other kids, rolled his eyes, and ran back outside. 

A child who is 12 should not need to be told what to say. She treated him like a 5 year old; rolling eyes is probably to be expected. Generally, non-family teens should be spoken to as you would an adult. Would you call back an adult, tell them their error and explain what they should have done? No you have either let it go, or decided that adult wasn't worth spending anymore time with. You probably wouldn't have attempted to instruct them in social niceties.


And why does your friend care what her sister's neighbors child thinks of her? There are things in this world you have to learn not to care about. The opinion of people that are effectively strangers is usually one of them.

I'm not defending the kid or his parents, they sound as though they were cold edging toward rude, but your sister isn't going to be able to change that, or retrain their child to be more considerate.

reflection5

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents don’t seem to care
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2013, 04:37:53 PM »
Friend called him back and said “X, you stepped on my foot.  You’re supposed to say “Excuse me.”  Kid mumbled “excuse me”, looked at the other kids, rolled his eyes, and ran back outside. 

A child who is 12 should not need to be told what to say. She treated him like a 5 year old; rolling eyes is probably to be expected. Generally, non-family teens should be spoken to as you would an adult. Would you call back an adult, tell them their error and explain what they should have done? No you have either let it go, or decided that adult wasn't worth spending anymore time with. You probably wouldn't have attempted to instruct them in social niceties.


And why does your friend care what her sister's neighbors child thinks of her? There are things in this world you have to learn not to care about. The opinion of people that are effectively strangers is usually one of them.

I'm not defending the kid or his parents, they sound as though they were cold edging toward rude, but your sister isn't going to be able to change that, or retrain their child to be more considerate.

You refer to the 12 yr old several times as a child (which he is) then ask if one would say the same thing to an adult.

I’m not sure friend ‘cares’ what this rude 12 yr old kid thinks of her.  However, she decided to call him on his rude behavior.

If. as you say, one has to learn not to care about the opinions of strangers, what's the point of manners and good etiquette?  Why even bother? ???

The speculation about what he might think was from me.  Not that I care what he thinks either, but I was just putting the question out there.

(btw, it’s not my sister – it’s the sister of a friend I was with.)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 04:44:39 PM by reflection5 »

NyaChan

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2013, 04:45:20 PM »
I don't think it is considered ok to call people out on rude behavior though.  I think I would have pointed out that he'd stepped on my foot, but after that if he chooses not to apologize then that is on him & I'd merely not that I should not expect basic civilities should I choose to interact with him in the future. 

Raintree

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2013, 04:59:15 PM »
A child who is 12 should not need to be told what to say. She treated him like a 5 year old; rolling eyes is probably to be expected.

He shouldn't, but he does. And he should be treated according to how he behaves. He is not an adult; he is a child with some learning to do. And if his parents aren't calling him on his behaviour, he should absolutely expect the people he tramples on to do it.

I can certainly understand why he feels it's OK to behave like a brat, as his parents probably have never bothered to correct him.

Jones

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2013, 05:11:22 PM »
Quote
So, Iím wondering if maybe friendís sister (and/or BIL) have said some negative things about her to neighbors and within earshot of the kids, and based on what has been discussed the 12 yr old neighbor kid thinks itís okay to be nasty to friend.  Does that sound far-fetched?

Do kids often treat people according to how their parents feel about the person?

Absolutely. I grew up in a large family. My parents both had quite a few brothers and sisters. On the maternal side, I found it difficult to keep up with who we were speaking/not speaking to at family gatherings. After a while I realized Gramma was in the middle of all that, and she was the one person my mom was always speaking to, which I found unfair. I got in some trouble for how I acted a few times, and sometimes it was later praised ("Did you see Jones do XYZ? Hahaha, that was so funny, Sister didn't know what hit her"). When my parents were out of the country while I was a teenager, and I was extremely rude to my babysitting aunt...I didn't hear a thing from them after. I had to grow up before I felt embarrassed about what I'd said to her. Trouble was, most of my childhood we didn't "like" her and then all the sudden she was the week-long babysitter? How was that supposed to work?

I learned from it...I try not to say rude/untrue/unflattering things about my sibs within my children's hearing. Overall my kids treat their uncles and aunts based on how the uncles and aunts treat them. I do prompt them to give a minimum of politeness. Eyerolling at apologies would not be acceptable for my kids to do at age 12, even if I got away with it around certain relatives when I was a kid.

Not saying this is what happened with your friend OP, but to answer the quoted bit, it could have happened, and has happened with other people in the world.

hyzenthlay

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2013, 05:30:13 PM »
You refer to the 12 yr old several times as a child (which he is) then ask if one would say the same thing to an adult.

If. as you say, one has to learn not to care about the opinions of strangers, what's the point of manners and good etiquette?  Why even bother? ???

What I said is that you should speak to non-family member teens as if they were adults. Your friend treated him as if he were five. And while teens are not yet adults, they do have enough of a personality to react poorly to be spoken to as if they were a small child.

Manners and etiquette have nothing to do with people's opinions. It's not rude or against etiquette to be less then warm and welcoming to someone. In that, the kids parents did nothing wrong.

StarFaerie

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2013, 05:42:48 PM »
You refer to the 12 yr old several times as a child (which he is) then ask if one would say the same thing to an adult.

If. as you say, one has to learn not to care about the opinions of strangers, what's the point of manners and good etiquette?  Why even bother? ???

What I said is that you should speak to non-family member teens as if they were adults. Your friend treated him as if he were five. And while teens are not yet adults, they do have enough of a personality to react poorly to be spoken to as if they were a small child.

Manners and etiquette have nothing to do with people's opinions. It's not rude or against etiquette to be less then warm and welcoming to someone. In that, the kids parents did nothing wrong.

Good points hyzenthlay and I think it is even broader than that. You also don't parent a stranger's or near stranger's child regardless of their age, unless it is an issue of safety. The only children I would ever consider correcting are mine, my best friend's who are my Goddaughters and I have permission to correct and my brother's if he has any and gives me the OK. Other than that it isn't my place to do so anymore than it is my place to correct an adult who has not asked for an opinion.

Your friend should not have demanded that the child/teen apologise. She could point out that her foot had been stepped on but that is it. If she has done this or things like it before, I understand why these people are cold to her.

BarensMom

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2013, 06:04:08 PM »
If I were friend, I'd leave every time neighbors showed up at sister's.  If and only if sister questions, then friend could tell her that she feels that neighbors are hostile to her and she would prefer to leave rather than cause an issue.

It falls to friend's sister to set the tone as to how guests treat each other in her home.

Raintree

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2013, 06:48:32 PM »
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You also don't parent a stranger's or near stranger's child regardless of their age

I wouldn't call it parenting, but I'd say that you (general you) are absolutely within your rights to say something if you are on the receiving end of bad behaviour amd the parents say nothing. Merely witnessing it is one thing, but if it's you that is trodden on, pushed and sulked at, you absolutely can and should say something.

reflection5

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents don’t seem to care
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2013, 06:54:14 PM »
You refer to the 12 yr old several times as a child (which he is) then ask if one would say the same thing to an adult.

If. as you say, one has to learn not to care about the opinions of strangers, what's the point of manners and good etiquette?  Why even bother? ???

What I said is that you should speak to non-family member teens as if they were adults. Your friend treated him as if he were five. And while teens are not yet adults, they do have enough of a personality to react poorly to be spoken to as if they were a small child.

Manners and etiquette have nothing to do with people's opinions. It's not rude or against etiquette to be less then warm and welcoming to someone. In that, the kids parents did nothing wrong.

And he acted like he was two.  Therefore he deserved to be treated as such.

I never implied the parents or their rude child should be warm and friendly.  However, I’ve seen people correct their children when their behavior is rude – it’s certainly unheard of.  In this case, the parents may as well have applauded or laughed.  Great parenting.  Real class acts.   ::)

By the way, the issue was children treating someone rudely because their parents don't like the person.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 07:02:35 PM by reflection5 »

reflection5

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents don’t seem to care
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 07:00:36 PM »
Quote
So, I’m wondering if maybe friend’s sister (and/or BIL) have said some negative things about her to neighbors and within earshot of the kids, and based on what has been discussed the 12 yr old neighbor kid thinks it’s okay to be nasty to friend.  Does that sound far-fetched?

Do kids often treat people according to how their parents feel about the person?

Absolutely. I grew up in a large family. My parents both had quite a few brothers and sisters. On the maternal side, I found it difficult to keep up with who we were speaking/not speaking to at family gatherings. After a while I realized Gramma was in the middle of all that, and she was the one person my mom was always speaking to, which I found unfair. I got in some trouble for how I acted a few times, and sometimes it was later praised ("Did you see Jones do XYZ? Hahaha, that was so funny, Sister didn't know what hit her"). When my parents were out of the country while I was a teenager, and I was extremely rude to my babysitting aunt...I didn't hear a thing from them after. I had to grow up before I felt embarrassed about what I'd said to her. Trouble was, most of my childhood we didn't "like" her and then all the sudden she was the week-long babysitter? How was that supposed to work?

I learned from it...I try not to say rude/untrue/unflattering things about my sibs within my children's hearing. Overall my kids treat their uncles and aunts based on how the uncles and aunts treat them. I do prompt them to give a minimum of politeness. Eyerolling at apologies would not be acceptable for my kids to do at age 12, even if I got away with it around certain relatives when I was a kid.

Not saying this is what happened with your friend OP, but to answer the quoted bit, it could have happened, and has happened with other people in the world.

After I posted I remembered something in my own family history.

When my nephew was about 8 yrs old, his father (my brother) and I had an argument within nephew’s earshot.  For a long time after that, things between my brother and I were tense.  During that time, nephew stopped talking to me or acknowledging me at all.  (“Daddy’s mad at Aunt, it’s okay to be mean to Aunt (to please Daddy”)  )


Iris

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2013, 07:14:10 PM »
For whatever reason these neighbours obviously have the impression that they can treat your friend with a lack of respect and grace and their son has picked up on that. Only saying goodbye to one person who is leaving is quite pointed, for example. I think it is pointless to speculate on the reasons for that, and personally I would just leave every time the neighbours or their son came over. NastyIris would simply say "Oh, neighbour is here. Well, time to go!" because NastyIris doesn't mind if people know exactly what she thinks of them but PoliteIris would simply mumble something about the time...

As to 12 year olds - SOME 12 year olds don't need correcting on their manners, but IME most do and I don't agree that they should be treated like adults in general. However, I don't tend to correct other people's children while the parents are there. This is a tricky one though, because children will 'accidentally' step on someone that their parents don't like for all the reasons others have pointed out. If that kind of thing is left unaddressed it will typically escalate. Honestly, just thinking this aspect of things through is giving me a headache and I would go back to my original advice to just leave as soon as they get there. Not after 15 minutes, immediately.
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

hyzenthlay

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2013, 07:22:16 PM »
And he acted like he was two.  Therefore he deserved to be treated as such.

One of your questions was how could the stepping on foot incident been handled better. I have given my opinion on the matter. If you are certain that treating the teen like a 2 year old was the correct action, why are you asking the question?

reflection5

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Re: When a child is openly rude/hostile, and parents donít seem to care
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2013, 07:28:42 PM »
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NastyIris would simply say "Oh, neighbour is here. Well, time to go!" because NastyIris doesn't mind if people know exactly what she thinks of them but PoliteIris would simply mumble something about the time...

Bwahahaha!  I kinda like NastyIris. ;D